Monday, January 25, 2010

INTERVIEW: Eileen Wilks

So, this week's interview is with the very talented Eileen Wilks, author of the World of the Lupi series as well as several Silhouette Desire installments. The World of the Lupi series originally began as the short story Only Human in the 2003 anthology Lover Beware. The following year the story of Rule and Lily was given a major face-lift and republished as a full length novel, Tempting Danger. Since then the series has grown to include four more books published with a fifth, Blood Magic, due out just week and s couple more short stories including Originally Human in Cravings with Laurell K. Hamilton, Inhuman in On the Prowl with Patricia Briggs and, just this year, Human Nature in Inked with Karen Chance. Now, without further adieu, the interview (Hey! That rhymed!)

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

Slowly! I wrote 4 complete novels plus a couple false starts before I figured out the whole "write to the market" thing and sold. That book was a short contemporary romance I specifically targeted for Desire.

(2) In addition to a bunch of Silhouette romances, you’ve got the World of the Lupi series which seems to have a lot of mythology and tradition tied to it. How ex actly did inspiration for that series come about?
Well, my first two books--the ones that didn't sell--were a mix of sf and romance. I've always thought in terms of mixing romance with sf/fantasy, and I'd been thinking about various elements of my lupi world for some time before I had a chance to incorporate them into a story. That story was a novella, but it wanted to be a book. Or a series. I had a terrible time keeping it within the page count for a novella. After I turned it in, I asked my editor if I could make it into a book. She said yes--and backed it up with a contract. (I love my editor.)

(3) With the exception of the fourth book, Night Season, all of the novels have focused on the characters Lily and Rule. What sort of creator insights can you offer on these characters? How exactly have they developed for you? Are they turning out like you thought they would?
In many ways I write in order to further discover the characters, so I can't say they've turned out like I expected. I didn't expect. I yearned to find out. That said, Lily showed up pretty fully formed right from the start. She's grown and changed over the course of the series, of course, but she was vivid for me from page one.

(4) There are also short stories dealing with fringe characters Kai and Nathan in the anthology On The Prowl, Molly and Michael in Cravings. Have you currently plans for any other short stories? Do you find it more difficult to write short stories compared to novels?
I love to write novellas. They're a change of pace for me. The challenges are different from those involved in writing a long book, and that helps me stay fresh. I've got a couple idea nudging at me for a novella, and hope to be able to pull one of them together after I finish the current w.i.p. (That's writer-speak for work-in-progress.)

(5) On Feb. 1 the next Lupi book, BLOOD MAGIC, is due out. What can you tell us about it?
I hope you don't mind if I just quote the blurb I've got up on my site. I worked hard on it, and like to use it as much as possible. Lily Yu’s world changed when she met Rule Turner, known to the human world as “that werewolf prince.” It’s been eight months since everyone else’s world changed, too—when the Turning hit. That shifting of the realms has magic seeping back into the world in quantities unseen since the hot news story concerned a pair of human babes raised by wolves who went on to found a new city: Rome.

Lily is a homicide cop turned FBI agent. She works for a special Unit within the MCD—that’s the Bureau’s Magical Crimes Division. Lily became a cop to stop the monsters , though it was human monsters she had in mind at the time. These days, the perps she tracks may be a lot more—or a lot less--than human.

In Blood Magic, Lily and Rule are faced with their most dangerous opponent yet, one the law can’t touch. One who can’t be killed. One whose like hasn’t been seen in our world since long before those wolves fostered Romulus and Remus.

Oh, one more thing about Blood Magic: Grandmother is back.

Those of you who haven’t read the previous books in my World of the Lupi series may be scratching your head about now. Someone’s grandmother shows up and you’re suppose
d to get all tingly? You might be more interested in some of the other characters in Blood Magic, like the assassin. Or the dragon. Or the ancient, undying enemy willing to wait for centuries to achieve what really matters.


(6) Afterwards, there’s been mention of another book, BLOOD CHALLENGE, to follow. Obviously, it’s too early for you to talk about it, but, on a related matter, do you already know the direction this series is taking or is it open-ended and you’re playing it by ear? How many more Lupi books do you plan for/are in the works?
I don't have a set number of books planned, but I do have an ending in mind. I figure eventually the time will come that I want to wrap things up, though I'm not there yet. Right now I'm contracted for 3 more Lily & Rule books. The first of them in BLOOD CHALLENGE, which I'm working on now. I have an arc in mind for those three books--beyond that, I don't know.

(7) In a perfect world, if your publisher suddenly gave you carte blanche and told you to go crazy, what would you like to do with the series? (i.e. like giving a particular character a novel of their own)
Hmm. I might write a book about a character I've mentioned in a couple books--the Etorri Rhej. I'm fascinated by her. I don't think anyone else is--at least, I haven't heard from readers dying to hear more, and that isn't surprising, because she's barely mentioned. But I know a lot more about her than has appeared in any of the books.

(8) In what genre would you classify the Lupi books? They seem to have a little bit of everything.
I try not to classify them. They get shelved in romance, but the world-building is more urban fantasy. But they're also police procedurals--sometimes--or more straight fantasy (Night Season) or even thrillers. This cross-genre-fication may make it harder for new readers to find the books, but I can't seem to help myself.

(9) Aside from the Lupi and the Silhouette romances, have you plans for any other series in the same or similar genre?
No definate plans. I'd love to write more about Kai & Nathan one of these days. I also have a very different "magic is real" kind of world percolating in the back of my brain. Don't know if it will turn into a book or series.

(10) Finally, some random questions about you:
a. What are your hobbies aside from writing?

I love to read, obviously; I also love to garden and to quilt. I exercise because I have to--my brain doesn't work well when I neglect my body. I also like to paint things--walls, furniture, canvasses--though I haven't done that much lately. Not enough time. I'm thinking of trying origami.
b. Could you please describe your dream day?

My dream day varies, depending largely on where I am in a book and what's going on otherwise. Today I'd describe it as a day when I wrote 10 brilliant yet almost effortless pages, had supper out with friends, then went home and started reading a new book by one of my favorite authors. Charlaine Harris, maybe, or Kelley Armstrong. Though I'd love to visit Butcher's Harry Dresden again soon, too.
c. If you found a genie, what would be your three wishes?
Three wishes? Oh, my. I guess I'd wish that Borders, B&N, and Walmart would order in all my backlist--all of the lupi books--and keep them in stock at all times, lol. Then I might be very cliche and mention the lottery. Not a whopping huge lottery, mind, but it would be nice to be able to buy health insurance and have a comfortable cushion. Then I think I'd ask for great health, because I'd just as soon not need that health insurance.

And there it was. A major thanks to Ms. Wilks for taking the time to answer some questions; it was great having you. Be sure to keep an eye out for that aforementioned Lupi book coming out next week: Blood Magic, and try to swing by and pay a visit to Ms. Wilks' website which can be found here.

Over and Out.


LuigiGirlNZ said...

Great interview. Eileen is one of my favourite authors!

Tovie said...

Great interview. Thanks. I would love to see a story about the Rhejes, although I wasn't thinking about the Etorri one specifically.