I dig this cover. I love the idea. Super-fun-sounding digital-only release. So it was an easy “yes” when it came time to decide whether or not to lend Gina and her book a slot here at the blog. Here she is talking up her Reaper trilogy:
Tell Us About Yourself: Who The Hell Are You?
I was born very young… and I’ve been writing ever since.
Not true. (Why do author bios say they’ve been writing since they were kids? No other profession does this. If my gynecologist said he’d been… but I digress.)
Truth is, I’ve been writing since we accessed the internet via stone tablets, about 1999, beginning with fanfiction for a TV show called The Sentinel. Anybody even remember that show? At first my stories were pretty awful, but like the John Cleese character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “I got better.” In 2009, my first full-length novel, a gay romance titled Gym Dandy, was published. But not before being contracted and uncontracted and contracted again… It was ever thus in publishing, eh?
Now I write funny urban fantasy under my (mostly) real name, Gina X. Grant.
My hobbies? I read, I write, I walk the dogs.
Give Us The 140-Character Story Pitch:
Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
Where Does This Story Come From?
I cast about for a mythical creature that hadn’t been done to death (ha!) and hit upon a Grim Reaper. Naturally, I decided to take an ordinary gal and send her to Hell!
And if you’re going to set a book in Hell, then who better to be your hunka-hunka-burning love interest than 700-year-old Inferno poet, Dante Alighieri? (Forget it, Dan Brown. I saw him first!)
How Is This A Story Only You Could’ve Written?
Because I’m funny. Life of the party even before they break out the alcohol. I craft and collect puns and other witty lines in a Word doc that’s now 27 pages long — single-spaced!
What Was The Hardest Thing About Writing The Reluctant Reaper?
The romance. I wanted it to stretch out until the fourth or fifth book in the series, but my agent asked me to bring Dante and Kirsty together in the first book. That was hard.
Then my editor at Simon & Schuster decided too much was happening for a single book and had me split the book in two. And still have Kirsty and Dante get together in that new first book. Yikes!
But I did it. They move quickly, oh, these Reapers of easy virtue, but it’s twoo wuv. The kind that lasts forever, literally. Till Death do us part? Would mean separate assignments from their boss.
What Did You Learn Writing The Reluctant Reaper?
That I can write. After doing the agent shop dance for several years, I was beginning to despair. Let’s do the math: roughly forty rejections per book, times three full-length novels, is, forty-two, carry the twelve… Yup. I am now repped by the same agent who represents Suzanne Collins of THE HUNGER GAMES fame.
That I can get an entire trilogy ready in six months. That’s three books, folks, split, re-written, new one written, edited, copy edited, line edited, and galleyed all in six months. I turned in the galleys on Book #3, Esprit de Corpse only days before the first book released. Wasn’t traditional publishing supposed to take 18 months a book?
What Do You Love About The Reluctant Reaper?
The characters, the plot, and the humor. Oh, and I thought the cover artist did an amazing job. These suckers are bright and shiny even when reduced to Amazon icon size.
What Would You Do Differently Next Time?
I’m not sure I would have added the romance. I seem to be getting different responses from male and female readers. Because of the level of humour, it’s just not your typical urban fantasy.
Give Us Your Favorite Paragraph From The Story:
The love scene, from the end of the book:
The Earth moved. So did Hell. And possibly some of the furniture. In fact, the sex was so good even the neighbors had a cigarette!
Oh, what the Hell, there’s so many good lines, it can’t hurt to give you a couple more:
From their trip down the slippery slope which is paved with good intentions:
Dead or alive or somewhere in between, I could still kick a guy in the brimstones. Dante dropped to the ground, clutching what was probably his crotch under that stupid Snuggie he’d no doubt bought from a late-night infomercial.
And the inevitable:
Oh, Dante. Is that a scythe in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
What’s Next For You As A Storyteller?
Books 1 and 2 are available now, with Book 3 releasing August 15.
Book 1. THE RELUCTANT REAPER: Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.
Book 2. SCYTHE DOES MATTER: Be careful what you wish for, it just might get you!
Book 3. ESPRIT DE CORPSE: Hell is where the heart is.
I’ve written Book 4 of the Reaper trilogy. (Hey, it was good enough for Douglas Adams who had, what? Five? No, six books in his trilogy.) Tentatively titled ONE SCYTHE FITS ALL. In it Kirsty d’Arc must travel to Heller, the next Hell dimension over, to rescue Dante. (Why yes, my heroine does rescue my hero — sort of.)
I’m about to send my agent the first book of a new series.
And I’m poking away at a futuristic steampunk idea with lots of buckle in its swash. So keeping busy, yeah.
Thanks, Chuck, for letting me play in your sandbox today. I look forward to your upcoming speaking engagement here in my hometown of Toronto in May 2014. (Open to the general public, folks. Contact me if you want to participate in a full day workshop with Chuck!)
Gina X. Grant: Website