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A pick 'n' mix genre author. "I'm not greedy. I just like variety."

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Playing 20 Questions with Zee Monodee and Natalie G. Owens


EM: It is an absolute pleasure to have the wonderful Zee Monodee and Natalie G. Owens here with me today kick starting their tour of their brand new book,"Inescapable: Book 1 in the Eternelles Series." It's a brilliant book. The duo have twisted mythology and the supernatural and created this fab story, which I have to say reminds me a lot of Charmed. It's very family orientated, but with a huge hit of paranormal, a splash of chemistry and humour  and my god, a handful of delicious me. It's definitely a must read for anyone who likes paranormal fiction.

Welcome to My World, Zee and Natalie. It's lovely to have you here today. Thank you so much for stopping by to play twenty questions with me :-)

Before we begin, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Lol, thanks for having us, hun! It’s a pleasure to be here today.

Z: So, us... We’re a team of besties who one day decided to take over the world (and we don’t even have the excuse that we were drunk when we cooked up that plan!). Sadly, we’re both just ‘normal’ humans so had to come up with alter egos. I think that’s how Adri & Sera were born... our attempt to be bigger than the universe... Natalie? What do you think?

Nat: Sigh. You got that right, lol. I think that, in between cooking dinners, changing diapers, potty training, and playing in the pool with a just-turned-three-year-old, I got this sudden urge to channel something like a female superhero. I wanted to write about a character (alter ego?) so cool, nobody would ever guess I’m just a girl who often feels as unglamorous as they get :).

Z: But seriously, my ultimate goal is to make a reader lose herself into one of my stories for at least a moment. I pen mainly cultural and small-town contemporary romance, and Eternelles is my first foray into a PNR/Fantasy world. Not the case for my best friend and the sister of my heart, Natalie – I’ll let her tell you more. :-)

Nat: Well, my first novel, An Eternity of Roses, book 1 in The Valthreans series, happens to be a paranormal romance novel. I am a lover of sweeping romances, like Jane Eyre, for instance – be they historical or contemporary. Lately, I tend to want to write stuff that has elements of intrigue and suspense blended into the romantic aspect. Zee, being a “Supernatural” addict (She even hosts Supernatural Anonymous meetings online, lol), really wanted to write a story in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance realms—and so did I. We also love to brainstorm and work together. Therefore, Eternelles was a natural progression for us.

EM: Are you ready to play 20 questions? *rubs hands together*

Z & Nat: Ah! Now we’re talking (sayeth these two crazy loony friends)

Which do you find harder to write?

1. First person POV or Third?

Z: First person. Huge syndrome of I-it is and going off on tangents. Third person feels more normal, kinda like a projection of my mind into someone else’s persona (I know that sound spooky; I meant characters, not real people)

Nat: LOL, I really can’t add more to what Zee wrote as she hit the nail on the head. I would love to write something in first person, but find it more of a challenge. I do think we will though, soon. We have another series in mind that would call for use of the first person POV :).

Z: Oh yes, we do! Should the world run away with panic now? LOL

Nat: Hmmm, I’ve never seen you to shy away from a good challenge, sis. *grin*

2. As a male or female?

Z: Depends on the project, but usually, I write the hero better. Dunno – the repressed masculine side in me? :-) Seriously, I think heroines are too much like me, I mean, having the same woman’s psyche, and this gives them an additional layer of complexity... that’s kinda scary sometimes, I’ll admit...

Nat: Both, but perhaps I can relate to the hero better, too. In college, I tended to have more male friends than female. For some reason, I feel comfortable in that POV. However, I did enjoy writing Sera to the point that she now feels like an extension of me…with a few major tweaks, of course. LOL.

Z: Lol, did Nat enjoy writing Sera, indeed! We always joke how we reversed the roles between us, because I’m the younger one yet I wrote the mother, and Nat wrote the petulant, angsty teenager with such aplomb! I think it’s a case of hitting the right note with a character. Sometimes, we say a character wrote itself... I suppose this is what happened with Eternelles, especially for Nat and Sera.

Nat: And Zee was the perfect mother with her Adri, “slightly” (understatement) overprotective and would fight to the death for her daughter. What good mom wouldn’t? Adri is also a well-rounded woman with certain, ahem, experience in the sensual department. She is the ultimate survivor, who took the world by the horns and carved a life for herself after being thrown out of her father’s—Zeus’—world. And Zee, indeed, is the ultimate survivor in her own right, so I think writing this petite, beautiful Greek heiress was second nature to her.

3. Beginning, middle or end of the story?

Z: Definitely beginning. That’s when you can see the story with such stark clarity; you’re getting to ‘become’ these people you are writing. Everything is a rush of emotion and so crystal clear... Then once you’re past that, it gets a teeny bit muddied...

Nat: Ugh. I find the beginning of the story the hardest to write. I tend to worry myself to death that I’m not making the right impact. It happened with Eternelles at first, that stunted start, but then I revisited that and once I go over that hump, I hit the ground running. Or so I hope…

Z: Everyone doesn’t get it perfectly right the first time, sis! :-)

Nat: Yeah, she mutters.

4. Fight scenes or smex scenes?

Z: Fight scenes! I already know what Nat is going to say *wink, wink* especially where Inescapable is concerned...but for me, it was the fight scenes. I live with too much testosterone around me (hubby and 2 boys turning into teens. Each of them weighs 1-2 times my weight, so you can imagine the proportion of hormones in our house!). I’m also roped into game culture with my boys, so despite being a desperate romantic, fighting is more natural to me than smex.

Nat: Well, lol, something weird happened with Eternelles. I usually find the smex a bit like a chore (ahem, writing it, I mean…lol), but with Sera and Rafe, it just came naturally and I enjoyed writing those scenes immensely. *wink. I do enjoy fight scenes, but in this case, it was smex and sexual tension all the way :-)

5. Synopsis or blurb?

Z: Blurb. All the way. Synopsis = shivers!!!

Nat: BLURB! Synopsis is a word I’d like struck from the dictionary…

EM: Yeah, synopsis need to be cast out of existence. Writing a books is easy. A synopsis is sheer hell. It's crazy.

As a writer, do you prefer:

6. Writing in the morning, afternoon or evening?

Z: Hmmm...Depends more on when I have some free time. But generally, I’d say morning. Sad to state but I am getting old *gasp* and my health isn’t stellar, either. Afternoon is ‘desperate housewife’ time, so don’t even think of writing then, and when night comes, I’ve got as much energy as a limp noodle. So definitely morning – no choice, really. It’s also when everyone is at work/school and I can hear myself think at home.

Nat: Usually morning, which is when I have most energy and the little one is at school. By evening I’m usually a hot mess…

Z: I see a pattern here... The new definition of the superwoman? :-)

Nat: Yep, perhaps wearing a dish towel or bathrobe instead of a cape…lol.

7. Writing with music, or in peace?

Z: Peace. Still, when I’m writing, I strive for the Zone, and when I’m there, an earthquake couldn’t budge me. I’d blimp out the music. But I do work to music – in the sense that I have a soundtrack to highlight the story.

Nat and I worked with a lot of music for this series – you can take a look at the Pinterest board we compiled for this series’ soundtrack [http://pinterest.com/zeemonodee/eternelles-series-the-soundtrack/]. I’d say music is a big part of our inspiration.

Nat: Usually, peace. But, what Zee said is what I’d have said if she hadn’t said it…so I’m not saying it…er…you get my drift. :-)

8. Planning, or Improvising?

Z: Definitely planning! Need to know where I’m going!

Nat: Planning! With a huge series such as this, we couldn’t possibly make it through improvisation. The way we did this was to start a document called “Eternelles series bible” first and foremost, where we went back and forth building on different threads and ideas until we settled on the ones that fit best. Then, we created the main character profiles, the big picture outlines for the first three books of the “season” (we’re writing this series in the style of a TV show), and finally, the detailed outline for Inescapable. We did veer a bit from that outline, but the bare bones are there and we know where we’re going with this story. The entire process took us about 5 – 6 months. After that, we started writing, and the book took us about 2 to 3 months to finish.

Z: Yeah, the prep work was the most harrowing process, and writing was like a breeze because we knew the plan and the plot and the road to get there. Some surprises crept up (like characters we hadn’t planned on who suddenly appeared and made themselves at home – Sebastian, the vampyre nest leader, and Jeff, the werewolf police chief, are two examples). We’re still adding to that bible as we go along, and seeing avenues opening up for further pursuing.

Nat: Ditto!

9. Juggling a few projects, or concentrating on one at a time?

Z: The way things are going, as much as we’d both love to concentrate on our project at a time, we both have too many irons in the fire to be allowed that ‘luxury’. Ideas are beating down our door, and we each have individual series going on, on top of Eternelles.

Nat: What Zee said!

10. Sticking to one genre, or exploring many?

Z: Exploring! Variety is the spice of life, innit? There are some genres that are more each one’s forte, but generally, we don’t stick to one single genre across our individual series. For example, I have espionage and then Indian-culture-based contemporaries, not to mention small-town romances. Natalie has PNR and horror.

Nat: Definitely exploring. Right now I have explored contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. I also have ideas for romantic suspense novels (a series of standalones), a historical romance two-book series, a dystopian novel, and more contemporary romance. Zee and I are also discussing other series, including YA/paranormal, time travel, light contemporary romance, and cozy mysteries.

EM: I couldn't agree more, Zee, which is why variety has been thrown in to my author tagline. :-P You ladies sound very busy. Best way to be, though. At least I think it is. :-)


As a reader, do you prefer:

11. Story being told from female view or male?

Z: I prefer a balance of both, but if I’d have to choose, I’d go with female. Something about empathizing with the female psyche, I believe...

Nat: Balance of both but if I had to choose – the female POV. I love a heroine I can relate to.

12. Good guys or bad boys?

Z: Definitely bad boys! Speaking of, you have to check the ones in Inescapable. I have a hunky demon-slash-Lord knows what-creature, and Nat has a devastating vampyre. Both are as bad as boys can get. :-)

Nat: LOL, is this a trick question? Tease… of course it’s the bad boys all the way. :-)

EM: I have to say, I am totally lovin' Rafe and can't wait to find out more about him. Yummy!

13. Feisty females or fragile damsels?

Z: Feisty females, of course! Or feisty females posing as fragile damsels...

Nat: Feisty, feisty, feisty! Or yeah, what Zee said. :-)

14. Stand alone stories or series?

Z: We’d have to say ‘series’ here, innit? There’s something about a story that keeps going beyond the ending...

Nat: It seems that every story I conceive recently (or most) tend to be series. I love getting comfortable with the characters and stay with them for a while.

15. Quick reads or long stories?

Z: Both, depending on the mood.

Nat: Both – it depends what I feel like at the time.

16. Romance as a side dish or the main course?

Z: Dessert! Just like every meal MUST have dessert, stories need romance, even a small degree of it!

Nat: Hmmmm, dessert sounds lovely. Zee, why do you keep stealing my answers? (pouty lips, lol) Whatever the story, there must always be some romance.

Z: It’s because we’re soul sisters – we think exactly the same way! :-)

Nat: Ooookay (smiling now), you’re right, of course. :-)

17. Erotica or soft romance or something in-between?

Z: Depends on the characters... I’m more a soft romance kinda gal. Give me pages-long fight scenes to choreograph, but don’t push a hot smex scene my way. I freeze, then! Not the case with Nat, though *wink*

Nat: LOL @ Zee. Seriously, I love the soft romance or something in-between. I tend to write hot but always try to inject lots of emotion in the scene. That said, it depends what the story and characters demand. Sex for the sake of sex doesn’t appeal to me.

Z: Oh yes, agreed. Sex for the sake of sex is not appealing at all. There definitely needs to be emotion and personal involvement for the characters in the stakes.

18. More action or humor?

Z: If I had to choose, I’d say action. I’m a restless soul, and so action suits me more than humour. :-)

Nat: Action! I love humor, but I think I suck at it. I do think that Zee does great with family dynamics, though, and I must say her scenes involving family scuffles and such are really funny. Now I can’t stop thinking about that rogue, Ares, and his larger-than-life dad, Zeus, who make an appearance in Adri and Sera’s lives, disrupting the peace. *chuckles*

Z: Lol, that was a funny one, innit? I enjoyed myself immensely with that.  

Nat: It’s hilarious! I kept imagining Cristiano Ronaldo (Ares – who else? lol) and Jeff Bridges (Zeus) being suddenly chummy in front of a fuming Deanna Russo (Adri).

Z: FYI, these were the people we pictured as the characters. :-) Pinterest cast board coming soon!

Just for fun:

19. Vampires or Angels?

Z: In the scope of Eternelles, I’d say vampyres as we have them in the series. I am seriously in lust with Sebastian in there.

Nat: Vampyres! One word…Rafe. Sigh. Sebastian’s hot, too. :-)

Z: Hands off! Sebastian’s mine!!! You’ve got Rafe to handle, girl!

Nat: Grumbles to herself…

EM: *Daydreams about Rafe*

20. Werewolves or Demons?

Z: Hmmm, definitely demons...again in the scope of Eternelles, because Des has something (if not all!) of a demon inside him. But still, I’ve never been too much in love with werewolves...

Nat: Demons – Des is a nice little morsel, I must say. But, we do have an adorable were in Eternelles called Jeff. Such a cutie, and he’s in love with a witch…

Z: Oooh, our police chief, indeed! And don’t forget the half breed (werewolf born to a human mother) – Special Agent Craig Tulane who’s also a prize morsel! Uh, did we say there are lots and lots of hunky men in the Eternelles world...?

Nat: Oooh yes, Craig! Totally sexy :-)

EM: You did mention lots of hunks and I have to say . . . you delivered. ;-P

What are you currently working on?

Started Book 2 of the Eternelles series. Adri and Sera both have to face choices that will alter the course of all their lives.

Z: I also started a new small-town romance series titled Havisham Park, which takes place in a rural North Yorkshire village. Lots of hunky men there (see a pattern? :-) I blame that on not having enough hunky men to ogle where I live, in Mauritius!). So far, it’s a trilogy following 3 very-blonde sisters when they land in the village to cause chaos and mayhem.

Nat: Started Book 2 of The Valthreans series, “A Lifetime for Revenge”. It’s the story of Massimiliano “Max” Damiani (who makes a distinct appearance in “An Eternity of Roses”), a very hot immortal who must face the demons from the past before he can open up to love. Lots of action, adventure, intrigue, and smexy, of course. :-)

Also working on a romantic suspense novel called “After Carmen”, and after that, book 3 of The Valthreans series, which tells the story of an intriguing lady called Viviane Cross (and who also appears in book 1).


Do you have any current release?

Yes, we do!!

Inescapable, Book1 of the Eternelles series, came out on May 5!

Blurb:

An immortal born from an unlikely alliance...

Beautiful mythic Greek heiress Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios has roamed the world for millennia, taking her pleasure where she wanted. Until one night, when Fate drops a baby wrapped in fire into her arms. Motherhood is a formidable challenge, but so is figuring out the identity of a mystery man who makes her pulse race.

A vampyre’s obsession…

Seraphine 'Sera' Dionysios' origins are shrouded in mystery. Torn between a mother whose blood saved her life, and a man who now possesses her soul, the only thing Sera can still cling to is her heart.

One rule matters above all others: Always protect the portal…

When Evil comes to Adri and Sera’s hometown of Shadow Bridge, a place where the mortal human world ends and the supernatural realm starts, it’s up to them to stop a prophecy as old as time itself...or die trying.

Download from:

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/11KJBhM
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/17zvEHx  

These are the ones we have so far. Kobo, Are, and iTunes coming soon. :-)


~ * ~

Excerpt:

Nat’s excerpt:
A lightning thrill crept up her spine and it had less to do with the fact that Thiago’s palms were now planted confidently on her ass cheeks, and more to do with the fingers that lightly grazed her back.
Starting, she turned around to find the devil within inches of her.

“I’d like to dance with the lady.”

His eyes never left hers. Her current partner was of no importance and didn’t deserve acknowledgement.

“She’s with me,” Thiago protested, while Sera said, “No, thanks, I’m with this gentleman. Perhaps later.”

“I’d prefer now,” Rafe insisted, politely threatening. His face hardened, its lines straighter, more dangerous. Subtly, he thrust his chest out. From the opened collar of his shirt winked the pendant that proclaimed his status as an overlord. The tough bands of leather disappeared on either side of his neck, the thick hide merging into the skin of his collarbones to grant his power and control over his whole race and dominion.

No one could miss the statement he was in charge, and certainly not another lowly vampyre.

Sera sighed. Although she wasn’t a big fan of Thiago and his cheesy ways, she didn’t want responsibility for him being beaten to a pulp.

“I think—”

She disengaged from Thiago’s embrace. “I’m fine. I know this man.”

He slunk back to the sofa near Fiona, who, from a cursory glance, seemed highly interested in Sera’s new companion.

“Let’s get this over—” she started, but the wind got knocked out of her sails when he crushed her to him and started to sway his body with hers. He let her feel all of him just like that last time in the dream.

All of him—and left her no doubt that he wanted her just as much now. But there was something more in his stiff posture. Anger…jealousy. An immense heaping of it, so much the tension felt like fireworks raining on them.

“You are mine,” he growled, and bent his head to hers. As they danced cheek to cheek, he nibbled on her earlobe. “I wasn’t fooled by that pathetic show of yours.” A lick. “You want me.”

“No.” If they had been alone right now, she’d tear both their clothes off and climb on top of him, beg him to fill her to the hilt….

Sure, if her God-given mind had any say in this whatsoever, it would scoff at her.

“Yes.”

This was just wrong—him messing with her head. Again.

He lifted his head and looked straight into her eyes. “Yes,” he repeated.




EM: Oh Rafe . . .  I loved this scene.




Zee’s excerpt:

“We have to get out of here and back to the reception before anyone notices we’re missing.”

Des jumped to his feet and grabbed her hand. As much as she wanted to ponder upon this strange turn of events and do something—anything—for her dead friend, she knew when she had to cut her losses. She followed as he led her into rooms further to the back of the main sculpture gallery. They returned to the Medieval Art section, only to duck into more rooms of European Sculpture on the other side of the Middle Ages gallery. Voices suddenly clambered close; Des pulled her into an alcove in the wall and draped his wide body over hers.

Pressed to one another, the beat of his heart thumped against her chest, roaring in the same rapid rhythm as hers. Their breaths labored, each struggled for air.

She tried to access his thoughts, but nothing except a blank greeted her. Could she be so riled up that she’d lost touch with her gift? Or was he something much more sinister blocking her power?

The voices drew closer. A wave of panic danced inside Adri. If they were caught...

“We won’t be,” he whispered as he lowered his head.

Did he just read her mind? Or was she that transparent? Adri glanced up. Despite being in five-inch heels, she still topped at barely five-foot-eight. A diminutive height for which a six-foot-four, solid man like Des Roxburgh would have to bend for.

His warm, raspy breath danced against her cheekbone. In the dark, she couldn’t make out his eyes, or even his features. Only the pound of his heart where she’d placed her hand on his chest betrayed how much this moment affected him, too.

And if she thought hard about it, this was how it had felt on that terrace. Could it be? That Des was the man who had kissed her?

He lowered his head even more, until the feathery brush of his warm, moist lips danced against her cheek. If she went on tiptoe, she could maybe breach the distance between their mouths, and kiss him. Find out if he was that man. And why wasn’t he kissing her? She couldn’t mistake the rapid heartbeat, the heavy breaths, the heat emanating off him, as anything else but sexual desire.

“Get a room, will you?” a loud voice boomed on a laugh.

EM: And this scene was just delicious ;-P


Any upcoming releases?

Z: Well, I have a culture-based contemporary trilogy coming out with Decadent Publishing this year, as part of their African Ubuntu line. It’s the stories of 3 sisters from my native island, Mauritius, that span the decade of 2000-2010 on the island and shows the evolution of a nation and a society. The first two, The Other Side, and Light My World, are more romantic comedies, while the third, Winds of Change, is a deeper romance with slants of women’s fiction.

Natalie also has an upcoming release in her amazing Valthrean series. I’ll let her tell you more!

Nat: A Lifetime for Revenge, Book 2 in The Valthreans series will be out late this year.

Then the both of us have Book 2 of the Eternelles series, Indomitable.

Blurb:

A war is coming...

Immortal Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios has looked Death in the face...and realised her own father wants her perdition. Two thousand-nine-hundred years after, Greek god Dionysos is finally here to exact his revenge on his unlikely offspring. But Adri has more pressing matters to attend to. Her daughter appears to be the unwilling key at the heart of a plot to open the Shadow Bridge portal and let Evil return to Earth, and the creature she has given her heart to isn't playing a spotless game, either.

Seraphine 'Sera' Dionysios awakens to the reality that she must take her destiny into her own hands. If only she could come out of the mess she finds herself embroiled in, and if her mother would finally cut the umbilical cord... Not to mention that her maker has decided the time has come to claim her, and he is staking his territory by winning her body and her soul little by little.

Unknown forces are at work to breach the portal and release a bloodthirsty kind that will enslave humanity and all other supernatural races. Besides, twin witches who can bring on the Apocalypse risk making their appearance, too. The world will come crashing down—unless Adri and Sera can stop the deviant plot before it's too late.

EM: Sounds fab! I can't wait to read it! :-)

Purchase link:

Available from all platforms where Inescapable is out now, namely Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, ARe, etc. Will also be in print for those who prefer physical books :).

Where can readers find you on the internet?

Z: I’m on my blog a few times a week, at www.zeemonodee.blogspot.com
Then I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest. Here are the links
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/zee.monodee



EM: Thank you so much for joining me!

Z & Nat: Pleasure!!! :-)

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Loved this interview! You two are such a great team. It's fun to see you working together. Can't wait to read the book! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Elizabeth for hosting us!

    And thank you so much for visiting, Rhonda! It's really great to work with someone who's just as crazy as you (sorry, Zee, but it's true. Ya know I love you, right? LOL) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're totally welcome. It was a pleasure having you both over. :-) xx

      Delete
  3. LOL! Thanks, Elizabeth, for hosting us two crazy loons (Nat, you're as crazy as I am; I know that only too well!)

    And Rhonda, we blame this connection between us on our abiding friendship. Both of us have no sisters, and we found each other and refused to let go. The rest, as they say, is history! :)

    XOXO

    ReplyDelete