Here it is! The first official, shiny author interview! Poppy Dennison, author of the fabulous Triad series, has graciously agreed to an interview. Let me tell you, she shares some good stuff with us. She also tells us a bit about her new serial series ¬Coconut Cove – written with M.J. O’Shea – and her upcoming release Creature Feature 2 – written with Rhys Ford.
Hiya Poppy! Welcome to the blog. Can you tell us something about yourself and what made you start writing?
– Thanks for having me! Well, I’m a self-proclaimed sassy southern lady. What that means is that you’ll hear a lot of y’alls and other southernisms when I talk, and I’m known for being a little on the silly side! Don’t be surprised to hear me say something like “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”. I say random weirdness in real life all the time.
I started writing fanfiction a few years ago, and realized I loved writing more than I’d imagined. I’ve been writing since I was a child, but always considered it a pipe-dream. A good friend of mine told me he wanted to read a paranormal where one of the shifter characters had a child, and I knew I could write that story. I did, and he nagged me until I’d submitted it. Mind Magic was published in 2012 and I haven’t looked back! (And I did send my friend a great present for all the nagging!)
When I started reading your work, you mostly wrote paranormal romance featuring shifters, vampires, witches and other paranormal creatures. Your latest series Coconut Cove is contemporary romance. What made you change genres?
– I wouldn’t say change so much as take a temporary detour. Paranormal will always be my true love! That said, I took a road trip with MJ O’Shea and we were talking about how we both loved teen dramas on TV. I was addicted to 90210 when I was younger and have watched several more series since then. We decided we wanted to see a teen drama based around gay characters, and since there wasn’t one handy, we’d write it ourselves. I also have another contemporary series in the works. But then it’s back to paranormal land for me. I’ll never be able to stray for long!
You wrote the story Creature Feature 2 with Rhys Ford. Can you tell us a little about the story?
– I’d love to. First off, let me tell you that Rhys Ford is a dream to work with. The woman is a creative genius and I am in awe of her! What’s funny is that the idea of working with Rhys had never crossed my mind. I mean, she’s Rhys Ford. But Mary Calmes (who co-wrote the first Creature Feature book with me) sat me down one day and informed me that she wanted another book in the series. Of course, I agreed. Then she informed me that she wanted me to write it with Rhys. She was informing Rhys of this at the same time. We really didn’t have a choice!
Mary’s a great match-maker though, and Rhys and I immediately realized we’d make a great team. We knew we wanted CF2 to have a completely different feel from the first book, and decided to create some ancient vampyres who were making havoc. Rhys and I are both drawn to post-apocalyptic themes, and she had the brilliant idea to set the book in modern-day Detroit, which is as close to a post-apocalyptic setting as we could get and still maintain a contemporary setting. I’m incredibly proud of the results. We each wrote a hunter who is called in to handle the vampyre issue. I wrote the first half of the book with Taz on the hunt for the descendant of an an ancient line of mages who might be able to stop the vamps in their tracks. Rhys wrote the second half with her hunter, Javi, who has his own mission to complete.
How was it to co-write a story with another author? Was it harder that writing a story on your own?
– Honestly, the writing part itself is about the same for me. With both MJ O’Shea and Rhys Ford, we created a world together and then each wrote our own stories set in that world. The creation part is so much easier with a partner. You have someone to bounce ideas off and everything seems to come together a lot easier in plotting and outlining. Keeping all those details straight? That’s a bit harder, but the challenge in that makes the process fun too.
What is the strangest thing to ever happen to you while writing a story?
– Oh, a challenge question! Okay, so after I wrote Accidental Alpha, I approached Charlie Harding to be my cover model for the book. He was the epitome of what I wanted for Lex. I was thrilled when he agreed! I was lucky enough to meet Charlie at GRL Atlanta. I was in the middle of writing the sequel at the time, Belligerent Beta, and in walked Charlie’s partner, Scotty. He was Dan, my beta. Exactly how I’d imagined him. I sweet-talked Scotty into agreeing to model for the cover of the book! I’ve chuckled a few times at comments from readers who have said the models are so perfect for the characters. I couldn’t agree more! It was strange and fabulous to get to meet my cover models in person. They’re such amazing guys!
Time for a bit of funny question: say, there is a zombie outbreak. Pick three of your characters you want to have with you and why!
– This is one of those times when it’s so good to write paranormal! First up would be Simon Osborne, the mage character from my Triad series. He’s extremely powerful and those zombies wouldn’t stand a chance against him! (And bonus, since Simon goes nowhere without his mate, Gray, I get an alpha werewolf as a freebie! Mwa ha ha!).
Next, I’d pick Hart Sherman from Born This Way. Who wouldn’t want a huge liger shifter standing guard to protect them against the zombie invasion? Hart’s fierce and I’d hide behind him so fast his head would spin! LOL
Finally, I’d pick Taz Cohen from Creature Feature 2. Taz is a kick-ass hunter and since he’s taken on a horde of feral vampyres, he’d be able to wipe out those zombies without breaking a sweat!
Is there a subject/topic/theme you would never write a book about?
– One thing I’ve learned during my time as a writer is to never say never! I doubt I’d ever write a BDSM book though. I think there’s a level of knowledge and experience required to really capture a D/s personality that I don’t have. I love to read them, but don’t think I can get my head into the right mode to do those characters justice.
What is a topic subject/topic/theme you haven’t written about yet, but would like to write a story about?
– One of these days, I’m going to write a character who has Bipolar Disorder. I have it myself, and haven’t quite found the right character yet (or the courage to go there). I will, though. I also want to really flex my world-building muscle and write a really big and complex paranormal world. The Triad series and Pack Partners were both training grounds for the series I want to tackle next. I have the ground work completed but haven’t jumped in and started writing. Soon!
You have a wide variety of characters in your book. How do you create your characters?
– I love people and all their complexities, so I generally just look around at the people in my life and pull strengths and weaknesses. My family and friends get surprised by “easter eggs” in my books quite often, because I pull from my experiences and add them to my characters. For me, it’s really important to have a large cast of characters in my books because that’s the way real life is. We’re not isolated on an island. There are people all around us who impact how we live our life. I find those people and add them into make my characters more complex and give them personalities and issues to work through.
What are your plans for future books?
– First up, I plan on completing my outstanding series, Coconut Cove and Pack Partners. As I mentioned earlier, I’m also working on my first series of contemporary novels. Then I’ll be diving into that giant world building paranormal series I mentioned. That should keep me busy for the next few years at least!