Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sex, Blood & Rock'n'Roll: An Interview with Jeri Smith-Ready

By Kayley Thomas

Jeri Smith-Ready's third novel in the WVMP Radio series is out today, July 27th! I had the pleasure of chatting with Jeri a bit last week about the series and its newest installment, Bring on the Night, a book I recommend you all go out and buy. A quick summary of the book to bring you up to speed:

"Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all. A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic but eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks as if she might actually finish her bachelor's degree!

But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps?

Ciara's suspicions are confirmed when she's assigned to a special-ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control's oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers. To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious, fatal virus spreads through Sherwood—and corpses begin to rise from their graves—Ciara will not only get a crash course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith, and her life itself, in the hands of magic." -Official blurb


Another vampire series, you say? Well, yes and no. Yes, it’s a vampires series. But no, it’s not just another one. The WVMP Radio books have bite.

Sad, sorry pun, I know. It’s true, though. Jeri mixes some seriously sexy, sometimes frightening bloodsuckers with a snappy, sardonic wit that you can really cut your teeth on. The WVMP series – beginning with Wicked Game, followed by Bad to the Bone, and now Bring on the Night – boasts a kickass heroine in Ciara Griffin, former con artist gone good with a marketing internship at a local radio station. Or at least, that’s how it all began back in Wicked Game. A little more background, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of sinking your teeth into the first two books:

The crux of the novels begin with Ciara's discovery that the radio station – WVMP – is DJed by an eclectic crew of vampires. Think about it: it’s the perfect job. No one has to see you, you can record your show any time and, in Jeri’s vampire ‘verse, it helps you stay in touch with your humanity. Each vampire was “turned” in a different decade, part of which they still hold onto in their behaviors and attitudes. There’s sensitive grunge cutie Shane McCallister (sorry ladies, Ciara snags him), turned in 1995; goth-punk Regina in her black eyeliner and blacker moods, turned in 1987; chill, reggae-loving Noah, turned in 1979; the psychedelic, tune-in-and-drop-out Jim, turned in 1970; blues gent Monroe Jefferson, turned in 1940; and rockabilly Southern boy Spencer, turned in 1959.

Though Ciara and Shane’s relationship bring the two of them to the forefront, each vampire has their own distinct personality, musical leanings, and backstory, making for a rich ensemble cast – one that at times is sure to clash, from their tastes in tunes to their beliefs. Each vampire is bound to their past – if they lose touch with it, they waste away. But they still have to survive in our world, one with increasingly few places for a vampire to hide and thrive. The radio station offers the perfect solution, but when it starts going down the tubes, Ciara comes up with a brilliant plan: hide in plain sight. Market the radio station as exactly what they are – vampire DJs, sexy and mysterious with unique radio programs and personalities. An elaborate fantasy that a vamp-crazed culture is bound to buy into, and who would ever guess that everything they say is true?

But of course, life – and life after death – can never go so smoothly. Throw in threats of corporate radio takeover, anti-vampire groups intent on exposing them, crazy cults, a mysterious group called The Control, and Ciara’s own dark history, and you’ve got a series that knocked me off my feet. I fell in love with Wicked Game, devoured Bad to the Bone, and can’t wait for my copy of Bring on the Night. This is a series that you don’t want to miss – sexy, fun, dark, sly, and unique.

Jeri and I talk the new novel, the state of the vampire, kickass heroines and their dreamy vampire boyfriends, the series’ rockin’ soundtrack and the overall importance of added zombies.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sean Patrick Flanery Interview up at the shiny new Fangirltastic!

Well, hello there!

No, I'm not dead. The Norman Reedus interview - while fabulous - will not be the be-all and end-all of Hopeful Monster. I got a bit swamped with the beginning of summer semester teaching and the whole moving into a new apartment bit, but things seem to be calming down now. Well, as calm as they'll ever be.

I'll have an interview coming up next week with one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, so watch out for that. Expect some film reviews in the near future too.
I also have an interview with the Dirges that should be coming out within the next week or two, and some other good interviews slated for the future - plus ideas for very serious philosophical treatises, of course.

In the meantime, a lot of you were asking about the interview I did with Sean Patrick Flanery for Pretty-Scary. The site previously devoted to women in horror is now geared toward women in all spec genres and will henceforth be known as Fangirltastic! And, no worries, they still have a monthly feature called "Studs," in which we objectify men in the genre and sometimes ask them serious questions.

My interview with Sean is indeed up at the new site, so for those of you who didn't get a chance to read it before, you can find it here - we talked about coming back to the Saints set, the fans, being a manly man, his dog Donut, and more! Be sure to check out the rest of Fangirltastic while you're there - it's always been a great read, with lots of news and interviews and snark and girl power, and it's looking to be even more awesome now than ever. (Heidi Martinuzzi did not pay me to say this.)

So check that out, and check back here soon!

Catch you on the flip side*

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Real Dark, Real Heavy": An Interview With Norman Reedus

By Kayley Thomas

Back in the Spring, Norman and I chatted about the Boondock Saints films for an article published over at Pulp Tone, with insights into the cult phenomenon from both Norman and Sean Patrick Flanery as well as their fans. Alas, not everything Norman had to say could make it into the article, so I asked him at the time if I could post the rest of our conversation on my blog. Having abandoned said blog for a while as I wrestled with my MA thesis, I've still been holding onto this interview and desperately wanting to share it. With the graaaand opening of Hopeful Monster, it was simply meant to be!

Talking to Norman was such a delight; he's this completely, effortlessly engaging guy. Interviewing Sean before I talked to Norman had served as an interesting transition - Sean all charming and boisterous, Norman more laidback and soft-spoken. He's got this coffee-and-cigarettes kind of voice that had me instantly at ease...and okay, a little weak in the knees. Besides being an incredibly talented actor, film maker, and artist, I found Norman at once inviting and opinionated in his remarks, with an obvious affection for his fans, appreciation for his opportunities, and a love and respect for his craft.

Read on for Norman's thoughts on pesky movie critics, his love for Boondock fans, masculinity and violence, his ideas for a sequel, a Reedus original art installation that scared Heidi Klum, directing, and the curious lack of romance in the Saints films - and in his other movies too!