TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
Nina: Thank you for having me! I'm thrilled to be here -- this is one of my favorite book review sites.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Nina: I don't really have any quirks. It's true that I can't sit down and write until I've had a bowl of my favorite cereal, Choco CHUD Bites, and until I've measured the sound waves in the room, but that's everyone, right?
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Nina: I'm a die-hard plotter (which also means that I try to emulate the structure of Die Hard as much as possible). I spend a good amount of time structuring my plot, but there's always room for organic development, and I do end up changing some things. Plotting a tight structure before drafting means that I can be MORE creative with details within the narrative, and I never have to re-structure or cut. One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." But then, he WAS fighting vampires.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Nina: I would say that the most challenging thing (aside from every single thing) is tying the strands together in a way that supports the story and supports the arcs and goals of my characters. This happens in the outline and the draft.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Kelly Driscoll Files?
Nina: What inspired me to write it was the condo building I lived in at the time -- the absurd vagaries and power struggles of the board of directors; the travails of the building manager, a master of diplomacy; the mysterious, ninja-like cleaning crew, and the residents. The first book was going to be more Lynchian, but then I thought, 'I'll just throw in this petulant jackal with the lustrous hair of Andy Gibb' and 'the high-rise elevator needs a giant water scorpion attendant who can mix a margarita and shine shoes at the same time.' And there you have it.
On top of that, I was seeing a lot of serious angel books coming out, and wanted to do something more fun with the subject matter.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create your world and mythology?
Nina: For The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse, I toured the mechanical room where the HVAC and filtration system is housed, attended far too many board meetings, and referred to A Dictionary of Angels, which is a great resource.
For The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse, I read many product guides on doughnut-making equipment, did some brush-up research on Gorgons, read up on Chicago's pothole problem (hence Pothole City), and read some primary sources on how Chicago rebuilt after the Great Fire.
TQ: Tell us something about the first novel, The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse, that is not in the book description.
Nina: Kelly Driscoll lives in a 1920s-era high-rise art deco building that is completely different from Amenity Tower, the modern high-rise where the angels are bound. The art deco building, which is based on one here in Chicago, has a strange history as the former headquarters of a mysterious organization that seems to have disappeared overnight.
TQ: Describe The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse, your most recent novel, in 140 characters or less.
Nina: A bounty hunter-turned-building manager must find a missing Cluck Snack executive and settle a bitter dispute between warring donut shops.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse?
Nina: I'm partial to the scene where the ferryman takes the board members in a trolley to the Cluck Snack headquarters, and their hostile interchange with a grocery-carrying ant.
But also the scene where Kelly and Af are on an awkward date at the ferris wheel restaurant while Roger (in his ascension form) fights other monsters in the sky for his regional building manager territory. These regional building manager turf wars can get rough in the nighttime skies of Chicago.
TQ: In The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Nina: I think that Af was the most difficult character to write in this particular book because he figured out a way to physically leave Amenity Tower, possibly forever. To do this, he has to be in a different mortal vessel. On top of that, he wrongly believes that Kelly doesn't like him the way he is, so he's trying to act in a different way. That was a little tricky.
The easiest character to write was Raum, a fallen angel and destroyer of cities who serves on the board. He is the fallen angel who struggles the most with his separation, with being cast down. He desperately seeks forgiveness, underneath all that bravado, and feels that he can never get it. He's the character in the most pain, who is the most conflicted, and I think that may always be easier to write.
TQ: Who is/are your favorite character or characters from The Kelly Driscoll Files?
Nina: My protagonist Kelly Driscoll. She's someone who lost her home and roamed the earth, who sought revenge and worked as a mercenary, who compulsively used aliases and lost a sense of who she was, who had a professional setback then found purpose and a community in Pothole City. After being guided for years by the wisdom of Jay Vanner, legendary (and fictional) pro football coach, she finds a true position of leadership. In Donut Shop, she cuts back on the aliases and tries to become comfortable with her own identity.
TQ: What's next?
Nina: I have a YA novel set in the world of One Ghost Per Serving coming out in 2013, and plan to release a few more books that year. I've written novels in other genres in 2012, including romance, mystery, and suspense -- and look forward to writing more in those genres as well as urban fantasy. I may also get talked into doing a third book in the Kelly Driscoll series. Hmm, The Last Qwillery of the Apocalypse? Overall, I want to keep putting out books that entertain my readers.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Nina: It's been an absolute pleasure to be here.
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse
The Kelly Driscoll Files 2
Curiosity Quills Press, October 3, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 216 pages
After narrowly preventing the last apocalypse, Kelly Driscoll finds herself with an unlikely day job. She's the interim manager of Amenity Tower, one of the few buildings still left standing in the rubble of Pothole City. But after answering a mysterious phone call, she signs up for a new mission that's a perfect match for her skills: locating the missing president of the famed Cluck Snack brand.
As Kelly quickly learns, the missing executive is only the beginning of Pothole City's problems. The city's leading donut shops -- run by two very different Gorgon monster siblings -- are engaged in a bitter territorial dispute. Plus, the residents of Kelly's building have hatched a new plot to kill the beloved single-purpose angels and set the stage for another apocalypse.
Teaming up again with her allies from the first book -- including Af the Angel of Destruction, Stringfellow the ferret, and Tubiel and the other single-purpose angels -- Kelly is up for the challenge. But can she rescue the missing president and restore peace between the donut shops before Pothole City is destroyed yet again?
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse
The Kelly Driscoll Files 1
Curiosity Quills Press, February 29, 2012
Trade Paperback end eBook, 296 pages
Kelly Driscoll tracks down monsters for a living, but the job isn't what it used to be. Vampire hunters are the new big thing, but Kelly doesn't swing that way. When a reclusive client hires her to locate a rival angel, Kelly's search takes her to a downtown highrise that has become home to hundreds of fallen angels and dimension-hopping monsters.
As the fallen angels take over the condo board, argue over who's handling pizza delivery, and begin planning for a little shindig otherwise known as the apocalypse, Kelly must team up with an unlikely group of allies to find her target and keep the fallen angels at bay. In the process, she befriends a reluctant Angel of Destruction, gets tips from a persistent ferret, uncovers the mysteries behind Pothole City's hottest snack food empire, and tries to prevent the end of the world.
One Ghost Per Serving
Curiosity Quills Press, July 13, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 266 pages
Eric Snackerge has had a rough time lately. After being possessed by a mischievous spirit, he lost his scholarship and got blamed for a scandal that left him blacklisted from the legal profession. Now he's working two minimum wage jobs and is desperate to show his wife and daughter that he can put his life back together -- before his best-friend-turned-enemy swoops in and steals his family away.
When Eric learns about an unusual contest, he realizes that winning the grand prize will help him make his daughter's dreams come true. But he'll have to overcome his own self-doubt -- not to mention the seemingly impossible odds -- in order to achieve that goal.
However, this isn't your run-of-the-mill sweepstakes. Everyone who eats the product develops an insatiable craving for more. Plus, the people behind the contest are dispatching everything from spy cameras to attack helicopters to make sure that Eric doesn't get any further.
As Eric soon learns, the contest was only the first phase of a much larger plan. If the villains are successful, they will spread a dangerous supernatural pathogen throughout the food supply. But with distribution of the tainted products already underway, does Eric have what it takes to stop their plan and protect his family from being the next victims?
Webstite : Twitter : Goodreads