I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, I’m sharing tea and scones and maybe something a bit stronger with with Mia Jo Celeste, author of paranormal historical romance. She’s here to share a lot about her life as a writer and a bit about her debut novel, Other Than.
Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. She grew up watching horror movies and reading romances. To her, the two genres go together like salty and sweet in kettle corn.
And now let’s meet Mia Jo Celeste!
Who is your favorite romance hero or heroine and why? What qualities do they possess that make them memorable?
I can’t pick one. It changes depending on the book I’m currently reading. I just finished Pure by Julianna Baggott, so I’ll pick Pressia for my favorite heroine and Bradwell and El Capitan was my favorite heroes. I like Pressia’s determination, Bradwell’s loyalty to his friends and his beliefs and El Capitan’s character growth from villain to hero.
Who was the first romance author and book you read?
Kathleen E. Woodiwess’ The Wolf and the Dove.
I know so many romance writers who have the exact same answer, including me! Still love that book!
Are you a pantser or plotter? What is your process?
I do a little of both. I make a rough outline, but I love it when the characters take the scene in a different direction or surprise me.
What is your favorite hobby and why?
Reading. I love stories.
What is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Living abroad in different countries.
I’ve done a little of that, but not nearly enough!
What is the first thing you do when you get a story idea?
I think about it and play with the what if spins it could go off in. I’m trying to train myself jot it down.
Do you have any hobbies/passions outside of writing?
I love sightseeing.
Now, tell us a little bit about one of your books.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Oddly enough, real life. Stuff that happens to me and to others around me inspires ideas which become story material.
I am a fanatic about my character names. Are the character names special in any way?
I spend a lot time working on character names. I collect baby name books and spend too much time on baby name websites, but my favorite source is The Baby Name Survey Book by Bruce Lansky because it tells what people think when they hear a name.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote it in about four months and then spent a couple of years revising it.
Sometimes the fire burns bright as the first draft is being laid down. Then going back in the light of day and making the revisions is the long haul for sure.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
I love rollercoasters, especially sitting in the front seat. For a few seconds while you wait for the back of the coaster to get up to the top, you hang over the edge and get to look down at the track and far, far down it goes, before you plunge downward.
Oh, Lord, I flash back to the Rebel Yell. I was in the front seat and the track looked like it curved back underneath us! YIKES!
Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
I like hot tea. All different kinds. I’m always looking to add to my favorites.
Hot dogs or Hamburgers?
Hamburgers on the grill.
Favorite all time movie?
Star Wars. The first one.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla for ice cream. Chocolate for candy, cake and everything else.
Boxers, briefs or commando? (preferred for your heroes)
I keep forgetting they are a “thing” now. I need to add them to the list!
How many states have you lived in?
I’ve only lived in three different states, but I lived in five different countries.
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Cat person or dog person?
What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?
Maharaja Chai Oolong Tea
Who is your favorite cartoon character?
It changes but right now it’s a tossup between Rick and Morty.
It only takes one drink from the Water of Immortality to kill Evie Woods—halfway. Trapped in undead flesh, the world’s last skin-slider wakens on an island purgatory where a cursed spring bubbles with immortality, and zombie cannibals crave living flesh.
Her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the one man who would see her fail. Bound to her by cords stronger than death, Lord Victor Lowell is both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. Contrary and intractable, Victor preys on others to maintain his angelic charisma and preternatural prowess. Drawn to the compellingly gallant and vulnerable soul behind his mercurial humors, Evie can only watch as protecting her forces Victor to sacrifice yet more of himself to the ancient evil long tethered to his soul.
Trapped in an ever-escalating war they can’t stop, Victor and Evie fight time for a cure, but as the long days pass blackness tears at Evie, ripping her thoughts from her one memory at a time. Victor will to do whatever it takes to prevent her from deteriorating into a rotting husk, even if it means dooming himself, but Evie won’t surrender his soul without a fight. Battle lines drawn, the soul mates resolve to find redemption or die trying.
He materialized in the inky shadow.
Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”
Thank you so much for being my guest this week, Mia Jo! What a fantastic opportunity to get to know you and your book better!
Starting next week my blog will be on hiatus, except for a couple of very special guests. I’m working feverishly to meet a June 1 deadline, so I’m goin’ writin’ for a spell. I’ll be back after the first of June with more of your favorite or new-to-you authors to sit and chat with. Have a fantastic month of May!