Interviewing Larissa Ione

30 Mar

And on this fine Monday morning (if any Monday morning can be called fine, that is…), let’s welcome author Larissa Ione to KKB. Ms Ione has graciously offered herself as willing victim erm… guest here today.

In case some of you are not aware, Ms Ione’s third Demonica novel, Passion Unleashed, releases tomorrow from Grand Central Publishing. The first title in the series, Pleasure Unbound, got quite a few rave reviews and authorly squees (check out Ann Aguirre’s) and the second, Desire Unchained, made the USA Today Bestseller list sortly after its release date. You can find much more about these books, the Demonica world and Ms Ione herself in her website. Now… onward to the grilling! erm…interviewing.

Welcome, Larissa!

*waving*  Thank you!

Before anything else, huge congratulations on having your second Demonica title, Desire Unchained make the USA Today Bestseller list

Thank you! I’m still half-convinced that it was a big mistake!

You mention in your biography that you have always been a reader and a writer, but that it took a long and winding road via fantasy and historical fiction for you to discover romance and passion, and then to write them. Do you remember what historical romance(s) made you realize that this was the genre for you as an author? What was it about them that pulled you in?

Taming The Wolf, by Deborah Simmons, was my first ever romance. Oh, how I loved that book… and the sequels. In fact, I’m having a fierce need to head to the UBS and see if I can find them (my copies died in Katrina). I’m really jonesing for those stories right now.

Anyway, what pulled me in? I think it was the feeling of falling in love. The draw of a good romance is that you feel what the characters feel—the spark, the sexual tension, that little flutter in your belly that keeps you turning pages. You root for the characters, and in the end, you feel good. I do love all kinds of fiction, but romance grabs you on a very basic level and takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. All humans are looking for that one person who can be a partner and a lover, so whether people can admit it or not, romance novels are something everyone can relate to, because we all have emotions, and if we haven’t been in love, we want it eventually.

You and your family survived a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) in a close up and personal way—would you say that has imbued your writing of characters with such a strong drive, not just to survive, but to thrive and succeed?

Hmm… I think what it’s done is teach ME that you always have to keep fighting, and maybe in a way, that has rubbed off on my characters. But honestly, I think what gave me the strength to survive Katrina was my military experience. I always say that everyone has a turning point in their lives, an event that leads you to the very place you are now. Mine was joining the Air Force. And Basic Training is what taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and when Katrina took everything from us, I knew that we could get through it. Took a couple of years, but we did it.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some really, really low times, when I wondered how we would get through it, when I completely broke down and thought we wouldn’t—and that’s something I sometimes let my characters go through. I dislike wimpy characters, but I’ve learned that no matter how strong you are, you can reach rock bottom, a breaking point. So I use my experiences to take my characters to that point, the place where they could give up… until they reach deep and find the will to fight just one more time.

You write alone under your own name and also as Sydney Croft with fellow WriteMinded author and friend Stephanie Tyler. You mention in your FAQ that it’s important for writing partners to write at the same level. What I would like to know is, how does your writing process change (if at all) when writing alone vs when writing in collaboration? More outlines, less outlines?

Ooh, good question. Stephanie likes to say she doesn’t plot, but she does. We do a lot of plotting for the books… we don’t follow plot sheets or anything, but we talk things out for the big picture. For my own writing, I do tend to fill out the character sheets and plot out all the turning points and stuff… I get more detailed that I do with Stephanie. However, the little stuff is always mystery. I know where I’m going, but I never know how I’m going to get there. With Stephanie, I generally know, because we plot as we go, and talk out some of the scenes before we write them.

You have mentioned elsewhere that as a child you had a rather terrifying experience in a hospital, and that Underground General is your ah…well, let’s say your new and improved version of it. My question is…why demons? Not why paranormal beings mind—vampires, werewolves, etc. have long been around as heroes in paranormal romance. Demons, on the other hand, not so much. So… why demons?

Well, you pretty much just said it—demons haven’t been around much as heroes. Demons were different (at least, I thought it was when I came up with the concept—but fabulous authors likeGena Showalter and Jacquelyn Frank already had books in the works that hit the shelves before mine did). But even so, demons are not overly common in the paranormal world, so I wanted to see what I could do with them. Of course, I have a fierce love of vampires too, so I couldn’t leave them out of the world. I just didn’t want them to be the focus, since so many other authors have done vampires—and done them WAY better than I could!

In a quick paragraph, tell us what would mean success to you as a writer. What would Larissa Ione would have accomplished at the peak of her career?

This is going to sound corny, but success to me? I’ve already made it. I just wanted to see a book of mine on the shelves.  It’s a dream come true to be in the same stores with my childhood favorites, like Stephen King. I mean, wow. Just, wow. At the peak of my career, I’d like to have hit the NYT, but if that never happens, oh, well. I’ve already achieved the dream!

What makes Larissa the person happy?

Vacations, especially to foreign countries.  My family and animals.  Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family at a zoo or on a farm.  That’s THE BEST.

Last formal question—almost there! What are you looking forward to?

Christmas!  I’m always looking forward to Christmas. I pretty much live for winter, snow, and Christmas.

And now for the *ahem* less formal *ahem* little inquiries…

Uh-oh..

Spell checker or a gifted speller?

Gifted speller, but it’s getting worse as I get older. Sad.

Spoilers are ……………. Evil

Is there any horror scene/short story/novel that actually scares you? Which and why?

Stephen King’s The Shining. Scared the ever-loving crap out of me. Not even sure why. Don’t know if it would scare me today. But at the time I read it I kept putting it down and coming back to it because it terrified me. I think it’s because monsters/animals/etc., have never scared me, but PEOPLE scare me, and Jack Nicholson’s character went nuts. And nutty humans? Scary as shit. Humans are capable of such evil. I know a werewolf isn’t going to break into my house and kill me, but an insane or drug-crazed, knife-wielding psycho? Yeah… *shudders*

Last question: will we ever get a better resolution shot of the infamous caduceus tattoo? 😀

LOL—I’ll see what I can do!

Thank you so much for having me, and for making this pretty painless! 😀 You’re awesome!

So there you have it, folks, Larissa Ione in a nutshell!

Now go forth and enjoy the Demonica universe.

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