How did the idea for the plot of SERPENTINE come to you?
From years of reading and loving the Greek and Roman myths, but as often happens when I decide to pick something I know a lot about as my fictional jumping off point, I learned far more than expected about a topic I thought I knew pretty well. The wedding and character interplay was from the characters themselves interweaving with the mystery.
When did you know you were going to set SERPENTINE in the Florida Keys? Did you visit the setting in order to conduct research?
I thought Serpentine was going to be a very different book set on a distant tropical island, but when Edward’s wedding was being set there he, the character, nixed that idea, and after all it was his wedding not mine. The original plot didn’t have the new form of lycanthropy in it. It had a different mystery and a different supernatural element. No, I won’t tell you what they are, because you’ll be seeing them in a later book. Yes, I visited the Florida Keys before I set the book there. I haven’t written about any place that I haven’t visited at least once, and I try for more than just that. For me as a writer I find that I always learn more if I can walk the streets, look at the sights, hear, feel, taste, touch as much of a location as possible. I know that other writers seem to do great with just book and online research, but I’m not one of them.
Did anything you discovered in doing your research for this book surprise you?
What research surprised me most? That the Florida Keys where the majority of Serpentine is set was so damn beautiful. I had no idea we had any place in the United States that was truly a tropical paradise until I drove over that first bridge and saw it stretched out before me.
What did you find most challenging about writing SERPENTINE?
Honestly, the insecurities that can haunt all writers. I thought once you hit #1 and reached a certain career success that it would go away, but there’s something about sitting down to that blank white paper/screen that invites all your personal demons to visit. It calls your muse, too, but sometimes the muse has to fight their way through the inner demons, before you can hear them.
Who was your favorite character to write in SERPENTINE?
Anita Blake, she’s been my first person viewpoint from the beginning. If I didn’t love seeing the world through her eyes I don’t think we’d be talking about number 26. I enjoyed writing Bernardo Spotted-Horse in this book. He surprised me and Anita with some new depths of character. It was great to see Edward’s family on stage again, including both kids. Peter is nineteen now so legally an adult. I liked him being more grownup and then having the things he hasn’t learned come up to bite him. I remember nineteen, it’s confusing as hell.
What do you do to celebrate when you finish writing a book?
What do I do to celebrate when I finish writing a book? Nothing. I’ve never celebrated completion of a novel. I just get to go back to my life and spend time with my friends and family who haven’t seen much of me in months.
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