Friday, August 5, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Regan Black Author of Tracking Shadows

                                                                     
                                                                                                    Bio:

Regan Black writes action packed paranormal and urban fantasy novels so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind. Raised in the Midwest and California, she now lives with her family in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the abundance of history and legend fuels her imagination. Experience a Regan Black adventure at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords. You can keep up with Regan at ReganBlack.com, twitter @ReganBlack and Facebook.






Regan will be giving away a FREE digital copy of Tracking Shadows to one random person.  Just enter using the short form below and, if you would like,  leave a comment or question for Regan in the comments.  I added a short form so your email address does not display publicly. Ends Aug 13 11:59PM CST. The winner will be notified the following day.


I am so pleased to feature Regan Black this week as my guest author.  Thank you so much for taking a bit of time out from your busy schedule to chat with me today.

I'm excited for the opportunity, Laurie. Thanks for inviting me. 

I just read Tracking Shadows last weekend.  It is a memorable story populated with characters I cared about living under conditions which don’t seem at all far-fetched for a time about eighty-five years hence. What else can you tell us about this spectacular new release?

Tracking Shadows is my latest novel and I'm absolutely thrilled about this book. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut while my beta readers and editors worked through it. I was just bubbling over with excitement.

Tracking Shadows started as a publicity effort in January when I created a Facebook fan page where I posted a new installment each day as I wrote the novel. When I considered the story I could tell on Facebook, I immediately thought of Slick Micky, the smuggler who deals sugar and full-caff coffee in 2096 (a time when both substances are controlled). He's got so much to offer readers, beyond his mysterious and unique profession; he has a code of honor that's at odds with his street rep.

It was such a great exercise to have not only that daily deadline of the Facebook post, but the big picture of the May release as well. I almost wish I could put all my rough drafts out that way. Almost.

While Tracking Shadows is set in Chicago 2096, the storyline isn't dependent on the previous novels at all.

This excerpt is the first time we see Slick Micky using the stealth suit to sneak into another crime boss's lair in an effort to find out who's trying to kill him:

It was a nice enough building for those who preferred snarling gargoyle overseers and towering archways of weathered stone.

"To every man his style," Micky muttered, relieved to be back outside in the fresher air.

"What?" The no-chance assassin spun around, eyes wild. "Who said that?"

Micky froze, trusting the technology to keep him concealed. "You were thinking it, kid." It was a good bet the younger man didn't care for the old architecture, especially when it came with a lecture from an insane, hard-assed boss.

"Did not," he insisted, his gaze fixed on the nearest gargoyle stretching out from the stone facade.

"All right. What's your style?" While the unlikely hitman was distracted, Micky crept closer, whispering. "Do you kill up close or from a distance. With a gun or blade?"

"Guns are illegal."

Micky snorted. "Never met a hitman bothered by the law."
"This is a trick." The guy looked around, but at this time of day no one was hanging around the cathedral. "Who the hell is up there?"

"Just me. Got a lead on your target?"

"No. I mean yeah." He shook his head. "God this is stupid. I'm talking to a stupid rock."

"A rock with ears who knows you've got no name and no chance to impress the boss, Mr. Expendable."

"Bull. He knows my name and what I can do."

"Ha! He looked around for the one guy he wouldn't miss."

The kid thumped his chest. "He called for Ben Trumble by name."

"Tremble sounds about right. You couldn't find Slick Micky with a guide dog and a search light."

Micky had to hold his breath to keep from laughing when the poor guy paled.

"H-how did –"

"I've been up here long enough to forget more than you'll ever learn. Nobody's ever seen Slick Micky. He's a ghost, you fool. How the hell are you gonna assassinate a ghost?"

Trumble earned a point on Micky's scale when he whipped out a .45 and shot off the gargoyle's stone ear.

"Ow!"

Then he lost the point, dropping the gun in his panicked scramble to get away from the injured gargoyle while Micky's disembodied laughter followed him down the street.

Knowing the Reverend's habits, it wouldn't be hard to find the poor kid. He'd be the only one in this worn out neighborhood trying to raise a drink with a shaking hand. Micky picked up the gun and tucked it into a pocket of the stealth suit.

With an apologetic glance at the gargoyle, Micky jogged after Ben, a new plan for the kid's possible reform developing on the way.

***

Thanks for sharing that. It is such a funny scene! And what I especially like is that you sprinkle amusing and often thought-provoking action sequences like this one throughout the book.  Let’s go back in time now, for a bit.  What was your first sale as an author?

I'd sold and published quite a bit of poetry mostly about my faith and motherhood before I discovered I could write novels. Really, before I even discovered I wanted to write novels. Once that bug bit, I couldn't let it go. It became a journey about finding my voice, learning the craft, and being positive and persistent.

The key for me was heeding the advice of authors I admired who told me to let the story flow and edit later. I'd been concerned that my writing was too dark for the "market".

When I focused on what I did well, when I embraced my strengths and the unique qualities of my writing voice, the Justice Incarnate story came alive and that novel became my first major sale.

The whole process was such a high. From signing the contract, to working with the editor, seeing the cover, holding that precious paperback in my hands, to the first book signing. I'd worried that it wouldn't be as exciting with the following books, but I've enjoyed the same elation with every book I've put out there.

I feel it's so important for people to recognize their inherent skills and talents. Just because one person finds it easy to bake a cake from scratch doesn't mean all of us can do it. Whatever story or skill is inside you, only you can share it with the world.

How does your husband feel about your writing? Does he read your work?

Justice Incarnate (Shadows of Justice)Oh, yes. My husband's always been so supportive and enthusiastic (sometimes to the point of being annoying, but that's marriage). He actually took pity on me when the line edits came for Justice Incarnate and did them for me. I'll forever be grateful for that. I was just too nervous and had been through the book so many times I had it memorized.
He's always been a sounding board for ideas and plot points, and sometimes the technology. I was working on Veil of Justice when he was deployed to Iraq and I ended up putting it away. It was our first deployment experience and I just couldn't write in that world. Nathan, the hero of Veil, was a soldier and it was too much for me, dealing with a husband overseas, taking care of the kids, and then trying to tell Nathan's story.

Veil of Justice (Shadows of Justice)I really thought that would be the end of the series, but eventually I revisited 2096, pulled together all my notes and drafts of Veil of Justice and finished it. When that book published last year, it was a personal victory.

I chose to feature Veil of Justice on the Blog Tour de Troops this Memorial Day weekend to honor my husband and his fellow service men and women.


I can understand how being separated like that would be incredibly difficult.  I think it says so much more about you and your dedication, first to your family but then to yourself, that you were able to complete Veil of Justice later after the turmoil subsided.  What else can you tell us about your writing process? Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I was part of an active critique group, but life intervened and now we're primarily great friends. Of course if any of us need something read, we all pitch in. They were certainly a big blessing at the time. I learned so much from them when we were exchanging work regularly.

The biggest life lesson for me was discovering that I need to write the whole book before I send it for beta reading or edits. When I tried to send a chapter at a time for feedback, I would let the story stall out, waiting for comments rather than writing the next chapter, afraid to make a mistake. I'm over that now. LOL

What songs are most played on your iPod?

Oh, I love my iPod for tuning out the silly reality of the day (phones, etc.) as well as blocking out the noisy video games that fill the family room in the evenings. I turn up the volume on the Burlesque soundtrack, a wide variety of Andrea Bocelli, and albums featuring tuba soloist Patrick Sheridan and a collection of celtic instrumentals.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

My downtime is most often spent with my family. We're pretty close and that's such a happy blessing. I love to get lost in a good book, so I read quite a bit and I love to talk books with my kids. And working at home, I get to enjoy our adopted greyhounds all day long. You just can't stay stressed out when you're petting a greyhound's ears. The three of them are big characters themselves and when you add in the antics of the two cats and four finches, it's never dull and often pretty humorous around here.

Thank you so much, Regan, for sharing these insights with us.  It’s been a joy talking with you and getting little glimpses into how your life and creativity intermingle.  I am looking forward to following all your future sucesses and I wish you a very happy, healthy and profitable future.

Read my new Review of Tracking Shadows here.


10 comments:

Regan Black said...

Good morning, Laurie! It's great to be back with you! Your blog is one of my favorite places - thanks so much!

Regan

Shah Wharton said...

Fabulous post Laurie!
I'm putting you up on my directory! Thanks for coming to http://wordsinsync.blogspot.co​m/2011/08/weekend-creation-blo​g-hop-plus-poem.html - and commenting on my poem 'Spoliation'. I've entered the giveaway! :D Shah. X

Shah Wharton said...

Fabulous post Laurie!
I'm putting you up on my directory! Thanks for coming to http://wordsinsync.blogspot.co​m/2011/08/weekend-creation-blo​g-hop-plus-poem.html - and commenting on my poem 'Spoliation'. I've entered the giveaway! :D Shah. X

Regan Black said...

Thanks for entering, Shah!
Good luck!

Regan

Sanat said...

I have signed up for the giveaway. It is very interesting to see how you write, the process, that is. I am very interested in starting to write myself.

Thank you for sharing your story, it has been very helpful

Shannon said...

Ohh, loved Justice Incarnate. Have just started reading Veil of Justice. And now the gift of this one!

Thanks Laurie and Regan

E.J. Stevens said...

Thank you Regan and Laurie for the wonderful interview!

xx,
E.J.
Paranormal Author E.J. Stevens
From the Shadows

Regan Black said...

Thanks for entering Sanat - good luck!

Shannon, I'm so glad you liked Justice Incarnate and hope you'll enjoy Veil and Tracking Shadows just as much!

E.J., thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your support!

Kim said...

Regan, I heard a rumor that you have lighter some shorts out there for young adults? I've got a 13 year-old who's desperate for reading material. Can you tell me about them?

Love Slick Micky, BTW, I'm so glad he got a book. Were their major changes between the draft on Facebook and the final book?

Regan Black said...

Hi Kim! The rumors are correct in this case! I have a series of short stories called the Hobbitville Saga on Smashwords and Amazon. The stories start with the Pixie Chicks and they feature four BFFs in high school, all members of the Marching Band who like to trespass through a garden after football games.
What makes the garden special is that some of the statuary are actually portals to other gardens around the world. Let the adventures begin!

I'm so glad you like Slick Micky. He's one of my favorite characters of all time. There were some changes, mainly the stuff I thought was to intimate for facebook but more importantly the story got a lot stronger after editing. (You should thank an editor next time you meet one.)

All the best!