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Q&A With Best-Selling Authors Kim Harrison and Jocelynn Drake

Angels InkNew York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison's novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction; Pale Demon; and A Perfect Blood. She also writes the best-selling Madison Avery series for young adults, including Once Dead, Twice Shy and Early to Death, Early to Rise.

Jocelynn Drake is the best-selling author of the Dark Days series, and the new series, The Asylum Tales.

Kim Harrison: Jocelynn, I am delighted to have this chance to pick your brain! 

Angel’s Ink is the first in a new series, The Asylum Tales, and for an author bound to a successful series having the chance to do something completely new can be both incredibly freeing and scary.  What did you focus on to get past the scary part of this process? 

Jocelynn Drake: When I started working on what became Nightwalker, I figured the only person who would ever read it was going to be me and I tried to emulate that on Angel’s Ink. I blocked out the thought of editors, readers, and reviewers, and I let my imagination run.  After the first draft was been completed, I started to consider editors, reviewers, and particularly readers a little more.

I knew I wanted to include tattoo artists, but nothing was solid until I met Gage Powell.  The main character and all-around troublemaker that breathed life into the series. 

KH: You’ve chosen to tell Angel’s Ink from the first-person voice, which I adore, but you’ve made the switch to a masculine narrator. Did it stem from the needs of the story or the writer wanting to stretch her muscles?

JD: My first thought was that I wanted to make the Asylum Tales as different from the Dark Days series as possible, but the funny thing is that once I met Gage I couldn’t imagine telling the story any other way.  But of course, the need to challenge myself as a writer is always there. 

KH: I really like what you’ve done in developing a new world for The Asylum Tales, inventing a system that allows a smidgen of magic to become “inked” permanently to a person, elevating them from average to one with a little something extra. How much research did you do?

JD: Overall, the magic system, potions, designs and the various races, such as trolls, elves, minotaurs, and shifters, are a fair mix of real world information and my own insanity.

I heavily researched actual tattooing techniques, withcraft and pagan practices, but the reference materials were only used as a mild suggestion. In the end, I needed these creatures to fit my world and the needs of the story.

KH: The advent of e-books has opened a seemingly ever-expanding field to reach readers new and old. Any thoughts on e-books in general and what do you have coming through the e-book pipeline?

JD: I will admit that I was a reluctant adopter of the e-books, but when I broke down and tried them I fell in love. Do I still love physical books? YES! But if it’s a good story, it doesn’t matter the format.

As for the recent wave of e-novellas, I think this is a great development.  It gives readers a chance to try out a new author and as an author my two stories have given me a opportunity to tell some stories that I might never have. For The Asylum Interviews: Bronx and The Asylum Interviews: Trixie, readers get interesting background details like how Gage met and hired his two companions. 

Looking ahead the series is launching in a big way this year. The first novel, Angel’s Ink, will be released in both trade paperback and e-book on October 16.  And then I’ve got a Halloween-themed short story with the characters in the Blood by Moonlight anthology, which will be released as an e-book on October 23. 

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