Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interview with Missy Jane + Part 3

Missy Jane week continues!  Today I'm very happy to announce that Missy Jane has stopped by and answered some questions about her amazing novel They Call Me Death!  

Tell us a bit about yourself :) 
Well, I am first and foremost a mother of four and wife. I've been married for fourteen years and my family is my life.

What inspired you to start writing? 
I was reading a really great book and when it ended I wanted more to happen in that world. So I sat down and started writing it, but then it turned into something completely different and became my own. That's when I realized I could write!
How did this tale of shifters/mankind come about and what gave you this brilliant idea?
The image of Alexia Williams standing on the wall with her machine gun in hand popped into my head and wouldn't go away. I was writing something else at the time, but she wouldn't leave me alone until I figured out her story and wrote it.

Where were you at the time the idea for They Call Me Death popped into your head and did it change much to the final version?
I was sitting at my computer deciding on how to finish a completely different story when she arrived. Her image has stayed constant though the finer points of her character changed a bit.
Do you have a "writing haven" where you go to brain storm or scribble down ideas? 
Nope. Ideas hit me at all times and in all places. I've learned to carry a pen and paper with me everywhere ;-)

Where is the strangest place you have ever wrote/read? 
I "wrote" the entire dialogue for a fantasy novel (unpublished) while playing racquetball over the course of a couple of months. As soon as I would finish I'd grab pen and paper to write it down before I forgot it.
Is Alexia based off of anyone you know? 
No, but she was inspired by Anita Blake, Mercy Thompson and Dante Valentine. (Laurell K Hamilton, Patricia Briggs and Lillith Saintcrow)
If shifters were to "come out" into today's society do you think the results would be similar?   
Most likely, yes. The whole reason for the violence was because humans wanted to experiment on them when they wanted to come out peacefully. I fully believe humans in today's society would have a similar reaction.

Why did you choose to make Andor a Golden Eagle? 
I love Eagles. I think they are beautiful, majestic creatures and I'd never read of a shifter Eagle before. Wolves and cats are done so often, I figured a predatory bird needed his turn too ;-)
What's the most difficult part of putting the characters in your head onto paper? 
Not knowing everything about them until they tell me. Lol, I know that makes me sound a bit crazy, but I really don't know what's going to happen until I write it.
Were there any scenes in They Call Me Death that were difficult to write?  Emotionally or just writers block? 
Not in that actual book but in the prequel, fleshing out Alexia's loss of her family was very hard. In the next one, Emily goes through some very difficult situations that really upset me too.

Any plans for a sequel?  I know I'm dying for more!
Oh yes! I'm tweaking it and plan to submit it to my editor very soon. It's Emily's story.
If you could be any animal shifter, what would it be? 
I'm partial to cats, but I'd really love to fly at least once. But wouldn't turning into a dragon be really cool? If we're considering mythological too, then definitely a dragon.

Thank you for having me on your blog!!!
-Missy Jane

Thanks so much Missy for doing an interview!  (Even though I was REALLY late on actually sending the questions.  Shame on me, I know.)

And drumroll please.... here is part 3 of the prequel! 

Alexia’s First Battle
      Alexia’s first instinct was to run down the long driveway leading from her ranch house, through the gate and into the next to get to Kitty. Her friend was always so calm under stress. When the world stopped making sense, Kitty would know what to do. Hank had yelled for her as she ran out the door, but she was confident he’d follow along with Michael. Their neighborhood remained still and quiet. She’d always loved living in a small town in southern New Mexico. Now it might be the only thing that kept her family safe.
      Kitty stood on her darkened porch. Lights shining from the windows behind her created a familiar silhouette. Alexia couldn’t make out her face in the gloom, but sensed Kitty was watching her run up the gravel driveway. Voices sounded from within the open doorway and Alexia wondered if they had seen the newscast also. Leander wasn’t prone to show emotion over most things, but Alexia guessed he’d be as ready to grab a rifle as Hank had been. She slowed as she neared the porch steps.
      “K-Kitty. Did you…watch the news? Did you…see?” she panted as she stopped to catch her breath.
      She stood at the bottom of the steps one hand on the railing as she raised a foot to ascend. She lifted her head to look into Kitty’s face and froze. A sense of foreboding snaked up her spine as she took in Kitty’s neutral expression. Her friend didn’t look shocked or wary. She looked resigned.
      “Hey, Alexia. Yeah I saw it. Leander, Todd and Bernard are in the living room talking about all of the changes that are coming. What do you think about people who can shift shape like that?”
      Alexia swallowed hard and fought the urge to turn and run back home. She heard Hank walking up the drive and prayed he’d grabbed his rifle.
      “I’ve never really thought about it, Kitty. But they’re not exactly people are they? I mean, that cougar killed someone on live television. People don’t do that.”
      Kitty frowned and the voices inside the house abruptly stopped. In the next heartbeat Leander stepped out onto the porch. Hank’s warm presence behind Alexia made her feel better until Michael giggled at the sight of their neighbors. Leander nodded to Alexia and Hank but his expression remained blank. Kitty was still frowning and Alexia felt sweat pooling at the base of her spine. Kitty turned to face her husband.
      “Honey, they don’t think shifters are people. What do you think?”
      Leander sighed and shook his head, laying a hand on Kitty’s shoulder.
      “Kitty, we discussed this. We should have explained a long time ago—”
      “Explained what exactly?” Hank asked.
      Alexia moved a step back away from the porch and Kitty’s attention snapped back to her. 
      “Now don’t go running off, Alexia. We’re friends, right? There’s a lot we need to talk about.”
      Alexia and Hank stood in shock as Leander and Kitty stepped off the porch and told them they were shifters too. Alexia had never once guessed her friends were any more than they seemed. As Leander spoke, Todd and Bernard, other neighbors, walked out of the house to explain how they too could shift shape. Over half the residents of Magdalena, New Mexico were shape shifters. The small town was perfectly situated against a national forest to accommodate the fox, black bear, mountain lions and other animals that shared their bodies.
      Alexia wanted to run away in horror. Hank shook his head in denial as he held his son in one arm and his rifle in the other. Much later, Alexia wouldn’t be able to say who began the argument, but within moments the men were yelling viciously. She was able to pull Michael from Hank’s arms just before Leander attacked him, but then Kitty was in her face yelling. Todd and Bernard shifted and Alexia nearly passed out. In a haze of confusion and terror she watched her husband die beneath the jaws of a mountain lion.  Something within Alexia’s controlled, rational mind snapped and she slapped Kitty across the face. Kitty instantly shifted and swiped Alexia’s legs out from under her. Rolling on the ground in pain, her only thought was to protect her son. She covered him with her body as the cougar’s claws shredded the back of her dress. Blood, warm and thick filled her mouth as she fought her rising nausea and tried to crawl away. Hank’s voice had finally silenced and she refused to look for him.
      A coughing roar echoed in the night and Alexia knew Kitty stalked her like the wounded prey she’d become. Michael had stopped screaming but his tired whimpers were almost worse. A few feet away Alexia spied a pile of freshly cut firewood with a gleaming axe lying beside one large piece. With a last burst of energy she jumped up and ran for it.
      Kitty roared again and leapt, knocking Alexia off her feet. She twisted enough to take the brunt of the fall, but Michael was knocked from her grasp.
      She screamed in horror as she saw the cougar going for his small body and grabbed what part of him she could. Kitty reached for him at the same time and clamped her jaws on his shirt. A tug of war ensued, Alexia frantically trying to remove the shirt caught in Kitty’s teeth, but the cougar was just too strong. With a final tug Michael was ripped from her arms and flung toward Leander, an even larger mountain lion.
      Kitty leapt on top of Alexia before she could rise to follow her son. Her next moments were spent trying to live in order to save him. She ignored the sounds Leander made, ignored the silence after Michael stopped crying, ignored the soul-deep pain that told her he was gone. With a reserve of strength she didn’t know she had, she kicked Kitty off of her and rolled against the wood pile. In one fluid movement she grabbed the axe and raised it as she continued to roll. Kitty never knew what hit her as she leapt into Alexia’s swing. The axe caught Kitty in the chest, breaking through skin and bone to stop the heart of stone Alexia had never guessed was hidden within.    
      Leander was harder to kill. He hesitated as Alexia ran at him with an axe over her head and an insane scream ringing from her lungs. The other two shifters had disappeared into the night but she barely noted their absence. She had nothing left to lose. Her family was dead and the world had gone mad. She might very well die covered in blood from a creature she’d never dreamed could exist, but she would certainly take some of them with her into hell.
THEY CALL ME DEATH available in print and e-book from Samhain Publishing:

If you haven't had a chance to read the first two parts make sure to check them out!

Amanda @ Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chic
Steph@ Papercut Reviews

The fun continues!  Make sure to check out Chas and Beth in the following days, and remember!  We'll be giving away a copy of There Will Be Blood for one lucky winner!  Stay tuned!
Chas@ Lovin' & Livin' Life in the 808
Beth@ Maybe Tomorrow?


Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I am getting these books-- you guys have sold me :) No actually they look really good and I can't wait to delve in!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is certainly a different slant on shifters. Going to check this out further.

Cathy M said...

Wonderfully written, Missy, my heart breaks for Alexia. So glad we have Emily's story to look forward to.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

♫♥✿Chas @ LovLivLife Reviews✿♥♫ said...

Oh god!! I would be called Death after experiencing that! In fact, not being able to protect my children in a time of crisis is a real worry of mine today (not that there is a lot going on in my neck of tyhe woods but you never know).

I must admit that I am PISSED at the neighbors. Why didnt they tell their friends earlier. Break it to them slowly before they seen the harsh reality of being a shifter on live TV.

Another great Prequel and a deeper inside to the Alexia we know from They Call Me Death.

As for the interview- thank you! I like the insight into Missy as a person and an author.
It is inspiring to think that your writing career began from the love of reading. Wanting more and creating more is wonderful.

Missy- I wish you continued success in all that you do. I cant wait to read more PNR from you!!!

Author Missy Jane said...

Felicia, welcome to my world! This was part 3 of the prequel. Ky posted the links for 1 & 2 at the end. Reading those will help make sense of this part. Plus there are free short stories for a couple of other characters on my site:

Phyllis and Cathy, thank you!!

Chas, this part was the hardest for me to write. When I wrote the Prologue for They Call Me Death, I left it intentionally vague because I knew fleshing it out would be intense :-)

Fedora said...

Oh yay! Thanks for this, Missy! This is fabulous!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Amanda Leigh said...

Oh my goodness! I just teared up! Talk about intense! Thanks so much for this Missy. It's great for this deeper look into Alexia's past. Chas I'm with you on the fact that her neighbors/friends should have told her so that something like this didn't happen. The interview was great too!

Author Missy Jane said...

Thank you everyone for all of the comments so far! Bedtime approaches and I have to go into work early tomorrow. So, that means readers have extra time to comment for a chance to win! I'll hop online as soon as I get home tomorrow evening and choose a winner.

Beth ( said...

I seriously got choked up when reading this :(

As hard as it must of been to write, this is kind of what I would expect to happen should there ever be a revealing of another species so to speak.

Roll on tomorrow! I'm dying to read the next entry as I refuse to read mine until then lol.

Great interview too Ky! I really enjoyed reading your answers Missy!

Unknown said...

Oh, no wonder you found writing this hard, it was intense! :-(

I have to take a breath to clear my head.

Thanks for the interview, I enjoyed it very much!

They Call Me Death sounds exciting, I love the premise! (and that cover looks gorgeous, so athmospheric and eyegripping!)

Interesting how shifters are always feline/canine animals, no? Glad to see something else being explored, and I'm like you Missy, I would love to fly! :-)

Anyway, would love to read more of this, thank you for the link to some free short stories on your site, will have to check them out! :-)

Author Missy Jane said...

I've arrived after an odd day at work to pick my winner! (insert drum roll here) Phyllis C!!! You're my luck winner of the next prize pack! Email your address to so I can put it in the mail.
Thank you everyone for commenting and following along. Just 2 more to go! Let's all hop over to Chas' blog now :-)