Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Q&A with Karen Greco, author of Steele City Blues

Now available from author Karen Greco, is the urban fantasy/paranormal romance Steele City Blues, book three in the Hell’s Belle Series.

The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule for a Q&A about her newest novel.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I think on some level, I was always interested in telling stories, or being a part of them. I started actor training when I was 12, and did that all through high school and it started as my major in college. But by the time I went to uni, I had found some young success as a playwright and really loved creating characters and telling stories. I think that was the pivot point, so at age 17.

What was your first book/story published?

My first published work was one of my plays, when I was in college. After that, it was Hell’s Belle. I took a professional detour as a magazine writer/editor and then entertainment publicist.

What inspired you to write Steele City Blues?

It’s the third book in the Hell’s Belle series, so Hell’s Belle (book 1) and Tainted Blood (book 2) for sure! Otherwise, I think the driving force behind the books is figuring out what makes a family, that it’s not about blood relatives, but about the people you gravitate towards over the course of your life who become the people you rely on the most. It’s also about living in the gray zone. So much of life is presented to us as a dichotomy: black and white, good and evil. The shades of gray are important. Can you be a good person but still drain the blood from someone’s body? And, how do you rectify that in your mind?

What character in Steele City Blues is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

There’s actually a bit of me in all my characters. If I get really pissed off, I can be like Max. I also have a tendency to jump in without thinking (hello, Nina). I am a mom, so there’s a nurturing part of me, like Babe. And, as I age, I aspire to find my chill and my wisdom, like Dr. O.

The character least like me is Frankie. He’s a goddamn romantic, and I am the least romantic person on the planet. Which is hilarious for someone who also writes contemporary and paranormal romance.

What is your favorite part in Steele City Blues?
This is a tough one. I always love to write fight scenes, and there are a few good battles in this. But as I went through edits and read and re-read and re-read again, what stood out was that the relationships between the characters are becoming so much more three dimensional now, since we are all evolving together. The more intimate moments are the ones that I enjoy reading.

What was the hardest part to write?

I think anytime you have to kill off a character, it’s hard. Particularly when you (and your readers) love that character. But sometimes something crushing needs to happen for the other characters to move forward and evolve. Just like life.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

Well, I still have my day job…but it’s super high stress. So I’d love something a little mellower. If I could have a career do-over, I think I would be a research librarian. When I was in grad school, I loved going to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center and digging through their archives and discovering things. Research is one of my favorite parts of writing the books. I do tons of research on different magical practices to help create the magic world in the books.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

I do read reviews, but only when the book first launches. I think it helps to know what readers are digging, and what maybe isn’t working so that you can apply that to the next. So I love reviews that are thoughtful, and the ones that explain why it didn’t work for them. For example, I knew Tainted Blood’s pacing was a bit slower than Hell’s Belle. -- SPOILER ALERT – In HB, Nina was all action, because she was reliant on her vampire instincts. But by TB, she knows she’s a witch and needs to nurture some magic. So there was a lot less butt-kicking going on, and some readers didn’t like that. So for Steele City Blues, I tried to find more of a balance between the two.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

Anne Rice and Laurell K Hamilton. Both of them found tremendous success, but were courageous enough to shift gears in the writing and their careers, which is really hard to do. They both risked failure, but stayed true to what they wanted to write about and came out the other side stronger for it. Those are two bad-ass women.

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

Oh boy, do I! I am working on a few romances (under my penname Jillian Sterling). I also have started a new urban fantasy focusing on demons. And I am working on the fourth book in the Hell’s Belle series. I am really excited about this one because I am going to try out a new character who I initially conjured up for a different book. If she works well, she may get her own series. A spin off would be fun, right?

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About the Author: Karen Greco is originally from Rhode Island and loves hot wieners from New York System, but can't stand coffee milk. She studied playwriting in college (and won an award or two). After not writing plays for a long time, a life-long obsession with exorcists and Dracula drew her to urban fantasy, where she decapitates characters with impunity. Steele City Blues is the third book in the Hell’s Belle series, after Hell’s Belle (the first) and Tainted Blood (number two). She writes contemporary romance for a small press under the pen-name Jillian Sterling, and has a day job in entertainment publicity.

To find out more about Karen, visit her website at: www.karengrecoauthor.com

You can follow Karen on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the interview! They were great questions to answer.


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