Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guest Maven Angie Fox Dishes Demon Slaying, Research, and Biker Dogs

Guest Maven Angie FoxWe're so thrilled to welcome New York Times Bestselling* Mave Fave Angie Fox! Her debut novel, The Accidental Demon Slayer, was released last Tuesday - buy it now! Angie answered some burning questions for us. She'll be around today if you have any more you'd like to pose. Plus, she's giving a signed copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer to one lucky poster!

How do you develop your plots and characters?
With The Accidental Demon Slayer, I started off with a kernel of an idea that amused me. What if a straight laced preschool teacher suddenly learns she’s a demon slayer? And what if she has to learn about her powers on the run from a bad boy demon? Ohhh and wouldn’t it be fun if she’s running with her long-lost Grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches?

I started writing and let the story evolve based on the characters and that central issue of what happens when a reluctant heroine is thrust into a series of extraordinary situations. And I knew the story was working when I couldn’t wait to get back to the keyboard every day.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
For me, it’s both. For example, when I sat down to write The Accidental Demon Slayer, I had no notes about a sidekick for my heroine. But in the second chapter, when she’d learned she was a demon slayer and all hell was after her, she took comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, ‘This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’ Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard).

It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I had fun with it. In fact, I suspect Pirate the dog is my editor’s favorite character. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if Pirate helped talk my editor into buying The Accidental Demon Slayer.

So did plot influence character? Maybe there it did. But I can tell you that as the book evolves, Pirate the dog does his share of influencing the plot too. Bottom line? I think the most important thing when you sit down to the keyboard is to be willing to follow your story in new directions, because if you’re enjoying the surprise, chances are your readers will too.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Loads, actually. First off, the biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Second, I had to figure out how to get Pirate the dog onto a bike.

I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses).

After a few outings with my new biker friends, I was able to make my geriatric biker witch characters a lot more realistic. And I took home some great pictures, too.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m always trying to outdo myself, especially at the end of a book. It drives my critique partner nuts. Typical feedback will come like this, “What are you doing? Don’t get me wrong. I like it when you come up with quirky new hideouts for the Red Skull biker witches. But we’re heading into the climax of the book. Why do we need a new one?”

I usually don’t have any good answer to questions like that except, “I did it because it amused me.” But, really, if I’m entertaining myself as a writer, won’t my readers have more fun too? At least that’s my excuse. In the case of the new hideout, it worked out. The Red Skulls end up on this abandoned riverboat that they’d enchanted years earlier (while drunk on dandelion wine). Now they not only need a safe place, but they need to catch the Choking spells, Lose Your Keys spells, not to mention the Frozen Underwear spells ready to attack from around corners and behind the old jukebox.

Do you have anything else to add?
Sure do – check out the What’s Your Biker Witch Name? quiz. You can post your cool new biker name here, or even on my blog, where you can enter to have your real name in my next book.

Ooh, cool contest, Angie!

Angie Fox is the author of The Accidental Demon Slayer. Critics call it, "fresh, unique and larger than life," Angie simply calls it fun. That's because she gets a kick out of surprising herself, and her readers, with plenty of plot twists, magical moments and sizzling romance.

*Updated August 8 upon learning The Accidental Demon Slayer is number 34 on the NYT Bestsellers List. Congratulations Angie!! 


B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks for the interview, Angie. Your book sounds like a lot of fun, and lucky for me, I'm book shopping today. =o) Great pics, too. Love the pomeranian in goggles. Too funny.

And my biker witch name is: Linda the Lush Lug Nut. LOL

Vicki said...

Loved the interview and the pics of the dogs. :)

My biker witch name is: Leggy Lucy No Brakes

Angie Fox said...

Thanks! I had a ball with this book. The research was fun too.

Erica Ridley said...

My biker name is Two Date Tessa Bumpy Pants, which I personally think rocks hard core. I never knew there was such a thing as biker dogs... the things you learn on this blog! Accidental Demon Slayer sounds great, Angie. Thanks for guesting!!

Darcy Burke said...

I'm Linda the Lush Steel Butt. B.E., we must be cousins or something! Thanks again for hanging with us Angie. Can you tell us anything about the book you're working on now?

Jackie Barbosa said...

OMG, my name is Lusty Lucinda Fast Pants. How do you know me so well?

_The Accidental Demon Slayer_ sounds like loads of fun, but I'm with, Linda the Lush Steel Butt (what I wouldn't give for a steel butt, BTW). What's next :)!

lacey kaye said...

Super-fun interview, Angie! And I love the pictures, too. You have a great cover; I'm LOL they got the dog in there, too. CONGRATS!!

Angie Fox said...

Hmmm...steel butt. I think there's a video for that.

And, yes, I'm really glad they got the dog on the cover - front and back. I think he's sweet talking my editor.

Angie Fox said...

Oh and Darcy asked what I'm working on now - it's the second book in the series, called The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. In it, my heroine decides to write the book on demon slaying. Naturally, things don't quite go according to plan. It's due out in April '09.

Vicki said...

Ummm...where are you guys??? I'm missing my daily MM blog. ;)

Angie Fox said...

Oh my. You know I did lend Darcy my hog. Then she sped off to pick up Lacey. Meanwhile Jackie was over by the pool table chatting up Wino Wally No Brakes and the rest of the biker guys. Carrie ran off with Buster, the black pug with the doggie shades and Ericka seems to have met a devastatingly hot shapeshifter of some sort. We may have to go round them up.

MsHellion said...

Congrats on the NYT's bestseller's status! Wooooot!!!

Angie Fox said...

Thanks! The NY Times list was a complete surprise...but what a thrill. I didn't know they let biker dogs into that sort of thing.

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