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Interview with Yasmine Galenorn

Recently I had the chance to interview Yasmine Galenorn, whose Otherworld series has been burnin' up the bestseller lists, become more popular with each release.

Hi Yasmine, and thanks for answering some questions for me!

Rachel: Why do you write urban fantasy/paranormal romance? What drew you to the genre?

Yasmine: I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was three and have been making up odd little stories from the day I could string sentences together.  I learned to read early and my loves ran to volcanoes, dinosaurs, and…would you believe it?  Yes, fantasy and science fiction.  The Space Cat series by Ruthven Todd was one of my first discoveries in that genre—I just loved that adventuresome astronaut cat.  And thanks to a non-restrictive policy allowing children to check out books from any section of the library and an extremely advanced reading capability, I sped through the fantasy and science fiction section at an early age.  I ploughed through Asimov, Clarke, Pohl, and my favorite to this day—Ray Bradbury.  I cut my teeth on The City and the Stars, I fell in love with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The October Country.  By the time I was ten I knew that I didn’t care all that much for Heinlein, but I was nuts over Clifford D. Simak.

As time went on and I left home, I discovered Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, JRR Tolkien, Jack Chalker, Joan D. Vinge.  And later on—Ben Bova, and Greg Bear, among others.  I added them to the growing list of writers I admired, but I also began to branch out in my reading, moving into other areas.  And I discovered the seeds of urban fantasy and absolutely loved the parallel contemporary world view. 

But I knew that I wanted to write about more than just vampires or werewolves.  I wanted to take my books out of the box and open it up to a whole gamut of subjects.  I wrote seven novels (still in the closet) before ever getting my first publishing contract--which was for nonfiction, and eight nonfiction books before getting my first fiction contract, then eight mysteries before getting my first contract for the Otherworld Series.  Dragon Wytch is my 20th published book.

Rachel: Wow, that’s quite a backlist! What is your favorite part of writing?

Yasmine: When I lose myself in the words, the language, the world.  When I look up and realize I've been living inside my world for hours and not even realizing it.  When I look at one of my books after it hits the shelves and think, "Great Mother, I wrote that?  How cool!"

Rachel: If you could go back in time and meet the pre-published "you" what words of advice would you give yourself?

Yasmine: Stop writing what you think you should be writing and start writing from your center.  Find your own voice--quit trying to adopt a style.  Let yourself go--immerse yourself in the characters.  Stop focusing on pretty language and dive into the guts of the story and the heart of the characters.

Rachel: Good advice, and definitely something I could have benefited from in the beginning. What kind of reading experience are you hoping to create for your readers?  What do you want them to come away from your books saying, thinking and feeling?

Yasmine: I want them to walk away being happy they spent that time in my world.  I want them to be entertained, to be thinking, to be wondering what's going to happen next.  I want them to close the last page wishing the book wasn't over.  I'm not trying to write 'classics' here, I'm telling stories to entertain, to enchant, to amuse and to horrify.  I want to bewitch them.

Rachel: Sounds like you’re doing just that. How do you structure your writing time?

Yasmine: I write 50-70 hours a week, including admin and promo time.  I work almost every day--on weekends I tend to do more of the promo except around release time.  This is my career, not a hobby.  I bust my butt to get those books out, and I'm happy with my current schedule.  I'm a prolific writer and thrive on deadlines.

Rachel: If you could be one urban fantasy creature/person/magical thing, what would you be?

Yasmine: Oh man…I'd love to have the powers of Storm, out of the X-Men.  Or be a dragon shifter.

Rachel: Oooh, I think I’d like to be a dragon too! When you're not a writer, what are you doing?

Yasmine: I'm always a writer.  I'm always thinking like a writer. 

Rachel: (grinning) I had a feeling you’d say that…

Yasmine: In what little spare time I have, though, I play with the cats (or lately, spend my time nursing one seriously ill 15 year old furble of ours).  I play video games (on my PC), watch TV, movies (I'm a media junkie).  I'm a music nut.  I read if I'm not too tired.  My husband and I go out to dinner, to coffee.  I schedule phone chats with friends so none of us feel like we're slacking and so it's there, on the calendar.  A few times a month, I get together with other writer friends--one of my Witchy Chicks from the blogging group I co-founded lives nearby and we get together as often as we can.  I'm not a big traveler, but I love being near the inlet and going ferry hopping over in the Sound (Puget Sound).

Rachel: Do you have a favorite line from one of your books?

Yasmine: Favorite line from any book I've written--and I believe it's in one of the in-the-closet gang.  "There is no mercy in the playground of the gods."

Rachel: I like that! I hope it makes it to the shelf someday, so we can see the context. If you could be one of the characters in your book for one day, who would it be? Why?

Yasmine: Camille.  She's most like me of all my characters, only she's got a better figure (though her magic leaves something to be desired).  She's got three gorgeous non-human lovers: Trillian (a Svartan--one of the dark & charming Fae), Smoky (a dragon), and Morio (a youkai-kitsune--loosely translated: fox demon).  Need I say more?

Rachel: I think I get the picture. ;-) Tell us something secret about your book or character.

Yasmine: I just finished book 6 in the series last month--it's titled Demon Mistress (Menolly's second book) but you could call it, "The Nerds From Hell."  Think geeks gone bad.  Very, very bad. ~grins~  (And before any geeks protest me--know that I love geeks and chipheads.  I'm married to one, though he looks like a bad-assed biker--the best of both worlds).

Rachel: What future project are you working on–what do readers have to look forward to?

Yasmine: I'm working on Etched in Silver, an Otherworld novella for the Inked anthology--due out Jan 10, 2009.  The novella tells the story of how Camille and Trillian first met.  Night Huntress (book 5--Delilah's second book) in the series will be released four days earlier (Jan 6, 2009).   Demon Mistress has a July 2009 release date.  As soon as I finish Etched in Silver, I'll be starting Bone Magic, book 7 (back to Camille).  There will be at the very least nine books and one novella in this series.

Rachel: Wow, you sound busy. How can readers best contact you?

Yasmine: Via my website for info on my books, me, email or for my forums: www.galenorn.com, or via MySpace: www.myspace.com/yasminegalenorn or via Live Journal (just click on my profile, dudes).  If I can't get back to you right away, my assistant--Veronica--will. 

Check out Yasmine’s latest release, Dragon Wytch, from Berkley

And if you’d like to see Yasmine in person, she’ll be signing at Seattle Mystery Books on July 12th--readers can order reserve copies to be personalized/signed while she’s there, and they can always order already signed (but not personalized books) any time of the year. www.seattlemystery.com  You can find her other appearances on her site.


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