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Nina Bangs Interview

Posted By admin On April 1, 2007 @ 9:13 am In | 1 Comment

Publication Date: April 1, 2007

Nina Bangs

Nina Bangs is author of the Castle of Dark Dreams and MacKenzie Vampires series. The first two installments of the CofDD trilogy are already (Wicked Nights & Wicked Pleasure), and the final book, Wicked Fantasy, is due out in May.

Visit Nina's Website [1]
Visit Nina's Blog [2]

Upcoming Title or Latest Release

[3] Wicked Fantasy
Release Date: May 1, 2007
Publisher: Berkley

» Buy Today [3]
» Other Titles by Nina Bangs [4]

The Questions

Give us an update on yourself. What's your latest news?
Um, would you like me to tell you about my TV interview with Larry King or the standing ovation they gave me at the Oscars? No? Well, the truth is that I usually spend my day in front of my computer trying to make my latest Mackenzie vampire sexier than all the ones who came before him and wondering why I ever wanted to have a harpy as my next heroine. What was I thinking? But I will be crawling out of my cave to attend the Romantic Times and Romance Writers of America conferences. Yay for me. Oh, and I've created a MySpace page just for Ganymede and Sparkle Stardust, my two favorite cosmic troublemakers. Will they play nice together? Uh, no. But hey, it's their page, so they can work it out. I'm also having a book trailer done for WICKED FANTASY by Circle of Seven. This is a first for me, and I can hardly wait to see what they do with Conall O'Rourke and Gerry Kavanagh. Look for it on my site as well as MySpace and You Tube.

What's your upcoming or latest book/story about?
The Castle of Dark Dreams is the yummiest attraction in an adult theme park where only dangerously tempting men play. WICKED FANTASY is the final book in a series that stars three extraordinary brothers – each promising ultimate fulfillment for any woman bold enough to accept his sensual challenge.
Conall O'Rourke learned the hard way that goddesses kick butt when you tick them off. After killing an Irish deity's favorite in battle, he's cursed to protect his enemy's descendants down to the last arrogant jerk. Now there's only one left, and Conall can almost taste freedom after endless centuries. But who knew the remaining descendant would be so beautiful, so sexy, and such a …
Vampire? Gerry Kavanagh hunts nonhuman entities that break Texas laws. But she finds more than the sneaky shape-shifting snake she's after at the Castle of Dark Dreams. The most hated member of the O'Rourkes expects to follow her around so he can "protect" her. Protect? She's a fanged creature of the night, for crying out loud. Nope. Never going to happen. Too bad he's a major wow on her personal sizzle meter.

How did you come up with the title?
All three titles in the Castle of Dark Dreams trilogy have the word "wicked" in common. So when I got to Conall's story I decided to play off the theme park's name: Live the Fantasy. All three books also have something else in common. The hero of the first book, Eric Mackenzie, has a unique power. He can create living fantasies, sensual experiences that are beyond the imaginations of even my most creative heroes and heroines. He outdid himself in WICKED FANTASY. We have our hero, our heroine, and the Tree of Eternal Pleasure. And no, I'm not going to describe the scene. And okay, so I'm a little twisted. It's a weakness. Anyway, I put "wicked" and "fantasy" together. It fit.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, and what inspired you to start writing?
I'd love to say that I was born with a pencil in one tiny fist and a yellow legal pad in the other (sorry, no personal computers way back then), but I'd be lying. I didn't hear the call of my muse until a lot of years later. I'd been teaching elementary school for many years before it occurred to me that I could make a stab at writing the romance novels I loved to read. Inspiration didn't come in a clap of thunder. I was between jobs, so I decided to start a book. It was as simple as that. What wasn't so simple was getting someone to buy the blasted thing. Five manuscripts and a critique group later, I finally sold a book to Dorchester Publishing.

When did you write your first book?
I sold my fifth completed book, AN ORIGINAL SIN, in 1998. I'd been writing seriously for about ten years and not-so-seriously for maybe five more. You do the math. Figuring out the exact year would be way too painful. No, I wasn't an overnight success. Take heart all ye who have many many manuscripts tucked away in your file cabinets. None of your writing is in vain. You learn with each completed book. Besides, I've used ideas and scenes from some of those unsold books in recent stories. For example, one of my first manuscripts was The Midnight Court. I took the premise from that book, and it became my 2002 romance NIGHT GAMES.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Some children have a firm grasp of what their future career will be. And some are surprisingly practical. I know, I taught fourth graders for many years. Ask them what they want to be, and you'll get everything from a doctor to an aerospace engineer. I wasn't so practical when I was young. I wanted to ride horses. I wasn't too clear on the concept of how I'd manage that, but I was open to suggestions. But all suggestions had to involve riding horses. I read every one of Walter Farley's Black Stallion books. I never outgrew that love of horses. I raised and showed Arabians for a few years. I don't have horses now, but I still enjoy the memories of when I did.

What projects are you working on now?
Well, right now I'm back at the Woo Woo Inn creating lots of excitement and danger for my newest hero, vampire Declan Mackenzie, and my heroine, Daria Abaar, the aforementioned harpy. I know, I know, what will I do with a harpy? You'll be surprised. And of course, Ganymede, Sparkle Stardust, and Trouble will be doing their cosmic troublemaker thing.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Uh, nothing. Nothing would be nice. I don't live life in the fast lane, so my idea of fun would be to curl up in bed with a good book. Right now I'm glomming Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I love urban fantasy. When I tear myself away from my books, I enjoy traveling (spent a month in Ireland and Scotland last year) and doing lunch with my critique partners Gerry Bartlett (who has a wonderful vampire book out now: REAL VAMPIRES HAVE CURVES) and Donna Maloy. Gerry owes me a lunch for that plug.

What does your family think of your writing?
My only close relative is my stepbrother who lives in Ireland. He collects religious artifacts. Me, writer of sensual vampire romances. Him, collector of religious artifacts. Get the picture? I
think he hides the books I send him. But at least he has a sense of humor about it.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes from four to six months for me to write a book. I'm a dedicated procrastinator, and I'm not proud of that. But I have real issues with blank pages

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have friends who can sit for hours and lose themselves in their writing. I write for about, oh, twenty minutes and then have to get up and do something—wash the dishes, clean the toilet, important stuff like that. Then I'll go back and write for a little longer. Yeah, I wonder how I ever finish a book too.

Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I wouldn't exactly describe it as interesting. It's more annoying than anything else. I'm a perfectionist. I pain over every sentence, every word. I'll reread and reread a paragraph until the phrasing is exactly right. Argh. I long to be able to just let all the words spill out in a tangled mess and then worry about correcting everything after I finish the book. Sigh. Unfortunately, I'm obsessive about my quest for the perfect word.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
An idea can come from anywhere. I got the idea for AN ORIGINAL SIN from a Meatloaf song. I also listen to Coast to Coast a.m. every night. Some of the program's guests have truly interesting and unique things to say.

What do you think makes a good story?
Oh, wow. Tough one. A good story has characters that I care about and a plot that engages me. And of course, the author has a unique and memorable voice.

What was one of the most surprising things you've learned in creating your books?
I'm always surprised when I come up with another idea that excites me. After I finish each book, I always worry that the next one won't be as good or as interesting as the last one.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I write by the seat of my pants. In other words, I create my hero and heroine along with a very flexible plot line, and I just start writing. Somewhere around the third chapter, I start to understand my characters – their motives, their conflicts. Then I write a few notes for each chapter and plow ahead. Because of this, I tend to have to go back and layer things in later that I didn't know about when I first started writing the book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It's tough keeping each book fresh. I'm always looking for something to surprise readers with, hence my harpy heroine. And since I do have a few recurring characters, I have to make sure they don't become repetitive and boring.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I have ten single title books published, and I've had novellas in six anthologies. A favorite? I think I have a warm spot in my heart for THE PLEASURE MASTER. I don't know if it's the best written of my books, but I really enjoyed the characters. Peter, the toy that tagged along with the hero and heroine, had a movie quote for every situation. I had a great time researching those quotes.

Who or what has influenced your writing?
Hmm. I really admire the humor of Janet Evanovich in her Stephanie Plum books. Humor is very subjective, so it's tough to write a funny book that most people "get." In that same way, I appreciate the self-deprecating humor of Harry Dresden in Jim Butcher's books. More and more, I'm being influenced by all the wonderful paranormal writers out there. I love Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books along with all the great urban fantasy stories being written now. I'm gobbling down all of J. R. Ward's books. Yes, her books are dark, but a great story is a great story, and I can learn from a good author whether the books are light or dark.
But before all of these writers, I was first influenced by my friend and critique partner, Kimberly Raye. Kim and I have critiqued together for at least fifteen years. I'd been trying to break into the Harlequin market for about four years when Kim wrote a paranormal romance for the old Shadows line. I had so much fun seeing that book develop that I decided to abandon my quest for publication at Harlequin and write a paranormal story. That book became AN ORIGINAL SIN. Dorchester bought it, and I haven't looked back since. I love writing paranormals and hope I can continue writing them into the foreseeable future.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Gee, I have to choose just one? I guess I'd have to say Nora Roberts. I don't have a clue how she can write so many books and write them all so well. I love her J. D. Robb books. Her characters are pure magic. Eve and Roarke live and breathe for me. Her last trilogy proved she can do vampires as well as she does everything else.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I'd love to have Janet Evanovich as my mentor. I was raised in New Jersey, so I really relate to the Trenton world she's created. It must be tough to keep a series going for so many books, but she's done it with Stephanie Plum and I look forward to that one book a year. She always makes me laugh. Oh, and just for the record, I'm a Ranger woman.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Many of the authors I've started to read recently aren't new, just new to me. I've already mentioned Jim Butcher. I've also started reading Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong. I guess the only author I would consider a new writer is Marjorie M. Liu. I love the way she uses language and the intensity of her characters.

Who designs the covers of your books?
The art departments of Dorchester and Berkley design the covers. And they have my undying gratitude for their hard work. A great cover is a huge part of initial reader interest.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love hearing from readers, and I hear from them a lot. The most repeated question? When is your next Sparkle Stardust book coming out? Amazing. Sparkle is shallow and manipulative, but everyone seems to want more of her. The truth? I have a great time writing about her. She's free to say and do whatever she wants without fear of consequences. I'm a little jealous of that.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks so much for all of your kind words and support. Writing is pretty much a solitary effort. You're never sure if anyone is enjoying what you write until people tell you so. It's always a thrill when someone writes to tell me they read my books and liked them. Because that's what it's all about, pleasing the readers.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be persistent and write, write, write. Many talented writers give up too soon. You never know when that first sale might be around the next corner. I was very close to giving up. I mean, after more than ten years you start to doubt yourself. But I'm so thankful that I hung in there.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Visit Nina's Website: http://www.ninabangs.com/

[2] Visit Nina's Blog: http://www.ninabangs.com/journal/

[3] Image: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425209954?ie=UTF8&tag=vampireromanc-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0425209954

[4] Other Titles by Nina Bangs: http://www.vampireromancebooks.com/authors-a-to-z/nina-bangs/

[5] Return to Interviews Directory: http://www.vampireromancebooks.com/author-interviews/

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