Monday, August 04, 2008

Interview with Jackie Kessler

HOTTER THAN HELL is the third book in the Hell on Earth series (August 2008). Don't be fooled by the "paranormal romance" tag on the spine; this book is, perhaps, a love story, but it's much more urban fantasy than a romance. For one thing, there's no traditional happily ever after. For another...well, no, that'll do it. Unlike the first two books in the series, HOT stars the incubus Daunuan (pronounced "Don Juan," sort of).

Jackie Kessler is the author of the Hell on Earth series, published by Kensington/Zebra Books. She's also written numerous short stories and is the coauthor of the upcoming BLACK & WHITE, a dystopian superhero novel to be published by Bantam Spectra in 2009. Jackie lives in Upstate New York with her Loving Husband, two Precious Little Tax Deductions, two geriatric cats, and 8,000 comic books. She's not really a succubus, and despite all the rumors, you'll never catch her stripping on stage. For more about Jackie, please visit her website. And remember: love your inner demon.

1) What was your inspiration for writing HOTTER THAN HELL?

I knew that I wanted Daun to have his own story. After the events in HELL'S BELLES and THE ROAD TO HELL, I had a good idea what it would be. Heh, heh, heh. Daun's still pissed off at me.

2) Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?
Now: Neil Gaiman, Chris Moore, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, George RR Martin.
Then: Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, JRR Tolkien

3) What is it about fantasy that attracts you?
There's something about the nature of Good and Evil that fascinates me. Maybe it's because the two are so close to each other. Maybe it's because the dark side has cookies. But man, it's that burning drive to fight against the forces of darkness--or, from the other end, to blot out the light of the world--that is compelling. Give me the dynamic villains, the tortured heroes.

4) What (besides writing) do you do for fun?
Fun? Fun? What is this "fun" of which you speak? Hmm. I enjoy reading, long walks on the beach, the sunset, kissing in the rain...Wait, is this getting too personal? Okay, then: good music, good friends, good wine. Me = happy.

5) What sort of research did you do to write HOTTER THAN HELL?
Among other things, I did a lot of research on Mozart--who plays an important role in the story. Fascinating man.

6) What are you writing now?
The fourth book in the Hell on Earth series, HELL BOUND. The protagonist/POV is back to Jesse, the former succubus.

7) Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?
I used to want to be a comic book artist. Then I wanted to write comic books. Then, once I was in college and started taking creative writing courses, I realized that I wanted to write books. Or, really, book: I had this one idea, and it was going to be my Great American Novel. So, er, 20 years later, that book still isn't published (although a version of it is currently on submission, eek). But I have three novels and one novella published, with three more novels and one novella to come in the next year. Life is good.

8) What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?
Usually, I get the bulk of my writing done first thing in the morning, before the day job, or after the Tax Deductions are in bed for the night. When I'm on a deadline, a pot of coffee is my best friend, and I'm lucky to be in bed before 1 am.

9) Where do you write?
My home office. I can (and do) write on the train, when I'm traveling from Upstate New York to NYC. But I prefer to be at my desk, on my computer, with the Internet right here to distract me. Wait, no, not that last part. Er, next question...

10) This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out there.
The first two books in the Hell on Earth series focus on the former demon Jezebel. The first book, HELL'S BELLES, is the story of why Jezebel runs away from Hell, as well as her adventures hiding on Earth as a mortal stripper and falling in love, while avoiding the demonic bounty hunters on her trail. (Sex, strippers, demons -- what's not to like?) The second book, THE ROAD TO HELL, continues the story: now Jezebel (known as the human Jesse Harris) needs to return to Hell to save the lives of those she loves. (If she'd known love was this tough, she would have remained a demon of lust.)

Daun loves his job: seduce a lot of mortals, bring their souls to Hell, party at the best interdimensional pub this side of the Astral Plane. But when the King of Lust makes him an offer he can't refuse, Daun has to give up all the tricks of his trade to properly befriend—and bed—Virginia Reed, a woman who's meant for Heaven. If he can get her to love him for the incubus he really is, and if he can avoid the rogue demons that are hell-bent on destroying him for reasons unknown, Daun will become the First Principal of Lust, second in line to the King. But Daun learns that love is more than a four-letter word, and that maybe, just maybe, demons really do have feelings after all...

You can buy HOTTER THAN HELL at, and all good bookstores.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)

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