Carole Ann and I were both invited to participate in The Next Big Thing blog hop, so we decided to swap posts for the occasion. Welcome, Carole Ann, to Exquisite Corpse.
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What is the working title of your next book?
I’m now plotting the second book in my urban fantasy series Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams. In the second installment, with the working title Dance With The Devil, Taina finds herself in more trouble than she can handle. Trapped by circumstance with a man she wants to hate, facing prosecution for a crime she didn’t commit, out of a job, and being tailed by werewolf and dhampir gang leaders the decisions she must make compromise everything she believes in.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I got my start in writing creative nonfiction, a memoir actually, based upon the often impossible, unbelievable situations I find myself in as a public health nurse in some of the most dangerous areas of New York City. As I was driving to work one day, a scene unfolded with kids dodging traffic to cross the street while cars swerved around double parked Coca-Cola trucks delivering their high caffeine, high sugar poison to the morbidly obese residents of The Bronx. Even after the rebirth and rebuilding of The South Bronx, empty lots are still littered with carcasses of burned out or vandalized structures, broken bottles, garbage, weeds, drug paraphernalia and used condoms.
Yet the people I take care of are resilient and take it all in stride. But violence and poverty and drugs and teenage parenthood are all they know—its normal to them. I’m there to help them—especially the mothers and their children—to realize that there is a way out, that delaying having children until you’re finished school, staying off drugs, out of gangs, and that a 70 average might be passing but you have to aim higher.
Kind of a long-winded answer, but insert into the scene above two street wise witches, a bloodsucking werewolf landlord, a dhampir drug dealer and pimp, shape shifting fairies and zombie gang soldiers and you’ve got the idea of the Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams series.
What genre does your book fall under?
Gritty, urban fantasy.
Jennifer Lopez as Taina, Antonia Banderas as Arnaldo. I still need a suave, sophisticated dhampir pimp, a sweet, gentle cracked out zombie, and a sleazy, greasy, hairy werewolf gang leader. Any ideas?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book?
An apprentice witch concocts her own brew of magick, Santería, and an ancient Fae alliance to battle the dhampirs and werewolves who murdered her family and now rule The Bronx.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am actively seeking agent representation for this series, and the first book Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams: Void of Course has been requested by several top agents. This is taking way too long so if you have a tip or a recommendation—or if you happen to be an agent that represents urban fantasy akin to Gaiman’s Neverwhere set in New York City—please get in contact with me.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your masterpiece?
The first book took three years from concept to completion, but about a year and a half of butt in the chair writing. The plot was tweaked after the novel was workshopped in Taos Toolbox 2011, with Walter Jon Williams, Nancy Kress, and my awesome Diesel Bears classmates.
The research for this series is kick ass, since it involves walking around in some seriously dangerous places snapping pictures and dictating notes into an iPhone. And learning about Santería, which is a very secretive and culturally sensitive practice. Fortunately, I work and have good friends in ‘the hood’ and speak fluent Spanish. And the second book will be largely set in Puerto Rico so I get to go on a lovely vacation this year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Think a mix-up of Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe and the film Fort Apache, The Bronx—with a paranormal twist.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I said, I work in the South Bronx and my daily experiences over the last umpteen years demanded I do this. In fiction I can cast spells and get help from fairies that shapeshift into pigeons, rodents, and red-tailed hawks. In real life, I have to recognize there is only so much I can do to counteract the devastation of years of racism, sexism, poverty, educational, dental, and medical neglect.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The astrology, and Tarot in the books is real, thanks to Mary O’Gara, Deborah Blake, and the inimitable Rayne Hall. And thanks to Aida and the good friends who’ve shared Santería with this gringa, that’s as real as it can get without me actually beginning the process of becoming a santera.
For a little taste, read “The Dhampir’s Kiss” in Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, one of the books in Rayne Hall’s Ten Tales Series. I have a short story adapted called Dance With The Devil that should be out in the next few months so stay connected with me on Twitter or Facebook for updates. There is also a story about Arnaldo and Taina in Beltane: Ten Tales of Magic called “Mishmash Magick.” Check them out on my Amazon author page.
Head over to my blog for more on The Next Big Thing, courtesy of fellow Ten Tales author Tracie McBride. Thanks for swapping with me Tracie!
I’d like to nominate some of my writing friends for The Next Big Thing:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Ann-Moleti/e/B007ASNBVK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2
Carole Ann Moleti is a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with paranormal and urban fantasy. Her newest fiction is featured in Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft. Excerpts of Carole’s memoir, Someday I’m Going to Write a Book: Diary of an Urban Missionary have been published most recently in the new, irreverent Not Your Mother’s Book Series.