In your own words, please describe your book.
A novel in which authoress RJ Blain tortures her unsuspecting characters most viciously. Okay, in reality, Winter Wolf is an urban fantasy action adventure suspense thriller. I couldn’t settle on just one type… there’s also a decent amount of noir/horror elements as well. And shapeshifters, witches, wizards, and a healthy dose of medical drama…
I may have gone overboard with this book.
As for what the story is about, it is about a young woman named Nicole with a heritage she’d rather forget about. But when someone dies in front of her, she has to face her past if she wants to ensure a future for the family she left behind years ago.
What genre/genres does your book fall under?
This is a tough one; in a bookstore, it would comfortably be shelved in the Urban Fantasy section, somewhere near Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files. Like the Dresden Files, it’s got a lot of action, excitement, and thrills. It’s a supernatural suspense, it’s a horror, and it’s an action adventure all rolled into one. It’s also got a bit of romance in it—but not much.
Is this book part of a series?
It is! It is the second Witch & Wolf novel; that said, it can function as a standalone. You don’t need to read Inquisitor to understand what happens in Winter Wolf. In actuality, Winter Wolf happened before Inquisitor. It’s a long story on why I started the series with Inquisitor.
Book Three, Blood Diamond, will lean quite a bit on the events of both Winter Wolf and Inquisitor, however.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
I honestly don’t remember what the initial inspiration for Winter Wolf was. I’m sure there was something… but after the first couple of drafts (there were four or five with this story) the novel itself became the inspiration. I have a love / hate relationship with this story. At the end of the day, it’s a story I had to tell one way or another, but I can’t point at any one thing and say, “That inspired me.”
What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?
Can I just claim being a very weird human being? I didn’t learn how to read until fourth grade; I hated learning of any sort. Then I got my grubby paws on a fantasy novel and became a voracious reader. I guess because I was a reader, I ultimately wanted to become a writer.
I didn’t start writing stories until high school, though—and I didn’t dream of publication until I was a legal adult. It was a very gradual thing for me. But when I decided I wanted to go all of the way, it really changed my perspective on my writing.
So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
I think I’ll have to go with the moment my first novel was officially released—it’s not my best book (far from it, in my opinion) but it was the very first real act of being a published author. I learned a lot from my first novel, and I feel that each book has gotten better as I’ve grown more experienced with writing books.
Releasing a novel is very nerve wracking, but the first book was even more so than the others.
Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?
I am self-published. I originally intended to go the traditional route. I had quite a few bites for fulls of my manuscript, but all of them turned out to be ‘very close but no cigar.’ If I could have more than a handful of agents show interest in my books, considering how insane the competition is for acquiring an agent, that was a signal it was time to try to get published.
I went self-published because I could control every element of my novel’s release, from the editorial staff, cover art, to my release date. I’m my boss… and sometimes, I think I’m harsher on myself than an agent or editor from a trad house would be.
I do wonder (and regret) I hadn’t kept hammering at traditional because of the what-if questions I often ask myself. One day, I may take one of my better standalone novels and try the traditional route… just to find out.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on the second book in my Requiem for the Rift King series, entitled Storm Surge. I’m really excited to have the time to finally sit down and finish this book. I had drafted the first version in the middle of the year, but I hadn’t had a chance to get it into the computer and edit it until now!
I love whenever I can return to my epic fantasy / action adventure roots—this is the series that made me want to write seriously in the first place.
In your own words, please tell us about yourself.
I wince whenever someone asks me this question. I’m a special sort of crazy. I’m friendly and social, but I have a tendency to spout seemingly random nonsense all of the time. I have a problem with thinking too fast, so while people are talking, I’ll be listening, then I’ll consider something they’ll have said, which leads me down a mental rabbit hole, and when it’s my turn to talk… I blurt out the interesting thing I discovered in the rabbit hole.
Fortunately, my friends are patient and remind me to fill them in with the rest of the conversation I essentially had with myself.
I’m also prone to punning, mishearing things (due to being a menace in my own head) and cracking inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times. I’m a mental danger to anyone around me… and I think that’s why my friends keep me around.
You know, to convince them that they’re not as crazy as everyone else tends to think we are. (We are that group of adults who likes sitting around a gaming table, pretending we live in a fantasy world… wielding swords against dragons.) We’re a fun, unique bunch… and I’m that extra fun and weird person at the table.
I’m also artistic, I have a horribly annoying laugh, and I really enjoy reading books. And writing them.
What are some of your likes and dislikes?
I like raspberries, drawing, writing, reading, kitties, flowers, kitties, horses, kitties, tea, kitties… I have four cats and a spouse. I like reading books in front of the fire place (though I more often than not fall asleep because the fire place causes drowsiness…)
I emphatically dislike spiders. I also dislike tripe. I really, really dislike spiders.
I enjoy punning people when they do not expect it. I really enjoy the moment when realization strikes them and they comprehend the pun. The best puns are the ones when the victim makes it halfway through their next sentence, realizes what has been punned, and they stammer to a complete halt, while everyone else starts snickering merrily.
My friends are often on guard against me and my puns. It’s a game. I really enjoy playing games, too—board and tabletop games most of all.
How can readers connect with you?
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?
That’s a hard one; I’m typically very open about myself. The things I really enjoy I tell people. Even things that bother me, I will often tell people. But this may be a lesser known fun fact about me: I enjoy collecting gemstones.
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
I’m sneaky. I love clever, subtle plot threads and clues… but sometimes, readers need to look for the obvious, because the obvious thing is the correct answer or clue. But sometimes it isn’t. Red herrings happen in my novels. I like writing books clever readers have to try to figure out.
That gets me in trouble with readers who want or expect a simple read. That’s okay, though—it makes it worthwhile when a particularly clever reader does figure it out. I like books that challenge me, and I hope to write books that challenge others—but I also want to write a book that those who want a more casual read can enjoy.
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