One of my favorite new authors NL Gassert is a writer that I recommend you pick up. She writes about luscious red heads in exotic locals; with a few spies and guys with guns thrown in. Magic! After reading The Protector a little while ago, I contacted her and she has kindly agreed to answer a few questions and share a little about her writing.
Would you care to share a few things about yourself favorite place, time, t-shirt… ?
Sure thing. I have no problem sharing. My favorite place in the world in a shady beach. I love the ocean. Right now I’m very landlocked and I don’t like that at all. It’s a very claustrophobic feeling to live in the middle of a continent and not be near an ocean.
My favorite time of the day is after dark, when the house is quiet and still, after everyone has gone to bed. I’m a night owl. I’m extremely introverted, so being around people and their energies actually drains mine. I like the quiet energy of the night, when it’s just me (and the many, many characters in my head).
My favorite color is blue.
But that’s pretty much where my favorites end. I have trouble narrowing things down to just one favorite. I like to keep my options open. I drink coffee and tea, Coke and Pepsi, enjoy men in boxers and briefs and can’t possibly name one all-time favorite book or author. I like too many of them.
The driving force behind my writing is my need to read. I am a voracious reader, but I can’t always find the kind of stories I’m in the mood to read. So I sit down and write them myself. Of course, that was easier when I was in my early teens and the stuff I wrote was pretty short. But the basic idea still holds. I write what I’d really like to read.
What put the pencil in my hand, though, so to speak, was an after-school tutor in early Middle School. I think I was failing spelling and punctuation, because they made me write a lot. Essay after essay. I hated it, but I did get the idea pretty quickly that I could make up stuff and that was that.
What sets your writing apart?
Hmm. I’m not big on descriptive passages or flowery prose. I think I’m very straight-forward and to the point. I’m not verbose at all. I like playing with stereotypes and clichés. My mantra, in life as in writing, is to do something different, to not do what everyone else is doing, which goes back to playing on clichés.
Is there a piece of work you feel especially proud of?
I think right now that’s definitely The Protector. My first (English-language) novel and it got nominated for a Lambda Literary award. That was big. Plus, it seems a hit with readers and there’s really nothing more an author can ask for. I’m immensely proud of that book.
Ask me again, though, when I’m done with the next book in The Protector series, tentatively titled The Stalker. I have all the dreaded sophomore symptoms, I think: sudden lack of confidence, feeling completely overwhelmed by the idea of writing an entire book that’s meant to be bigger and better … Just getting that one done will be a huge accomplishment. I know I’ll be very proud of it just for that.
What sort of characters and settings are you drawn to writing about?
I definitely have a thing for flawed characters. (And redheads.) I like characters who struggle. Their challenges don’t always have to be negative, like an abusive past or drug use. I’m developing a character for a novella right now and he’s a gay, deaf, left-handed shapeshifter whose animal form is a weasel. Talk about challenges in life!
I’m not as particular when it comes to setting, but I simply love the warmer places. I totally fell in love with Guam when I wrote The Protector, and I’d like to make an island-setting a bit of a trademark, but sometimes the suburbs of Alaska will work just fine, too.
Soren grew quite a bit emotionally in The Protector. What have you go in store for him next?
Soren is the most difficult to write, because he’s my most irresponsible character (I created him to be unlike any of my other characters, thinking he’d be a refreshing departure, which he is, but keeping him that way throughout a series is going to require more effort on my part than I’d anticipated—in short, I totally I love him). He’s going to continue to struggle with the fallout from his alcohol and drug abuse. He might fall off the wagon a few times, but he’s always ready to hop right back on. He sees himself surrounded by the example of great men and he’d like to be more like them, not understanding that in many ways he already is. Yeah, he can be a pain in the butt, but he has great potential. And let’s face it, I love redheads.
I’m a huge fan of the paranormal genre! What has it been like writing a shapeshifter short story?
I love the paranormal genre. Writing Riley and Nic/Ever, his vampire lover, was a lot of fun. And I’m not done with their story yet. It’s turning more into a novella than a short story. Riley was definitely a character I created because I couldn’t really find one like him to read.
I spent the summer reading my way through JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I loved it. I’d like to write my men like that. Tough, dangerous, masculine. On the gay side, I discovered Jordan Castillo Price’s Channeling Morpheus series, which is absolutely delicious (oh my god, that cover for Manikin has me drooling just thinking about it). Louisa Prieto’s Cooking With Ergot was delightful and had me hooked from the beginning, because it featured a familiar. And I loved MJ Pearson’s Helpless, which isn’t even published yet (I believe it’s going to come out in September or October). I had the chance to read an early review copy and although I’m not into historical fiction I absolutely adore her book.
What’s in store for NL Gasser fangirls like me for the rest of the year?
Hmm. Not much, I’m afraid. I’m orchestrating a few e-book give-aways. Also, I’m working on the sequel to The Protector as we speak. I’m a slow writer, though, so it won’t make its publishing debut until early to mid 2010. It will be a print book. I’m not sure if we’re doing the e-book version right away. If you don’t mind, I’ll be back when the time comes to tell you more about The Stalker who’s determined to make Mason and Soren’s first Christmas together a miserable experience.
Thanks, Sarah, for inviting me to interview. I had a great time.
Thanks so much for taking the time answer my myriad questions NL, it has been very cool, super interesting and I think you’re a sweetie! Not to mention a talented author who writes simply magic books.
If you’d like to check out NL’s site go here and her blog is here. To purchase The Protector go to Seventh Window Publications. AND if you’d like to win an ebook of The Protector, do leave a comment or flick me an email at rainonroof @ gmail.com 🙂