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Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Grendel Affair tour: Interview with Lisa Shearin + giveaway

 Today is an awesome day because I get to share my interview with Lisa Shearin! She's one of my favourite authors; I think she's just a brilliant writer. You may know her from her comedic fantasy series about Raine Benares but Lisa has just launched a new urban fantasy series called The SPI Files with THE GRENDEL AFFAIR.


Hi, Lisa, and welcome back to Tynga's Reviews! We're delighted to have you back on the blog. Last time you were here, we chatted about ALL SPELL BREAKS LOOSE, the last book in the Raine Benares/Saghred storyline. I have to tell you that I adored it even though I'm not ready to say goodbye to the characters yet. (I miss Tam.)

Now that the fangirl squeeing is done, can you give us a quick primer on the world of the SPI Files?

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin (SPI Files #1)It’s a world where creatures from myth and legend are real—and SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations) was founded to keep humans from finding out. Because if they did, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson, people can’t handle the truth. So it boils down to this:

That really ugly guy you flipped off on the Queensboro Bridge this morning? Icelandic troll. And for a troll, a middle finger is a lot more insulting than you ever thought it was.  It was nothing short of a miracle he didn’t get out of his truck and flip you and your Beemer into the East River.

Convinced that politicians can’t possibly come from the same world as the rest of us?  Quite often, you’d be right.

That red-haired vice president in corporate who looks too good to be true?  Irish sidhe.

Such creatures have always lived among us, but only in the last few decades have humans become irresistibly interesting to them—and beings previously known only in the fantasy section of a bookstore have become a very real problem for us.

The first book in the series, THE GRENDEL AFFAIR, has just been released. Can you tell us a bit about it?

The core of the story is the agents of SPI—and newbie agent Makenna Fraser—have to stop a supernatural criminal mastermind from turning grendels (yes, those things from Beowulf) loose in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, not only potentially killing thousands of people, but showing the world, live and in-living-color proof that monsters are real.

How does it feel to start an urban fantasy series after spending so much time in Raine's world? Were there any challenges?

None at all in terms of switching from Raine’s world to ours. My Raine Benares books are basically modern urban fantasy in a traditional fantasy setting. Yes, there are elves and goblins, but they talk like us, not like Legolas.

What inspired your shift from more high fantasy to urban fantasy?

I was pretty much writing urban fantasy anyway, but I wanted to use modern technology, real-world settings, pop culture references, etc. with things that go bump in the night—and work in the office with you during the day.

From the title of your latest release, it's clear that the Grendel myth is front and centre. Why Grendel? What was so appealing about this myth?

Well, being an English major and a Viking history buff (and Renaissance and Medieval), it was a given that one day, Grendel would cross my path. And the question of what would happen if Grendel were turned loose in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, and what would it take to stop him, was just too much fun to resist.

You've put your own spin on so many supernatural beings with the Raine Benares books and THE GRENDEL AFFAIR. Are there any characters in the genre that you wish you'd created?

All Spell Breaks Loose by Lisa Shearin (Raine Benares #6)Ilona & Gordon Andrews’ vampires in their Kate Daniels series are simply creepy cool. And who doesn’t love the Leandros brothers in Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros books. Then there’s Harry Dresden. Nothing much more needs to be said except—all hail Harry!

There are so many amazing urban fantasy series out right now. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors on how to make their books stand out?

Be yourself and find your own, unique voice. When I first started writing, I tried to copy my favorite authors. It’s fine to learn from reading the writing of others; in fact, that’s one of the best ways to learn. However, when it comes to writing your own stories with your own characters, you need to be true to your own unique voice. Once I found my voice, the stories kept coming—and so did the book contracts. ; )

What's next for you? 

Well, you said at the beginning of the interview that you miss Tam. I miss Tam, too. So . . . my next project after I finish writing the second SPI Files book (The Dragon Conspiracy) will be to write an e-novella about what happened when Raine met Tam. It’s alluded to in Magic Lost, Trouble Found, but never expanded on. And I know you’ll love that since the action happens pre-Mychael, that anything goes. ; ) I plan to have it out this year.

Thank you for taking the time to visit us again!

Thank you for inviting me, Jenn—it’s always fun!


For more Lisa, check out the following links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Here's the scoop on THE GRENDEL AFFAIR:

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin (SPI Files #1)We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us….

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

Jenn's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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Penguin is giving away one (1) copy of THE GRENDEL AFFAIR to a lucky reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

Follow Tynga on: Facebook | Twitter

8 People left their mark' :

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me, Jenn!!

  2. I'd like to read it, of course! Thanks for the opportunity. It sounds like fun and has a great cover!

  3. sounds awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  4. I want to read the Grendel Affair because I love the synopsis and am a big fan of Lisa's Raine Benares series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I want to win TGA because the Raine Benares series was awesome, so I'm sure this will be too.

  6. I love UF that focuses on creatures from myth, so this sounds like something that I'd like to read. I'm intrigued to read about the grendel, trolls, and the like.

  7. Thanks so much for visiting! Always great chatting with you. :)

  8. I am a huge fan of her Raine Benares series. I was so excited when I heard she was writing a UF series which is my favorite genre. I have been eager to read it. It features everything I love UF, romantic tension and her fabulous writing. Thanks for the chance to win.