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Diana Rowland is visiting today

Mark of the Demon 061509

Diana, Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my blog.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a pretty interesting life, which surprises me at times since it’s not like I set out to have one. I grew up a total science fiction/fantasy nerdgirl, was a total dork in high school, and then went to Georgia Tech where I met all sorts of other nerds, dorks and geeks. Heaven! For a variety of reasons I ended up with a degree in Applied Mathematics (a love of math was NOT one of those reasons,) and since that sort of degree doesn’t provide many useful and marketable skills, I ended up working as a junior data analyst making very little money. At about the same time, the casino industry was just taking off on the Gulf Coast. My (then) husband and I looked at the money that could be made there, and we both made the jump to be dealers. I worked in the casino for close to six years, eventually moving up to Pit Boss, but even though the money was very good, I hated the work. I watched people destroy their lives through gambling, and I felt like a legal crack dealer. When my first marriage came to an unfortunate end, I left the casino and decided to go into a line of work where I hoped I could feel good about what I was doing. I was hired by the sheriff’s department and went to work as a road deputy. A couple of years later I made the move into investigations and became a detective specializing in white collar/computer crimes. During this time I met my (now) husband, and when I found out I was pregnant I transferred over to the crime lab and trained in computer forensics, and later crime scene investigations in general. After seven years in law enforcement I was offered a position with the local coroner’s office that, at the time, was too good to pass up. There I had the chance to work in the morgue as a forensic photographer, and in the process learned a great deal more about death investigations.  However, during this entire time I was still writing–waking up early in the morning to write, writing on my lunch hour, writing before picking my daughter up from day care–and so, when my agent called to tell me that my book had sold, my husband and I decided that time was worth more than money. I quit my job with the coroner, and have been writing full-time ever since.

Oops, you said “a little bit.”  Sorry!

How long have you been writing?

I remember writing a story/poem about little people who lived in puddles (and when it rained, they were in a muddle!) not long after I learned how to write words. Growing up, I used to write stories and scenes constantly. My first “published” story was a piece of Doctor Who fanfic! I continued to write stories all through high school and college, but it really wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I thought seriously about doing it “for real” and trying to sell my scribblings to people who would pay money for them. I attended the Clarion West writers workshop in 1998 and subsequently tried to sell short fiction–because that’s what everyone said you were supposed to do: write short stories, make a name for yourself with that, and then move on to writing novels. But even though I learned a lot during Clarion about structure and style and craft, it took me a long and discouraging time to realize that I didn’t really like writing short stories as much as I liked writing novels–with all of the cool stuff you can do in the longer form. However, my big breakthrough came when a short story of mine (yes, one of the few!) won first prize in the Writers of the Future contest. Part of the prize is free attendance in a week-long writers’ workshop with some of the biggest names in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Participation in that workshop drove home to me that I really did want to write professionally, and when I returned home I started working on a new project. That novel ended up being Mark of the Demon.

What is your writing process like?

I always write out a chapter-by-chapter plot summary before getting started on my books–something that I consider to be essential since I write mysteries and I need that structure to work from in order to seed clues and develop the tension.  Once I have that base in place, then I start what I call word vomit mode! I write 2K-3K words a day until I get to the end. If I hit a sticking point, I don’t stop, but instead leave a note to myself in brackets, e.g. [have them talk about gun here.]  I use that initial plot summary as a guideline, but I also give myself a certain amount of freedom to deviate from it. After I have that first crappy draft finished, I’ll set it aside for a week or two, then I’ll go back through it and fill in all of the stuff in brackets, add descriptions, and do an initial pass to clean up the prose. Once it’s somewhat readable I’ll pass it off to a first reader or my critique group for feedback, and then revise revise revise!

Can you tell us about your newest release Mark of the Demon?

Mark of the Demon is a police procedural. With demons. And sex! My “elevator” pitch is, “Mark of the Demon is about a homicide detective who can summon demons, in pursuit of a serial killer who can also summon demons. Oh, and there’s some hot cop-and-demon lord action.” (Depending on the audience, I’ll sometimes throw in some suggestive gestures and a boom-chica-wow-wow!)

However, I realized that I couldn’t do the gestures/boom-chica bit for the website and other promotional stuff (darn it!,) so I came up with the following:

When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.

However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city’s small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can’t, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can’t control.

But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head….

Do you have any other books coming out this year?

My next book is titled Blood of the Demon, and is slated for release on January 26, 2010. BotD continues with the same characters, though each book is intended to stand on its own as a mystery. (I use the analogy of a show like Bones or CSI. Same characters, a few continuing story arcs, but the mystery gets solved in one episode/book.)

What are you currently working on?

I’ve started work on the third book which is (very) tentatively titled Promise of the Demon. I’m also working on a proposal for an urban fantasy series about a zombie morgue tech.  Mmmm, brains!

You have worked several interesting jobs, did experiences from those jobs help in writing Mark of the Demon?

Absolutely! I spent nearly ten years working in law enforcement and death investigation, and fortunate enough to work in a variety of divisions during that time. Not only does that background give me a strong base of knowledge to draw on, but I also have access to dozens of people who are more than ready to answer questions for me when I run into something I’m not certain of.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

J.D. Robb & Charlaine Harris are the ones whose books I’ll pretty much always buy in hardback. Carrie Vaughn writes terrific books, and I’d certainly buy hers in hardback if that was the only option. I love Kim Harrison’s books (though I’m a couple of books behind right now.) Kelley Armstrong, Jenna Black, and Daniel Abraham AKA MLN Hanover are other authors whose books I eagerly wait for. I’m definitely a big fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

Shelf??  I have far more than one!  Let’s see, the Dragonriders of Pern books, the Narnia series, just about anything by Madeline L’engle, Tolkien, all of the Arthur Ransome books… My keeper shelves tend to be occupied by the books I loved growing up. I was horribly shy and awkward as a kid and books were a refuge for me, so there’s a great deal of nostalgia associated with them.

What was the first romance book you read or the first romance book that has stood the test of time?

I read my first romance when I was in college. My roommate had bought a pirate/historical on a whim at the grocery store, and passed it to me–more as a joke than anything. I devoured it and then went looking for more. I read everything by Johanna Lindsey, and quite a few by Jude Devereaux. But one that I’ve kept to this day was a historical set in ancient Britain called Defy the Eagle (by Lynn Bartlett.) I looooooved that book!  More recently, I’ve read every one of the J.D. Robb in Death books (though I don’t think they truly qualify as Romance.)

If Mark of the Demon was made into a movie, which actors would like to see as the lead characters?

Okay, this was a fun one to think about!  For Kara, the homicide detective, I would love to see Felicia Day in the role.  The rest of the cast stumped me a bit, so I went out and solicited input, but I finally came up with: FBI Agent Ryan Kristoff–Eric Dane, FBI Agent Zachary Garner–Ryan Reynolds, and Rhyzkahl, the Demonic Lord, played by either James Marsden or James Marsters. (Still not quite sure about that one.)

If you were not writing, what would you be doing?

You mean besides whining about not being able to write?  Oh, I’d definitely be back in police work–in investigations, preferably. I really enjoyed being a cop, and even though I left the sheriff’s office to go work for the coroner, I think that if I had not sold these books, I would have gone back by now. Even though the pay is crap, there’s a huge amount of satisfaction about the work.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

Spending time with my family is always number one. After that I really enjoy training in martial arts (I have a black belt in hapkido, and I’m currently training in kenpo.) I also like cycling and weight training, but lest anyone think that I’m some sort of athletic jock–because I’m most certainly NOT–I also loooove good food, and since I live so close to New Orleans, the cycling/weight training is a necessity if I want to avoid a coronary. 🙂

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?

What do you love best about urban fantasy/paranormal romance?

For more information on Diana Rowland and her books, please visit her website at: http://www.dianarowland.com/.

***Leave a comment answering Diana’s question for a chance to win a copy of Mark of the Demon. Good Luck :)***

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53 Responses

  1. What I like best is that urban fantasy and paranormal romance indulge my enjoyment of fantasy without having to learn a massive and cumbersome world and/or language, as they’re mostly set in our own world with slight variations.

  2. Cool interview. I also liked the book blurb, it looks to be a great book(one that I can’t wait to pick up). What I like best about urban fantasy and parnormal is that you can loosely base it on the real world or you can make up your own world. There are so many different directions that you can take your world building and no one world is the best/right world. It all makes the story better.

  3. What I love best is that although it’s all fantasy, there’s something that’s just real. I don’t know If I’ve explained it correctly, but I don’t know how else to put it. It’s more cotidian, closer to the real world and still being fantasy.

  4. I love that anything can happen. It’s a world so far removed that pretty much the world is open to new possibilities. New rules, new characters, new settings..it’s appealing to me. 🙂

  5. That’s right, Eric Dane & Ryan Reynolds…together they fight crime as Ryan & Zachary! 😀

    I also have a lot of McCaffrey and L’Engle on my bookshelf. I think I’ve read just about every book L’Engle ever wrote.

    And I love the juxtaposition of the surreal and the mundane. That is, without a doubt, my favorite part of reading paranormals. When an author manages to make me relate to a character because of their otherworldly powers instead of in spite of.

  6. I like that anything can happen. The characters can live by different rules.

  7. I enjoy all the different takes authors have in this genre. I’m always looking for new authors in this genre to read..

  8. What I love best about Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance is thinking about the “what if” of the worlds and people created. I’m a firm believer that if someone can “think it”, then “it” can possibly become a reality. No matter how outlandish the myth, there’s always a little truth buried within.

    I’ve learned a lot by looking up things that I thought were fiction by a very imaginative author only to learn the item or incident actually was real or thought to be real by people of that time or place.

  9. *waving* Hello, Ms Rowland!

    They answer the “what if..?” question–over and over and over again.

    Add a romance, with solid, rounded characters, and I’m in reader heaven.

    Here’s wishing great success with the release!

  10. Thanks for the great interview Diana! I am excited to read this book. What I like best is that reading romance takes me away from reality, but urban fantasy/paranormal romance not just does that but it IS a fantasy, no rules, sky’s the limit and your imagination can run wild. It just brings you to another world. And that can be priceless…

  11. I have always been a big ANYTHING paranormal/urban fantasy nut. I think what I like the best is the endless possibilities in these stories. Anything can happen so it is never boring!!

  12. Great interview, the book looks awesome 😀

    Hm, what i love best is that it’s the same old, same old. I like vampires, demons and such. It makes the world more magical, perhaps that is why i also love fantasy.

  13. What I love best is the world created inside of reality. We all live in the real world, but wouldn’t be fun to live in the extra reality that urban fantasy creates, to exist along side beings in a paranormal romance? I just love everything about it.

    Dottie 🙂

  14. I think what I love best about urban fantasy/paranormal is the take me away factor. I love to lose myself in my books and anything that has to do with the supernatural just facinates me.

    I love Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison’s books but I think one of my favorite writers is Lora Leigh. She has just enough erotica in her books to spice them up.

  15. Hi Diana,
    Congrats on the new book. I love the fact that anything can happen in the “worlds” that the authors create.

  16. What I like about paranormal/urban fantasy is that anything is possible. Demons, magic and I especially like the battle between good and evil and anything in between.

    Hugs,
    Pearl

  17. I love the interaction of the contemporary world and magic. Who doesn’t daydream about using a spell to silence an annoying co-worker. What if that were possible? That is what draws me to UF, the possibilities…

  18. What I love about PR and UF is the possibilities of what ifs! I think that they broaden the horizons of what the imagination can do! It leaves the door wide open to whatever your mind can come up with! And there are some pretty imaginative people out there! They say there is a little reality to ever story, a little truth behind every fantasy, so it is just an added bonus to try to figure out what those “real” things are!

  19. Thanks, Greta, for giving me the chance to stop by today! I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s responses to my question. Keep ’em coming!

  20. LOL I do not want to wait…. I want the book now…. Great blog title and my sentiments exactly!!

  21. I love the blend of reality and fantasy of urban fantasy/paranormal romance. There’s such a wide range of interests coveredn them: action, romance, intrigue. Add to that hunky nonhuman male types and/or tough supernatural (or human) females who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

    What’s not to love?

  22. I think my love of urban fantasy stemmed from my love of fantasy. My first urban fantasy book was written by Mercedes Lackey, titled Burning Water. Urban fantasy lest my see how magic can integrate with a electronic or industrial society. However what I am really looking forward to here in this book is the police procedural aspect. Police procedural style book are one of my more recent genres but they are becoming a big section in my library.

  23. I love both urban fantasy and paranormal(roamnce) because it lets me escape to somewhere I will never go. As a teen I dreamed of travelling the world and the only province I have ever visited is Ontario and other than Michigan on day trips I have only been to Florida when I was a kid twice…. some world traveller…Books give me an excape that I cannot get in real life and I cannot get through a day without escaping.

  24. Hi Diana! I have to say that the appeal to me for the Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy is the danger! I shiver when thinking of the possibility of falling in love with the Tall, Dark and Deadly ,and I mean shiver in a good way! YUMMMM. I Look forward to reading Mark Of The Demon. Congrats on the release!

  25. Fascinating interview. I think what I like best about urban fantasy is the ways in which the supernatural elements in the various worlds affect the heroine or hero and seeing how they cope with their everyday lives as a result of that. Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews are particularly good at this, I think.

  26. Wow. What a life. I have to say, you give me hope that my own little nuthouse might not be so permanent–Thank you!

  27. What do you love best about urban fantasy/paranormal romance?

    The magic and wonder of it all. When I was young kid I thought that the best books always had magic in them–what couldn’t magic defeat after all? Then as a teen I thought that a romance had to have magic involved for it to be more interesting then normal (Teen Witch could be heavily blamed for this I think). Now as a 20something I find the mystical edge that UF and Paranormal brings to the table makes the world seem so extraordinary.

  28. great interview. thanks for sharing with us. congrats on the release.

  29. […] released June 23rd, 2009.   Want to win a copy? Bitten by books contest (ends 11:59pm PDT TODAY) I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want the Book Now (comment answering the authors question for a chance to win. Not sure when this ends, so comment […]

  30. great interview and this this book is on my tbb list.

  31. The thing I love best about Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy is that it’s all magical. The worlds the authors create are amazing. I can just get away and it feels like I’m on vacation with all the different types of characters and scenery. It’s so hard for me to put a book down that is centered in a different place, especially if that place is an amazing new world.

    I’d love to read a copy of your book, it looks great.

  32. This is a very broad answer, but I like how urban fantasy combines adventure and imagination with “everyday life”.

  33. Paranormal is my favorite genre. I like the fact that anything can happen and usually does. There is also the romance and danger factor.

  34. I love Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance because I love the thrill they make me feel. I love how they always have characters who are completely different from each other but they are meant to be together.

  35. I love the variety in paranormal/urban fantasy stories, that are only limited by an author’s imagination. The settings are as varied as the heroes and villians. I can always find a story to fit my mood.

  36. Hi Diana!

    I love paranormal romance because it’s all so new. ANYTHING can happen..there can be demons, werewolves, vampires, ghosts..you name it. And the characters are usually SO strong and I like that. Most of the time their fast paced but with strong character building.

    I guess I love them for a lot of reasons but they are fantastic!

  37. I love the fact that paranormal characters inhabit different realities than ours, yet they’re still relatable.

  38. I love how urban fantasy/paranormal romance feels like a fantasy that could almost come true. It tends to be gritty but realistic – I almost imagine that most detective agencies really should have paranormal specialists employed to catch all those demons running around.

    Plus, they’re crazy sexy and fun!

  39. I love the different worlds and strong characters that authors create in urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

  40. Great interview! Alpha heroes!

  41. Hi Diana, I like to read mystery suspense to do with the law for a change from the usual romance, so I’m especially interested in this series and you have an extensive backgound in that area to draw on for sure.

    I like paranormals and fantasy because it’s so different from our reality, and the author can let her imagination take her/him as far as she/he wants to go without worrying about accuracy or “rule” to go by. I particularly like the UF romance, where that is secondary and develops over the series.

  42. Hi Diana!

    Great interview! I’m really into urban fantasy right now because it gives you a little bit of everything: a little bit of romance, little bit of mystery, little bit of fantasy, usually with a big helping of kicking butt! Haven’t come across a dull urban fantasy novel yet!

  43. Hi Diana~

    Mark of the Demon sounds really interesting and I am looking forward to reading it.

    What do I love about urban fantasy/paranormal romance? For me, it is that anything is possible and within the realm of “normal.” Plus, it just seems so mysterious and and intriguing.

  44. What I love is because in it anything can happen. And because it is “fantasy” while the story might take place in modern times, in a world much like ours. Its not ours and can provide a great escape from reality and way to relax from the stress of the day.

  45. I like paranormal fiction/urban fantasy because I’ve fantasized about having mystical powers ever since junior high. I got teased a lot, and I guess I imagined being telekinetic or something I could get revenge—like Carrie, only nicer. So paranormal fiction takes me back to those days.

  46. i like to escape from my life

  47. I love the magic in it, anything and everything is possible. You read the book and learn new rules and if the book is good you are constantly surprised by turn of the events 🙂

    Mark of the Demon sounds great and I am looking forward to reading it.

  48. What I love the most is the originality and the fact that you’ll never live something like that =P
    I’ve always been a fan of fantasy in movies, on TV shows and I discovered reading not so long ago and i’m addicted already lol.
    I have to hold back or i’d spend all my money on books. Started reading 6 months ago, and my bookshell is full.. and Still have a pretty long wish list lol.

  49. What i love most about Urban fantasy is that its its modern and it includes a little surprise in it. Great cover btw.

  50. I love that anything can happen and does. I also like that no matter what the hero is he is always worth having 😉

    Love that cover too!

  51. What I love about urban fanatsy and paranormal romance is that I can totally escape and relax into a world where anything can happen with exciting characters! There’s no limit and hopefully each time you open a another book you’ll get to enjoy a new world!
    Thanks for the contest. I would love to read this book!

  52. I love the possibilities! There is so much more to it than can be found in real life because you are dealing with people and situations set apart from the mundane real world.

  53. Wow, what great responses! Thanks to everyone who came by and left a comment. I really enjoyed reading all the varied reasons why people love this genre!

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