Nara Malone is here today talking about her newest book, Snatch Me. I'm excited. I read the blurb for this book and can't wait to get my own copy. I'm going to be sure to comment. Why? Nara will be giving away a $10 Ellora’s Cave GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Want to follow her tour? Click here or the banner above.
So let's get this interview started!
What is your favorite time of day?
The dark side of morning, that time just before dawn, when the house is quiet and I’m the only one stirring. I get my best ideas then, get my best writing done when I slip right from a night of dreaming into a morning of dreaming stories.
What’s your writing process like?
I guess every writer has their quirky little rituals that help them make the shift from their own life filled with To Do lists and responsibilities, to the story world where there are mysteries to solve and fantasies to weave. We need to flip a switch that turns off reality and launches imagination. I do that by logging into my virtual writing space. I sit at my fictional laptop and start typing. You’ve probably seen that painting of a hand drawing a picture of a hand that’s drawing a picture of a hand. The image plays games with reality, has your brain scrambling to figure out what’s real. I think that’s why sitting at a desk in the real world, watching my avatar in a virtual world, writing about someone in a fantasy world, flips the switch for me, helps me make the transition to story mind. My business brain gets confused and checks out, allowing the storyteller in me to take over.
A book usually starts with a character. I’ll be settling in at my virtual desk and sipping my coffee when the first whispers of a new character’s unique voice thread through my brain. They usually start telling me about themselves when I’m supposed to be working on something else, especially when I’m at that halfway point in a project with as much ahead of me as I have behind me.
Of course the new character is no respecter of the story ahead of them. They want their story told. They want to have their say and they want to have it now. Sometimes I hang tough and make them wait, but some characters are so persistent that I have to stop and deal with them first, or at least work on their story alongside the one I’m already working on. Snatch Me was one of those stories that took me over. Three weeks before the submission deadline on Ellora’s Cave’s Sex Bytes series, Jolie showed up and started talking about how she felt a kinship with a world too broken to fix. How do you ignore such a troubled soul?
I had other things due. The story was perfect for Sex Bytes but I didn’t see how I could make that deadline. I didn’t want to stop and tell Jolie’s story, but she just wouldn’t be ignored. I wound up living in Jolie’s story every waking minute, stopping only to eat and sleep a little. Occasionally I showered and changed pajamas. I finished an hour before the midnight on deadline day. My editor loved it. She was one of the first visitors to the virtual world I made so that readers could walk around inside my story world. Ellora’s Cave allowed me to include a link to that virtual world in the front of the novel.
What accent inspires you to do naughty things?
Well, I know a French accent inspires me to write naughty things. Le Marquis de Bond showed up in my head one day and the things he wanted written raised my eyebrows. His story became The Dungeon Gourmet. And he was another one of those characters with a story took over my life while I wrote. Bond materialized in my story world the day after Thanksgiving and the series I was aiming for had a January first deadline. Bond has become the character who won’t go away. Eventually I’ll have to write a sequel, for now I appease him by allowing him to blog a Cook Naked column over at the PassionateReads.com group blog.
Name something readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m face blind. I can see fine, but I can’t imprint the memory of what someone’s face looks like. You could meet me in a café, walk outside and come back in wearing a hat, and I’d think I’m looking at a new person. Naturally that spills over into my writing. You won’t find me describing chins and noses. I’m more likely to focus on a character’s hair, or the sound of their voice. I think I might be more tuned in to the nuances of voices than most folks and I find myself playing with words that will describe those aural cues to what someone is feeling. In my soon-to-be released novel, Blind Heat, the heroine is face blind and I explored how important facial recognition and visual cues are to lovers, as well as ways the heroine can learn to see with more than her eyes.
What was your favorite scene to write in Snatch Me?
I think my favorite scene from Snatch Me was the Lucky Librarian game. Jolie, the heroine, escapes her real life problems by escaping into a online game. In the post-apocalyptic game world she discovers, all the men are designated hunters. When they catch a woman she has to submit to the fantasy of the hunter’s choice. In the Lucky Librarian scene, three hunters stumble on Jolie at once. They offer her a way out of submitting. If she can win the Lucky Librarian game, she can go free. It’s kind of like a cross between strip poker and hide-n-go-seek. Of course the guys have the deck stacked against her, but Jolie is wicked smart and she’s pretty sure she can win. I can’t say much more without spoiling the fun.
What was the inspiration behind Snatch Me?
Author Tibby Armstrong introduced me to the Second Life virtual world. In my explorations I ran across several role-play games. One world is a replica of the old Barbary Coast. Several worlds are depictions of what a post-apocalyptic world might be like. The players all create characters and tell a story to each other, acting it out together in visually rich three dimensional settings. Think of it as scene from a book that you can step into and walk around inside. And yes, sometimes scenes acted out involve romance. You can be carried off by a pirate and wooed on some tropical island. You can be rescued from a street gang by an urban warrior. It’s easy to get swept up in the fantasies, to get hooked on a reality that might be way better than whatever is going on in your real life at the time.
And there are players, much like the hero in the movie Avatar, who are able to escape real life disabilities and play in a community where they are free to run and fight and fly and explore virtual fantasies in an avatar body.
The possibilities that grow up out of an environment like that could fill hundreds of stories. Snatch Me is the first of those tales.
I am very intrigued. What can readers expect next from you?
I just signed the contract on Blind Heat, the second in my Pantherian Passions shape shifter series. We’re in the final edits stage on Blind Heat, so it should be out soon from Ellora’s Cave.
I’m also working on a Selkie story as part of a multi-author project and that’s all I can say on that story at the moment, but I expect to have firm details on that soon.
Busy, busy! What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
Characters. As long as they keep turning up in my head with fascinating stories to tell, I’ll keep working to give them a voice.
Here's a little bit about Nara:
Whether it's a shapeshifter romance exploring the primal power of the wild feminine, or BDSM romance where love digs into a character's shadows, Nara believes romance should open the door and push lovers into a new dimension: sexually, emotionally, and sometimes physically.
Nara Malone is an award winning novelist and poet. As a freelance journalist and writer, her feature profiles on women entrepreneurs and her romantic short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and digital publications.
Nara lives on a small farm in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When she's not writing, she loves to run, hike, bike, and kayak. Every story she tells incorporates her love of animals, nature, and adventure.
You can contact her through Twitter, Face Book, or Yahoo mail. The user ID is nara_malone for all three.
Author Nara Malone - http://naramalone.com/
Snatch Me--Sex Bytes Exotika - http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9476-snatch-me.aspx
Want the blurb for Snatch Me? Here you go!
From the moment Jolie discovers the Quarterz, a virtual post-apocalyptic world for capture role-players, she can’t resist the challenge. She’s chosen a hard game, where sexual submission to a captor is expected, demanded, no quarter given. She uses the challenge to escape real life and feels a sense of kinship to a world like the Quarterz, a society too broken to fix.
Mack created the Quarterz and took a gamble when he secretly lured Jolie there. He suspects he and Jolie share sexual interests that neither can admit in person. Now he has to hope that time in the Quarterz can help Jolie cope as she struggles to rebuild her life. He has to stand back and allow her to find her way in a game where he’s not always the captor. But when the game is over, he’s determined to be the one who wins Jolie for real.
Have an excerpt of Snatch Me:
I’m hovering in the entrance to an alley. And yeah, I know there is trouble at the other end. An overturned police cruiser a few feet away is on fire, oily black smoke curls upward, fading into a blacker sky. The streetlamps here were broken so long ago there are no fragments of lens glass left under them. If those clues weren’t warning enough, No Escape is emblazoned in red spray paint across the gray cinderblock wall that marks the Quarterz entrance.
I know. I know. This is not a place girls should go alone. It’s not a place girls should go together. It’s no place for a young woman in a denim miniskirt, a translucent white tank top, no bra, no panties. But that’s what I am and that’s what I’m wearing.
I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve stopped caring. Maybe because when I’m standing here at the opening of this dark alley, that dead, empty feeling I’ve lived with these past months is washed away by a sizzle of nerves, a longing for the challenge of a fight, and a belief that I have a fair shot at winning.
I’m drawn to this place like a moth to a flame. I feel a kinship with the Quarterz—understand the hopelessness of being too broken to fix. I’ve spent three days arguing with myself, telling myself this is a bad idea, but I knew three days ago the sanest of my selves was outnumbered. I can’t be free from the pull of this place until I know why I want this. Until I’ve looked my darkest desires in the eye and walked through them.