Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Author Interview: H.D. Smith (Dark Awakened)

H.D. Smith had me at “demon.” 


I am in the plotting phase of two new books and both are about demons. And I have a demon in the Hell’s Belle series (good old Bertrand) that is slowly becoming my favorite character to write. So, these days I am obsessed with demons.

Now, add in that H.D.’s heroine works for The Demon King, and, just like your boss, he doesn’t offer dental. Needless to day, I am in book love and thrilled that H.D. is going to hang out with us today.

(By the way, there's a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post. Enter to win both books in the Devil's Assistant series, and a $75 Amazon gift card!)

Tell me about Dark Awakened (Book 2 in the Devil’s Assistant series).
Dark Awakened picks up right where Dark Hope left off … in the elevator with Death!
Claire has just walked away from the Devil’s protection … to live free or die … but unfortunately she can’t avoid the Bounty Hunter sent to return her to Purgatory, or her fate in being “the girl” in the prophecy.

What’s a typical work day look like for a devil’s assistant?
Claire doesn’t spend much time in the office in book 2, but in book 1 her duties included processing “early retirements” (HR inside joke for calling a human’s debt due), handling maintenance’s requests for dental (no one gets dental), and passing along bad news from senior leaders at the company (like the IRS audit the VP of Finance refuses to report).

Did you work as an assistant? Okay, what I really want to ask is, did working as an assistant spark the idea for the series? (Was your boss a devil?) 
Well … I’ve never worked for the Devil, but my last boss was known for his willingness to handle employees on a plan (read about to be fired), he had horns that someone gave him as a joke after the third firing (before my time at that job) … of course when he read an early version of book 1 he couldn’t stop hearing my voice as Claire … so of course I told him he was “The Boss” :)

Can you tell us a little bit about Claire and her powers?
Claire is twenty-one. Her life was interrupted five years ago when the Devil called in her mother’s debt, which apparently she’d inherited. At the beginning of book 1 Claire thinks she’s just an unlucky human, but after a trip to Purgatory, her powers are awakened and she starts learning who she really is. By the end of book 1 she has unbound her powers and is able to use astral projection, a bit of touch magic, a form of persuasion, and null spells (almost any spell that is directly cast on her). She can also see through most veils and with the help of an embedded translator, hear and read almost anything as English. Her powers change in book 2, she gains a few new skills and enhances her existing powers in new and exciting ways.

Death is a character in your book. Can you tell us about him? And what’s Claire’s relationship with him?
Claire gets really bad news at the end of book 1. Although Death is cursed to love another, he has the ability to make her feel loved. She has the ability to remind him of his lost love … not exactly a relationship made in Heaven, but something they both need … or so she believes, which is why she agrees to let him hide her from the Devil. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out very well for either of them. 

Now that Dark Awakened is released, what’s next for you?
I have four books planned in the Devil’s Assistant series. Originally it was going to be a trilogy, but there is a very strong “4” theme in the books, and I always wanted to write four books for this series (one for each contender). I have started reworking book 3 (major rewrites ahead after editing books 1 & 2), and I have a plan for book 4. In between all of this I’m working on a new edit of my novellas. I learned a lot editing Dark Hope and I want to show my earlier works some of that love :) While my main focus is four books for the series, that doesn’t mean I won’t revisit the world again … you never know which character may get its own book.

Do you have any writing rituals?
Not any rituals, but I absolutely CANNOT “plan” a book … it is the kiss of death if I try to outline. I usually have a game plan and I go from there … pantser here, all the way! 

Where is your favorite place to write?
My day job occasionally means my “office” is onboard a cruise ship … which isn’t as exciting as it sounds (trust me) … during my downtime (what little there is) I have been known to lounge around on deck 4 with my feet up and my laptop open writing as the ocean waves float by. Back in the real world, my favorite place to write is at my sit-stand-treadmill-desk (google it … it is the most awesome thing ever).

What inspires you to write? 
I get these crazy stories in my head and I’m compelled to archive them for future generations ;) … seriously, I just like telling complicated stories that could twist in on themselves at any moment and implode … or unwind in a way that is pure magic. 

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?
I almost never have real books anymore. Most of the ones I have are from a conference last year … I’m an audiobook-a-holic … I love audiobooks. I’ve just started reading (listening to) the Imp series by Debra Dunbar. I have an absurd number of audiobooks on my “shelf” … according to audible the count is 979, 271 of which are from this year … I listen at 2x speed, always buy my credits in bulk, and absolutely love the new “professional narration” option when you purchase ebooks that have an audiobook available.

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?
I hear the Devil’s Assistant series by HD Smith is awesome ;)
Some other favorite audio series to consider are:
 - Jane Yellowrock series by  Faith Hunter
 - Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
 - Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
 - Elder Races series by Thea Harrison
 - Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh
 - Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
 - New Species series by Lauren Dohner
 - Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep 

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