Author Jill Cooper talks about being a beta reader, calls Buffy a whiner, and fills us in on her latest novel, Demon Royale.
In The Demon Royale, the main character, Natalie, works for a supernatural protection agency. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Sure! The agency, or WOMP (World Organization of Magic Protection) will become more involved in the stories in Book 3 and become more important as the stories advance. It protects the world and other dimensions from evil, but also protects innocent magical creatures (like gnomes, pixies, fairies) from dangers.
Agents in the organization are trained and have no real super powers.
Paladins, like Natalie, are chosen at birth to be responsible for individual territories. They keep evil in check by killing vampires, demons, zombies. But when a problem gets out of hand, they can request backup.
The Agency has a strict protocol to follow and the proper paperwork must always be filed in advance. Natalie has a guide, Charles Buckle, but the final word is always her decision. It is his job to make sure she makes the best possible one and is responsible for her hands on training.
WOMP is governed by one woman known only as The Boss. She communicates to the other agents through telepathy and is all places at once. She can hear them, see through their eyes, and runs the organization that way. She rarely leaves her post because there are evil forces who would love to assassinate her and stop WOMP in it’s tracks.
And not all of them are demon. We learn more about them later.
In the future we will meet other agents, administrators, and those who work in R&D.
How did Natalie discover that she has the ability to kill the undead?
That came about in The Dream Slayer, the first book in the series, when Natalie realized her dreams were leaking into the real world. And then Nightmares began to manifest in the town! It wasn’t long before she realized she had super strength and had to save the town from being completely destroyed!
What was your writing process for The Demon Royale?
First I outlined the new characters, like Evelyn Drake, and what their motivations were. Then basically I just started writing. I’m a pantser so I don’t really over prepare. I wrote the book and it was complete at about 90,000 words.
Then I revised it, cut out the junk and anything I didn’t like. And wrote new scenes to bridge any leftover plot holes or gaps in time.
Did the title change at all during the writing or publishing process?
It did! First it was The Maple Sweet, after the restaurant that’s in the novel. Then I couldn’t decide on Demon Royale or Dreamer Royale. I stuck with Demon Royale because that’s what I had the cover designer put on the cover!
Which character was the hardest to write?
They all have their own challenges. Michelle and Marcus are fun to write, but sometimes harder because I don’t know them as well as the other characters. Michelle is as far removed from me as it gets and I have to think a lot about what I want her to do as opposed to what she wants to do, to get her right.
If your book became a movie, who would you cast?
That’s such a tough question! I don’t think I would want anyone famous to really be cast! rather unknowns who could completely embrace the roles would be best. For Charles Buckle, I could see one of the more recent Dr. Who actors take up the role. Or that dude from Heroes who wore the horn rimmed glasses.
Aside from your characters, who is your favorite kick-ass heroine?
There are so many to choose from, but the one I always fall back to tends to be Buffy. I just wish she didn’t whine so much about being a kick ass heroine.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing houses?
I think there are room for both. Obviously traditional houses publish slower and are inundated with submissions. As a writer you want to be validated somehow and being accepted by one of the big 6 certainly would fit the bill!
But for people who just want to put their novels out there to finder readers, going Indie can be the best choice. But it’s hard work and you have to do your homework when it comes to covers, editors, and marketing.
It’s a fun journey but only you can decide what is right for you. One day I hope to publish traditionally as well so I can see what the experience is like. So far I’m having a blast.
What can readers expect next from you?
I’m working hard on Dream Slayer 3 and a novella that bridges the gap between book 2 and 3 hopefully that will be ready beginning of 2013! In December, Glistening Haven will be released, a novel that blends the 1950s into a dystopian society. It’s a thriller and lots of fun!
Other than that I have just finished a YA time travel novel that will BLOW people’s minds! It’s in the final revision process now. It’s Back to the Future meets Inception craziness and I LOVE it.
What book(s) are you reading?
I’m currently reading a YA zombie romance series by Bonnie Paulson. I’m a beta reader for the third in the series, Mostly Dead, and it’s amazing! You can check out Barely Alive and Fallin Apart, the first two in the series. It blends adventure, horror, and romance all in one. A zombie romance makes you go HUH!? at first, but it’s amazing!
About Demon Royale (The Dream Slayer #2)
Since becoming employed by a supernatural protection agency, Natalie Johnson’s life has been more interesting than ever. While most teens are working on their summer tans, Natalie works on slaughtering the undead lurking just outside her town’s borders.
The workload takes more than just a toll on her love life, it dampens her spirit and her health, as the town is plagued by a mysterious murderer intent on stealing the residents’ souls. Natalie’s investigation is hampered by her declining health and the sicker she gets, the more inadequate she feels.
Guilt over her inability to act, weighs heavily on Natalie’s shoulders during a time when her strength is needed more than ever. As some of those closest to her begin to lose faith, she must make the hardest stand yet to save the soul of the one person she can always count on:
About Jill Cooper
Jill Cooper loves tea more than coffee and is obsessed over finding that perfect recipe. She lives in Danvers, MA with two cats, a toddler, a husband, and a 1964 yellow taxi. Her life is chaotic, but fun.