Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Novel Talk with Author Angie Fox - CONTEST TIME

Happy Fourth of July!!! OK, OK, I'm late! Shock *gasp* I know! To tell the truth, I slept through all the fireworks and missed out on the big party, so it's no surprise I've forgotten to wish everyone a Happy and Safe one. So I hope everyone had a most excellent day. Although, after my small hiatus here, I figured I needed to do something HUGE to celebrate. And have I ever found the reason to celebrate! You know I love the debut author, always have, always will, and today I get to introduce you to debut author Angie Fox and her book The Accidental Demon Slayer, that I'm super excited about. In fact, I'm so excited that I've decided to make a week of it! So to kick things off today, Angie has written a guest blog for you, and she introduces a contest at the end. Be sure to read the blog, then my note at the end for even more chances at goodies and all the details!

They say you learn something new with each book you write, but I think I learned a little too much with this last one. The Accidental Demon Slayer is about a straight-laced preschool teacher forced to hit the road with a gang of geriatric biker witches. The idea made me smile. In theory. In reality, though, I’d never met any bikers and the toughest thing I’d ridden was my pink Huffy back in grade school. It had flames down the side.

Yes, I know. I’m easy to impress. I’m also easy to distract. As I wrote the book, I forgot about bikers for a bit and I found myself liking the heroine’s dog. I hadn’t even planned on him in the beginning, but when the heroine learns she's a demon slayer and all hell is after her, she takes comfort in her dog. It was a sweet moment. And as I wrote it, I thought, 'How do I throw her off?'

I made Pirate, the dog say something to my heroine. Nothing big. After all, he's only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where she can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard). It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, Lizzie can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I ended up having a ball with it, and I fell in love with Pirate the dog. Then I realized I was writing about Harley riding biker witches.

How do you get a dog on a motorcycle?

Well, I went online and learned that there is a nationwide club of Harley bikers who ride with their dogs. So my heroine could have her pink motorcycle, and her Jack Russell Terrier too.

And of course I had to meet these Harley riding dog lovers. I called up a few of the members of the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club and the adventure began. They invited me into their homes, introduced me to their dogs and, like my heroine, the bikers hoisted me up on the back of a Harley, with a dog in tow.

So just when I thought I was writing fiction, it seemed my made-up characters from The Accidental Demon Slayer weren't so imaginary after all. One of the bikers I met even has a wife who is a biker witch. I'm wondering if she, like my heroine's biker witch grandma, wears a "kiss my asphalt" t-shirt and carries a carpet bag full of Smuckers jars filled with magic. Maybe I'll find out on my next adventure.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us a road trip story (longest trip, most obnoxious, most fun) and you’re entered to win an autographed copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer!

Thanks Angie for the great post and contest! And now, let me add to this a bit. For everyone that comments to Angie on this post (or any other throughout the week that involve the book) you will be entered into a drawing for a "Kiss My Asphalt" tee shirt. And bonus, leave a question, the most interesting question you can think of , about her writing, her book, anything(well, use some discretion) and I'll enter you double in the drawing for the tee (or tank, your choice). The winner of the signed copy of TADS will also receive a tee. So what are you waiting for?! Check out Angie's post, visit her site and get to commenting! Contest ends on July 15th (my birthday!)at about three.

Take Care


bscott49 said...

Who's phalt?

Barbara Scott

ChariDee said...

The following comment was left on a different post, but it goes with this one, I think it's just blogger messing up again, so I'm moving it here (scroll down to the post directly below this one to see the original comment).

"the bikers hoisted me up on the back of a Harley, with a dog in tow."
No way...you did not go for a ride with them?!? All for research, right?
Great interview. Love the idea of a promo shirt. YOu are doing great girl and July 29 is just aroun the corner.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

The book sounds great and a totally different read from anything I have come across. Her adventures have got to beat the trip a friend of mine and I took with my six month old, her one year old and my two year old to visit my parents in Washington DC...a wild trip but not exactly an adventure!

All the best,


Kimberly B. said...

I haven't done many road trips as an adult, but I have memories of one I went on as a child. It took place the year Elvis died, which I remember because we heard the news and my father was shaken by it, being the same age. (To me, Elvis was some old singer who kind of looked like the Fonz!). We visited my grandmother in Washington State, headed up into Canada, where it rained and rained, though I nevertheless scolded my sister for flushing the toilet (there was a drought in California at the time). At one point, we couldn't find a place to stay, and kept finding these hotels with no vacancy signs, so I said "I guess we'll just have to take one of those No Vacancy ones." I was about seven or eight, and apparently thought "vacancy" was an amenity like a pool or something. We did end up finding a hotel, and not having to sleep in the car!

Colleen Thompson said...

The book sounds adorable! Thanks for sharing!

Chessie said...

Good luck on the debut, Angie! I can't wait to see this thing on the shelves. It is a fantastic book, and so much fun to read. (I'm lucky to get the inside scoop).



CrystalGB said...

Hi Angie. Your book sounds great.
My road trip story:
After college graduation, my cousin and I decided to drive to Virginia Beach for the weekend. We had a good weekend and started home and realized that we had gotten on the wrong interstate and went hundreds of miles out of our way. It was a long journey home.

Heather Hiestand said...

My family did a couple of epic road trips when I was a kid, from Seattle to Illinois and Iowa. I remember having car problems a couple of times and getting a gun pulled on us once. Gotta love those falling apart station wagons!

Wow Angie, what a creative idea. What kind of research are you going to do for your next book?

Angie Fox said...

I'm loving these stories. Road trips can be so much fun, and even when they're not, they're fun to talk about later!

Someone asked if I really rode with the Harley bikers. I did. But I learned I'd make a bad biker myself. I kept wanting to close my eyes. Fine if you're a passenger, not so good if I ever wanted to hit the road on my own hog.

Angie Fox said...

Heather asked about research for the next book. The geriatric biker witches are in the second book, so naturally, I was all about copping more free rides from the leather clad crowd. Did you know biker rallies sometimes have funnel cakes?

And I also (and this was quite a hardship) had to leave my family and head to Las Vegas, where the second book takes place. It was really neat to get to see some of the underground, lesser known parts of the city. But that's an entirely new blog.

Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

OK...so in Oregon we don't pump our own gas. Since I've lived here since I learned how to drive, my gas pumping skills are non-existent. So my mom and i are on this road trip to California to see my cousin's baby and we pull into a gas station. And sit there. And sit there...and then it dawns on us...in true sitcom form we both slowly turn to the other and bust out laughing.

We got our gas...they have instructions right on the pump!

Katherine Allred said...

Oh, man. Where to start. There are so many disasters (er, trips) to choose from. Okay, my family was going to visit relatives and we decided to save money by camping out every night. By the second night we actually managed to get the tent set up right in a nice tree-covered area. (This was at a state park in hill country.) All five of us went to bed that evening, tired but happy. Two hours later we woke to the sound of thunder. Suddenly rain was pouring down by the bucket fulls. That's when we discovered we'd set the tent smack in the middle of a water run-off ditch. The water inside our tent rose to knee level, and the kids started screaming. In a panic, hubby grabbed a knife and stabbed a hole in the back of the tent to let the water out. The hole was rapidly enlarged by five people exiting the tent at high speed. Just as we got out, the wind picked up and a tree crashed to the forest floor right beside us. More screaming ensued as we ran for the truck. Abandoning all our camping equipment, we headed for the nearest town, praying they'd have a strong building where we could ride the storm out. Just as we passed a transformer on the way out of the park, it was hit by lightening.

Needless to say, we stayed in hotels for the rest of the trip, and now if you want to see my entire family go pale, just mention going on a camping trip.

So, Angie, where does a sit on a Harley?

Katherine Allred said...

*sigh* That should say, where does a DOG sit on a Harley?

Angie Fox said...

Believe it or not, there are all kinds of ways to hoist a dog up on a Harley.

There are companies that build special dog seats (more like a half-crate) with harnesses for medium sized dogs to ride in front of their owners. Other dogs have doggie cars that are attached to the side, or trail behind the bikes. If you have a smaller dog, like my main character, you can get a doggie harness, like a baby carrier (but specially made for animals) that you can use to snuggle the dog right up next to you.

Here's a link to some pictures:

These are the folks who started me off on my, ahem, adventure. :)

ChariDee said...

These Road Trip stories are great! I know I should sympathize, but I find myself laughing too hard :)

I would actually share one of my own, but sadly, we are a boring clan and I have none!

Keep 'em coming guys! I'm loving it!

LadyVampire2u said...

Love the stories and I have to say I am dying to read this book! My last road trip was the one from hell I think. A trip with my 2 aunts out around to a few different states just for fun. But the first stop was the St. Luis Arch. I am not fond of heights but somehow my aunts forced me up there. They never told me that the whole darn thing would move under your feet. So we get out of a small elevator that had scared the heck out of me just coming up, to step onto a floor that is moving non-stop under my feet. The wind was really blowing and the building was reacting. I was terrified. So much so the one nun up in the Arch had to come over, comfort me and get me down off the Arch. LOL. Humiliating, I know. Especially when I then developed a fear of heights the same day. So then we headed up to Cumberland Falls which was beautiful but suddenly had a rainstorm come up. So my aunts and I drove down the mountain during a thunderstorm with rain making visiblity almost impossible. Unhappy for us but the end of the drought for the people living around there. In Gatlingburg, Tenn we were witnesses to a guy falling off the mountain there. He ran from police and just off the side of an edge to crash down onto a parked car on the level below. He survived but it was a horrible thing to see. And in Kentucky, my aunt almost drove off into a very steep ravine. We ended up depending on the kindness of strangers to get us out. Thank goodness the strangers there did end up kind. I could do on but I'll spare you and end here. Still, it was a crazy trip.

Pamk said...

several years ago we took a road trip from our small town in AL to the grand canyon. We went interstate 40 across the us and come back home via 20 and 10. The first day we left I wound up with food posioning and was sick for about 8 hours. We stopped in Ft Smith Ak and got a room. It was around two in the morning and when we went to get in our room the inside latch was on the door. Now our card worked but with the latch hooked we coudn't open the door. Now my hubby used to be a maintenance man at a hotel and sometimes when doors are slammed shut this latch will fly back so he got quite good at jimmying them open. He tried it once and when he turned around to see better in the light the door slammed shut. That is when I realized that even though our key card worked the room was occupied. It was a wonder we didn't get shot. that was just 2 stories of our trip which was 5200 miles in 11 days with a 6 yr old, 13 yr old, me, hubby, and my aunt. Even with all the weird things that happened we had a blast and got to see a lot of the country cause we drove till we wanted to stop and looked at what ever we wanted too. I even got to stand on the corner in winslow AZ lol.

Brandy said...

We've taken many road trips. The first, hubs and I moved from SC to CA, with two cats in one car. Did you know if you put a harness on a cat to let them out to go potty they'll walk backwards? *G* Then there was the move 4 years later when we drove cross country from CA to MS. With a toddler. Who was potty training. We had to store my hundred year old piano and when we went to take it off the U-haul it tipped over onto my hubs foot. (It had a steel frame, can you say OUCH?) Then there was the next cross country move from MS back to CA with 3 cats, a 6 year old and me 8 months pregnant. I can tell you the rest are restrooms in Utak are WEIRD.
Now we're back in SC and have been for a while. Our longest trip in the last 5 years has been to the mountains just a few hours away. Of course on our last hiking day-trip we were 2 hours away from home when the alternator died on my Jeep and we made it almost all the way home, only 20 minutes from our house. Whew! (And thank goodness for Out-laws.) *G*

Brandy said...

Oh, and a question? Did LIzzie buy Pirate those goggles for doggies that ride? *G* Or a little doggie helmet? *G*

Angie Fox said...

Yes, ladyvampire2u, the St. Louis Arch does move. Did I tell you I'm from St. Louis? Bonus points to you for telling a road trip story about my hometown. :)

But in all seriousness, glad you made it down okay. I'm glad you weren't there the day the power went out and they had tourists stranded up there for about five hours.

And Pamk, kudos to you for almost breaking into an occupied hotel room. Is it bad that I'm still laughing?

Brandy, I may have to borrow your cat harness fun fact for a future book. Who knew cats on a leash walk backwards? Not me.

Thanks for the stories, everyone. This is very entertaining.

Angie Fox said...

Oh and Brandy's question - Pirate does not have those goggles. But they're really cute. He may have to get some.

Poor Pirate has to ride in a pet harness straight out of the Ozzy Osborne pet wear catalog. It was originally bought for Buddy, a pet ferret owned by one of the biker witches. Pirate's big question (before being strapped in for the first time) was "What happened to Buddy?" I don't think he ever got an answer to that one. Perhaps that's for the best.

Nancy said...

Angie, I've not had many road trips, but I have a question.

How long did it take you to tweak your characters and plot? This book sounds adorable, and I'm impatient to get my hands on it!

Nancy Haddock
La Vida Vampire

lrwirum said...

A few years ago my guy and I went from Arizona to the Pacific Northwest where he is from. We had a fantastic time. It was nice and cool and there was rain. :-)

The only down side was while traveling on the highway we were passing a semi and it threw up a rock that manage to crack our windshield in two places.

We are thinking of doing it again. :-)


Angie Fox said...

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful. I was there a few years ago for a writer's retreat and loved it.

And thanks for the question, Nancy. The characters were a blast to write. They came to me pretty clearly (maybe from all that enlightening research) it took about five months to write The Accidental Demon Slayer from start to finish.

Ladytink_534 said...

I had a better fourth than I thought I would. This sounds like an awesome book! Talking terrier, biker witches, shapeshifting griffin, count me in!

I have to say my longest road trip is six hours... and I take it two or more times a year! My parents and my mother-in-law live in Georgia while my husband and I live in Mississippi. That car trip is not fun, let me tell you! Especially last year when we went on my birthday and came back on our wedding anniversary. As you can imagine, I was one grouchy woman!

Margay said...

The thing I always want to know - especially in a story concept as unique as this - is where did the idea come from? How, exactly, did you develop it? (I think you hinted at it, but I want details!)

My road story involves a cat, not a dog, but I think it's amusing. A few years back, my girls and I lived in Florida for a few months, but decided to return to Massachusetts, where we're originally from. So we're driving home in my little Kia and our cat is sitting in the back window. I don't know what drew my attention to it, but...we were leaving New Jersey at the time (going over the bridge into New York) and there sits our cat, in the back window, in all his glory, exposing himself to New Jersey as he cleaned himself. I wasn't the only one who thought it was funny. I happened to glance into the car to my left and the woman looked like she was about to drive off the bridge, she was laughing so hard. Gotta love our furry friends!

Angie Fox said...

OMG Margay. Excuse me while I clean the Diet Coke off my keyboard. That is flipping hilarious!

Angie Fox said...

Sorry. I'm back. Margay really did spark a keyboard/Diet Coke emergency.

I have to ask Ladytink if she's been riding with the biker witches. They road trip from Atlanta to Greenville, Mississippi in the book. They have it hard because of demons and a few other supernatural nasties, but I'm thinking it had to be worse for you to leave on your birthday and come back on your anniversary. Ouch!

Margay said...

Sorry about the diet coke incident - hope it all turned out okay. Yeah, I get quite a little chuckle whenever I think about that story myself.

Angie Fox said...

Oh and sorry, Margay. You asked for details on how the idea came.

First, I love to read paranormals, so I had a pretty good idea of what had been done and what I might do that could be fun and different. Then my son helped me out. He was about 4 months old at the time and loved to eat (still does). He'd wake me 3 times a night, demand a bottle, then go back to sleep while I was feeding him (remember: you asked for the long version!).

Anyhow, I'd be the only one awake in a quiet house and I'd end up brainstorming story ideas. Most of them didn't go anywhere. But one night, I remember thinking: What if a straight laced preschool teacher suddenly learns she’s a demon slayer? And what if she has to learn about her powers on the run from a fifth level demon? Ohhh and wouldn’t it be fun if she’s running with her long-lost Grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches?

I started writing and let the story evolve based on the characters and that central issue of what happens when a reluctant heroine is thrust into a series of extraordinary situations. And I knew the story was working when I couldn’t wait to get back to the keyboard every day.

I have to say one of the keys for me (that I hope I didn't gloss over up above) was the fact that I had plenty of time to think. And only when an idea really grabbed me did I stop brainstorming and start writing.

Hope that helps!

Margay said...

Well, it sounds fantastic! I love it when ideas come to us like that and the story practically writes itself. This is officially now one of my must reads. Will it sound weird if I say I am oddly intrigued by the geriatric biker witches? Love that concept!

WordVixen said...

Road trip story: On our last trip to Walt Disney World, hubby did all the driving (I'm so not a good driver). We hit Jacksonville Florida at about 5am, after 13 hours or so of driving. Hubby was getting a little punchy and missed a turn.

First there was the expected yelling and cussing, and then a car cut us off. And my husband shouted "Gringo!" at the guy (let me just say that we're both mostly german, him with italian, me with scots-irish). And then he started giggling and shouting "Gringo!" at everyone, and then, for some bizarre reason, began imitating a mexican cop- badly.

By the time we got to the hotel, hubby ended up slumped over the counter like a drunk and stage whispering "Gringo!" every time the girl at the desk stopped talking. He kept this up for the rest of the trip.

Question: How uncomfortable was it to ask complete strangers for research help without a book deal in hand? I need some up close and personal time with a 50's era Cadillac, but can't imagine approaching a stranger about it.

BTW- I actually have a sticky note on my feed reader reminding me of when your book is coming out. The whole idea cracks me up. :)

Angie Fox said...

LOL Goofy husbands are the best.

And I hear you re: asking strangers for help with research. It's not easy, but I found that once I made the initial contact, people were more than happy to help.

When you think about it, you're basically asking them to talk about themselves and their interests while you listen earnestly and take notes. I have a theory, actually, that people don't listen to each other enough. When folks realize you truly want to know more about something they're passionate about, you can have the most amazing conversations and of course they're going to want to show you more of what they enjoy doing.

I'll bet if you go to a car show and start talking to the owner of a 50's Cadillac, he/she will be more than happy to tell you about the car.

Try it. And if you want, I'd really like for you to email me and let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments. I have a question--do you plot out your story or do you just sit down and start writing toward an end?

Margay said...

Hey, Angie,I just had to let you know that I picked up a copy of The Romantic Times magazine and what do I see but you featured in the New Author Spotlight on page 61! It gave me a little thrill for you -how exciting! Congratulations!

Katie said...

I'm sure there will be tons of biker dogs here in Milwaukee for Harley's 105th in August. :-)

I've had so many great road trips that I don't know which would be the best.

But the worst...that would be the trip to Florida with my friend who sleep drives and snores like a chainsaw. I hardly got a wink of sleep the whole time since I couldn't sleep at night and wouldn't sleep in the car.

To make things worse, she insisted that we stay at this hotel on South Beach. The room was like something out of drug bust on Miami Vice. I don't think the door could have stopped a fly from breaking in and I was sure a few drug dealers were going to bust through the door any minute.

I can't tell you how happy I was to get home after that trip.


Angie Fox said...

Do I plot out the story or just sit down and start writing until the end?

Both. I need to have a loose plot, but it's not a detailed outline like some writers use. I know what the characters want and where they're going to end up. But sometimes, during the writing, things take off in new directions and I'm not opposed to that.

For example, I knew Lizzie the demon slayer was going to have to confront the demon in the end, but I hadn't plotted hell far enough to realize I wanted this guy to be a demon scientist. But when I got there, it made sense and it was different and fun. So I did it.

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Margay! (Is it bad that I put my Diet Coke down when I saw your name?)

It was a kick to be featured in the RT magazine. Like I said, this book has been a lot of fun.

Angie Fox said...

I hear the Harley 105th is going to be a great time. Biker dogs galore!

Your trip to Florida sounds like one I took out of college with a friend who was living overseas at the time. We took the el cheapo overnight train from Vienna to Venice - stuck in a tiny train car with a rough looking Swedish guy and two drunk Austrians. My friend, who is deaf, popped out her hearing aids and promptly went to sleep. I spent the night trying to tune out the loud Austrians while sitting on my money belt.

Margay said...

Angie,I think it is always best to err on the side of caution, as my mother always says. I'm just glad I wasn't sipping at my iced coffee when I read what you wrote because I would've been the one wiping up the keyboard!

Incidentally, the review they gave you wasn't too shabby, either - 4 stars and something about you having a genuine gift for "dangerously hilarious drama" (just a reminder that this is in RT magazine, page 100, current issue). I only wanted to read this book before. Now I HAVE to!

Lil said...

You book sounds like a wonderfully fun read!

One roadtrip was partciularly memorable for me. The destination is not important it was the journey. My hubby didn't want to make any stops that did not coincide with filling the gas tank of our car, we included myself, hubby, two and a half year old, and a one year old. It was a 13 hour drive, we ate in the car as we travelled...almost divorced the man afterwards.

WordVixen said...

Thanks Angie! :) Now, to find a car show that has the right cars....

Angie Fox said...

Is it bad that I'm secretly glad I got you, Margay? And, yes, the Romantic Times review was awesome. It made my day.

Lil, I have no idea how you survived that car trip. We have a 1.5 year old and a 4 year old and we have to stop twice sometimes on the two hour drive to my mother-in-law's house. He owes you about a week at the spa. ;)

And wordvixen, maybe you try to find a club of 50's Cadillac aficionados. Or maybe a
1950's/classic car club could point you in the right direction.

Margay said...

Not at all! Ever since I discovered you on this blog, I've been seeing something about you and your book everywhere, so this is seriously climbing fast to the top of my tbr list - and since that list is giving Mount Everest a run for its money these days, that's saying something! I am really enjoying all the buzz about this book!

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Margay! I'm having a ball with this book, and now the quiz. Any excuse to goof around with the biker witches.