A special treat today! You don’t have to read more of my own disjointed ramblings, you get to read an interview with an actual real writer, lol, who makes sense and doesn’t just whine about stuff. Marta Acosta, who in addition to writing her terrifically funny books also runs the very popular Vampire Wire blog, has agreed to grace us all with her presence and show me how real writers behave when being interviewed (I suspect she wasn’t even drunk when she answered these questions!)
So Marta, thanks for stopping by today! You’ve written four books in the Casa Dracula series; the new one, HAUNTED HONEYMOON, is the last. Could you give the readers a general idea of what the series is about?
Thanks for having me, Stacia! The Casa Dracula books are romantic comedies about quirky, fun, sexy, and bright Milagro de Los Santos, who gets accidentally infected with vampirism and involved with a pack of snobby vampires. These people claim that they aren’t vampires, but have a genetic condition. During the course of the books, Milagro falls in and out of love, escapes anti-vampire extremists, defeats vampire zealots, tries to earn a living, while finding time for flirting and parties.
Each book is also a step forward as Milagro grows up and finds her place in the world.
Mil is having a torrid affair with dangerous and secretive Ian Ducharme, a member of the Vampire Council, but she still misses her ex-fiance Oswald Grant. She distrusts Ian and finds him immoral, while she admires Oswald. When Ian’s shenanigans with his seductive neighbor infuriate Mil, she takes off to London for a job assignment and meets a sexy young vamp who’s both a good guy and fun, too.
When she returns home, though, the bodies start piling up and Mil is being set up for murder. She’s basically kidnapped, held, and “harshly” questioned by a nameless organization. She escapes and runs to Oswald’s ranch. An accidental blow to her head results in amnesia and she forgets all about her life with the vampires. She’s got the opportunity for a re-do with Oswald, but she’s also got enemies looking for her. Will she make the same mistakes again?
So what made you want to do more humorous urban fantasy? Did it just come out that way, or did you always want to write funny?
I always wrote funny. I wrote serious too. I studied creative writing at a Fancy University and I wrote really grim, third-person, present tense fiction. However, every now and then I’d crack and turn in a completely inane story with cartoons. I’d read it to the class and everyone would stare at me and I could practically see the little WTF? bubbles over their heads.
It wasn’t my intention to write urban fantasy. When I started my first Casa Dracula book, I hadn’t even heard the term urban fantasy. I was just writing a funny story to amuse myself. I wanted to make spoof cliches about vampires being rich, gorgeous, and accomplished, and that fit well with a comedy-of-manners set up. Toss an aimless, broke, sexy, bright, and snarky girl into the scene and hit the frappe button.
Legend has it that Sir Donald Wolfit’s last words were, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Do you agree? And do you think he came up with that line years before and was just waiting to use it?
Hey, you’ve been reading my guest blogs! I do agree. I can write stories that make people cry. (Pretty much all you need is a kitten lost in a storm and voila!) But I really get a thrill when I can make people laugh. I think Sir Donald had been trotting out that phrase for years, but no one paid any attention to him until he was about to croak. It’s good to plan ahead with a deathbed epigram, though. I haven’t settled on mine yet, but I’ve instructed that my gravestone read “Mayhem ensues.” I’m also going to have an excruciatingly boring PowerPoint presentation at my funeral service set to an endless loop of “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Naturally, my husband will be allowed to speed-date during the service. One of my friends suggested setting up tables for Texas Hold-Em Poker, too, but I’m concerned that it might take away from the solemnity of the occasion.
If you could live in Casa Dracula for real, would you?
Yes, I would absolutely live in the real Casa Dracula. It’s located on a gorgeous hillside so it must have fabulous views. I live in a cozy bungalow, which means that there aren’t guest wings, nooks, or formal halls. I like all that stuff. I’m down with the wainscoting, the cartouching, and the parqueting. The weather at Casa Dracula is probably not as nice as mine in California, though. I guess that’s what real estate agents mean when they say location, location, location.
Tell us an embarrassing story from your childhood. Come on, we won’t tell anyone. *snicker*
Gawd, there are so many. I can tell you a sad one, like I was invited to my best friend’s other friend’s birthday party when I was about seven, and we bought one of those plastic balls as a gift. I thought it was a nice present because I would have been happy with it. I overheard the birthday girl complaining to all the other girls about the “cheap” present I’d given her. We just didn’t have any money or know what was expected and I was humiliated.
Okay, a funny embarrassing story. I was invited to another birthday party. There would be a movie first and then a slumber party. My mother was this sweet Mexican immigrant, very young at the time, and she was told that we were supposed to wear pajamas. So she took me already dressed in my pajamas, a robe, and slippers to the gathering and I had to go to the movies dressed like that. It was humiliating, but everyone laughed in a nice way and I still had a great time afterward.
Hmm, you know, I’ve wondered why most of my books have parties that go awry in some way, and I never quite put that together with my childhood experiences. Stacia, I think we’ve made a psychological breakthrough here.
Yeah, that happens to people who visit me here a lot. So you just sold a YA novel, The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove with Tor. Awesome! What’s that one about?
Thanks! I was so happy about finding a home for this book, and Tor is a terrific publisher. The Shadow Girl is a gothic story about a foster teen, Jane, who is invited to attend an elite private school, the Birch Grove Academy, on a full scholarship. She leaps at the chance to escape her miserable foster home and terrible environment.
The headmistress and her family, including two attractive sons, are very attentive to Jane, the classes are amazing, and she meets interesting and accomplished students. But Jane begins to notice that the headmistress and others in the small town are keeping secrets. Why did they bring her here and what do they want in exchange for all they offer?
Are you working on anything else you can tell us about?
I’m working on an adult gothic, a ghostly story that takes place both in the present and in the 1850s. It’s quite depraved and dark, so I’m having a grand time writing it. I have no idea when I’ll be done.
Is Stacia Kane the most irresponsible person who’s blog you’ve ever visited, or just one of the most irresponsible people whose blogs you’ve visited?
No, Stacia Kane is decidedly not the most irresponsible person who’s blog I’ve ever visited. That would have to go to my arch-nemesis SciFi Guy, aka Doug Knipe, who is cavalier and callous with regard to blog tour schedules. He made me do a needlework pillow for him that says “I Wub Hugs” with a moose motif because he claimed that all the other authors had given him moose-themed needlework in appreciation for visiting his site. Then I saw the exquisite pillow listed on one of Ebay’s 99 cent auction. And it wasn’t even real money, but fake Canadian cents. However, you, Stacia Kane, are next on the list. (Also, I’m sending the box of homemade saltwater taffy via overnight mail, like you asked me to!)
Thanks, Stacia, for having me on your blog! Readers know where to find me.
Yes, and in addition to the website and Vampire Wire linked above, Marta has a story in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance anthology, so check that one out!
Thanks so much for visiting today, Marta!
AAAND…Marta’s doing a contest! Just tell us in comments what you’d like to have on your tombstone (I know, cheerful, right?) or leave any comment at all for Marta and she’ll pick one random winner for a FREE copy of HAUNTED HONEYMOON! (US/Canada only, sorry.)