Friday, September 28, 2012

Sitting Down with the Immortally Awesome Angie Fox

Sitting Down with the Immortally Awesome Angie Fox
By Brad R. Cook

Today on The Writers Lens, we have New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox!

I first met Angie several years ago; she was wearing a black leather jacket with a Kiss My Asphalt T-shirt underneath. That’s when I knew – I was going to like this author. Then I read The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers and fell hard for her writing. It was the second book in the series, which oddly, I often start with the second book in a series, but I ran out picked up book one and have read everything she’s written ever since.

Now, I could go on about what a wonderful person she is, how she gives her time for lectures and workshops, was the marquee presenter at the second annual Writers in the Park, or that she is an excellent contest judge, but I really want to tell you she’s an amazing writer – one worthy of her New York Times bestselling title.  

Angie maintains a close interaction with her fans. Recently, she even held a contest to name a character in her next novel. Now, she has a contest to be acknowledged in her next book! Stop by her blog to learn more and get all the latest information, you can find it on her website –

She can often be found at conferences and if you ever have the opportunity to check out her Lining Up the Bones workshop, I highly recommend it. Really any workshop she’s giving will be helpful but I had the privilege of seeing Bones twice. She has great tips for writers, keep reading and you’ll understand what I mean.

A little bit more about Angie, she’s fascinating.

Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of books about demon slayers, werewolves and things that go bump in the night. She claims that researching her books can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).

Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author.

From her bio, you’ll see she has a cunning wit, and wonderful sense of humor, but what it won’t tell you is that she has an amazing voice, and the ability to reach both male and female readers. She crosses genres and makes no excuses for it, proving that she is a great writer and marketer.

Most known for the bestselling Accidental Demon Slayer Series, her brand new Monster M.A.S.H. Series begins with the paranormal romance Immortally Yours.

Immortally Yours
By Angie Fox

No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx, vegetarian werewolf, and other paranormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally.) But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…

Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophesy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…

“A new talent just hit the urban fantasy genre, and she has a genuine gift for creating dangerously hilarious drama.” —RT Book Reviews

Guys, step over here for a second… I know the cover has a guy on it (though I really dig the tattoo on Immortally Embraced) and that may cause you to make certain assumptions but hold up – trust me, yes, there is romance, but there is still plenty of action and the kick-butt surprises you’ve come to expect from Angie. Okay, let’s go back.

Other Angie Fox books,

So I married a Demon Slayer by Angie Fox – Out now – When a sexy succubus comes up against a fearless demon slayer intent on killing her boss, a truly wild Vegas night turns into a quickie wedding. But in a city where anything goes, a demon slayer wedding a succubus is strictly forbidden. Which doesn’t mean either is rushing to jump out of the marriage bed.

The Last of the Demon Slayers by Angie Fox – Spring 2013 – the fifth book in the Accidental Demon Slayer Series, because she loves her fans, and apparently demon slayers don’t go quietly into the night.

My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding – April 2013
Immortally Embraced – February 2013
Immortally Ever After – August 2013

I recently had the great honor of sitting down with Angie and picking her mind about writing.

What inspired Immortally Yours and the Monster M.A.S.H. series?
I wanted to do something different. Plus, I love writing books that are not only about the hero and heroine, but also about the community where they live. A quirky, paranormal M.A.S.H. unit offered up a lot of possibilities for character building and creative plotting.

Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write about a doctor, someone who is committed to doing good, to making a change in the world. I wanted to see how she’d handle being drafted into a M.A.S.H. unit and basically having her life taken away.

Dr. Petra Robichaud ended up being one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever written. She’s stubborn, independent and used to being on her own. She’s also dealing with her own personal tragedy. Enlistments run until the end of the conflict, which for her will be a life sentence. Still, she manages to keep her dry sense of humor and she’s even created a new family, of sorts, among her colleagues at the M.A.S.H. 3063rd.
The only thing she’s not prepared to deal with, it seems, is the hero, who bursts onto the scene first as a critical patient on her operating table and then as the only man who knows her secret ability. He discovers it while she’s saving his life. Unfortunately, her secret ability is forbidden by the gods and could get her killed – or worse. She’s survived so far by keeping her head down and now Galen is threatening that.

But he isn’t interested in hiding. Galen is a hardened special ops soldier, who has risked everything time and time again. He’s focused on his duty and determined to bring an end to the war. Petra and her ability will give him a means to do it. He’s very charismatic. And either by charm or by force, Galen will bring her onto his side.


If the first book in any series is about worldbuilding, is there something everyone needs to know about your new world?
Yes, Petra has the ability to see the dead and to speak with them. It’s a tough gift for a doctor to have. She can see all too clearly what happens to the patients she loses. The soldiers she does manage to save, she has to send back to the front lines.

Her ability has been outlawed by the gods, simply because they don’t think a mortal should have that kind of power. And the gods have a thing for strange and horrific punishments. They won’t just kill you for being different. They get all mythological. It’s like a divine version of The Godfather. Petra knows that the gods will damn her for eternity if she’s discovered. After all, these are the people that have, in the past; turned women into spiders, fastened “friends” to burning wheels for eternity; tied one of their own to some far-flung rock so he could have his liver pecked out by an eagle until the end of time. But of course Petra is going to have to expose her secret if she wants to help Galen end the war.

Are you excited to have the next two books in the series coming out within just a few months? I know your readers are. (note: I will provide the titles and release dates if you have them)
It’s going to be fun to have the books out so fast. Immortally Embraced comes out in February 2013 and Immortally Ever After is out in August 2013. The fifth book in my Accidental Demon Slayer series is also coming out in between both of the Monster M.A.S.H. books. My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding releases in April 2013.

Who is your favorite literary heroine?
I really like Amelia Peabody, Victorian Egyptologist, written by Elizabeth Peters. She has a lot of attitude and her first-person narrative is both touching and hilarious.

Why do you choose to write in first person?
First person is a more natural voice for me as a writer. For years, I tried to fight my voice and write like I was “supposed” to write. I ended up extremely frustrated, with three mysteries that didn’t sell. When I said to heck with it and embraced who I am as a writer, the right words came. And wouldn’t you know, they were all in first person.

I have done a few novellas in third, just because the stories called for multiple points of view.  But it wasn’t a natural place for me to be as a writer, and I’m not sure that I’d ever do an entire series in third. In fact, when I wrote third person for The Real Werewives of Vampire County, I did the entire first draft in first person, knowing I’d switch it to third. But I did it because it was the most organic way for me to get a handle on my main characters and really get into their heads.

Which line did you struggle with more, the first or the last?
First line. The opener is always tougher because so much rides on it. If I’m selling a series, then I have to be able to grab that editor, and later – the reader. First lines set the tone for the book and give readers a taste of what to expect. First lines have to be simple, yet utterly compelling. It’s a lot for one sentence to handle.

By the time we get to the end, the reader is there with me and then it is just a matter of saying things in a way that we both think – ah, yes – that’s the way it has to be.

You have a great voice that comes through Dr. Petra Robichaud – do you have any advice for those writers trying to find their voice?
Yes. Use what the good Lord gave you and don’t be a fool like I was. Each of us has a unique way of telling a story and it comes from inside. I think it’s easy to be blinded by “doing it right” or “learning a better way” to the point where we ignore our instincts and our own special way of telling a story.

When I started writing, I not only ignored my voice, I completely discounted my love of paranormal books. Because, you know, that made sense. Instead, I decided readers would take me more seriously if I wrote very straightforward, focused mystery/suspense. Now there’s nothing wrong with that genre. I love to read those kinds of books, but personally, I don’t have the voice for them. I’m way too flip and it comes out in the way the characters relate to each other and to their world. That’s why, when I did do a medical paranormal like Immortally Yours, I set it in a M.A.S.H. unit where flip is allowed.

If you’ve ever tried it, you know how hard it is to fight your voice. During those first three (unpublished) books, I was trying everything to try to change who I was as a writer and it just wasn’t working. I’d take classes, I’d write 20-page plot outlines and storyboards and note cards. And I really hate note cards.

I wore myself out fighting – to the point where I’d lost my love for writing. I wanted to quit. I knew I needed to do something drastic to get myself going again, so I said the heck with it and decided to write a book just for fun. It would be a complete waste of time. It would never sell. It would be too different for anyone to like. But it would be “me.”

I had this spark of an idea about a preschool teacher who is forced to run off with a gang of geriatric biker witches and The Accidental Demon Slayer was born. Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I grinned my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months. Wouldn’t you know that was the one that sold and hit the New York Times list? And I didn’t write one single note card.

Did you struggle at all finding a new voice for this series?
Please don’t throw tomatoes at me, but no, I didn’t have any trouble finding a voice for Petra. Now that I know who I am as a writer, creating Petra was a matter of deciding who I wanted her to be. Once I knew that, I knew how she talked.

Do you have a process when you write? Do you write at the same time every day or whenever you can find time? Do you outline or let the words flow?
Yes. Having a writing schedule is huge for me. I write three to four hours a day, the same time every day, whether the words are coming or not. I don’t hold myself to a specific output goal, but I do show up ready to put words on paper. If I waited until I had time or felt inspired, I’d never get anything done. Writing, at least for me, is hard. It can be intimidating to face that blank page and my schedule offers the kind of discipline I need to be productive.

I do outline. I usually know where the book is headed. For each chapter, I have a line or two (sometimes a paragraph) of what needs to happen. Then when I start writing each chapter, I’ll write a few notes at the top: the hero/heroine’s goal for the chapter, what the hero/heroine is conflicted about (even if it is a good, worthy goal that we all want – we need something in there that will hurt the main character if he/she achieves the goal), and then the ending conflict (what will happen to throw the hero/heroine off at the end of the chapter and serve to hook us into the next chapter).

Here at The Writers’ Lens our motto is Bringing Fiction in Focus, so: What brings your writing into focus, the characters, the stories, or the love of crafting words?
I want to sound smarter than this, but really, for me it’s about the rush I get when I write something that utterly amuses me, something I know my readers are going to like as well. I’m kind of like a kid who draws a picture of something and can’t wait to show everyone.

Like right now, I’ve just finished the last book in the Monster M.A.S.H. trilogy. It’s only been a few days, and I’m looking around a bit. Catching up on emails. Realizing the laundry really isn’t going to be doing itself.

Meanwhile, my agent is after me to write up this idea I have for a new series. And I will. It’s a pretty neat idea and I am all excited about it. But I’m not writing it because I don’t feel that rush yet. I have my high-concept idea and I know why it will be fun for me to write. But that’s all there is. The energy hasn’t built up enough. There’s no huge creative fire. Things are still clicking somewhere in my subconscious. And that’s okay. Although, I don’t recommend trying to explain such things to agents or other non-writers, or letting the mulling go on too long.

Still, I’m okay with the inactivity because I know it’s my process. In fact, it was one of the things I learned when I was writing all of those unpublished books and while I was fighting my voice. I think those who manage to sell their first book are almost at a disadvantage because they don’t have that time and space to learn these kinds of things.

There is value in every book that you don’t sell. Every book teaches you about why you write, and that knowledge helps shape you into the writer you will become tomorrow, for the next book or twenty books down the road.

So true, I couldn't agree more or have said it so well, thank you Angie!

Thanks so much for joining us on The Writers’ Lens today, on Monday we’ll be having a giveaway for Immortally Yours but don’t worry; if you comment on this post you’ll be entered. Stop by on Monday for all the rules and more about Immortally Yours.

Also, check out the rest of the Monster M.A.S.H. Series – here’s a quick teaser…

The Monster M.A.S.H. series takes place in and around a paranormal M.A.S.H. unit during a seemingly endless war.

Petra and her colleagues at the M.A.S.H. 3063rd have been drafted until the end of the conflict, which is bad for Petra but even worse for people like her vampire roommate, Marius. They’re living in this quirky, ad-hock camp, trying to make the best of it while they work long hours in the OR, putting soldiers back together – knowing that they’re probably going to see these injured heroes again and again – if they’re lucky.

The underlying tragedy brings the oddball personalities in the camp together. They develop ways to keep their sanity and to create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm.

PNN (The Paranormal News Network) is the news outlet covering the war. The doctors, nurses and support staff at the M.A.S.H. 3063rd watch it on the only television in camp, a beat up, 1970's cabinet model that is set up in the mess hall.

For fun, she developed a website for PNN, offering the latest in paranormal news. Think of it as a paranormal version of The Onion. PNN covers important stories like: Mayan Insider Scoop! Developed Armageddon “Prophecy” After Tequila Bender; and Five Things in Your Lair That Can Kill You.

It's all about going on an adventure...and having some fun along the way.

Now rush out and grab the Accidental Demon Slayer and Monster M.A.S.H. Series, you won’t be disappointed… Angie Fox’s books are always one heck of a ride!


Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook

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