I'm full-on fangirl squeeing over today's guest. Vicki Pettersson is one of my favourite authors. She's just such a talented, brilliant writer and I was completely sucked in by her Signs of the Zodiac series. She's joining us today to discuss her latest novel, THE TAKEN, which is the first book in her new Celestial Blues trilogy. It's quite a departure from the Signs of the Zodiac and Vicki's graciously agreed to join us today to tell us a bit about it. I think you'll be hooked after learning about THE TAKEN, which is available in stores now. =)
Oh, and stick around for the giveaway from the lovely folks at Harper Collins for your chance to win a copy!
Hi, Vicki, and welcome to Tynga's Reviews! To start off, could you give us a little Rockabilly 101 and tell us how you decide to incorporate such a neat subculture into the Celestial Blues trilogy?
Sure! Rockabilly is a modern-day subculture, and way of life that sprung up around a love of the music from the fifties. It’s since grown to encompass the fashion, the cars, the furniture … even the tattooing of that era. So somebody who lives the rockabilly lifestyle looks like they stepped right out of the fifties, and my female lead in THE TAKEN exemplifies this. Her rockabilly aesthetic also makes her absolute kryptonite for my male lead, an angel who was alive, and a P.I. back in 1960. Honestly, I didn’t have a story – and no way of linking his era with hers - until the rockabilly element fell into place./p>
I read an interview where you described THE TAKEN as paranormal noir, which is just so perfect. Could you explain what that means and why it's apt for folks who haven't read the book yet?
I wanted to let people know that this was not another urban fantasy series right out of the gate. The evils threatening Kit and Grif come as much from the real world as the supernatural. So the book’s focus is more mystery-slanted, yet it still retains that great paranormal remove that I think is so useful in speaking intimately and specifically about modern-day issues.
One of the things I love about your books is that Las Vegas feels like another character. What do you love most about your city?
I love its malleability. I love that it can become whatever a person requires of it, and that’s useful for fictional purposes. Mostly, though, I love that Vegas is this bright, bold personality that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If it were a real person, it’d be a bit of a gigolo, I think. Everyone describes Vegas in female terms, but I think it more like that guy who’s always gotten by on his looks, and everyone knows it, and he knows everyone knows, but he just gives that lopsided smile and a saucy wink and continues on his way. He’s a scoundrel, but you can’t help but laugh in his presence.
THE TAKEN is told in third person and we get to peek into both Griffin and Kit's heads. Was it challenging to shift from first person with Joanna to having more of a shared narrative?
Actually, it was a joy to get to pick up some different tools from within my writer’s toolbox and play with a new narrative voice. It was also a very calculated decision. I didn’t want to risk tapping into the same voice used in the Signs of the Zodiac series, especially in regards to my female lead, Kit. Oddly, writing my male lead, Grif, came most easily to me, and I think that’s because it’s ultimately his story. It’s his overarching quest – to solve his own murder – that’s driving the trilogy.
Kit isn't the type of female lead readers might expect from you if they've read the Signs of the Zodiac series but she's still a strong, smart woman. What do you most admire about her?
One of my driving literary obsessions is to question what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, and to explore the ways a woman can navigate that world. Joanna Archer, from my first series, was very martial. Hers was a hard world, so she resolved to be the hardest thing in it. But a woman’s strength takes many different forms and unlike Joanna, Kit refuses to give in to the darkness. She fights it with optimism and belief in what’s good and right, and in the certainty that she’s deserving of a good life, a good man, a good love. While Joanna focused on the evils of the world and tried to right them, Kit focuses on what’s good, and tries to bring the world into alliance with that.
Do you have hints about what we can expect in the next to installments of the Celestial Blues? You end the book in a way that's left me desperate to read more!
Each of Kit and Grif’s adventures will feature a gritty, modern-day mystery, as well as advancement in their personal relationship. So next up is THE LOST, where Grif and Kit are propelled, by both heavenly and earthly forces, into a head-to-head battle with a drug cartel. Yet the overarching thread tying the entire trilogy together is Grif’s desperation to solve his old mystery “Who Killed Griffin Shaw?” That question will be answered in the last book.
And now for a couple event-related questions:
Do you have any personal summer camp stories you'd care to share?
My summer camp stories are idyllic, and therefore boring. My mother was the camp nurse, so I had both autonomy and the benefit of never really leaving home. So it was the usual – performing plays on stage, hikes, bunks in a log cabin, storytelling around the campfire. I also found out that I was a crap viola player. That’s about it.
Who would enjoy summer camp more: Joanna or Kit?
Kit, for sure! She’s a girl who epitomizes sucking the marrow out of life. So while Kit would be singing around the campfire, Joanna would likely circle the perimeter, scanning the darkness for danger.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Vicki! It's been an absolutely pleasure chatting with you.
More about THE TAKEN:
Griffin Shaw used to be a PI, but that was back when gumshoes hoofed the streets…and he was still alive. Fifty years later, he’s a celestial Centurion, assisting the recently, and violently, dead. Yet just because he’s an angel doesn’t mean he’s a saint. One small mistake has altered fate, and now he’s been dumped back onto to the mortal mudflat to collect another soul—Katherine “Kit” Craig, a journalist whose latest investigation is about to get her clipped.
Bucking heavenly orders, Grif refuses to let this sable-haired siren with hairpin curves come to harm. Besides, protecting her offers a chance to find the truth about his own mysterious death — and wreak some vengeance for the murder of his beloved wife, Evie.
Joining forces, Kit and Grif’s search for answers leads beyond the blinding lights of the Strip into the dark heart of an evil conspiracy. But a ruthless killer determined to destroy them isn’t Griffin’s biggest threat. His growing attraction to Kit could cost them both their lives, as well as the answer to the greatest mystery of his long afterlife …
Who killed Griffin Shaw?
Vicki's Signs of the Zodiac series:
(click on the cover for my thoughts on the last three books)
To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
Ends Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal Summer Camp giveaways)
Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Signs of the Zodiac novels, a six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll always consider that glittering dustbowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think). THE TAKEN, the first in her supernatural noir trilogy, Celestial Blues, debuts June 12, 2012.
For more information, please visit: www.vickipettersson.com.