Monday, November 9, 2009

Guest: Carole Nelson Douglas

Please welcome Carole Nelson Douglas to VampChix today!  If you've been reading for BITE CLUB you'll have already fallen in love with Midnight Louie, who starred in her short story "Butterfly Kiss" in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE 2.  November 24th sees the release of VAMPIRE SUNRISE, the third in the Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator series.

The author of 50 novels--mainstream, mystery, thriller, high fantasy, science fiction, and romance/women's fiction, Carole Nelson Douglas has been nominated for of won more than fifty writing awards, and was an award-winning journalist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press until moving to Texas in 1984 to write fiction full time.

Q:  You write many types of books.  What genres do you write in?

CND: Currently I'm writing what I call "cozy noir" mystery and urban fantasy.

In the past, I've written extensively in contemporary and historical mystery and romance, science fiction and high fantasy, and mainstream women's fiction. Most of my novels have mystery/crime/suspense and romance and fantasy elements. Also humor. I like to sum it up by saying my novels in all genres are "adventures."

Q: Tell us a bit about Midnight Louie, one of your best-loved characters.  How many books has he been in?  Does he have many books to come in the future?

CND: He's based on a real-life stray cat with remarkable survival abilities. He lived off the costly Japanese koi fish at an "upscale" Palo Alto motel. He was never my rescue cat, but I wrote a newspaper article about him.

When I went to fiction writing later, he debuted in what would have been the first category romance quartet--four books with a HEA romance in each and a continuing mystery backstory--had the editor not kept the books off the market for four years and cut out the mystery element and most of Midnight Louie's sections without my knowledge.

That's when Louie did one of those incredibly limber feline flips to save his literary life, and switched to the mystery genre, for what will be a 27-book series with an ongoing romantic quadrangle among the four main human characters, two men and two women, who are two pro and two amateur sleuths. I call it "Remington Steele with two couples and a cat."

Louie has more than a mere nine lives. His mystery series (with its mostly alphabetical titles) has 22 books out, with three more contracted. With the original romance quartet, that's 29 out, and then there are two illustrated Midnight Louie novellas I self-published. Louie is, yes, now 31.

Q: Vampire Sunrise hits bookstore shelves November 24th.  This is the third book in the Delilah Street series.  Are all books in this series about vampires, or do the ‘creatures’ vary? 

CND: My self-assignment, once I chose to accept it, was to come up with something fresh in a crowded genre. All my supernaturals are a bit different and some have yet to be fully revealed. :)) The series subtitle is Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, and her Las Vegas is a post-apocalyptic noir playground with hotels named the Inferno, the Karnak and the Gehenna, and demon parking valets. As well as the usual suspects in big-time crime.

The werewolves in Delilah Street's 2013 Vegas can be mobsters or motorcycle gangs. I've created something called a "daylight vampire" and have also delved into the only ancient culture NOT to have a vampire mythology to create an evil vampire empire.

The "celebrity zombies" who help out Delilah sometimes are classic black-and-white film characters blended with zombie bodies illegally imported from Mexico. So "CinSims" like Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles are leased as attractions at Vegas hotels and clubs by the mysterious Immortality Mob. Delilah has lots to investigate, and a tall, dark, handsome and Hispanic ex-FBI guy to help her on all fronts, Ricardo Montoya, and wolf-wolfhound cross rescue dog, Quicksilver. Needless to say, all three have a paranormal quirk or two and a lot of supernaturals
are out to get them.

The line between life and death has been erased by more than local vampires. CSI V, Las Vegas, sometimes autopsies real dead bodies, so folks can have a last "fifteen minutes of fame." Just after I'd written that, the real CSI Vegas announced a contest for fans, with the winner playing a dead body in an autopsy scene. You
cannot outinvent the outrageous in Vegas, which is why Louie has operated there for a couple dozen books.

Q. What about the vampire interests you?

CND: For the me, the father of all modern vampire variations was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He was powerful, relentless, voracious, and evil. The late Victorian setting inadvertently illustrated the deep link between a woman’s surrender to sexuality and a human’s surrender to death. The continuing fascination with vampires has a lot to do with the double standard modern women still face in being sexual. The vampire/seducer/killer will always be powerful archetype for women. “To die" was a Renaissance euphemism for orgasm.

Q: What myths and legends do you incorporate into your stories? Does that change per book or do you usually keep the same lore for each story?

CND: Delilah Street’s world is one where gradually emerging supernaturals are going “mainstream” in both bad and good ways. Society has always had predators and prey, so these paranormal individuals and clans have choices on which way to go. The "daylight” vampire, for instance, has adapted to being “out” by sipping on a regular circle of women “blood donors” who risk nothing, fulfilling the delightful seduction role without loss of life. I used that model in "Butterfly Kiss," a Delilah/Midnight Louie story for The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, just out.
When I wanted Delilah to encounter some really greedy, wicked vampires in her own books, I used research to give an unlikely culture a really nasty  vampiric history, twisting the mythology to “prove” my premise. Reinventing a vast, monstrous civilization is so much fun.

Q: Can you give us hints about future books from Carole Nelson Douglas?  More vampires?  More Midnight Louie?  

CND: Louie's Cat in a Topaz Tango just came out and is set against a celebrity TV dance competition. I love to use contemporary crazes and put Louie, the original skeptical cat who writes his own chapters about how he helps the humans solve the murder cases, in the center of the madness. In TT, he performs his own hot mating tango with a gorgeous hotel mascot named Topaz. Louie  also helps his four humans untangle their romantic yearnings.

More Delilah is forthcoming, too. Silver Zombie next year takes her back to Kansas to solve the mystery of her orphan birth and who wants to use and abuse her powers for what, and why.

Q: As a writer, what do you do to ‘fill the well’, as in, sparking your creativity?  Do you keep a steady writing schedule through the year, or is it more organic?

CND: With two novels and several short stories to write a year, I have to be disciplined and write daily, with time off for traveling to Romantic Times and mystery and sf/fantasy conventions, like DragonCon. I haven't taken a non-book-related trip in years!

I've written for a living since I got out of college with a theater degree I loved but considered impractical. I never expected to end up writing for a daily newspaper, but that's what happened within a year. I've been lucky to work in a creative field ever since. And fiction writing allows me to be playwright, actors, director, costume and set designer, and even play God and control the weather. So . . . it is lots of work, but also play.


Thanks, Carole!  Readers be sure to visit Carole's website (currently going a revamp).  And friend her on FaceBook!


Nicole_Hadaway said...

Thank you so much for having Ms. Nelson Douglas here today. Her Irene Adler series was one of the inspirations for my own work; she did such a great job weaving the Holmes stories with history and something new in Irene, it's truly a great series. Thank you, Ms. Nelson Douglas!

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the fabulous interview with Carole Nelson Douglas and thank you Carole for sharing. I really enjoyed learning more about her & her writing & her writing process. Wow, Carole is a busy writer!
Is the Carole Nelson Douglas on Twitter (@CNDouglasWriter) really her? That account hasn't posted since August.
Thank you again,
Love & Best Wishes,

Kris said...

Great Interview! I haven't come across this series (the Delilah Street one) I'll have to look into it though because it defenitley seems like a fun read.

Carole Nelson Douglas said...

Nicole, It's always such a pleasure to find a reader/writer who enjoys the Iene Adler series. I'm really glad my publisher has just reissued the first book to grab fans of the new Sherlock Holmes movie so they can find out more about the "real" Irene Adler in my eight series books. She's more than a "Victorian bimbo" in my reinvention. :))

And, RK, I apparently went wrong with Twitter setup and can't "ok" folks who want to follow me. I've had too many deadlines to do some research on this and fix it. I'd set up a Midnight Louie twitter pesonality and I guess the hierarchy has to be just right because I can't switch between the two or even get my user name and password accepted.

FaceBook is easier.

When I get a moment to experiment, I'll try Twitter again.

Kris, glad you find the Delilah Street concept and characters intriguing. I'm having a new web site created, and while it'll take me a while to get up to speed on THAT, it'll have a blog! It's hard to write for a living and also be a web diva if you don't have the left brain for it!

Book Chick City said...

This is on my side bar under Books I'm Longing For! I can't wait for this to be released in the UK, it sounds like a great read and I just love that cover. Thanks for the interview!

Carole Nelson Douglas said...

Great to hear!

I've got a Delilah story in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, which is out now simultaneously in England and the U.S. It's more love story than hot romance, but introduces the world and characters. There's more heat in the Delilah novels. :))

Love your sassy icon! Glad the VS cover grabbed you.

heidi87 said...

Hi Carole,
thank you for being with us today. it was a great interview. I have not read your series but I;m on my way to pick it up. thanks again.

heidi87 said...

Oh, I sent you friend request on facebook so hopefully I will be talking to you soon on facebook.
Heidi S

Carole Nelson Douglas said...

Whoo-hoo! You are a woman of action! Hope you enjoy Delilah's world.

Michele Hauf said...

Thanks, Carole, for providing us a peek into your world of fabulous vamps and cats! Look forward to Vampire Sunrise. That cover rocks!

Carole Nelson Douglas said...

Thanks, Michele!!

This was fun and I enjoyed "meeting" all the readers.

Rock on!

Andrea said...

I love the Midnight Louie series and am glad I found out you write paranormal books also.