Today I have the pleasure of chatting with the wonderful Erica Hayes.
Hi Erica and welcome to my blog.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm from country Victoria originally (waves at Bendigo) but we move around a lot – Newcastle Canberra, Sydney, here, there. I'm living in England at the moment. So yeah, I'm the absent member of Hunter Writers Group in Newcastle. I miss those guys!
I started out writing paranormal and urban fantasy romance, but lately I've branched out into fantasy/sf mystery with action/adventure. Still with romance, of course. Can't resist!
- You have a new release out, what is it about?
SCORCHED is a superhero thriller with a dark conspiracy edge and a darker romantic twist. It's an urban fantasy about Verity, a super-powered heroine who discovers a conspiracy within her own crime-fighting family. They're supposed to be the good guys, right? Or not…
So it's got lots of kick-ass action and excitement, with a mind-bending mystery plot. There's romance – Verity has a few interesting encounters! – but the romantic plot takes a back seat to the action.
If you're familiar with my books? The one it's most like is my sci-fi adventure DRAGONFLY.
- How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
Well, that'd be giving it away :) but let's just say I've always wanted to write a book with this particular kind of mystery plot. I hope I've succeeded. It was a challenge. There's amnesia and mind games and twisted version of the truth. Verity is her own unreliable narrator.
- Do you plot your novels or fly by the seat of your pants type of girl?
I'm definitely a plotter. I work everything out before I start writing. Sometimes, I get a few surprises along the way, but mostly the manuscript turns out the way I expected. I don't have the courage to write without an outline. Or, as the general said in The Hunt For Red October – "Russkies don't take a dump without a plan, son."
- How long does it normally take you to write your first draft?
The actual writing? A couple of months. Plus some weeks at the beginning, where I faff about getting the outline exactly right. That part of the process can be frustrating and slow! The second-to-last book I wrote took nearly a whole year. The quickest one ever was four months. So yeah, I put some time in, even though I'm technically a full-time writer. I wish I could write six books a year the way some authors do! But I just don't have it in me to perfect the stories that quickly.
- Who are your favourite authors?
Dude, how is that a fair question?? I like so many books by so many different authors. I can't pick just one. But lately I've been enjoying some of the newer generation of fantasy authors: Joe Abercrombie, Douglas Hulick, Peter McClelland, Daniel Rozansky, Scott Lynch.
Also, a perennial favourite is Stephen King. I haven't read all his books, but I've enjoyed all the ones I have read. I just love the way he involves the reader with his characters. If you've ever wondered what the hell agents and editors mean when they say they want 'voice'? King has one of the most distinctive voices in fiction – yet all of his books are different. It's like when you walk into an art gallery, where there are dozens of painting of the same subject, and you can still go, yeah, that's the Leonardo.
- You have had an offer from Hollywood to turn your novel into a movie, who would you have play the lead roles? Why?
Ooh, a SCORCHED movie! Coolness. But casting is hard. This is what we pay Hollywood the big bucks for… But if I'm in charge? Hmmm…
My heroine, Verity, is thirty-something, tough and not totally gorgeous. Hollywood isn't exactly teeming with those… Maybe someone like Rachel Nichols the lead from the TV show Continuum. She's gorgeous, sure, but she has that ordinary-girl toughness that I like. Or a younger Jodie Foster.
The villain is cool, self-assured and utterly insane. Not smug, though. Just convinced he's better than everyone else. I'd claim Michael Fassbender, if he wasn't already Magneto :)
- Who would like to direct it?
No one, probably, once they heard what a prima donna the author is… :) I'll take Christopher Nolan, thanks, or Guillermo Del Toro. Or, y'know, Ridley Scott. He can make anything into an enormous hit :)
- Can you give us a small extract from your novel?
Nope, sorry, that's classified.
Ha! Just kidding. Course I can. This snippet is from a scene where Verity and her mysterious new sidekick – a guy called Glimmer, who has unknowable telepathic powers that scare her – are about to go on their first mission in their new identities as crime-fighters. She's nervous, because own her telekinetic powers are a bit unreliable right now.
Glimmer rolled the bike into deeper shadow, the ruby-red glint vanishing into the gloom, and re-emerged, wiping sweat back into his stripy hair. He'd glammed himself up, too, after I'd insisted—I'm not wearing this if you're just wearing jeans, I'd said, like some virgin schoolgirl who didn't want to be the only one on the beach in a bikini—though I suspected he'd intended to all along, and was only teasing me.
We were supposed to be making a spectacle of ourselves, after all, and Glimmer looked like a character from a futuristic MTV clip, in the most amazing glossy black number that buckled with silver across one shoulder, fit snugly at his waist and left his muscular arms bare. I'd noticed his butt in his worn jeans—oh yes, this girl may be ugly, but she's not blind—and it looked just as tasty in tight gleaming vinyl. He still wore his wrist buckle and ring, but soft half-gloves wrapped his palms, too, keeping his fingers free to work their magic.
Kinky. Just add handcuffs. I wanted to survey and appreciate. Instead, I snorted. "Is that product I see in your hair?"
He ruffled it defiantly, poking up the skunk stripe. Definitely wax-assisted. "Bite me," he suggested, clipping his pistol to his belt.
I didn't have a pistol, and he hadn't offered me one. Suited me. I didn't intend on giving these Dockside creeps enough warning to shoot at me. "Dude, the only person biting you tonight will be some skinny white-trash rent boy with a vinyl fetish."
"Now, you're just jealous."
Dignify that with a response? Think not. "Seriously, what's with the shiny? I figured you for a more casual brand. Y'know, Mr. Inconspicuous, or something."
He shrugged. "I tried that. This is better. If I want to hypnotize someone, they gotta look, just for a second. This makes 'em look."
"Uh-huh. Yeah. I can see where that would work." Watch me… His command to Arachne echoed like raindrops in my skull. He'd pulled the same trick a couple of times this week, always with the same result. Would you know about it? Probably not. I shivered, despite the summer heat.
He studied me, serious. "You sure you want to do this? We don't have to work tonight if you're not—"
"I'm fine." His solicitousness poked irritable thorns into my nerves, the more so because he'd already unsettled me. "There's nothing wrong with me. Stop babying me. Let's just get on with it."
I pushed past him, and stalked across the street. He didn't argue. He just followed, catching up to me with a few quick strides, and it only annoyed me more. Why did he let me insult him without getting his own back? Emotional denial wasn't supposed to be a one-person game. His silent acceptance just made me feel shitty that I'd snapped at him.
Not how it was meant to work.
- Now the most important question. Where can we get a copy of your novel?
Well, there's one in the toilet. And I think I saw a few lying in a pile of leaves out the back…
Guffaw. Thanks, I'm here all week :) okay, okay. Here are the ebook links!
Amazon Australia http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00JTN14KO
Thank you for joining me today. All the best on your new release.