Friday, July 24, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Jeri Smith-Ready



Jeri Smith-Ready has written fiction since the night she had her first double espresso. A continued caffeine stream has resulted in six published novels, which have won multiple awards in the fantasy and romance genres. (These include, but aren't limited to NJRW's Golden Leaf, Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion, FF&P's PRISM Award, RT's Reviewer's Choice Award, and RWA's Rita Award.) Jeri has a Masters in environmental policy to boot, and lives in Maryland with her husband, cat, and greyhound.



I had the chance to meet Jeri at the RWA National Conference in Atlanta, GA a few years back. Like all great meetings at conference, it happened in the elevator! She congratulated me on my first sale ribbon. I will admit to ogling her badge which had her book cover, and of course said she was published! As a matter of fact she'd just sold EYES OF CROW to Luna, a publisher I'd also been eyeing.

Off and on since then, we've dropped each other a line via e-mail. Needless to say when her new WVMP series premiered with WICKED GAME, I was super delighted for her! And like "Aspect of Crow" it's garnered some serious attention, and not just from the FF&P crowds! We're talking mainstream here!

While I was brushing up for this interview, I also learned about her new YA series! And who knew she'd written a book about the Devil falling in love? In short, I'll just say Jeri's website is a plethora of info and fun! If you want your cursor on the pulse of hot (no, not erotic) fiction, keep it there because Jeri's career is headed for supernova status!



Out of all the sub-genres in romance, and fiction in general, what drew you to the world of fantasy?

I’ve always been a fan of the fantastic—I love stories that tweak the world just a little bit and look at it in a different way. Growing up, I mostly read animal stories, but of course my favorites were the ones where the animals talked to each other, or were gods or goddesses taking animal form (everyone knows that cats are divine, right?).



As an award winning writer of a “traditional” fantasy series, what prompted the birth of your urban fantasy “WVMP Radio” series?

Urban fantasy is actually my original passion. As I mentioned, I love stories that take our world and put a twist on it to illuminate what it means to be human. My first publication was an urban fantasy e-book called REQUIEM FOR THE DEVIL (2001, Grand Central, still available from Amazon, etc.). It tells the story of Lucifer’s first love affair and how it changes everything. In the novel, the Devil is currently masquerading as a Washington, DC, political consultant. Many people think this is closer to reality than fantasy.

As for my future urban fantasies, the “WVMP Radio” series will continue for at least two more books (BRING ON THE NIGHT in 2010 and the tentatively titled LUST FOR LIFE in 2011). I hope to bring the series to its natural conclusion after the fifth book. At this point I have no plans to write more traditional fantasies—all of the ideas percolating in my head belong firmly in the present world that I love so madly.



Music plays a big part in WICKED GAME and BAD TO THE BONE, but do you have a favorite genre? Is there a certain song that gets you pumped to write?

I have a lot of favorite genres—punk, psychedelic, indie/alternative, Celtic, acoustic blues. What I listen to on any given day depends on my mood. The last couple of years I’ve focused on new music and artists a lot more than in the previous half decade or so. Thanks to satellite radio and the internet, it’s easier than ever to discover great new acts, and there’s some really exciting stuff out there right now.

As for music accompanying my writing, it varies from novel to novel. For my current work-in-progress, BRING ON THE NIGHT, I keep coming back to Ciara’s favorite song, “Otherside” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as the title song by The Police. There are also a few CDs I play repeatedly during the more intense sequences, but I’m afraid if I list them, it’ll give away a major plot spoiler!

But if you want to check out the "WVMP Series" music, including playlists and chapter title songs, visit
http://www.jerismithready.com/books/wicked-game/music.htm


Singling out your heroine Ciara to talk about seems too easy, so who is your favorite DJ vampire? How can fans find out more about their favorite?

Definitely Shane. I love his cool exterior that hides such a depth of emotion and passion. I love his bone dry sense of humor. Plus, he plays guitar, which is auto-awesome in my book. He’d be great fun to, um, hang out with. Or whatever.

Fans can read his origin story, “Last Request,” free online at
http://www.jerismithready.com/books/wicked-game/shane1.htm

Three of the other DJs also have their stories on my site:
Jim, “When the Music’s Over”: http://www.jerismithready.com/books/wicked-game/jim.htm
Spencer, “Rave On”: http://www.jerismithready.com/books/wicked-game/spencer1.htm
Monroe, “Crossroads”: http://www.jerismithready.com/books/wicked-game/monroe.htm

Noah’s and Regina’s stories will appear at some time in the future, when I can grab a few weeks here and there to write them!

Also, people can visit the DJs at the radio station’s main website,
http://www.wvmpradio.com/djs

They each have a playlist that gives a sample of what they might play on their shows. Sometimes I’ll play them on in the background while I write scenes that feature that character.



Who can become part of your WVMP Street Team, which seems to be full of perks?

Anyone! Street Team members help me get the word out about the WVMP Radio books by handing out bookmarks to their friends, family, librarians, and booksellers; by blogging about the novels or by posting widgets on their websites; or just by spreading word of mouth.

Last year’s Street Team members each received an ARC of BAD TO THE BONE, but I have no idea if I’ll have enough ARCs to hand out next year. They also each receive a special edition bookplate. Other than that, the only “perk” is the fun of being part of a team and spreading the word about books they love. I am constantly stunned, humbled, and amazed by the efforts of my Street Teamers!

Here’s a link if anyone would like more information on joining:


http://www.jerismithready.com/street-team/



Since you’re freshly back from DC, when did you have an “I’ll never forget that” moment at RWA Nationals?

Shooting a Tommy gun during our Kiss of Death chapter tour of the FBI Academy. Winning a PRISM award for WICKED GAME in the Light Paranormal category. Making Jade Lee snarf her water during a panel. It was a good week.





As a seasoned author who’s been in the publishing trenches, what do you look forward to for the future?

Ha! I don’t consider myself seasoned at all—I still feel like I’m fumbling my way through this crazy business as best as I can. Every year brings a new challenge and opportunity.

I’m insanely excited about my young adult urban fantasy debut in May 2010, SHADE. It’s about a 16-year-old girl on a mission to find out why she and everyone younger than her can see ghosts. See, a mysterious event called the Shift happened at the moment of her winter solstice birth. She wishes she could reverse the Shift and make those annoying/terrifying ghosts go away forever. And then her boyfriend dies and becomes a ghost.

Thank you so much for having me on your site! I love to hear from readers, so you can either ask me questions here or come visit me at www.jerismithready.com. I’m also constantly on
Twitter (http://twitter.com/jsmithready), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jerismithready), and MySpace (www.myspace.com/jerismithready).


Remember if you're interested in winning a signed copy of one of Jeri's novels, you must post below. One lucky name will be drawn for the prize!!





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27 comments:

Karin said...

That was a great interview. I smiled when I read your comment about the tommy gun at the FBI Museum. Several other authors who were at the Conference have mentioned the Museum also. I think you guys have way to much fun at RTA

Jeri said...

Hi everyone, and thanks to Skylar for having me on the blog!

Karin, it was a great trip. I highly recommend Kiss of Death as a subchapter of RWA. It's not just for mystery/suspense writers--they have great resources for any writers who kill people in their books. ;-)

But seriously, in addition to the wealth of research options available there, they also offer great online classes on craft and the writing business. And the people are just incredibly cool.

Katie said...

Jeri - Thanks for the interview! I'm so jealous of the great time you had at RWA! It sounded like a blast!!

Thanks again!
Katie

Skylar Masey said...

Leave it to me....for some wishful thinking! I mistakenly thought Jeri had won a RITA, but she was quick to point out that she'd only been a finalist for EYES OF CROW.

So please forgive my goof!

Riva said...

You give such interesting interviews - almost as good as reading one of your books!! I can't wait for the next WVMP title to hit the shelves. Thanks for such a neat series.

Riva

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Your books sound good.

Casse AKA Catholic Kittie said...

I love all your books and finally being able to read REQUIEM FOR THE DEVIL is my motivation to finish writing the second book I am writing because I have a habit of being influenced by what I read and it appears we both have a thing for writing about Lucifer's love life. lol

Jamie said...

Thank you two ladies so much for the interview. I have the WVMP series on my TBR list next and I can't wait. It sounds really cool.

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks!!

The WVMP series is one of my favs. I really need to start the Aspects of the Crow.

bachus76 at myself dot com

Sandy J said...

Great interview! Cannot wait for Shade to be released.

afstone3 said...

It is so good to see an author do these interviews and keep the fans interested in their stories. Thank you Jeri. Can't wait for Bring On the Night.

Cinnamon said...

I always love to hear what music authors listen to when writing. :)

tetewa said...

Enjoy your reads and looking forward to the new releases!

Calliope said...

I read Wicked Game and loved it to pieces. I am so excited about your take on the vampire, although I'm concerned about the whole mortal-girl, immortal-boyfriend. I would hate growing old and knowing that one day I'd die and leave him behind, exactly the same and unchanged. I'd be so worried about how he'd be once I'm gone and if he'd be able to go on or would my death catapult him into an existence a la Louis (Anne Rice's). It would just petrify me.

Oh, and, btw, I love the OCD aspect. Totally new and fresh. That pencil scene with Regina or the CDs for Shane or Spencer's writing...totally awesome.

BrigidsBlest said...

I'm sorry I missed seeing you at ALA last week. I'm hoping to attend RWA one of these years. Your books are awesome. ;)

Rose Red said...

What a great interview! I'm just discovering Urban Fantasy and would love to win one of your books!

espressogurl at hotmail dot com

M. L. Kiner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

Thanks for the interview. I added Requiem for the Devil to my reading list. All of the other books by Jeri Smith-Ready are difficult to borrow from the Carnegie Library locations -- nearly all of them are always on loan!

throuthehaze said...

Great interview!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Dead Book Darling said...

She is SUCH an awesome author - great interview!

deadbookdarling at gmail dot com

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for having Jeri Smith-Ready here - she is an amazing author.
I enjoyed the interview, it was fun, witty and had some great nuggets of wisdom.
:)
Love from Northern Ontario
twitter.com/RKCharron
xxoo

Shadows said...

Oh Jeri, you're just the bees' knees. As part of your street team I think I'm this close to a restraining order if I don't stop telling people to ditch the fluff and go for the gold with your WVMP series.

I adore you. You're such a talented, funny writer. Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us.

And the pay isn't a bad thing either!

Jeri said...

Hey everyone, I just wanted to stop in real quick and say thanks for all the wonderful comments. I'm glad you're enjoying the books and can't wait to hear what you think of next year's offerings.

Now I'm off to hibernate for a week to finish Bring on the Night. Wish me luck and caffeine! :-)

A C True said...

Great interview! Always looking forward to the next book.

Lori T said...

Hi Jeri~

Great interview and I really need to read your Crow series.

I hope that you had a great weekend.

Pissenlit said...

Eeee! Can't wait for Shade! Is it May 2010 yet?? :D

WriterWannaB_NY said...

As always Ms Jeri, thank you for a wonderful interview!
I hope your final edits are going well with BOTN and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on SHADE too!
Thanks for sharing your creative mind with us! ;)
Debbie in NY