Jen: Today we welcome Angie Fox to Book Talk. Angie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Demon Slayer series. She claims that researching her books can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).
Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author.
Jen: Tell us about A Tale of Two Demon Slayers and where it’s available.
Angie: A Tale of Two Demon Slayers is a funny paranormal romance about Lizzie Brown, a straight-laced preschool teacher who runs smack dab into her fate when her estranged mother passes off her powers onto Lizzie. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. And just when she thinks she’s seen it all, Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer—and all hell is after her.
Of course, that’s not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you’ve never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And let’s just say he tries a little bit of seduction too.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published?
Angie: I don’t know if I’ve always wanted to be a writer because I definitely went through the “veterinarian” stage as a child, but I have always enjoyed reading, and writing came out of that. My degree is in journalism and I’ve worked as a freelance advertising writer for many years.
But then I discovered fiction writing and fell in love instantly. When I sit down to write a book, I have basic notes for how I’d like a story to go, but the fun really is in watching things evolve on the page. A perfect example – when I sat down to write about Lizzie the demon slayer, I had no notes about a sidekick for her. But early in The Accidental Demon Slayer, when Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer and there are some very scary, very angry creatures on her tail, she takes comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, ‘This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’
I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where Lizzie can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It tickled me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, Lizzie can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I ended up having a ball with it. Pirate can say and do things that my heroine can’t. He’s such a kick to write. And that’s the magic of sitting down to write a story – you never know where it is going to take you.
Jen: Tell us your call story.
Angie: I’d been writing for seven years. During first five, I produced two books. Then I decided to focus harder and wrote my third book in just under a year. I was writing mystery/suspense and having a tough time of it. I’d outline, I’d write pages and pages of character notes, I’d force myself to do those little note cards. And I hate note cards. In retrospect, I was fighting my voice. I’d write these serious, research heavy chapters and then sneak off to read the latest Katie MacAlister book, or giggle through a few chapters of MaryJanice Davidson. It took a while for it to click and for me to realize that hmm…maybe I should write the kind of books I love to read.
I had this spark of an idea about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born. Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I grinned my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.
The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it. And I didn’t write one single note card.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Angie: Well I admit I had these fantasies of my husband saying things like, “Oh let me fix dinner. You look like you’re really focused on getting that dialogue right.” Or my kids saying, “Wow. Mom is a published author. We’d better not use her laptop cord as a jump rope.” Alas, my family is happy for me when I have a new book out, but otherwise after only four books, they’re used to mom being an author.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Angie: Pool boys and Diet Coke, but usually I only get the Diet Coke.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Angie: I write every morning and even though I have an office, I always end up on the comfy green couch in the living room.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Angie: Okay, this is going to sound crazy, but those are their names. I have to call them that. When I write a character, I won’t name him or her right away. I get to know them on the page and then their name comes to me.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write?
Angie: Paranormal romance is far and away my favorite genre to write. I’ve always loved a good fairy tale and, really, that’s what paranormal are – grown up fairy tales. Today’s paranormal romances take all of the adventure and otherworldliness of books like Harry Potter and add the clashing, dynamic excitement of an emerging romance. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good love story?
Jen: If A Tale of Two Demon Slayers was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Angie: I suppose Sandra Bullock would make a good Lizzie. A younger, Greek Harrison Ford for Dimitri. And the dog from Frasier can play Pirate.
Jen: What is the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Angie: I keep getting letters and emails from biker witches. I thought I was making it up when I talk about a gang of Harley riding witches, but evidently there are more out there than I realized. Oh and they’ve shown up at my signings too. And some of them even ride with their dogs. Here I thought I was writing fiction.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Angie: I’m one of those people who always has a book on hand. Right now, I’m addicted to the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. I love anything by Katie MacAlister or MaryJanice Davidson. I like Jim Butcher’s Dresden series about a modern-day wizard. I’d also recommend the Amelia Peabody mystery series by Elizabeth Peters. It follows a family of British Egyptologists in the late 1800’s. The excavations are as interesting as the mysteries. I also enjoy single title books by authors like Philippa Gregory (loved The Virgin’s Lover especially), Barbara Michaels (a favorite is Greygallows) and Agatha Christie (my favorite is They Came to Baghdad).
Right now, I’m reading Hello, Gorgeous! by MaryJanice Davidson. It’s been on my TBR shelf for years and I’m finally getting to it. I have no idea why I waited so long because it’s classic MaryJanice Davidson, which means it’s hilarious.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Angie: I read. A lot. When my husband and I were newlyweds, he showed me the credit card bill with my book purchases on it. The conversation went something like this:
Jim: “Did you realize you spent almost a hundred dollars last month on books?”
Me: “That’s my weakness. My entertainment. If it’s any comfort, I read every one I bought.”
Jim: “But a hundred dollars?”
Me: “How much do we pay for the cable TV that you like so much? Oh and that one ESPN channel that plays football games from 10 years ago?”
That was the last time he complained about my books.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Angie: I signed on to write two more demon slayer books, and I’m also part of a Valentines anthology that just released. It’s called My Zombie Valentine.
My story is about a lonely New Orleans voodoo mamba. She lives above her voodoo shop on in the French Quarter of New Orleans and is tired of party boys and guys who can’t commit. She needs a gentleman in her life. So she weaves a spell to call the “perfect man for her.”
But she forgot to be specific and mention that her man needed to be alive. Her love calls this 1800’s era bad boy back and he emerges from St. Louis Cemetery Number One, very sexy (if slightly dirty). When her hot zombie shows up at her door, our voodoo mamba is determined to put him back into the ground. He’s determined to make her fall for him.
It’s really very sweet – in a zombie sort of way.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers?
Angie: Yes! I’ll be giving away a free copy of A Tale of Two Demon Slayers today. Just take the highly-scientific What Supernatural Pet is Right for You? quiz found here. Post your results below along with your email address and you’re entered to win!
Jen: You heard Angie. Go to http://quiz.angiefox.com/