Monday, March 8, 2010

INTERVIEW: Jill Myles

Ok, calm down, I'm not dead. Spring break and the Homework Assignment Week From Hell just kept me busy is all, but I'm back now with a fresh interview from Jill Myles, author of an amazing new series, The Succubus Diaries. This series follows the misadventures of Jackie, the world's newest succubus and already has two books out, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi and Succubi Like it Hot. So, without further adieu, enjoy!

(1) So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: how exactly did Jill Myles break into the publishing world?


The hard way! I wrote for several years (and about 4 books) and queried for a very long time. I didn't know anyone in the industry, and my resume pretty much consisted of "Hi, I'm Jill and I like to write!" Luckily, the 5th book I wrote was about succubi and seemed to be better than the last few books I'd written (which stunk) and this ended up being the one that landed me an agent. From there, he shopped it in NY and we had an offer after about a year. So it was mostly just luck and persistence - no secret backdoor handshakes on this end!

(2) Your current series, the Succubi Diaries, is about a museum docent who wakes up one morning to find she’s been turned into a succubus and next thing she knows she has fallen angels, vampires, demons and archangels coming out of the woodwork wanting her in one way or another. At this point, there are two books out with the third due out in next year. Do you have a definite idea of where this series is going? Tied to this and “it depends on my publisher/sales” aside, have you an idea how long the series will be?

Having finished writing book 3, I think there are 4 books in this series in me right now (author's note: this answer could change tomorrow. I'm fickle like that). Which is not to say that I wouldn't write more books with the same characters and if Pocket asked me to write 8 more, I certainly wouldn't say no! But I think there would be a different 'jumping off' point for additional books in the series. A reboot of sorts, or maybe a different narrator. Does that make sense? I sometimes get flashes of brilliance that allow for the storyline to twist in a new direction (and lengthens the story without feeling irritating) but they tend to be last minute flashes. ;)

(3) In developing Jackie's character in the series, do you plot it all out prior to writing each book or are you winging it as you go?

Is it bad if I say I'm winging it? I tend to be a pantser-writer -- I don't plot anything ahead to a certain point. I tend to start with a scenario for the character and spiral outward from there. That being said - I do like showing different angles of Jackie's acclimation to the world she's in. Book 1 was about exploring how a newcomer would fare in the supernatural world. Book 2 was about Jackie learning to depend on herself rather than her lovers. Book 3 is about Jackie dealing with consequences to her actions (and others). Book 4 is...not plotted yet and not contracted! But I have ideas aplenty.

(4) Jackie’s new world puts a new spin on an old mythology. How did you come up with the idea in the first place? Why go with what you did? And was there a lot of research involved? What sources do you use most?

I knew that I wanted to write about angels - have always loved (and always will) the concept of fierce, winged guardians that watch over us from Heaven. I wanted to use that concept but to veer away from current religious dogma, so I poked around in a lot of older stories - mostly the Book of Enoch (which is a biblical text but not canon). It details out the fall of the angels and the nephilim and all that good stuff. Loved that. I also read a lot of books on angels in general, but my favorite was Gustav Davidson's A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. It's an encyclopedia/dictionary, so it's not exciting reading material, but I read it from cover to cover multiple times. And from there, the ideas kind of spiraled outward. The fall of the angels happened so long ago that I wondered how an immortal would fare after all that time. Would they blend in? Separate themselves from humans? And if they fell once because of misdeeds...would they keep falling? And what would be incentive enough for them to fall a 2nd time? That's kind of how my vampires were born.
(5) The first book in the series, Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, was released in December ’09; Succubi Like it Hot, the second book, came out January ’10, barely a month apart. How did you manage that?

Lots of stress-induced sobbing and binge-eating. I'm kidding - my publisher arranged it! They thought it would be nice to have both books out at the same time for readers - so that's how it got scheduled. Of course, since book 2 came out a month after book 1, that means there's a bit of a longer stretch to book 3, but I hope it'll be worth it!

(6) And, ok, with the way Succubi Like it Hot ended I have got to ask: what can you tell us about book three?

Zane is back - of course! He's one of my favorites. But he's got some ties that don't allow him to be free to be with Jackie. We're going to see consequences to something that happened in the first book, a few hinted-at questions will be answered, and we'll see Jackie encounter her first nephilim. Romantically -- all I'm going to say is that some tough choices are made in this book, and not all characters like the outcome.

How's that for author vagueness? ;)

(7) Is writing a full-time job for you? What’s a day-in-the-life-of-Jill-Myles like?
I wish! I work an 8 to 5 job at a very large financial company, so I mostly come home, kiss my husband, and then get to work on writing. It's like having two jobs. And sometimes it's more stressful than it should be, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Of course, two jobs means I am a crappy housekeeper, but my husband is quite understanding.

(8) In terms of the writing process, what is the most difficult part for you? Is it starting? Writing certain scenes? Editing or chopping up parts? What about the easiest?

The most difficult part for me would either have to be setting the scene (description-wise) because I sort of wander around my own world in a clueless haze and I forget everything. My husband often jokes that he hopes I'm never called as a witness in a court trial, because I can't remember squat and I don't notice my surroundings. So it's hard for me to sit down and consciously think, "Okay, now describe this building".

The easiest part for me is banter. I love banter and arguing and I could write that all day long (but that might make the story boring). I also love writing the beginning - it's a huge rush and it just pours out of you. The ending is different - at that point it feels like a brutal slog.

(9) How long does it take you to go from idea to finished manuscript?
Depends on deadlines! I've written a story in six weeks, and I've written one that's taken a year. My normal process tends to be fairly fast - I'd say two or three months, max. But there are so many things that come into play - for example, I started book 3 in November for Nano and I just now finished the first draft on February 2nd. I would have finished it earlier but I had a ton of author promo stuff and two books releasing and all of that sort of fried my brain, so it did feel like book 2 dragged on for longer than it should have.

(10) Have you plans for any other works outside of Jackie’s world, or at least Jackie’s POV? What’s coming next for you?

Absolutely - I tend to read a little bit of everything, so I also write a little bit of everything. Pocket Books (my publisher) has acquired my new series which is called Midnight Liaisons for now. It's about a paranormal dating agency set in North Texas, and the only people allowed to date a member of the Paranormal Alliance is another member. Of course, there's a human girl that works at the agency, and when a high-profile client's date cancels, she subs in and goes on the date instead. And you can tell where I'm going with that. It's a fun series and it deals with a variety of shifters and maybe even some vampires. These books will also feature different heroes/heroines in every book, so they're going to be more traditional romance than the Succubus Diaries. I've also got a few other projects on a backburner but they're not sold yet.

(11) Finally, some random questions about you:
a. What are your hobbies aside from writing? Sleeping and reading and buying books. I don't have time for much more. Actually, I take it back - I love watching horror films with my husband, and I'm a huge Survivor dork. I never miss an episode. Does that count as a hobby?
b. Could you please describe your dream day? I get to sleep late, I write an amazing 5k in my current book, and my house is clean. I'm easy to please.
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes? A better metabolism, a bank account with at least 7 zeroes in it, and the freedom to write all day long. Okay, okay. And maybe world peace, but I'm NOT giving up the metabolism thing.

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The next book in The Succubus Diaries, My Fair Succubus, will be out December 28th. Until then be sure to check out Jill online here for further 411 on the series and what's to come!

1 comment:

XxxXLozXxxX said...

"How's that for author vagueness? ;)" - I trust your brilliance Jill.

Midnight Liaisons - I can't wait to read this series!

My Fair Succubus - and I really can't wait to find out who Jackie picks. Eek.

Great interview!