If you scan the suggested books on the Hell's Belle Amazon page, Rebecca Chastain's A Fist Full of Evil pops up. Mixing humor with urban fantasy, her heroine Madison Fox is coping with her supernatural ability: seeing souls gives her the ability to fight evil.
Here's the official synopsis:
Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.
On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm.
When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life.
I am thrilled that Rebecca is hanging out with us today to tell us more!
Tell me about the world you have created in A Fistful of Evil.
Set in my backyard (Roseville, California), A Fistful of Evil is a lighthearted coming-into-power story of Madison Fox, a twenty-something everywoman tasked with protecting all the people in her region from evil creatures visible only to people like her—illuminant enforcers. Evil creatures come in all shapes and sizes, from adorable chinchilla-like imps to freakish spiky, scorpion-tailed vervet. But those are just your everyday evil creatures. Something much larger and more powerful has moved into Madison’s region, and her world is about to be thrown into chaos.
We both write about supernatural creatures living amongst “normal” people. What draws you to that idea?
It’s a hobby, really. I’ve been playing this imaginary game with myself for so long, I don’t remember when I started. When I’m out in public, I make up stories for the people I see—why that woman is in such a hurry, why that man has a limp, what has upset the child who was perfectly fine two seconds ago. The stories usually involve some supernatural reasons, the more bizarre the better. A Fistful of Evil took those musings further, building an entire sub-world only the lucky (or unlucky) are privy to.
Humor in writing is huge for me, and for you too! What draws you to humor in your reading and your writing?
My writing aspirations have always been simple: I want to write books that leave people in a better place. Well, now that I said that, it sounds like a very complex goal! More plainly, I want to put a smile on readers’ faces, or better yet, get genuine laughs. I have certain authors I turn to when I’m in a rough emotional place or want a book that leaves me energized (Janet Evanovich and Katie MacAlister are great for this). I want to be that kind of author, the one readers grab when they want a pick-me-up read or a book they know will be fun.
Where do you find your story ideas and inspiration?
Usually in my toothbrush, sometimes on my elliptical machine, and occasionally from the absurd stories I cobble together in an attempt to mimic a dream and convince my body to fall to sleep faster.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I have routines, such as setting word-count goals for each session and turning on music, but I’m not sure if these qualify as rituals. My obsession with outlining might be evolving into a ritual. A single novel’s outline can be upwards of 40 pages long, include all subplots, main plots, motivations, arcs, timelines, and hooks, and then before I write each scene, I break it down into a smaller, more detailed outline. Since this greatly improves my daily word count, it’s become a compulsory.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My desk, without a doubt. It’s ergonomically set up, has all my notes, scrap paper, pens, places for my two drinks (I don’t know why, but I usually end up with two by the end of th day), and my vetted music (songs that won’t interrupt the creative flow). Within two steps is a blanket for when I’m too cold and my elliptical machine, which is a lifesaver when I’m stuck and need to move a bit to get ideas flowing again.
What inspires you to write?
No, that’s a lie. I wrote for twenty years before seeing a penny. Money is just such a nice, believable reason.
The truth is far more sinister. I’m less inspired than I am addicted. Compelled. I don’t feel right when I go too long without writing. It’s desperation not inspiration. Once an idea takes root, it’s like a song stuck in my head: I have to get it out or it just repeats on a loop.
What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?
From my TBR bookshelf (which has only 18 books on it, so it obviously needs feeding):
Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook (aka Kim Harrison)
The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
Killbox by Ann Aguirre
Marked by Sarah Fine
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas
Any recommendations of which I should read first?
What do you recommend people see/read/hear?
See: The Extraordinary Adventures of AdèleBlanc-Sec. It’s so much fun!
Read: Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Hear: Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline (the audio version is read by the author)
Want more Rebecca? Find her online at her website or Goodreads. And you can Facebook friend her or Tweet at her.