TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
Jill: Thank you! I'm happy to be here.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Jill: My editor pointed out that I was overly fond of using dog metaphors in my writing. Until she mentioned it, I hadn't realized! Sure enough, I ran a search. Clearly, I love comparing people to pooches and demons to dogs. (I've since reduced the number of dog metaphors in DLOD).
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Jill: Past and current favorites include Lois McMaster Bujold, S.M. Stirling, Ken Follett, Naomi Novik, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Colleen McCullough, Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Peters, Nora Roberts, and Lisa Kleypas. To some degree they've all influenced my writing (as have many others whose work I admire). Despite the disparate genres represented by this list, collectively they represent the best that storytellers have to offer: memorable characters, richly detailed worlds, and/or stories with emotional resonance.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Jill: I'm a plotter, although I always give myself permission to create new characters or explore different plot directions. Neither the ending of Dark Light of Day nor the second book in the series is the ending I originally planned. So far, my books have been too detailed for me to be a pantser, but I can't deny myself the thrill of discovery that comes with being open to story possibilities I didn't see at the start of a project.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Jill: All of it. That's not to say I don't enjoy it, but I wonder if I'll ever be able to say that attempting to produce a 100,000 word novel with characters readers can be passionate about, settings that are imaginative yet believable, and plots that are as surprising as they are satisfying isn't challenging every step of the way! :-D
TQ: How did practicing law prepare you for writing novels? Or not!
Jill: Most of my ten years in practice was spent doing transactional work, not litigation. That means when I wasn't in meetings or on the phone, I was drafting documents -- inch-thick, single-spaced documents. The kind that take forever to finish. The kind that take a team of people to get just right. The kind that go back and forth between the involved parties multiple times. The kind with looming deadlines, lots of stress, but immeasurable satisfaction once they are complete. So, in a way, those ten years were prepping me for novel writing! (But now I get to double space).
TQ: Describe Dark Light of Day (Noon Onyx 1) in 140 characters or less.
Jill: A 21 year old post-grad magic user must choose between death or training to become a demon peacekeeper.
TQ: What inspired you to write Dark Light of Day?
Jill: Noon Onyx is very loosely inspired by the librarian Evelyn "Evie" Carnahan from the movie, The Mummy. Some years ago, while I was still practicing law, I sat next to a librarian during a writer's event. We each commiserated with the other about how dull we felt our day jobs were, a feeling each of us couldn't believe the other had. It led to a discussion about Evie's character and I got the idea to see if I could somehow create a similarly bookish lawyer character who lived in some sort of "otherworld."
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Dark Light of Day?
Jill: All kinds. There was the legal research, of course. Although I didn't obsessively concern myself with legal accuracy (demons and due process don't always mix), I wanted to use enough legal terminology to establish the "school of demon law" milieu I was trying to create. That said, no one needs a law degree to read the book! Necessary meaning can be derived from context. (The real story is Noon's emotional journey). I researched antique apple varieties to create the ensorcelled Empyr wines. That was fun! And I researched all sorts of demons and deities from around the world, as well as various religious myths and holidays. I played fast and loose with most of it. I tend to use research as an inspirational springboard.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Jill: Noon Onyx was the easiest character to write. Since the book's written in first person, I'd be worried if she wasn't my answer to this question! I think if your character's perspective is hard to write from, or you don't identify with them for whatever reason, writing in first person would be doubly hard. That said, writing in first person is challenging because your main character's not going to be present for every single story event. And you have to work extra hard at showing what the other characters might be thinking or feeling (something I enjoy knowing as a reader).
Noon's parents were difficult to write at first. I get them more now that I've spent more time with the story, but when I was first fleshing things out it was difficult for me to relate to parents that acted the way they did.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Dark Light of Day?
Jill: Hmm... that's a tough one. I think there's something different to love in each. But I will say I loved how the Barrister's Ball sequence turned out. There's also a small twist to the climax of the book that made me hoot out loud when I first thought of it. (I thought, "I can't write that--!" and then I knew I *had* to!) And the emotional note of the very last scene of the book, to me, is pitch perfect.
TQ: What's next?
Jill: Book #2 is currently scheduled for a spring release -- May 2013. My plan for each book is new assignments, new adventures, and new adversaries. In book #2, some characters will return, some new ones will be introduced, and Noon will get her first field assignment.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Jill: Thanks for having me, Sally! I appreciated having a chance to share more about Noon Onyx and Dark Light of Day with your readers.
About Dark Light of Day
Dark Light of DayA Noon Onyx Novel 1
Ace, September 25, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.
Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.
Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.
Jill now lives in rural Maryland with her two children and husband, who is a recreational pilot. Weekends are often spent flying around in the family’s small Cessna, visiting tiny un-towered airfields and other local points of interest.
What: One commenter will win a copy of Dark Light of Day (Noon Onyx 1) from The Qwillery.
How: Answer the following question:
What is one of your favorite stories featuring demons?
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Friday, October 5, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
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