Welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews! Today, I'm interviewing Vicky Loebel, author of Keys to the Coven. I hope you enjoy learning about this author! We'd love to hear from you, comments are very welcome.
Hi Vicky, and thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm pleased to have you here on the blog today. :)
Tell me about yourself, and your writing.
I’m an ex-computer programmer and technical writer who always wanted to produce great fiction but never could get anything great down on paper. About ten years ago, I bumped into the world of “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” fanfiction, learned to substitute “fun” for “great,” and never looked back.
How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?
My first professional (indie) novel “Keys to the Coven” is a partly witty, partly spicy, dark urban fantasy/romance. I also have Man From U.N.C.L.E. fanfiction on my website.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
It’s not so much a question of writing different genres as combining genres in different ways. “Keys to the Coven” reads like urban fantasy/science fiction, but has a strong central romance and a mystery plot inasmuch as it’s up to the reader to follow twists and turns and piece together what’s happening.
I’m in the process of finishing a (very spicy) contemporary romance called “Ten Years After” which will be out this winter and will hopefully develop into a connected set of novellas.
My other work in progress is a zombie short story/novella scheduled for October 2012 called “Speakeasy Dead” which time-shifts the setting from “Keys to the Coven” to the roaring twenties. That one’s sort of historical/urban fantasy/humor with chunky bits of horror grafted on.
Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?
I’m a “plotster.” First I write part of a story to get a feel for setting and characters. Then I spend a couple of weeks researching, organizing my closets, sulking and—if necessary—joining the French Foreign Legion until I’ve hammered out enough of the plot to know where I’m going. Then I sit down and write something tangentially connected to that plot.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
I’m mostly free during school hours which, thanks to the magic of the Internet, too often melt away before my very eyes. My goal is two dedicated hours of writing per day.
Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?
I go for strongly motivated characters, humor, and clever plotting. Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, and Terry Pratchett are my current fantasy favorites, and I’m a huge fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin historical novels and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. One of my favorite chore-time entertainments is to listen to PG Wodehouse audio books, read by Jonathan Cecil or Simon Callow.
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I’d like to calmly and sensibly pick the titles I plan to work on, produce them neatly on schedule, and spend next to no time buried up to my neck in sand amidst the fire-ants of Algeria.
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Invisibility! I used to want it so I could sneak into the movies, but nowadays my motives are loftier. I want to hide from my kids.
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
Anything that will fly with me on it. A magic carpet might be the most practical, but we’ve got room in the yard for a gryphon, and a dragon that’s good with dogs is not absolutely out of the question.
Tell us a little about your latest release.
“Keys to the Coven” is a witty adult urban fantasy/romance in which a good-guy demon (Max) is sent to destroy a very nasty magic artifact. Unfortunately, the artifact is linked to a mostly innocent young woman (Felicity). Max and Felicity team up, but as they work together and feel a growing mutual regard, they can’t escape the truth. To conquer evil, one or the other of them will have to die.
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)
I’d say chocolate, but I keep trying to live without it, so there’s hope. Maybe my Kindle. Plus the electricity to recharge it, an online service to provide the books, and oh yes people to write the books, money to buy them….
Ok, sunshine. We’re blessed lots of sunshine in Arizona. Can’t live without it.
Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?
I would love to write a book with Jim Butcher or Lois McMaster Bujold. Heck, I know they like each other, so how about all three of us together? The fact is, I’m a lousy collaborator. My writing hardly clicks with my own brain, let alone anyone else’s. But I’d try really, really hard to hide that fact from them!
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?
I’m also a lousy conversationalist, but if I can have the invisibility power from up above I’d like to sneak around and eavesdrop on Noel Coward. No point in asking questions. He’d just lie charmingly.
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?
I love to cook exotic dishes (not whole meals; they’re too demanding). I practice yoga (erratically) and dance badly when no one’s around. Because the short story I’m working on, “Speakeasy Dead,” is set in the 1920s, I’ve spent many fond hours of late reading period authors like Fitzgerald and researching the roaring twenties online. A girl can get lost on YouTube and never find her way home.
If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?
Glen Cook has a fantasy series featuring a PI named Garrett that would probably translate well. Maybe I’d go for that.
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
Drawing. Or possibly spelling. Let me proofread this interview and get back to you.
Robin Hood’s Lincoln green
Weather: Hot or cold?
Hot by the pool. Cool by the fire. I live in southern Arizona where we don’t really do cold, but if the weather comes with hot toddies and a ski-lodge, I’m willing to make an exception.
Favorite place to read?
That corner over there where nobody will notice I’m not participating.
Grandma’s German/Norwegian sauerbraten with dumplings.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
Iced tea with a splash of lemonade if I’m being good. Coke if I’ve been good already.
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?
Wow! Straight to London where my unlimited resources would hopefully attract a bold and witty, multi-lingual traveling companion (with an umbrella) who’s not afraid to make hotel reservations in other languages. From there chalets with hot toddies, the Orient Express, and Venice would definitely be on the itinerary. You know. For starters.
Keys to the Coven by Vicky Loebel
The Road to Hell is Paved With Bad Intentions
Welcome to Keys to the Coven, a witty, tightly-plotted, sometimes dark (adult) urban-fantasy/romance set in an original universe where karma is power, sex is karma, and it's not who you know but whose soul you own that really matters.
To become a demon, you must die in complete and utter despair. Three hundred years ago, Max passed that test with flying colors and joined the afterlife resolving never again to have innocent blood on his hands. Now a successful Demonic Intervention Agent, Max has been given the job of breaking Felicity Woodsen's family curse. But what she doesn't know, what Max can't bring himself to tell her, is that completing his mission almost certainly means her death.
When Felicity inherits her mother's coven, she learns each firstborn Woodsen daughter must become the consort of an evil-arch demon. Felicity's only hope is to ally with the mysteriously charming Max. But is saving her body from one demon worth the price of risking her soul with another?
Arch-Demon Roxashael landed in Hell when his Roman captors sent his family, one by one to be devoured by lions. The lesson was clear: power is good; lots of power is better. Two-thousand years later, Rocky has power. He's purchased hundreds of souls, and he's created the Minsk Homunculus, a magic artifact that, by binding a human witch as his consort, places him above the goody-two-shoes laws of karma.
But Rocky made a mistake. He fell in love with Felicity's mother and in a moment of weakness promised to give up his demon-consort charm. Now Felicity's mother is dead, the Minsk Homunculus is slated for destruction, and Rocky's power as an arch-demon is about to end.
No demon can break a promise. If Rocky refuses to give up the Minsk Homunculus, he'll become the lowest, most abject slave in Hell.
But then, why break promises when they're so easy to corrupt?
Once a systems programmer for NASA, Vicky Loebel followed a logical progression from computer science to technical writing to urban fantasy author before finally settling in as a Demon from Hell, because it isn't who you know, but whose soul you own that really matters. Vicky is the author of award winning amateur fiction and an avid reader of anything written with panache. She lives in the human world with a rotating cadre of four men on the slopes of Mt. Lemmon, Arizona, and on the internet at www.vickyloebel.com.