One of today’s author interviews is with Lisa Emme. She’s written a sassy and cool heroine, Harry Russo. The book that I read is ‘Dead and Kicking’, and it’s a tense, smart and romantic Urban Fantasy. Find out more below!
When did you start writing? What was the first thing that you ever wrote?
I started writing about five years ago. I’ve always had a great imagination and I liked to plan out story ideas. Usually, I’d write the ideas down, but I would never do anything more with them. Then one day, the opening scene for a romance just started playing out in my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided to try writing it out, not just point-forming the idea, but actually fleshing it out and trying to write the first chapter. The next thing I knew I was finishing up a 350+ page contemporary romantic suspense called Home Again. It wasn’t until I finished writing the Harry Russo Diaries trilogy though, that I decided to explore the idea of publishing.
Is writing your full-time job? If not,would you like it to be, and why? If so, what are the most rewarding and challenging parts of full-time independent writing?
I wish it could be a full-time job, but it’s not. It certainly is enough work to be full-time, but alas, I need to pay the mortgage and the bills and my kid seems to think he needs to eat every day, multiple times no less. It would be a dream come true though, to be able to just focus on writing and publishing. Maybe someday.
How many books and/or series have you written to date? Which one of your books is your favorite, and why?
I currently have four books written. The first, my romantic suspense, Home Again, will be published in the new year (February 29, 2016). The other three books are part of my urban fantasy series called the Harry Russo Diaries. The first book, Dead and Kicking, was published in October 2015 and the second and third books (Tooth and Claw, and Deadlocked) will be released in January and June of 2016. It’s really hard to pick my favourite, but Home Again will always hold a special place because it was the first (you never forget your first, do you?). There is also a little part of me in Allie, the main character. She’s a single mom raising a child with special needs, something to which I can relate all too well.
What are your future projects?
It’s hard to say right now. I have so little time to sit and write these days. I have several ideas brewing, but nothing has really started to boil and scream “write me!” yet. We’ll have to see which idea bubbles its way out next. It could be one of two romance ideas I’m mulling over, or there could very well be another story in Harry’s universe that needs to be told.
Your book ‘Dead and Kicking’ (The Harry Russo Diaries #1) has been classified as Urban Fantasy. Can you explain what exactly that is? How does Romance come into this genre?
Urban fantasy takes elements of fantasy and the supernatural and sets them into a world that is very similar to our modern urban life. It’s like imagining everyday life and saying “but what if vampires, werewolves and other supernatural denizens actually existed?” While there may be a magical element, the world itself is recognizable as our own. This is different from high fantasy where everything is reimagined, including the world in which it is set.
I think having romance in an urban fantasy is completely acceptable and maybe even expected, especially if your intended audience is 18+. It all depends on the story of course; you shouldn’t be throwing sex in the mix gratuitously. The romance should happen organically as part of developing a story with robust, well-rounded characters that interact with each other. Where urban fantasy romance differs from contemporary romance or even its cousin paranormal romance, is that the romantic aspect is not the key focus of the plot, it is incidental to it.
Why did you choose to write your hero, Cian Nash, as such a growling, moody guy? How do you think he redeemed himself for being so grouchy (pretty much all the time!)?
I can’t help but laugh at everyone saying Cian is so growly. He is a werewolf, after all. But really, he’s gruff with Harry because at first he’s trying to keep his distance and later because he’s working through a realization he has had about her. Unfortunately, I really can’t go into more detail because it would be a major spoiler for books two and three. Let’s just say that things will move forward between Harry and Cian in a rather interesting way and Cian does get a chance to redeem himself and show another side.
I’ve read some reviews that call your book ending a cliff-hanger, while other reviews strenuously disagree. Why do you think there’s some disagreement about this?
I have to admit to being very surprised when I read that first review that said there was a cliffhanger. I really did not consider the ending of Dead and Kicking to be cliffhanger because the story comes to a conclusion. Yes, there is a bit of a revelation at the end, but one that I think many readers will not really consider that big of a surprise (again, just my opinion which has already proven wrong) because there were certainly some hints that Harry preferred to ignore. I think one reviewer called her the Queen of Denial! When I wrote the end of the story, I put that last bit in as a hook to the next book (something that is quite common in Urban Fantasy). I wanted to leave you wanting more, but I didn’t want you to feel robbed of a proper ending either.
What or who was your inspiration for your heroine, Harry Russo? I thought she was funny and strong, but also very endearing… very likeable! Have you got a Harry ‘muse’?
There is no one person that is my inspiration for Harry. If anything, she might just be a bit of every urban fantasy heroine I’ve ever read glommed together with some of my quirkiness. Harry definitely gets her geeky side and her love of Star Wars from me, and the relationship between Harry and Tess, her best friend, is modelled after one from my own childhood. I just wanted her to be a fun and capable person. There seems to be a bit stereotype in urban fantasy that the heroine has to be this tough, sarcastic bitch most of the time. I didn’t want Harry to be like that. Sure, she’s got a bit of a mouth on her, but she’s generally just a nice person who tries to do the right thing and that happens to get her into a lot of trouble. Luckily, she’s able to take care of herself for the most part, but that doesn’t mean she’s infallible, nor is she afraid to ask for help when she needs it.
If a reader wanted to find out more about you, where could they do that? Have you got a website, blog, social media presence?
I can be found at www.lisaemme.com and on Facebook. If readers are interested in getting a sneak peek into Dead and Kicking and Harry’s world, I’ve set up a Prop Gallery on Pinterest. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram.
Purchase links for Dead and Kicking