Thursday 11 February 2010

Chat with the Author of "Dead, Undead or Something In Between"

Paranormal fans, I have a treat for you.
Today's Guest is J. A. Saare, who shares the juicy secrets about her writing in a wonderful interview.   She also shares an excerpt from her book, Dead, Undead or Something In Between.
Don't forget to comment, for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate.

 Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between:

One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy.
She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her – until now.
The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.
But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.

 Interview with J. A. Saare

1.    Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?
Well, let’s see… Before I became a mother and wife, my aspiration was to become an elementary school teacher. Of course, life happened and changed my plans.  I’m still pretty much the same the same person, aside from the fact that I have a bundle of children and embraced the creative portion of myself that I once kept locked away.

2.    How long have you been writing? Did you always desire to make it your line of work?
In high school and college I wrote poetry and attempted a few stories which were never completed.  I love to read and the idea of creating a story with characters of my own was incredibly appealing. Nothing came of it, however, as I was working two jobs, attending school, and struggling to pay the bills.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started getting the itch again. Only this time, I didn’t stop or berate the work (or even consider the possibility of publication).  There was no expectation; I was writing entirely for me.  I think that was the turning point.  I had to stop worrying about whether someone would like what I produced and just let go.  The story came to life as a result.

3.    Tell us a little something about your book, Dead, Undead, or Something In Between.
Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between is about Rhiannon Murphy, a woman who left behind a tainted past in Miami for a fresh start in New York. She’s seen the spirits of the dead ever since she was a child, starting with the next door neighbor who died of a heart attack.  She doesn’t particularly like seeing the recently deceased, but has learned to live with it, and keeps her ability hidden from those around her. 
One night while hustling some nine-ball her secret comes out to some of the worst people imaginable – vampires. She quickly breaks down her cue and leaves, hoping she escaped notice.  When they show up at her place of employment, asking for her help, she learns it’s not a request. As a newbie necromancer on the scene, she’s struggles to acclimate to her increasing powers while uncovering the mystery of missing vampires in the area.

4.    What do you enjoy most about writing in the paranormal genre?
I love the fact that the sky is the limit.  I always set rules for the worlds I create and try to keep the characters as normal as possible, but with the paranormal, there are varying directions to take.  That means you always have an out and anything is possible. 
To be fair, I also have a yen for werewolves, vampires, and things that come out when the sun goes down.  I can’t seem to stay away from them.

5.    Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?
The amount of time it would take to guide Rhiannon through the streets of New York, without question.  Who knew there were so many ways to travel, all of which is determined on exactly where you want to go?  Thank goodness for my friend, Anthony, who lived in Queens at the time.  I printed out maps, got on the phone with him, and spent hours talking things over. 
Next time, I’ll make sure to have a better understanding of the geography before I take the plunge!

6.    What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Finding time. This wasn’t an issue a year ago, but it is a huge one now.  With promotion, advertising, blog visits, editing, and numerous other responsibilities at home, there is hardly time left to sit down and get any actual writing done. 
At times, it’s frustrating, but I understand it’s a part of the process. 

7.    How do you research your books?
If I know I’m going to tackle something I’m not familiar with, I’ll begin research before I put anything to paper.  Of course, that’s an ideal situation, and isn’t the norm.  When you’re a pantser (as I’m prone to be) ideas come from nowhere and redirect the story.
Normally, I start out my with a list of things I need and take it from there. The library is a great place to visit, but the vast WWW is usually one-stop shopping.  Depending on the material, I’ll spend weeks or months getting everything I need. 

8.    What advice would you give beginning writers?
My answer is something those far greater than me have said, but I say it again because it’s true – keep writing.  Don’t ever stop.  It takes time to hone your craft.  The more you write, the better you will become. The desire to get to the finish line is always there and never diminishes, but don’t fret, it won’t vanish into the oblivion. If you stumble, get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going. 

9.    Who has inspired you as an author?
When I started writing, it was authors like Kresley Cole, J.R. Ward, Christine Feehan, Elizabeth Lowell, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, and Jim Butcher. Then, I became acquainted with e-pub authors, and it opened up my eyes to an entirely different world.
There are so many talented writers who are trying to make it, and speaking with them has inspired me to keep going, believe in myself, and keep writing.  I’d have to say they are my inspiration and keep things in perspective.

10.    What’s the next project for you?
Up next is Crimson Moon, a full-length paranormal romance which will release at The Wild Rose Press on June 25th.  I’m currently working on edits for Eternity and a Day, an erotic romance with elements of fantasy and the paranormal, and expect that to release early this year at Loose Id. After those are wrapped up, I hope to complete several projects, including a new UF series tentatively titled The Company of Wolves. 

Thanks for having me by the blog!

You can visit me on my websites:,, or my blog
I’m also on Twitter, @jasaare, Facebook at, and always respond to emails:

 You can find all the author's tour stops here: 

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between Excerpt:

My shoulders drooped in defeat. Of all the shitty luck.
The only way my life could get worse is if I got my throat ripped out.  Coincidentally, I was due to leave my place of employment and enter into a darkened alley to meet up with a vampire. So the odds weren’t stacked in my favor. Not at all.
My boots squeaked on the linoleum as I strode past the coat rack, walked down the hall, and entered the narrow concrete hallway. The big steel door at the end distorted, appearing too close and then too far, invoking images of The Shining. I finally reached it and limply grasped the knob.
I stood there, fingers loose and flaccid. Once I turned the knob, I was sealing my fate. My pride wouldn’t stand for beating on the door and screaming like a pansy to be allowed back inside. I exerted my backbone, grasped the knob, and twisted. The door opened with a protest of metal against metal.
I scanned the area quickly and then sagged in relief. The alley was empty. Thank you God, hallelujah! The door slammed shut behind me as I rushed down the narrow street. I was dodging a bullet, and I knew it.
The moon wasn’t out but the streetlights lit the way decently enough, the circular swells of white shining bright against the darkened concrete. The air was slightly chilly, sending prickles along my skin. I’d have to break out the jeans and sweaters soon.
I hooked a right, keeping my ecstatic pace, until I glanced up.
Disco was propped casually against the wall, his broad back braced against the red bricks. He was standing beneath a nearby street light that shone off his hair, the pale honey blond intense. Pulling out a cigarette and lighting up, he waited as I approached. I watched the red tip brighten as he took a long puff, lifted his head, and exhaled slowly into the darkened night.
So much for dodging a bullet.
Some girls get to be prom queen, others get a perfect SAT score, but not me. I was the biggest winner on The Price Is Right, and Johnny just told me to come on down.


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey A.F. Thank you for having me on you blog today. ;-)


Cari Quinn said...

I'm really enjoying this blog's terrific finding out more about an author's process. :) Can't wait for all your upcoming releases!

Samantha Hunter said...

Hey JA -- I really liked reading your interview and getting to know you a bit better - glad we crossed paths on Twitter.

Your book sounds great, and I really enjoyed the excerpt -- was smiling at the contrast between your mom/elem teacher self and that dark edgy character you write. :)

Best of luck -- look forward to reading your work,


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey Cari and Samantha,

I have to tell you...the best part of touring (for me) is meeting and talking with great people! Thank you both for dropping by and showing support, it means so much!

Dead was definitely something people didn't expect me to write, which is even more humorous when you consider my 2 year old (then a infant) sat in my lap probably 90% of the way through the journey.

Hope you both have a fantastic Thursday!


Chloe Waits said...

Hey Jaime (and AF),
love reading your interview. I know how hard it is to find time to write!
I am having the same problem right now.

I loved your excerpt too.

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hi Chloe, ;)

Finding time to write is most definitely not fun. I'm always trying to squeeze a few words in here and there, but after multiple interruptions that ruin the mood, have been losing the battle.

I hope it's not that bad for you. I know how aggravating it can be when you really want to get something out and can't.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the excerpt.

Rosalie Stanton said...

I love reading about how others approach writing process. I can't wait to read this one!

Unknown said...

Hi J.A.

What a wonderful interview to read, bright and fresh, and I love how the itch to write comes out no matter what. I think it's the same for any writer. It's the same with me, but once you write for yourself and not for publication then it becomes truly something that's wonderful and good.

Your book sounds intriguing. I loved the character and hope to be able to pick it up.


Kaye Manro said...

I'm having lots of fun following your blog tour, Jaime! I'm getting to know so much about you and your writing process. So glad we are friends now!

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Hey J.A. What a great interview. I love your comment about how when you started writing for yourself, that's when everything clicked. I'm the same way--if I start writing with the endgame in mind (the market, a certain line or editor, etc), then my creativity dries up. The minute I let go and just write the damn story, everything starts to flow.

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Wow, I'm feeling the love!! Hey Rosalie, Nicole, Kaye and Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by.

Rosalie ~ I love reading about the processes of others as well. Everyone is different, and it's fascinating to learn the different techniques and habits others employ.

Nicole ~ Thank you for your super-kind words. I hope you like the story. Rhiannon is a character that is a blast to write.

Kaye ~ I'm so glad we met and are friends too! The support I've received reminds me daily to give back when I can and always lend an ear.

Rebecca ~ Funny how that works, isn't it? When you begin writing for "fun", it's so much less stressful. ;-) I think it's awesome that we both approached writing in the same way!


booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed both the interview and the excerpt. I look forward in reading Dead, Undead or Something In Between.

Tracey D

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey Tracey D!

Great to see you, thanks for dropping by!


Marta Stephens said...

"One bad corpse can ruin your whole day."

What a great line! Loved the blurb too. Sounds like "Dead, Undead or Something In Between" will make a great read too.

Another good interview here. :)

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hello Marta ;)

That line was a total fluke I wrote in the middle of a scene and thought..."you know, that could be the hook".

Of course, it wasn't until the story was wrapped up that I cemented the deal by affixing it atop the blurb.

Thank you for stopping by today.


Marta Stephens said...

Don't you love it when you discover your best line in the middle of the book?

That's where I found the title to "Silenced Cry." LOL It was ready to go to print when I found it too. :)

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey Marta,

Oh wow!! That close to deadline? Did you make it in time to add?

Wow, I just looked up Silenced Cry and added to my TBR list. The cover is chilling (and I love reading things like this).


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

And excuse all the "Wow's" I'm slinging around. ;-) I tend to get repetitive when I am excited.


A. F. Stewart said...

It's nice to see the lively turnout so far (yes, I know I'm late to the party, but it's been one of those days).

I can certainly recommend Marta's books, J. A., having read, reviewed and enjoyed them.

Helen Hardt said...

I absolutely cannot wait to read this one Jaime -- it sounds amazing!

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey A.F.~

I certainly will! They sound fantastic.

Hey Helen! Great to see you. I'm glad Dead sounds like something you might enjoy. *bows to the Master*

It's been tons of fun A.J. I'll continue checking back to see if anyone else drops in to say hello. ;)


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Oops, I meant it's been tons of fun A.F.**

Please forgive me, I'm still recovering from a killer sinus infection and the meds make me a trifle silly!


A. F. Stewart said...

Don't worry about it, I've been called A. J., C. F., C. J. and my personal favourite, Stewart. It's becoming a bit of a game.

Andrea I said...

Another great except, I'm looking forwardd to reading this book.

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hi Andrea!

Glad you liked the excerpt, thanks for stopping by! ;)


Shelly said...

A little late in the game, but i really like hearing about your process of writing. I can't wait for your upcoming releases

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Shelly!! Hey you! ;) Glad you could make it!

It's always fun talking with you about writing and the journey. Can't wait for when you're ready to take the plunge and submit.

Much Love,


J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey Again A.F.~

Just wanted to swing by once more before I head off to dreamland. I'll be sure to check back in the following days to say hello if anyone stops by.

Thank you so much for hosting me. It's been a pleasure.


Shelley Munro said...

I'm also enjoying your tour, Jaime. I definitely understand the difficulty of time restraints. I'm existing with lists at the moment. :)

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hey Shelley,

You are an inspiration to me! I don't know how you manage to do so much. You're a force to be reckoned with, that's for sure!

Thanks for thinking of me and stopping by. ;)


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

They did an excellent job on the cover. And the premise sounds fascinating. Very nice to meet you, J.A. Best of success with your book. It's on a big wishlist, but I read fast.

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hello Joylene ;) Thanks for stopping by!

I'm a lot like you, I have a huge TBR list. I read quickly, but there is always something coming out that I want.

Happy Valentine's Day!


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