Interview with J. Hali Steele

Jen: This week we welcome J. Hali Steele to Book Talk. J. Hali, will you please share a short bio with us?
J. Hali: First I’d like to say thanks for having me over, Jen. Currently, I live in Pennsylvania but I’m trying to talk my baby sister into moving to California. *grins* I spend as much time as possible with my heroines – my sisters. I have 4 adorable cats who are spoiled as heck. And I love romance novels with happy endings. Oh, I drink too much flavored coffee.

Jen: Tell us about A Panther’s Flight and where it’s available.
J. Hali: A Panther’s Flight is available now at www.eirelanderpublishing.com. It’s about the Kind species of vampyre cats. In particular, the Sovereign Kind who are the warriors of the species. They’re ‘big’ cats – lions, tigers, leopards – infected thousands of years ago with vampyre blood. There are two factions: those who’ve accepted their curse and enjoy living as vampyres and those who stay hidden on compounds because they are afraid to embrace the bloodcurdling abilities of their undead cousins. Fane, the hero of this story, is a panther who battles his desire for blood and for the heroine, who is about to go through her first change to panther. (BOOK TRAILER AT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux9jEeNlgIY or you can watch it after you read the excerpt post here at Book Talk.)

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
J. Hali: My mom was an avid reader and shared her books with me. I read John Steinbeck and Taylor Caldwell when I was barely a teen. The worlds they created and drew me into were fascinating. I tried to write like them and made her read everything. Considering I knew nothing about life or writing…she never laughed, she told me to keep trying. Many years later, this year in fact, I became published. My first story, With Extra Cream, was published by Changeling Press. It’s an erotic novella about the other side of the Kind – those who like blood. CP also published a follow-up to that story, Hot Tin Roof, which came out in August.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

J. Hali: Once an idea pops into my head, I prepare an outline that usually becomes the synopsis. Once I start the story, the characters take over the wheel, and sometimes they let me have it back. lol

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?

J. Hali: I did research on the internet about prehistoric cats and where they lived. It was interesting to find that one of the largest lions was located in America. Panthera leo atrox was a cave lion associated with North America in the Pleistocene era. They dwelled in caves and weighed about 840 lbs. I wanted my cats to be really big so I modeled the Kind after them.

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?

J. Hali: I wanted the elders and those who embraced the vamp world to have European names from the Balkan area where the curse started – names like Patrik and Nikolaus. The younger American cats are the ones I had fun with. For instance Fane came about because I wanted something with ‘bite’ but didn’t want to use the common Fang. I couldn’t see any of the cats being called John or Bill. *laughing*

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
J. Hali: I’m not sure I’ve let any of them go because I do bring characters back in other stories. Though they’re not series, and each book stands alone, they do tie together by location and what’s happening in their lives and where it’s happening.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
J. Hali: I’d done a contemporary free read for Changeling and wanted to try my hand at something longer in that genre. I wrote an erotic contemporary novella and subbed it to Ellora’s Cave. They liked it and Rhythm of Love will be coming out in February 2010 as part of their Dance of Desire theme. I prefer erotic paranormal and will always do that. I don’t see myself ever doing anything in the BDSM arena. Maybe a light, light bondage, but for me sex and love don’t ever equal pain.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
J. Hali:

  • Nina Simone: who were you thinking of when you sang Take Care of Business? This song always makes me think of Yael from Hope in Love, the first in my Angels in Love series at EC.
  • Ayn Rand: Can we talk about your John Galt? I love her strong heroes.
  • David Bowie: Major Tom, China Girl, Dancing in the Streets (with Mick) – tell me everything. LOL His music is…well…inspirational to me.
  • Billy Idol: One day to follow him around because, damn, he’s hot! I have a few blond heroes.
  • Anne Rice: What happened? Her vamps were the best; she lost me with the witches.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
J. Hali: I called my sisters and thought we’d go out, but they all came to my house and made me cook! We did drink some champagne. LOL.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?

J. Hali: *Laughing* What’s free time? No, really, my sisters make me leave the house occasionally and I go out with girlfriends. I like watching a good action movie and I do still find time to read.

Jen: What’s next for you? J. Hali: I’m working on a series, Angels in Love, for Ellora’s Cave. It’s turning out to be one of my favorites. The characters are sexy, bad boys (and a girl or two) from the heavenly realm who have to live among men. They have quite a few spicy adventures while finding their happily ever after. And there will be more Kind cats. I’m also working on a series inspired by Poker After Dark.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web? J. Hali: I have a website: www.jhalisteele.com; I blog every Friday at www.paranormalromantics.blogspot.com and the 6th of every month at www.trampyvamps.com. I also have my own blog which I need to take better care of www.sovereignkind.blogspot.com and I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/purpleprose. I also have an age restricted Yahoo Group I’m trying to develop as a posting spot for authors of erotic romance: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jhalisteele/, so anyone looking for a spot to post excerpts, free reads and just about anything at all – come on over and join me.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
J. Hali: I’m a big fan of Happily Ever After and don’t like Happy For Now books that go on and on and on. What do you prefer – HEA or HFN? And Jen, I’d like to thank you for having me at Book Talk with J & J and letting me share some of my story with readers.

Jen: Readers, we have two prize packages up for grabs. J. Hali is giving away a promotional package including a “Are You Kind” t-shirt (they’re all XL-so most can fit, as seen in the picture), a key chain and some book cover excerpts. She sent me one of these packages, so I’ll give mine away too. To enter, leave a comment or question for J. Hali and leave your email address in your comment. If you don’t want to leave your email at the blog, then after your comment, send a message to contests.bookblog@gmail.com. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, November 1.