Luisa Prieto who likes to scare her readers is with us today talking about her books, what scares her, whether she believes in ghosts and evil spirits, and many other things. She also had a chance to sample the guys in the hot tub – maybe “sample” is not the right word – she had an opportunity to sit down with them in the tub. 😀
Hi Luisa. It’s great to talk to you and find out a bit more about what makes you tick.
Hi Wave! Thank you for having (e-having?) me over.
Why don’t you tell us something about Luisa the person and the author?
I originally wanted to be a comic book artist when I was a kid. I’d make these novelizations based on movies I’d seen (my best was “The Last Unicorn”). When I hit junior high, I decided I needed to write my own stories. I was awful (I made a four issue limited series called “Pirate Tomatoes”). I had a lot of fun, though, so I began focusing on the writing. Sometime around my sophomore/junior year in high school, I stopped drawing and just wrote (coincidently, around the same time I wrote my first m/m). While I suspect that the world is a little emptier for not having pirate tomatoes, I can still draw a pretty good ninja turtle.
How long have you been published and how difficult was it getting that first book accepted by a publisher?
My first story, After Dark, came out in May of 2006. It wasn’t difficult getting it sold. The ones that came before it though? Wow. One of them alone got over a hundred rejections.
I knew publishing would be a challenge, so I approached my first two books as practice. I was certain the third one was awesome, though, so I shipped it off to every agent/publisher that Writer’s Market said would be interested (shockingly, those guys said no). When I hit my fourth book, I discovered e-books and decided to try breaking in there. To my delight, Loose Id accepted the book.
You write paranormal books. What first sparked your interest in this area? Do you believe in paranormal activity in real life?
laugh My parents. It’s hilarious because after I saw my first zombie movie, I told my sixth grade teacher about it. She freaked and called my parents in so she could ask them if they knew about the kinds of things I was watching. They were like, yeah. We know. We sit down together and watch Creature Features together as a family.
I don’t actually believe in paranormal activity . . . unless I’m home alone and I hear something weird. Or I’m driving out late at night and think I saw something. Or my cat wakes up in the middle of the night and just stares at the wall for no reason. Or I win three games of Solitaire in a row (I’m really bad at that game).
What would scare Luisa Prieto?
Oooh, lots of things. Some of the things that scare me are goofy (before I had an office, I used to write in the kitchen at night. When my roommate came in to get something to drink, I’d never hear her until she was right behind me. Yikes). Others wear their symbolism on their sleeves (the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers occasionally appears in my dreams. He chases me around, trying to eat my writer brain. A lot of people die to protect me). Then there are the things that I never knew could be scary, like when my cat was diagnosed with cancer. She’s in remission now, but I remember taking her to get chemo, wondering if she wouldn’t be coming home.
Lets’s talk about your books starting with the After series starring Devon and Andrew. That’s some scary shit.g Why don’t you tell the readers briefly about the characters and the series? How many stories are you planning for this series?
After years of being abused by his older brother, Andrew fights back and kills him. To his horror, his brother, Tyler, returns from the dead. They fight, and during the battle, Andrew’s magic is woken. It’s kind of great for Andrew, for while he now has the power to stop Tyler, the power has altered his sight. Now able to see magic in the world around him, Andrew discovers that his lover, Devon, is a werewolf. Andrew now has to stop Tyler and figure out if Devon is a good werewolf or a bad one.
Currently, I’m planning four books in the series (After Dark, After Midnight, After Twilight; – and something with “Prior”). I’m currently revising AD and AM. It’s taken me longer than I first thought, but the books are going to be awesome.
Just reading the excerpt for Shadow Hunt scares me. What would you like us to know about the story?
It’s really good. I’ve enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to others (I can be impartial. Really 😀 ).
I’ve begun writing a prequel for SH. It’s called “Shadow War” and is about Peregrine’s grandfather, Ren. I find him really interesting because Peregrine and others have this image of him as heroic and kind, and it’s different from how Ren would view himself.
Do you ever scare yourself when writing these stories?
Oh yes. I have a project (“Fade to Black”) that I can only work on for a little while. The story is about a guy who has to face a monster from his past. I’ll be working on it, losing myself in that Freddy Krueger-like world, and then I’ll creep myself out.
I reviewed Cooking with Ergot with witches Dominic and Carter and I wish you would bring them back in another story. Do you have any plans to do so? I think the character that stole the book was Blaise, Dominic’s familiar, who was so delightful. How did you ever come up with Blaise?
Yes 😀 I loved those two. I’m currently gathering more recipes for their next story. I’m also hoping to create some semi-homemade-recipes for Dominic’s brother, Justin. It’s goofy, but with these characters, I have to think about the food first, and then the plot. With my other stories, the plots usually come first.
Ah, Blaise. I was happy he didn’t try to take over the story too much. He’s a mix of my cat, Darian, and Hobbes (from Calvin and Hobbes). Darian can’t make grilled cheese, but she loves napping beside my computer while I write.
What would you like us to know about the Half Lives series?
Remember what I said about Shadow Hunt being good? Half Lives is even better.
The official blurb is that it’s about a group of reincarnated mages and their struggle against an ancient evil known as the Darkness. At its heart, it’s about Kyler, a former freelance journalist, who discovers he’d once been a knight of Darkness. He wants to fight the evil he once served but he doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. However, when he was dark, he met and fell in love with a very attractive mage named Sorin. Kyler wants to protect him, but one of the people he may have to protect Sorin from is himself.
The first book, Dark Designs, was held back for a bit, after my first editor (the brilliant Raven McKnight) became ill. I’d hoped to work with her so I didn’t mind waiting. After a few months, we realized she might need more time to heal so I got a new editor (the also brilliant Kris Jacen). I’m happy to say that the edits will soon be falling into my clutches, though. Very soon, DD will be unleashed on the world! (mwa-ha-ha-ha!)
Another of your books that I reviewed is Written in Blood, a historical vampire story. I found this story riveting and I can’t get over your imagination. I realize that because of the types of stories you write it would be difficult to come up with storylines from real life as I don’t see vampires hanging around the grocery or video store every day.:) How do you get the creative juices flowing since your stories are mostly set in a different universe from where we live? Do you find your ideas in really creepy places? Funeral homes maybe?
My ideas tend to pop up from all over the place. Half Lives and Fade to Black came from dreams (or, in Fade’s case, a nightmare). After Dark came from watching a couple friends work through problems with antagonistic siblings. Ergot was born after I had a “Good Eats” and “Mystery Science Theater 3000” marathon.
Written in Blood began as an exercise: I was in London, staying in a really cool hotel room. I’d also just come down with a cold, so I got to spend a lot of time in my super awesome room. I lay in bed, curled up with a ton of pillows, and began imagining what kind of hot one night stand could’ve taken place there. Since I was in London, I also thought about “Maurice” and “Oscar Wilde” and “Dracula.”There are a lot of versions of Dracula,_and one of my favorites is the Frank Langella version. There’s a scene where the guys go after Lucy. She’s driving one of those newfangled automobiles, and they’re on horseback. I find that clash of old world and new fascinating. The men want to fight for tradition and she wants to fight for the unknown and freedom (have you ever noticed how, in horror movies, the good guys fight for the patriarchy and the monster is often “the other,” fighting for nontraditional stuff? The Bela Lagosi version of Dracula resonated with audiences in its time because it showed what people feared–foreigners coming in to steal their woman–and destroyed it). The more I thought about Dracula, horror movies, and history, the clearer WiB became. I wanted Lucy to get away. I wanted the vampire to win. By the time I returned home, I’d begun WiB.
Which is your most popular book in terms of sales? Critical acclaim?
Shadow Hunt has been my most popular book, followed by Ergot.
Acclaim wise, people who normally don’t read my work love Ergot. I’m really happy about that (until they decide to go read WiB. Then, I feel guilty when I get the “that wasn’t funny” e-mail).
As an author, what would you say is your most important achievement?
Paying for the car insurance. Seriously, there’s something awesome about paying the bills with money your writing brought in.
What’s next for Luisa in terms of new books?
I’m going to finish the After series and begin the Half Lives one. I’ll also get the Ergot and WiB sequels out, and get further on Fade. And, if I’m lucky, win another game of Solitaire.
What does Luisa do for fun?
Solitaire. Pity I suck at it.
A couple friends and I have been watching the “Transformers” cartoon from the 80’s. I don’t remember what got us started, but now we’re deconstructing the Decepticons, finding ways to show that they were right. Someday this’ll wind its way into a story. I don’t know how yet, but it will.
The guys in the hot tub who are here for every interview want to know how to play with a werewolf or demon without getting hurt.
Oh man. This is a serious question. Luckily, I have an idea: they need to role-play. The blond on the left is a rogue demon. During the day he masquerades as a wealthy playboy, but at night he fights evil, like demons, bogeymen, and whoever designed my Solitaire program. The werewolf is an assassin sent to kill him. He’s masquerading as a guy on vacation. This is the first time they’ve met and the werewolf has realized that the demon is his mate. They should now act wary about one another but secretly find the other very attractive.
Do your protagonists hang around graveyards when they are looking for some hot action?
Nah. They might run into zombies or Andrew’s evil brother.
What would you say is the coolest thing about Devon and Andrew? I don’t suppose there’s the slightest chance that you would like to have a threesome with these guys?
They’re like a soap opera super couple to me. Bad things happen but they stick together and get through it. And if anything threatens the other, that thing better run. chuckle
No threesome. I like to think they’d let me watch. Okay, knowing them, they probably wouldn’t. Heck, Andrew might tell me to go play Solitaire.
The guys from the hot tub have another question. Can they play with Blaise, the familiar from Cooking with Ergot? They also want to know if Blaise has a boyfriend and if not, why not? g
Sure. I actually have a stuffed tiger for just such an occasion. I hope they don’t mind if I take pictures. It’s for research purposes. Really.
He has an ex who’s also a stuffed animal. They’re going to run into one another in the sequel.
So, what’s a hot chick like you doing with a lot of vamps, werewolves, demons and the undead?
Taking notes. Lots of notes.
Before we let you go would you like to climb into the hot tub with the guys? They are pretty good with their hands! (massaging of course, what did you think I meant?)
innocently Of course you meant massaging. I can’t imagine what else you could’ve meant.
Thank you Luisa.
hug Thank you, Wave 🙂
Luisa is offering a print copy of the Hot Comfort anthology by random draw, to a reader who comments on her interview or on the Hot Comfort free book post.
Luisa Prieto’s Contact Information