Today we have Sierra Dean on the blog, coming to talk to use about her Urban Fantasy series featuring the half vamp/half werewolf bounty hunter Secret McQueen. The first book in the series, Something Secret This Way Comes was reviewed here.
On the 19th Sierra is releasing the prequel novella featuring Secret and her hilarious attempt at dating. The 2nd full length novel, A Bloody Good Secret comes out in September from Samhain.
Welcome Sierra to The Book Pushers!
Book Pushers: You had your debut novel out just this year, tell us about yourself!
Sierra: Well, I’m a bit of a Jack of All Trades. In addition to being an author, I’m also a professional photographer. I’m an obsessive reader (of course!), and a big movie nut. I’ve started getting into comics and graphic novels a lot more lately as well. I’m also a ridiculously proud Auntie.
Book Pushers: What was your inspiration to write about Secret McQueen series?
Sierra: I wanted to write an urban fantasy character who was equal parts tough and fragile. Secret has had a really hard life, and it has made her into someone both strong and a little bit broken. I find that kind of character to be the most interesting to read about, because it makes them that much more real.
Book Pushers: Do you have a planned set of books or is this an open-ended series?
Sierra: If I get my wish, the series will be 8 books (not including novellas). I don’t like it when beloved series go on for way too long. I have my full series arc thought out, as well as tentative plots for the next several books.
Sierra: The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters will cover some familiar territory for those who have read Something Secret This Way Comes. In the first book there are several mentions of a key incident from Secret’s past, and the novella brings that event to light. I’d say Secret’s date is a little more “walking disaster” than “comedy of errors.” It is fun to see her try to engage with a non-supernatural being for once, though.
Book Pushers: Can you tell us your favourite character? And has any of your characters surprised you in any way?
Sierra: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, because they’re all my creations. Obviously I love Secret. My friends who’ve read the books tell me she’s a lot like me, and I never know if that’s a compliment or not. I have SO much fun writing Brigit, it’s a shame she’s not in the novella, but she’s got a big role in A Bloody Good Secret. The character who is constantly surprising me is Holden. That man has a mind of his own. While writing the Christmas novella due out this November, he threw such a curveball at me I had to walk away from my laptop. Wily vampire.
Book Pushers: Do you have any plans/desires to write in any other genre?
Sierra: I have so many ideas in my cluttered little head it’s sick. I have another UF series I’m outlining right now; a YA series I want to do; and I’d looove to write some steampunk. The sky’s really the limit.
Book Pushers: What is your writing process like? Do you have music blaring, are you an obsessive plotter?
Sierra: Without a set plot, I would die. The first thing I do when starting a new project is write out a basic story arc. Then I fill in all the plot points. I consider my outline to be a road map, but detours are always allowed. In the case of the novella I didn’t need to do too much plotting, since it only covers one major event. My outline for book 3 is five pages long, though. And I’m definitely a music person. I like to leave my house to do a lot of my writing, so having my iPod is absolutely essential.
Book Pushers: If you could team up and write a book with anyone, who would you want to collaborate with?
Sierra: That’s a tough call. Obviously Ann Aguirre is a genius and I’d love to write something with her. Charlaine Harris would be high on the list as well. I think Jaye Wells and I could do a kick ass joint project, we seem to be insane in similar ways.
Sierra: Ohhh, good question. I’m obviously a sucker for vampires (haha), but I love a good hot-blooded shapeshifter. The fae are always fun, but can never really be trusted.
Book Pushers: Secret McQueen has a guilt free choice: go on a hairy mission involving a tower full of rogues, or sneak away for a day to indulge herself? Which would she do?
Sierra: Honestly, I don’t think Secret knows how to relax. She needs excitement in her life to function, otherwise the demons in her own mind have too much free reign. She’d definitely go for a rogue-slaying marathon. She’d bitch about it though.
Book Pushers: If Secret had to choose between her vampire half or werewolf half, which would she become?
Sierra: That question is sort of at the center of Secret’s identity. As the books progress, it’s something she’s definitely going to wrestle with more and more. If you were to ask her in this novella, or even in Something Secret, she would pick vampire in an instant. She grew up not trusting werewolves, and I think she believes her life would be a lot easier if she didn’t have that blood line. But meeting Lucas and Desmond has changed that for her. She’s beginning to understand there’s more to werewolf life, and she’s being integrated into that. I don’t know how, or if, she’d be able to choose.
Book Pushers: Secret is an unusual name, how did you come up with it?
Sierra: Her name is a bit of a funny topic. It honestly just came to me out of the blue, and stuck. Some of my beta readers HATED it and a few reviewers as well, but to me there was no other choice. That was her name.
Book Pushers: For those who are not familiar with your books, what is like to be half vamp/half werewolf?
Sierra: It’s equal parts badass and pain in the ass. In the world I’ve built, werewolves and vampires hate each other, so being from two seperate cultures makes it difficult for Secret to feel like she belongs anywhere. Like any supernatural being, there are perks and drawbacks. Secret is stronger than most werewolves and weaker than many vampires. She cannot go in the sun, and she needs blood to live. In her infancy, she was able to shift forms, but she has long since repressed that ability. But she has kickass night vision thanks to both sides.
Thanks so much to Sierra for being here today! She is also offering an ebook of The Secret Guide to Dating Monsters novella. Just leave a comment or question for Sierra to be entered. Open Internationally. Contest will close on July 21st. Good Luck!