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    Volume 5, Issue 3 August 30, 2010
    Message from the Editors
 Salvage Sputnik by Sam S. Kepfield
 Remembrance Day by Simon Kewin
 Fees des Dents by George S. Walker
 The Walls of Yesterday by Tony Peak
 Pusher by Matthew Howe
 Editor's Corner The Devotion Egg by David E. Hughes
 Special Feature: Author Interview Jeanne Stein


Special Feature: Author Interview
with Jeanne Stein

Lesley L. Smith

Jeanne Stein is the bestselling author of "The Anna Strong Chronicles". Her novels include The Becoming, Blood Drive, The Watcher, Legacy, Retribution, and the brand new Chosen. Her short fiction includes "Better Lucky Than Good" in At the Scene of the Crime, "Elizabeth and Anna's Big Adventure" in A Girl's Guide to Guns And Monsters, "The Ghost of Leadville" in Vampire Romance2 and "The Witch and the Wicked" in Many Bloody Returns. Jeanne is very active in the writing community, belonging to several writers groups including Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. In 2008 she was named RMFW's Writer of the Year and she's also one of the editors of RMFW's award-winning anthology Broken Links, Mended Lives.

Wow! Jeanne, you've achieved significant success in a fairly short time period. How did you do it? Was The Becoming the first novel you wrote?

No. Actually I wrote half-dozen straight mysteries before The Becoming. It's always struck me that the book I had the most fun writing was the book that sold. I think there's a lesson in that.

What motivated you to keep trying for so long?

A desire to write. A desire to be published. I am the poster girl for persistence. It's a simple truth, if you give up, you'll never succeed.

Anna's conversion in The Becoming is one of the more violent ones I've read. Why did you decide to go that way? Do you ever worry about upsetting or offending readers?

Yes. I worried about it a lot. It's a rape scene that turns into something else. I was concerned it might be construed as implying rape might ever be consensual. But I was not writing a straight crime novel or mystery, I was writing a vampire story. I hoped my readers would understand the difference and for the most part, they have.

Urban fantasy is a relatively new genre. Some scholars say literary fantasy was created as a reaction against the rationalism of the scientific method/industrial revolution. Do you think this is consistent with urban fantasy?

Yes. I think we see a resurgence of interest in the paranormal or magical worlds whenever our real world is in flux. We like reading about an ordered world where superheroes save the day when we have no control over our own.

I've also heard it said that all fiction can be considered fantasy. What do you think?

I haven't thought about it that way, but I suppose anything that's made up could be considered fantasy! And what's more made up than fiction!

I enjoy the unique twists of the vampire mythology in The Anna Strong Chronicles. Why does Anna still have her soul?

I wanted to make the point that a person's character doesn't change when he or she becomes vampire. Having a soul ensures that if you are good before the change, you'll be good after and vice versa.

Why is Anna The Chosen One? What does this entail? Are these questions resolved in Chosen?

All the questions are answered in Chosen. I don't want to give anything away!

What adventures does Anna get into in Chosen?

She's burned, kidnapped by someone she trusts, and faces a fight to the death. I'd say she has a few adventures!

Do you anticipate Anna will have more adventures? Are more novels in the pipeline?

In the seventh book, Crossroads, Anna learns of a Shaman who can restore mortality. It takes place among the Navajo in Monument Valley. I don't have the eighth book completely plotted yet, so I can't say anything about that one.

So, the novel covers ...are you the model for them? Are kick-ass heroine and sex object compatible?

Am I the model? Wow, I wish. The covers are done by Cliff Nielsen and designed by Judith Lagerman. They are fantastically talented. I think there's a difference between kick-ass and hard-ass, so yes, I think they are compatible. Anna doesn't pick fights, but she won't shy away from what she sees as a good one.

Since you continue to be active in writers groups, they must be important to you. What do you think writers get from interacting with their peers? What's your opinion of critique groups? How can authors get the most out of these?

Writing is solitary work. For the most part, we writers are all introverts who run around at conferences pretending we're not. But there is comfort and inspiration in having a peer group for support. I have a critique group and we've been together for almost ten years. We're all serious writers. We meet every week. We critique each others' work, brainstorm and share our triumphs and tribulations. I always come away inspired and energized. Course meeting in a bar where we have beer and food helps, too. I know there are differing opinions, but I feel a critique group can be of great benefit to writers. You just need to find the right fit.

Your blog, Biting Edge, seems quite successful. Do authors need to market themselves on the web these days? Do you have any marketing tips?

Marketing is my least favorite part of the writing business. The Blog is fun. Mario and I each have our own styles. I do a fair number of interviews, too, and attend about six to eight conferences a year. As for the web, I'm relatively new to Facebook, but I'm giving it a try. I don't Twitter (yet). I'm afraid if I did it would take too much time. Some people seem to be on twenty-four hours a day. I often wonder when they find time to write.

Did your experience editing Broken Links, Mended Lives influence your writing in any way?

Every critique, every story edited influences my own writing. You can learn both from the good and the not so good. Plus, there's nothing better than helping a writer make a good story great. Broken Links was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award and my co-editors and I like to think we played a part in that!

Does writing short fiction help novelists?

Before I wrote my first short story, I would have said probably not. But short stories help a writer focus. Developing character and plot without the luxury of eighty thousand words takes skill and thought. I've found I really enjoy it. Also, it's another way to get my name out there. I'm not a headliner yet, but people who buy the books for those who are might also read my story and like it, too. Then they'll head for the bookstore and look for my other stuff, right?

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The best advice I can give is to write, keep writing, and never, never give up.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?

You've asked very good questions-some of which I haven't been asked before. I hope your readers got as much enjoyment out of the interview as I did. If there are any other questions, contact me at my website or blog and I'd be happy to answer them. I'm always available to speak at book clubs or libraries. Since I had encouragement when I started out, helping aspiring writers is of great importance to me.

Thanks a lot, Jeanne. This has been fun.

It's been a pleasure.

Readers can find Chosen, the Anna Strong Chronicles Book 6, on August 31, 2010 at all major Booksellers.

Jeanne's webpage is: www.jeannestein.com.

Jeanne's blog is: biting-edge.blogspot.com.

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