Hello again fellow readers! The boss is away so it is definitely time to play! I had the chance to read, review, and interview author Nancy Gideon about her upcoming May 25, 2010 release of Masked by Moonlight. Grab your favorite cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa and sit back and relax as I gab with Nancy about beauties, beasts, and the Big Easy.
Hello Nancy! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. Why don’t you start off by telling the readers a little about Masked by Moonlight?
Masked by Moonlight (May 25, 2010) is the first book in my new dark paranormal shape-shifter series with Pocket. Chased by Moonlight (June 29, 2010) and Captured by Moonlight (July 27, 2010) follow in consecutive months, so readers have them back-to-back-to-back. They’re unique in that they involve the same hero and heroine, Max Savoie the shape-shifting right hand man of a New Orleans crime boss who took him in as a child and Charlotte Caissie the homicide detective whose plan to use him to get at his mentor is complicated by shared secrets and an impossible attraction. What a pair they make: fierce, self-sufficient loners drawn together by dangerous circumstance, troubled by the past, torn by loyalties and tortured by the love that sustains them. Publishers Weekly gave Masked by Moonlight a starred review, saying “Intriguing characters and zippy action. Gideon masters the tension required to keep her complex and engaging story moving.” And you summed it up perfectly in your review: “Romeo & Juliet meets Beauty and the Beast”, and I’d add to that, in the Big Easy.
I have to tell you I loved Charlotte! Anyone who is as tough and independent as her gets my vote. When you developed her character, did you know she was going to be so strong?
I’m a huge fan of the kick ass heroine, but that has to be balanced with a certain vulnerability. It’s the tipping of that balance that makes things interesting. When a strong character is humbled by emotion, whether it be love, fear or loyalty, that’s where conflict grows. As hard-edged as Cee Cee is, she’s confused by her feelings for Max and by his unwavering devotion to her. She doesn’t know how to deal with that softer side of herself and I think that will really connect with readers.
Max is someone who is a mystery to the readers, until we get further into the book. Did you know from the get go that you were going to make him the way he was?
Max is . . . complicated. In order to carry a story arc through several books, he needed a lot of . . . history. He’s a shape-shifter who has no knowledge of who and what he is or where he came from. He’s pulled between the past he shares with preternatural creatures that look to him for leadership, a present devoted to a criminal who exploits him, and a future dream with a human female who stands opposite him at every turn. Talk about a dangerous three way…in a literary sense.
On top of the already compelling story that surrounds the murder and mayhem and shifting, you added the fact that Max works for a crime boss and Charlotte is a cop. Why did you add the extra tension to an already outstanding novel full of life?
I like a BIG meaty story. I love a saga with all the action, drama and tragedy. I confess. I’m a plot whore. I started out with a simple little idea and before I knew it, I needed Map Quest to follow all the twists and turns that quickly surpassed the page count for one book. Instead of an episode, I developed a mini-series. These characters were so rich they demanded the situations to support their development. Like Shrek’s onion and Donkey’s parfait, I love layers. Peeling them back to get to the center is what makes the journey multi-dimensional and satisfying. I write in 3D, without the funny glasses.
Max is described in many ways by many different characters as a beast, a thing that is really indescribable. While I could understand their close-mindedness (can you tell I really like him), I found it fantastic that there is a softer, gentler side to Max that not everyone got to see. Were you always planning to have him be this complex character?
Part of the fun of developing his character was not always knowing how he would react to things. On one hand, he’s this deadly creature bred to kill on command, and on the other, he’s naïve and actually quite innocent because of his isolation. That juxtaposition of absolute larger-than-life power and unapologetic humility is what makes him such a perfect foil for someone like Cee Cee. He’s strong enough not to be intimidated by her but can be brought to his knees by his love for her without ever losing that strength. The female in me finds that…well, hot!
Charlotte is another one of those characters that just confound you. Just when you think you have figured her out, she goes and does something that you could never picture her doing. When you wrote this story, do you find the characters take their own road in the novel or do you stick to a plan?
Normally I am a control freak plotter. I make hugely detailed synopses and character sketches so I know exactly where I’m going. With this book, the prologue was the springboard and I just started writing as if I was watching a movie. I never made one note ahead of time. You’d have to know me to realize how NOT like me this is. The plot and characters and dialogue just unfolded as fast as I could type. I never gave anything a second look until the entire…THREE books were done. If there’s such a thing as Book of the Heart, these are mine.
Masked by Moonlight is the first in this series. Would you like to tell us a little about the other books coming out?
There’s a four book story arc planned for Max and Cee then they’ll be featured as prominent secondaries in at least two more books. Chased by Moonlight brings in added complications as Cee Cee’s high profile murder case points to Max. While she’s trying to clear his name, he’s struggling to control of the criminal legacy he inherits and the shadowy clan of shape-shifters who believe he’s their prophesied leader. When a charming conman tells Max he can teach him how to survive, a dangerous door to past secrets is opened. Captured by Moonlight focuses on Max and Cee Cee coming to terms with who and what they are as Max’s discovery of a family he didn’t know he had and his awakening instincts could prove a fatal test of their love. I’m currently revising Book 4 which will conclude the romance arc. Books 5 and 6 will feature new heroes and heroines, some you’ll meet in the earlier books and some who will surprise you.
While checking out your website I saw you write not only paranormal, but suspense and historical books as well. Are there any other genres that you would like to explore? What about genres that you could never imagine writing?
I’ve been really impressed by the quality and expansion of the young adult market and am tinkering around with a paranormal series. I don’t think I could write erotica…too bashful.
In the news section of your website you mention that not only are the first three books coming out in quick succession but that you are slotted for three more next year and the following year after. Do you have an idea of how many books will be in the Moonlight series and will they all surround Charlotte and Max?
To quote the movie Last Action Hero, “Until the grosses go down.” I built a huge world on purpose so it could branch off in many directions via a number of secondary characters. I can plot books as long as the readers want to read them and as long as the premise stays fresh. I wouldn’t be surprised if Max and Charlotte returned to the center focus in later books.
I was reading your bio and my head was spinning reading all you have accomplished and all you do in your daily life. Would you ever consider giving up your day job to write full time or do you like having your life so full of events?
I had the luxury of being a full time mom for the first 15 years of my writing career. In some ways that was harder because the temptation to procrastinate was greater and I was working around babies and school programs and scouts, etc. It gave me the time to develop the creative discipline to focus on specific writing goals and I am a very goal-oriented person. Writing is a fabulous life but it’s an unpredictable one when trying to plan around royalties twice a year (that can range from thousands to pennies on a whim!) and advances. I love my day job (along with the health insurance and steady paycheck!) but now that my kids are grown, I‘m once again tempted by the pull of that stay-at-home career…especially when a Michigan winter approaches.
Your bio also mentions that you have written under different names for different publishers. Would you like to tell the readers a little about each of the author pen names and what you have written under them?
I started out writing historical regencies for Zebra as Lauren Giddings but hit full stride with my Zebra westerns written as Dana Ransom. Those won me a Career Achievement for Historical Adventure award and featured my other favorite hero, half-Apache tracker Harmon Bass. I also wrote historical for Avon as Rosalyn West, which was where I met my current Pocket editor. In-between, under my own name, I wrote the Midnight vampire romance series for Kensington and ImaJinn Books, and romantic suspense for Silhouette. I’ve also written an independent horror movie novelization and several screenplays. I love variety.
I absolutely loved Masked by Moonlight and you have definitely become one of my top “to read authors”. Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite movies (when you have the time)? Favorite music?
Dean Koontz, Lisa Gardner, Sandra Brown and J.D. Robb are my Can’t Miss authors. I always have a book on my night stand so I can grab a chapter or two. I’m a Net Flix-aholic and never miss anything with Clive Owen or Robert Downey Jr. I have too many favorites to mention but L.A. Confidential is at the top. When I’m writing, I usual have some sort of “theme” music going on that fits the characters or setting. Jo-el Sonnier, Buddy guy, Ben Harper and John Hiatt were big while doing the Moonlight books, but I love everything with a tune. Unfortunately, I can’t carry one.
I see you have a newsletter available. How can readers subscribe to it?
There’s a sign-up on my website. Newsletters will be sent via e-mail every three months or so with news, contests, links and insider sneak peeks. I promise not to inundate subscribers with e-mails or pass on their names.
Do you belong to any social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, etc?
I was forced by critique partner friends into joining Facebook. I thought it was going to be an awful chore but now I’m addicted. Never give someone with OCD a counter. We’re so competitive. I’ve met wonderful people from all over the globe. I also have a Twitter account but I’m not quite as active there. 140 characters? In books, maybe, but not in words!
Like I stated earlier your schedule is pretty full. But what do you do for relaxation or fun?
Read! I love to travel (so I have time to read. I always take a Dean Koontz on the plane with me!). I feed the wild kingdom from my 4th floor balcony including a yearly family of raccoons. I’m a Net Flix junkie and I love to cook and entertain.
Can you tell the readers something quirky about yourself, maybe something nobody else knows?
The aforementioned OCD. My co-workers enjoy dumping Skittles on my desk to see how long I can resist sorting them by number and color. The OCD is tempered by ADD, so I fixate on some things and can look right past others as if they don’t exist. It’s a wonderful skill when on deadline. What dishes? What laundry?
And just a couple more questions then I will let you out of my clutches.With Masked by Moonlight being a paranormal genre, it had me wondering something. If you yourself were to be a paranormal being, what would you be and why?
Probably a Valkerie (at least the ones in Krelsey Cole’s books) because they love TV, bling, like to hang with their gal-pals, and don’t have to eat.
And one last question I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time Romance theme, if you were described as a flavor of coffee, what flavor would you be and why?
A cup of café au lait from Café du Monde in the French Quarter. Smooth yet surprisingly strong.
Thank you so much for answering my questions. I had a fantastic time not only reading and reviewing Masked by Moonlight but getting to know you as well.
Check out the book video for Masked by Moonlight here. For more information about anything you read in this interview, check out Nancy’s amazing website. And don’t forget to read my review of Masked by Moonlight here.
Now back to the attic before the Mistress finds out I found the secret passage. Until next time, drink lots of coffee and don’t forget to keep your minds sharp with all those hot books!