MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RJ BLAIN!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Heylo! I’m RJ Blain, and I write a mix of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and regular fantasy. I even have a science fiction or two kickin’ around in the form of futuristic dystopian. I like writing worlds where anything goes, and I want to have fun while doing it, so there’s always a lot of humor to be found. Well, usually.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Playing with Fire: a Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) is a fun romp through an alternate version of Earth, one where magic and myth clashes with technology. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has become the forefront authority on all things magical, and Bailey Gardener is an unfortunate soul with the immunities required for their dirtiest work.
When the Calamity Queen and gorgons clash, there’s plenty of trouble to be had.
As for how I came up with it, I was so, so tired of the usual read, so I decided to throw the kitchen sink at a world of magic. I regret nothing.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I’ve always loved all things magical. It’s the ultimate escape for me, and books give me that time out I need to stay (mostly) sane.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
There were so, so many hours of research involved with this book—and the rest of the Magical Romantic Comedies (with body counts.) I had to research most known religions and myths and figure out what would happen to them if they were real/walked the Earth. I had to figure out how science would bend in the face of magic. I wanted to preserve society, so there are cell phones, computers, cars, and all the trappings. But there’s magical pixie dust that makes everyone super happy and can be found in certified coffee shops… run by faery.
Anything goes, and it’s meant to be fun—but the fun needed to be founded on things people already knew. The effort was so worth it, though.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Magical Romantic Comedies (with a body count) are mostly standalone stories that go on magical adventures where unlikely heroes and heroines find love in unexpected ways.
Some of the books (Serial Killer Princess) are lighter on the romance and heavier on the shenanigans, but ultimately, they’re happily ever after stories with a magical twist. And bodies.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I think Last but not Leashed (June 2018) is one of my favorites, as it’s just a feel good story, and sometimes, I just need a feel good story where everything’s a-okay.
Serial Killer Princess, Playing with Fire, and Last but Not Leashed are all slated to have additional stories about the couples.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
This is all Diana Pharaoh Francis’s fault. She made some form of comment that basically turned into a challenge to write a ridiculous and funny story. And I got seriously carried away with it… so seriously carried away.
Was it always meant to become a series?
No, it wasn’t, but once I wrote one, I couldn’t just stop. It’s like a can of Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop…
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do! I work full-time writing, so I actually have a lot of new books in the works. Last but not Leashed will release in June. No Kitten Around will release by the end of the year along with Water Viper and Wolf Hunt. If I can fit in more, I can—but we’ll see. Apparently, I’m only human, much to my disappointment. (If I had a choice in the matter, I’d be a unicorn. And I’d have telekinetic abilities so I could still use computers.)
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Last year was a fantastic year for me. Charles de Lint featured Playing with Fire in the September/October 2017 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as a Book to Look For. I also won a pair of bronze medals in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards in the Urban Fantasy category.
But having a review written by one of the pioneers of Urban Fantasy is an honor I’m not sure I can top!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing. I’m not sure I’m capable of changing careers at this point. Writing is what I do—and an author is what I am. I’m not sure I could actually quit writing if I wanted to, which I don’t.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Be kind. Writing is hard, writing is frustrating, but always be kind. It’ll make getting through the tough spots a lot easier, and being positive is a lot easier than carrying around a lot of negativity with you.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Crawl under my bed, curl in the fetal position, and sob while sucking my thumb and cuddling with my blanket—while my husband laughed at me. I actually have no idea what I’d do.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on three stories right now, two under my second pen name of Susan Copperfield in the Royal States world about a pair of men who find themselves in a royal mess. (One is a prince who is a white turkey shapeshifter, the other is a poor gentleman who just wants to be a chef. I’m not nice to this poor guy who just wants to be a chef.)
The third project is the first of a twelve-book series called Seeking the Zodiacs, which I will begin releasing in either late 2019 or 2020.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s a tiny snippet from Hypnos, #1 of Seeking the Zodiacs:
An upstart hunk of a police detective invaded my office, waved his badge in my face like I cared, and barked, “Where were you last night?”
As it took a lot of balls for a local cop to storm into an FBI resident agency and start asking questions, I didn’t encase him in a bubble of water and drown him. I was tempted to drench him and admire him for a while. Beneath his black suit, white shirt, and prissy black tie likely lurked a lean man.
The upstarts countered their donut addiction with gym time.
I smiled, leaned back in my chair, and enjoyed a few more moments of the view. “Well, this is a memorable start to my Monday.”
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Me, Myself, and I: a Comedy of Errors.
I think that’s fairly self-explanatory. (Oops…)
Where can your fans find you and follow??
My fans can find out more about me, my cats, and my books at https://thesneakykittycritic.com
I can also be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/rjblain.author/
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
You’re welcome! Thank you for having me!
PLAYING WITH FIRE: A MAGICAL COMEDY WITH A BODY COUNT
What do you get when you mix gorgons, an incubus, and the Calamity Queen? Trouble, and lots of it.
For Bailey, catering to the magical is a tough gig on a good day, but when her sexiest enemy’s ex-wife angles for revenge, she’s tossed into the deep end with him, like it or not.
Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.
Excerpt: (886 words) — people are welcome to use as much or as little of it as they want.
No one in their right mind would ever license me as a private investigator, but that didn’t stop people from coming to me when they needed something found. Fortunately, I liked my job as the only human barista at Faery Fortunes Coffee and Book Shop. Most came for a cup of joe and left too buzzed to read a thing, but who was I to complain? People paid top dollar for their pixie dust infused latte, and they tipped me well not to judge them.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t so fond of Chief Quinn. When he walked through the door, bad things usually happened to someone—me. For him to come in five minutes after opening, long before the sun even thought about rising, he needed something, and it wasn’t a cup of coffee. Why couldn’t he want coffee? I could deal with making him a drink, and I’d double his dose of pixie dust to keep him happy.
I gave the espresso machine a defiant swipe of my cleaning cloth before stepping to the counter to deal with Manhattan’s Most Wanted Bachelor. Without my help, he’d still be married, too.
What a way to start the day.
And to think people wondered why I refused to help find anything for anyone anymore. The reason stood across the counter from me. Chief Samuel Quinn, aged thirty, hotter than sin, and my heaven and hell rolled together in one smoking tall, dark, and handsome package, hated me for good reason. It was his fault, too. He had been the one to ask me for help finding his wife. I had found her all right, right in the middle of teaching a college stud the nuances of the reverse cowgirl.
If no one asked me to find something or someone again for the rest of my life, I’d be a very happy woman.
“Chief Quinn, what a pleasant surprise,” I lied. “Can I get you something? A dark roast, cream, no sugar, light on the dust?”
Why couldn’t I have been blessed with forgetfulness? I knew my worst nightmare’s favorite drink, and I had to make it for him first thing in the morning. Of course I knew it. He came in at least three times a week to torment me. Screw it. Who was I kidding? Instead of the coffee, he could take me instead. If I had to put up with the hassle of dealing with him, why couldn’t I enjoy it, too?
“Cream, no dust, and make it a large, Bailey.”
Alarm bells tinkled in my head. Since when did Chief Quinn address me by my first name? On a good day, he snapped my last name like he worried it would contaminate him. “Of course, sir.”
The faster I made his coffee, the sooner he’d go away. I’d love every second I spent watching him go. In less than a minute, I had his drink ready, and to lower the risk of him spending any extra time with me, I chirped, “It’s on me today, Chief Quinn. Have yourself a nice morning.”
If it meant we parted without incident, it’d be well worth the five bucks.
He saluted me with his cup, flashed a hint of a smile, and walked out the door. Facing him was hell, but I glimpsed the heavens when he left, and if my panties hadn’t caught on fire under my jeans, I’d be very, very surprised.
“You’re drooling, Gardener,” my boss squeaked. The moth fairy, with just enough pixie heritage to dust glitter when she wanted, fluttered over my shoulder, her tiny arms crossed over her chest. “Reverse cowgirl.”
“Stop reminding me!” I wailed, slumping over the counter. “He hates me. Worse, all I think about when he struts in is taking off my clothes and giving him my panties. I think they caught on fire this time, Mary. Why couldn’t he have had one of his cops find his wife instead?”
“You just want to indulge in some guilt-free fantasizing like every other hot-blooded American woman in the city.”
“Exactly. This is why no one in their right mind asks me for help. I ruin everything.”
“Except my coffee, which is a miracle. Now that we’ve had our daily dose of excitement, can you handle the shop on your own for an hour? We’ll call it even on the coffee.”
Was she serious? Alone for an hour on a Monday morning forty minutes before rush hour? If she thought I’d be all right alone, she was completely cracked. I could already hear her if I dared to complain about my shift. What could possibly go wrong in an hour? Didn’t I like my job? The list went on and on and on. I smiled so I wouldn’t cry. “Sure, Mary. I can last an hour.”
“You’ve gotten better at lying. Your smile didn’t even slip that time. Try not to die while I’m gone. Good humans are so hard to find.” Mary zipped out of the shop through the pixie door and dove through the window of an idling sports car.
Sports car? Red, convertible, top up despite the nice summer morning? I leaned over the counter and squinted. Yep. My boss had just ditched me for a ride in Chief Quinn’s car. Sometimes life really wasn’t fair.