11.27.2011

Author Guest Blog: Laura Bickle

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Hi All!

Please welcome Author Laura Bickle today as she talks about writing and her book Embers (Anya Kalinczyk #1)

Timeline of the Novel Affair
by Laura Bickle

Writing a book is a lot like being in love - good and bad. There is a predictable timeline and rhythm, I find. And it feels very familiar.

Initially, there's infatuation. The flush and excitement of a new idea. This is the easy part - words flow effortlessly. I can spend hours researching or daydreaming about how fabulous the idea is. I make notes, sketches, maps, cut clippings from magazines - I've met my characters, and am deliriously in love with everything they say. The project is, I believe, invincible.

It brings me flowers. I glow.

Then, somewhere around the 30,000 word mark, the infatuation fades. I begin to see the flaws, the inconsistencies, the cracks in the foundation of plot. I'm rolling over in the morning and staring at a book with bad breath that snores. It chews with its mouth open and forgets to say "excuse me" when it farts. It doesn't bring me flowers anymore. It starts wearing sweatpants all weekend. It's comfortable. Maybe too comfortable.

I sit in bed, staring at the book, wondering what to do. Should I abandon it for a newer, sexier idea? They're always dancing around in my periphery, seductively whispering: "Choose me."

But I know that it would be the same. I can choose another idea, but in a few weeks, I'll be at the same place, the shiny newness and rose petals replaced by snores and scratching.

At this time, I've got to decide to be committed to the project, to see it through -- even though my story is showing me its scraggly, unwashed underbelly. The challenge is to fall into a routine of writing that isn't new or exhilarating -- it's to focus on the entirety of the work, good and bad, and love it enough to finish.

There are moments that test my patience. A character proves utterly useless around 50,000 words and is savagely eliminated. A timeline problem emerges that requires my heroine to be in two places at once. A loose plot thread dangles with no end in sight. My characters are passively-aggressively silent. I sulk and ignor the work for weeks. But we get through it, perhaps with a bit of therapy with a crit partner or editor.

There are moments that are sublime. Keystrokes fly by through the last chapter. Edits clean the story up nicely, and all of a sudden, my story is standing before me. It's shaved, holding a bouquet of flowers.

I feel the old love for it again. Not the infatuation of the beginning. But deep affection, knowing that we've weathered the writing process and have come out the other side of it victorious.

I straighten its tie, kiss it on the cheek, and send it out into the world. I hope that others will love it as much as I do.

EMBERS
Anya Kalinczyk #1
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN: 978-1439167656
April 2010

“One of the most promising debut novels I’ve read in a great while… I’d highly recommend this book to anybody who reads fantasy. It reminds me in many regards…of another exceptional first novel…Emma Bull’s seminal War for the Oaks, and there’s not much higher praise that I can give.”
—Elizabeth Bear on Tor.com


“Bickle has something great in Anya. Embers has everything: demons, ghosts, dragons, love, sex, police, and murder.”
—M.L.N. Hanover, bestselling author of Darker Angels

“Gritty but never grim, Embers is a truly urban fantasy, where the soul of a city haunts every page. I can’t wait for more of Anya and the unforgettable Sparky!”
—Jeri Smith-Ready, award-winning author of Bad to the Bone and Shade

Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.


EMBERS is available now from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.


Read an excerpt at http://books.simonandschuster.com/Embers/Laura-Bickle/9781439167656/excerpt
SPARKS
Anya Kalinczyk #2
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN 978-1439167687
September 2010

The second book in Bickle’s series about Anya Kalinczyk is just as wonderful as the first—Anya is a compelling and likable protagonist and Bickle does an outstanding job in her portrayal of the city of Detroit; there are ruins, yes, but also hope in the ashes. Anya never takes herself too seriously and there is a scene in a baby supercenter that is absolutely not to be missed. (4 stars)
- RT Book Reviews

...a charming and inventive read.
-Elizabeth Bear, Realms of Fantasy Magazine, December 2010


WITHOUT A TRACE...

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.

SPARKS is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Read an excerpt at http://books.simonandschuster.com/Sparks/Laura-Bickle/9781439167687/excerpt

Author Bio:
Laura Bickle has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses.

Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More
info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here: http://www.salamanderstales.com/



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