I met Christine at another wonderful SCBWI writer's conference. She stood out to me not only because of her bright, red hair, but she had her book jacket made into bookmarks. So clever! We've stayed in touch via Facebook and Twitter.
Christine is my kind of gal. She can talk about zombies, demons, and magic along with cooking and wine. She's funny and witty too. She's the whole package. Once you know her, you know that she's writing her way to success.
Below are the questions I asked Christine:
1. We met at a SCBWI writer's conference. Why do you attend them?
2. The cover of DEMON SOUL is electrifying. How many jackets did you see before this one was chosen? Did you get a say?
3. With all the vampire hype out there right now, and agents/publishers saying they "don't want to see anything with a vamp", what do you think made your story get published?
My vampires aren't the main characters. They're the bad guys, all the way. Regarding why it got picked, I was incredibly lucky - I did an online pitch to Crescent Moon Press that included a 3 line pitch and the first 100 words. Heather Howland, the Acquiring Editor for Crescent Moon Press at that time, hated my pitch but she loved my first hundred words. She asked to see the first chapter; that evening she asked me to send her the full manuscript. But truthfully, if you write an unforgettable vampire novel, it will sell. You just have to find the right person to buy it.
4. What draws you to write about demons and the other side?
It's less work. No, I didn't totally mean that - but, say, in historical romance which I absolutely love to read, there's so much RESEARCH to do. Writing paranormal books means I can make things up MY way, and no one can say I'm wrong. Of course, I try to keep the "real" as realistic as possible; my books are set in the Santa Monica area of Los Angeles, so I'm pretty careful about streets and such. That's one kind of research I really don't mind!
5. Have you ever seen a ghost? A demon? An angel?
I've met people that I would swear were angels on earth; likewise, I've met some truly evil people who could be described as demonic. I've never actually seen a ghost, but I've been in the presence of one a couple of times. They were family members, so their presence was comforting.
6. Describe your book in 5 words.
"Know yourself, and you'll prevail." Okay, that really describes Gabriel's journey, but there you go.
7. What time do you wake and what do you eat for breakfast?
I get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am now that I have a day job again. For breakfast I either splurge on an egg, toast, and tomatoes, or I'll have yogurt and granola. Or oatmeal (yum!). Or a protein shake, if I'm really running late.
8. Where did the name Gabriel Caine come from?
Um, really good question. The name "Caine" came from one summer of unemployment when I watched an awful lot of "CSI-MIAMI", and I really liked the name Horatio Caine. So I swiped the Caine from there. Gabriel was originally Rafael; I took a lot of flak about that name, which apparently has been used to death. So I finally switched it to Gabriel, being another "angelic" type of name.
9. How many sales on your book have been ebooks vs. actual paper books?
I have no idea!
10. Who is your biggest cheerleader?
My husband, hands down. He's been urging me to write for 34 years; I finally got around to it 11 years ago.
11. What made you believe in yourself as a writer?
My father is a writer, and so was my brother. I have a glib way with words; I used to love essay tests in history because I'd write reams. I'm convinced that I got an "A" in that class because the teacher didn't want to read my writing. Plus, having my dad around all day, selling books, writing constantly, while intimidating in a way was also very empowering. Especially when my brother started to sell, too.
12. Why did you write this book?
I had just written a dark, urban fantasy. I wanted to keep a bit of the dark, but focus more on the romance. However, I didn't want to write the typical vampire or werewolf book. I wanted something different, so I chose tribreds - men with demon/human blood in them, with the gifts - and the traps - that come with it.
13. Is this your first novel you ever wrote? If not, how many others did you attempt before this one took over?
I've written 11 novels; this one was book 8. I've written two YA contemporary novels, and I'm working on DEMON HUNT, which is Gabriel's oldest brother's story. I've done probably 50 partials; stories that are waiting for me to get back to them.
14. How do you choose your characters? Friends you have now? Foes? Family members?
I don't. They kind of choose me. For instance, one of the characteristics of the Caine family is that they have ALL the bloodlines inside them, so they all look different - Gregor, the oldest brother, is black as night. Justin the middle brother looks Jamaican, with dreadlocks, and loves to surf. Kellan is slightly Native American looking, but with blond hair and tanned skin; and then there's Gabriel, with black hair and white, white skin. What makes them noticeably brothers is in the set of their eyes, the breadth of their shoulders, their absurd sense of needing to "fix" things and protect those they love, and their height - all of them are 6'3" or taller.
15. Which character represents you, the writer, the most? Why?
Magdalena de la Cruz. Not because of her curves or her height - I'd kill for both - but rather for her rich emotions. I'm the emotional type!
16. Do you have a preferred place to write? Coffee shop? Office? Car?
I love to write first drafts in my local Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with my trusty MacBook. They have a "Time Out" corner, just big enough for a chair, a table, and it's right near an outlet. Give me my cup of coffee and my combo bagel with cream cheese, let me plug in my iPod, and I'm gone into the world.
However, when I revise and edit, I prefer to do it at home on my bigger screen. I do a lot of starts and stops when I revise, so being at home means I can find reasons not to write - do laundry, clean the kitchen, polish the ceiling - you know, typical avoidance behavior.
17. How can my blog readers help you to become an even bigger success?
Hey, Christmas is coming up - books make GREAT presents, lol! Oh yeah, and feel free to stalk me on twitter @CCAshworth and at my website at http://christine-ashworth.com . I blog about inexpensive wines on most Fridays, and keep folks up to date on where on the interwebs I'm roaming.
18. What is your favorite drink? Coffee? Tea? Water? Wine?
Depends on the time of day. First thing in the morning? Coffee. After I'm done writing for the night? A glass of wine, please! Waking up in the middle of the night, I need water. Of course, you can offer me a glass of chilly champagne at any time of the day, and I won't turn you down!
19. What author would you most recommend to your audience?
Ah, that's a good one. I can't choose just one author. If you like historical romances, then you'll LOVE Jennifer Haymore. She's brilliant.
For category romance, I really like Charlene Sands and Carol Ericson.
Lynne Marshall has a terrific new book out about an older, mis-matched couple - it's called ONE FOR THE ROAD.
And a new face on the urban fantasy front is Darynda Jones, whose FIRST GRAVE ON THE LEFT is totally hysterical. And of course, all my fellow writers at Crescent Moon Press are tops!
20. What word best describes you?
21. Which character is least like you in your book?
Justin. He's so calm and cool; I'm not that way at all. Unless there's a huge emergency - then I'm cool as a cucumber, and fall apart after its all over.
22. If your book became a movie, what actors would play the main roles?
I'd love to see Carey Mulligan as Rose. Justin Chambers would be fantastic as Gabriel...not sure about the rest!
23. Who is the most proud of you?
My daddy. Every time I call him, he says to me, "Is this my best-selling-author-daughter Chrissy?" I adore him! (By the way, he's got a new book out, too - it's called Seal Team: North Korea Blowup, and his name is Chet Cunningham. I'm SO darned proud of him!)
24. What are your next projects? Current release dates? Titles?
I'm working on DEMON HUNT, and the third book in the series, which doesn't have a title yet; hopefully both books will be out next year.