Well my lovelies, today is another amazing day! Sophie Littlefield, author of Banished (Oct 2010) & Aftertime (Feb 2011), accepted to talk to us about her recent meeting with *drumrolls* Paranormal Authors. We all know they are out-of-the-box (only for the good reasons indeed!), so let’s see how this faceoff went ^^
I’ve only recently become a part of the community of paranormal fiction writers and readers. It’s been a year and a half since I sat down to write the first sentence of AFTERTIME. In the fifteen years before that, I wrote eight books that were never published, and another five that were. I wrote romance, literary, mystery, and thriller, but never, in that time, did I imagine that someday I would be writing about a post-apocalyptic world populated by zombies – never, in fact, until a character came to me one day demanding to be written, and Cass Dollar’s story was born.
The first time I met a group of paranormal writers, I was nervous. It was a year ago at the Romantic Times convention in Columbus. A scheduling conflict meant that I arrived a couple days after everyone else got there, and my two roommates – romance writer Rachael Herron and paranormal mystery writer Juliet Blackwell – spirited me off to lunch, where I asked them what they thought of this group of people who loved books about vampires and alien races and mythological creatures.
“Amazing,” Rachael said.
“So much fun!” Julie added.
“And smart – ”
“You’ll love them,” they concluded.
I had my doubts. I’m shy by nature, and it takes me a while to warm up to people. Big noisy gatherings of folks having fun tend to make me want to scuttle to the sidelines. But I trust my friends, so I let them drag me to the next stop, which was…oh hell, I might as well go ahead and admit it – it was a bar. That’s right. Despite the amazing lineup of workshops and panels and speakers, all of which I did eventually attend and enjoy, that afternoon found me in a dim, rather downscale joint at a long wooden table that had been decorated with graffiti and carving added by what appeared to be several decades’ worth of patrons.
Then some magic happened. First – potato chips appeared. An enormous pile of them, nestled on a pile of paper napkins. Chips are the perfect food, in my mind, and I think I could exist happily on an endless supply of salt-and-pepper kettle chips.
Second, Carolyn Crane sat down across from me. Mark Henry to her right. Nicole Peeler to her left. I didn’t know who any of them were at that time, but I’m pretty sure Juliet and Rachael had given them the same ebullient introduction (“You’ll love Sophie! She’s fun!”) and they immediately started talking to me like I was an old friend.
Now, I have loved every writing community I belong to. I’ve been in Romance Writers of America for fifteen years, and MWA and SistersInCrime for more than three, and I’ve made good friends in all of them. But there was something about this new group that was just a little different. It took me the rest of the weekend to put my finger on it (hey, lurking in bars tends to slow down the synapses a little) and when I finally did, it was a wonderful revelation:
The paranormal crowd is truly and deeply come-as-you-are.
That’s right: they accept without judgment. They practically sparkle with curiosity and genuinely celebrate individuality. They embrace the fantastical and the absurd and the dark and the whimsical and the diabolical, and every shade between.
They are also, from what I can see, among the most well-adjusted of writers, a fact that carries with it a certain amount of irony. For a genre that takes its share of lumps from the self-appointed quality-control “experts” (I’m lookin’ at you, academy, and venerable reviewers, and educators) they approach their work with more joy and a more heartfelt desire to challenge and satisfy their readers than some others.
One night in Columbus found me at a…ahem, I don’t really know what to call the gathering. Let’s call it a literary salon, with an extensive and creative refreshment table, props, and books – scads of books. It was hosted in the suite of several authors, and there were a few editors and agents present, though what a person did for a living didn’t seem to matter much. There were lots of exotic-looking folks – brilliantly-colored hair, piercings, tattoos, gauntlets and leather and mesh and I don’t know what-all.
For my part, I was dressed in a Talbots shift dress and pearls. Which brings me to this point: I felt very other. Too conservative, too old (I could have been the mom of most of the people there), too bland, too unimaginative. I considered turning around and going back to my room – I wasn’t cut out for this, I could just write from the privacy of my home, I’d claim agoraphobia, I’d be the JD Salinger of spec fiction.
But you know what happened next, right? Someone offered me a drink. Someone else asked me to sit close so they could hear me over the din. Two laughing people showed me the creepiest lifesize vinyl zombie baby I have ever seen and asked me if I thought its eyes followed the observer (yes, they did) and suddenly I was swept up in the joy of belonging.
I’m so happy to be a part of this world, and with two more books in the AFTERTIME series coming out in the next year, plus several more paranormal young adult novels under contract, it looks like I’m not going anywhere any time soon. I would like to thank Carolyn and Mark and Nicole and everyone else who took me under their wing, and I promise to pay that kindness forward whenever I can….
…starting now! I’d love to give away a copy of AFTERTIME – and as a bonus, a copy of my first young adult novel, BANISHED.
Well before I move onto the details.. Let’s learn a bit more about both books, shall we? *winks*
Someone once said that all apocalypses are experienced locally. In the case of Cass Dollar, the nightmare occurred with the violent abduction of two-year-old Ruthie, which she vividly remembers. Only later is young Cass assaulted also by the vague, twisting memories of a much wider conflagration that she herself only narrowly survived. A government experiment had turned the entire California landscape into the hunting grounds of zombie Beaters, but Cass can only think of the helpless toddler she is missing. A deeply arresting paperback original. Editor’s recommendation.
There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.
But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.
There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.
This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had.
Now if you want to win those book, here are the conditions ^^
This giveaway is open Internationally
To enter, just leave a comment letting us know about a time you met an author you liked, or if like me, you never had the chance, let us know who you’d like to meet ^^
Don’t forget to include a way to contact you!
If you want to earn an extra entry, spread the word and provide a link in a different comment =)
Ends April 6th, 2011.