With the holidays upon us, we’re wishing for a great book to land in our stocking. A great example of this is Shadow Hunt, by author Luisa Prieto.
Please tell us about yourself. Not just Luisa the author, but Luisa the woman.
I’m actually pretty dull in that Luisa the woman and Luisa the writer are one. I love reading film books on horror and chatting with my crit group. I have to avoid IM else I’d never get any writing done.
What, or who, is it that motivates you to write?
It varies. Most days it’s me, other times it’s the story. Some days it’s my cat (she has a perch beside the computer and she likes to watch me write). Occasionally it’s the phone bill ;)
Do you think you see things differently through the eyes of an author, compared to how others view it/life?
Yes. Once, during an argument, a friend said that she’d only forgotten about something three times over the previous month. I snapped that three times cemented a character trait in a reader’s mind. We laughed, and since then she’s used “three times is a character trait” in other debates.
Tell us about your book, Shadow Hunt.
Peregrine, the bastard son of the king and member of the witch Council, has just learned that he is heir to the throne. When a powerful rival summons a demon to kill him, Peregrine has to find a way to stop him and evade his assassin.
His assassin is Winter, a demon from the northern lands who just wants to complete his mission, kill the one who bound him, and return home. The longer he hunts Peregrine, though, the more entranced he becomes.
It was a really neat story to work on. Peregrine, Winter, and Kenth (the witch that summoned Winter) were always fighting, trying to outmaneuver one another. It was a very Machiavellian project.
How attached do you become to your characters? Have you found it difficult to write 'the end' and walk away? Are sequels your thing?
Fairly attached. It’s a weird place, though. When I finish the story, I miss the characters, but I’m also happy that it’s done.
I love sequels. I get to spend time with the characters again, make their problems worse, and see what they do next.
Where do you get the personalities for your characters? Have you ever based one on a friend, family member...romantic interest, perhaps? If so, how has this worked for, or against, you?
I don’t base the characters on friends, family, or romantic interests. I might take a trait of theirs and give it to the character, but because I have a fantasy or horror element in the story, it changes the character. When facing a vampire, the people I know would likely run. It’s not cowardice; even the ones who don’t watch a lot of horror movies know that there are some things better left to the police. A character, though, will be given no choice but to face the bad guy.
What is your favorite part about writing? What is your least favorite part?
I love the writing itself. Getting the words out there, watching the scene come to life. I have a computer, a laptop, an alphasmart, and a variety of notebooks all around me, just waiting. It’s wonderful.
The least favorite part is the waiting that comes after I’ve sent in the story (regardless of who I sent it to; crit partners, editors, agents). Other people need time to read it, I know that, but I get so curious. I’ve discovered it’s always best to begin a new project right away and distract myself.
Have you been able to be a part of the business side of things in publishing? I.e. promoting, picking out your cover, sending announcements, book signings, etc. If so, do you enjoy this as much as the writing process, more, or the same?
I’ve done a little. I like it, it’s very interesting, but it takes up time I could’ve been writing.
How does it feel to get a review for your book? What is your best 'author' experience? Have you had a fan moment?
Exciting. I’m always curious about what other people thought, what worked for them and what didn’t (though, yes, I especially like it if they loved the story ;).
The best author experience was a couple e-mails I exchanged with Top and Bottom Reviews. I’d written them to thank them for their review and they were very nice. I was really impressed with their thoughts on the After series.
I have had a couple fan moments. My favorite was at RT last year, when a woman approached me, looked at my name tag, and said, “Oh my god. You’re L.M. Prieto.” Secretly you dream about those moments, but you never actually think they’ll happen.
Please feel free to share an excerpt and/or a snippet of a review for your book
It would have been so easy for Prieto to cast Andre was a stupidly macho and infuriating hero. Certainly he’s a strong-and-silent type, someone whose first instinct is to protect his loved ones even at enormous cost to himself. With the addition of a phenomenal magic power, it would have been easy for Prieto to let Andrew “take care” of everything, solve all the puzzles, defeat all the bogeymen. But, no - Andrew is an incredibly, awesomely _human_ hero - a bit of a geek, even. He has weaknesses, he makes mistakes, he gruesomely murders a villain or two, but even at his darkest point, loving Devon is the thing that drives him forward. How do you get more romantic than that?
Prieto managed to make me slow down and cherish the moments of tenderness. It’s not often I’ll sit still for the characters’ “I love yous,” but in both of these books, I lingered over the gentler scenes with a misty, goofy smile on my face.
Tell me about your next book, "After Twilight".
Andrew and Devon are going to face Andrew’s grandfather, Victor. They’re joined by Prior, Devon’s ex.
Please feel free to share an excerpt here of "After Twilight".
Andrew wasn’t surprised to wake up alone that night.
Over the last few days, he had killed one man and nearly driven another to cannibalism. If he was going to be surprised by anything, it was that there were voices murmuring on the other side of the bedroom door, and one of them belonged to Devon.
He rose slowly. Devon’s voice sounded pleasant, the poetic rhythm in his English accent creating a well loved beat. The other voice was accentless, though. Who was Devon talking to?
Shadows moved in the corner of the room, separating their shapes from darkness. The figures were tall, with long mouths, thick fur, and claws.
Andrew snatched his glasses off the nightstand and slipped them on.
The figures trembled, and then the fur faded and Black and Hunt stood before him.
“Can we get you anything, sir?” Black asked.
“No, I’m okay.” They left Devon alone? Until this moment, Andrew hadn’t thought that was possible. “Who’s in the other room with Devon?”
“Prior Devereaux the third,” Hunt said.
“Devon said you called him Lancelot.”
Ah yes. Lancelot was Prior.
Andrew fought to keep from scowling. Three days before, he’d been delighted to find another mage. After dealing with Tyler, Erik, and Victor, it was unbelievably good to talk to someone who didn’t want to use others to further himself.
Prior was Devon’s ex lover, though. The man who’d shown him how to deal with vampires. The man who told him how to help Andrew deal with his growing darkness.
The man who shot Devon.
Andrew had always been surprised Devon hadn’t hated him. Now he understood; hate was simple, and Prior was anything but.
“Lord Forsythe asked us to watch over you,” Black said.
Meaning they probably gave Lance--Prior the heebie jeebies. Andrew couldn’t blame the guy. When he first met Black and Hunt, he’d been fairly certain they were waiting for the right time to do something unpleasant. That they were so pleasant now probably had something to do with bringing them Erik’s . . .
Oh god. He’d actually given them Erik’s liver.
“I should get dressed and go say hi.” Yes. Devon shouldn’t have to deal with his ex alone.
What was he wearing? Andrew glanced down. He’d meant himself, but now that he knew--green sweats and a t-shirt, how very posh--he was curious about the other man.
Andrew stepped into the walk-in closet and grabbed a pair of black slacks and a bone white shirt. After changing, he reached for a tie, and then remembered tying the last one he’d worn around Devon’s hands.
At the time, Devon hadn’t seemed to mind but . . . no. That wasn’t a fair statement. Andrew had just tried to talk him into eating someone’s heart. Anything after that had probably been a relief to Devon.
Andrew slipped a black vest on and then frowned at his reflection in the door’s mirror. Usually the office-casual garb made him feel like he could take on the world. Today, he was just aware that he couldn’t think of anything sexual to do with the vest.
Devon doesn’t hate you, he thought. He’s still here, you’re still here, you should go join him.
Andrew returned to the room. He was closer to the door, so he tipped his head and tried to catch the cadence of the voices in the living room.
“I noticed you moved around a lot afterward,” Prior said. His voice had a butterscotch smoothness, making his words warm and thoughtful.
“I thought you would be coming after me.”
Andrew frowned. What?
“How long?” Devon asked.
“Six months. Then I calmed enough to draw a salt
Andrew’s hands trembled, and sharp, spiked magic erupted from his fingers. The bastard had hunted Devon? Andrew should--
Andrew turned away from the door. Killing him, though tempting, might push Andrew back into the path Devon had helped him escape.
And, as much as Andrew hated what the man had put his lover through, he was surprised Prior would tell Devon he’d hunted him. When Andrew hunted Erik, he wouldn’t have dream of stopping, let alone talking to the jerk about it.
He’d never loved Erik, though. Perhaps, like Devon, Prior’s feelings were labyrinthine. It would explain why the man not only stopped hunting but also now warned Devon about it.
“Are you all right, sir?” Hunt asked.
“Yeah.” Andrew glanced at Hunt and Black. “What do you think of the other guy?”
“He’s very careful,” Black said. His gaze crept to the door. “We couldn’t sense his presence until he was inside.”
Great. The guy could get around them.
“We know little about Mr. Devereaux,” Black said. “His line does go back a ways. Rumor has it that one fought alongside the first Forsythe.”
“Despite the mage purge,” Hunt added, “the Devereaux line has evaded werewolves for centuries.”
“They are also known to have smuggled mages out of Europe during the burning times.”
“I’ve also heard that--”
“Old family. I get it.” Shit. Andrew wished he could give the information back.
Guilt lapped at Andrew. He was being unfair. The other mage had helped him, and if Devon could talk to the man after he shot him, then Andrew could--
He shouldn’t be leaving them alone for so long.
Andrew opened his bedroom door and stepped outside.
Devon sat on the corner of the love seat; diagonally across from him, an auburn haired man sat on the center of the couch. Devon was dressed in black, the other in a blue cardigan and jeans.
Andrew studied the man. So this was Devon’s ex. A powerful mage, a pseudo friend, and wielder of silver bullets.
The guy was handsome.
Devon looked up and smiled. “Andrew.”
“Hey.” Andrew was caught in that expression. It was sweet and made Devon look so alive. After everything that had happened recently, Andrew couldn’t believe Devon could still be happy to see him.
Devon motioned to the other man. “This is Prior.”
Prior rose and offered his hand. This close, Andrew discovered he had very interesting dark blue eyes.
Andrew hoped they were contacts.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Prior said.
“Thanks.” Andrew could neither say the same nor disagree, so he simply shook his hand.
What can readers expect from you next?
I’m currently revising the first book in the Half Lives trilogy. It’s about a group of reincarnated mages and their fight against an ancient sentient evil known as the Darkness. When it’s done, I’m going to have a celebration on my yahoo group and post chunks.
Then, to distract myself from HL, it’s back to AT.
When I’m deep into a project, I forget to blog, but I try to keep up with it every couple weeks.
Thank you so much, Luisa, for taking time to answer these questions. Take care!
Thank you :)