blogspot counter

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A great interview with author Sarah Mäkelä!

Today, I have the wonderful opportunity to interview Sarah Mäkelä about her recent releases, Jungle Heat, a paranormal romance, and Techno Crazed, a cyberpunk romance.

You have two series you are working on, one cyberpunk romance, Hacked Investigations, and the other paranormal romance, The Amazon Chronicles. I’m also working between writing two series. What difficulties do you have when shifting from one to the other? What are some of the distinct differences in style/flavor?

Excellent questions! I think they’re almost as different as you can get. My cyberpunk romance series is in the middle of a very big high-tech city, while the paranormal romance is in the middle of the remote Amazon Rainforest where they use more primitive tools for survival. The hero and heroine for the cyberpunk romances are the same throughout the series, and they have cases they try to solve in addition to their character and relationship arc whereas the paranormal romances have different couples for each book, and the primary focus is on the relationship and fighting the obstacles that stand between them.

As for difficulties from switching between the two, I haven’t really had any so far. I guess time will tell since I’m set to start Jungle Fire this week after a short break from finishing Savage Bytes, book 2 of Hacked Investigations. It’s interesting though since I was revising a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance last month (from yet another series) while writing Savage Bytes, and I had a couple times when it was hard to keep the characters straight in my head. I think the wide differences between the two series help keep me from getting them confused.

What research did you do to prepare to write Jungle Heat, set in the Amazon? I’m a fan of myths and folklore. Anything interesting lore from that region that inspired you?

I am a huge fan of mythology and folklore too! On Wednesdays, I have a column called “Into the Paranormal” on my blog that discusses myths, folklore, and the paranormal.

Anyways, I did all kinds of research for Jungle Heat before I started writing. It included a lot of reading up on the Amazon warrior women who fought Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco de Orellana and his men. Everything from where exactly they fought and what happened to what little information Orellana found out about the warriors before they were never seen again. That attack, which happened in 1542, is how the Amazon River got its name.

After that, I used Google Maps to get a closer look at the actual location and see what all is around there. I was really fascinated by the region and what happened. In addition to all of that, I also researched the animals, plants, and weather of the Amazon Rainforest to gain a better understanding of how the women (and sexy werecats) live. Oh, and I learned more about tigers and their behavior for my weretiger.

I hadn't thought to use Google Maps--good idea! Which character from your two series do you enjoy writing the most? Why?

Ouch! That’s a tough question! I really enjoy writing a lot of my characters. I think there’d be something wrong with the character if I didn’t. lol Which one do I enjoy writing the most?

I love how Rei is witty and sometimes too much for Adara who is sweet, but strong and doesn’t know how to take him all the time. Kyle, a werepuma and one of the secondary characters in Jungle Heat, was somewhat confusing for me at first, so I’m looking forward to getting in his head with the next book.

I really like the cast of characters in my Hacked Investigations series too. Ian is strong, protective, and tech-savvy. Hannah is smart, dedicated to what they do, and isn’t afraid to show vulnerability with Ian sometimes. Bernard is Ian’s gnome, and he’s so funny and rude. I’m also a big fan of Leon, their nurse friend.

In Jungle Heat you have a character who is a weretiger, disguised in human form as biologist Andrei "Rei" Makarov. In Techno Crazed, you feature a technomage. Both of those are certainly atypical magical beings—very fun! What was especially enjoyable about working with these unusual characters? What other types of magicals would you like to write in the future.

Thank you, Marsha! You know, I hadn’t actually thought of them being atypical, so that’s neat that you mention it! With my weretiger Rei, I’ve always for as long as I can remember had a fascination with tigers. I think they’re absolutely gorgeous and awesome. It seemed pretty natural to write about a weretiger. I’d had a deep love of werewolves, and at the time when I wrote Jungle Heat years ago, there weren’t many werecats or anything like that.

With my technomage Ian, I’ve wanted to create a magic user since I have a major fan girl crush on a certain mage in Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series. Team Pritkin! Also with writing a cyberpunk romance series, I thought a technomage would be the perfect fit for a high-tech world setting. He’s been a lot of fun to write since he isn’t super knowledgeable about his abilities, so the series shows him growing as a person and magically.

Other magical creatures I’d like to write in the future... Hmm... Well, I’ve got a few projects I’m working on at the moment. One is about werewolves and vampires in a post-apocalyptic world, and the other is about superheroes. *grins* The superhero story comes from my long obsession with the X-Men and comic books.

Thanks so much for having me at your blog! I really enjoyed the interview questions!

Sarah Mäkelä
Dark Magical Encounters of Passion...

The Amazon Rainforest still contains a few secrets. One of these secrets is a hidden village of women whose history is filled with the horror of conquering men.

Adara Rukan, princess of the Amazons, ventures away from her village to find something waiting for her. Andrei "Rei" Makarov is a weretiger and a biologist on assignment. Can Rei and Adara find love enough to bridge their two separate worlds?

Jungle Heat is available now from Changeling Press: Buy Link

Adara raced over the dense forest floor, trying to escape the shadow closing on her heels. Fear pumped adrenaline through her body as she ran toward her village through the darkness. Panic tangled with the sheer need to survive. If only I'd listened. What was I thinking, coming out alone?

She shot a glance over her shoulder. Her foot smacked against a tree root in the moment of distraction, pitching her body forward. The fall came in slow motion.

Cursing under her breath, she rolled onto her back. Dry leaves clung to her blonde hair. The subtle, musty scent of slow rot rose from the rich soil, mixed with something coming from behind her. The dark shadow loomed. Her gaze rose to take in her pursuer, wondering if the beast would be her doom.

The tall, broad-shouldered creature towered over her. Watching. It wasn't human or animal. The village wise woman had warned her of beings like this, but they'd seemed like fables. How could something so fantastical be real?

Even as she trembled with fear, this creature captivated her. The black and orange stripes covering his shoulders and arms evoked a distant memory, yet the design was uncommon in the Amazon.

His hair hung in straight, black strands like a human's, but his face had the nose, mouth, and eyes of a feline. His muscular, naked body reflected a splendid combination of both species. Sweat-shiny skin glistened through the inch-long fur that covered him. His white chest intrigued her, all the way to the patch of fur barely covering his groin. Leaves and branches framed his face with a lush green background. He crouched over her. His piercing golden eyes focused solely on her. His stare reminded her of a cat from her village staring at a small rodent before pouncing.

As he leaned down, she grabbed her kris from the garter on her thigh and pushed it against his stomach. She didn't want today to be the day she died. Her people needed her. She wouldn't let this beast deny them their princess.

The animal cocked his head at her. He brushed his lips over her throat, whiskers tickling her chin.

Her body stiffened. What is he doing? Bewilderment spread through her as his feline lips touched her neck. Instead of biting her, his canines grazed lightly, gently, from just below her ear down to her shoulder, almost as if exploring her flesh, instead of seeking to rip open her throat.

She tensed. Even with her weapon pressed against the beast's stomach, she still feared for her life. As an Amazon princess, she wasn't easily scared. But this feline made her heart pound. If only she had brought Rubia with her. She wouldn't be in this situation and could've stood a better chance against this feline.

Why does he persist in toying with me? Adara swallowed as a low burn started in the pit of her stomach. These feelings confused her.

A soft sniffing sounded in her ear right before his tongue scraped rough caresses on her skin. Other jungle cats marked their territory. Did this animal believe she was his? She didn't want to find out.

Without waiting for the feline's next move, Adara drove the kris deep into his stomach, meeting resistance as it plunged through flesh and muscle. She forced it further as his blood flowed onto her hands, making the hilt of the kris slick, weakening her grip.

He roared and leapt back with her kris still embedded in his abdomen.

She scrambled to her feet. His scream so near the side of her face made her ear ring. Bringing up a hand to her ear, Adara felt a trail of his wet blood drip along her cheek.

He straightened his spine and strode back to her, her kris still buried in him. It seemed as if it were nothing more than a minor annoyance to him. She clenched her hands into fists and dropped them to her sides.

The reality of what she saw struck her. She froze. How could he act so unaffected? He shouldn't have been able to move around so casually. It wasn't possible. How can I outrun something like that? This can't be happening. Her mother had always warned her to be careful when traveling through the forest. Why hadn't she listened? And how could she feel so drawn to this animal when he intimidated her?

"Who are you?" Gritting her teeth, she forced her voice to resonate with the commanding tones of an Amazon huntress, and fervently hoped it didn't betray the panic racing through her veins. Her people's beliefs restricted them from showing fear in front of strangers. Not that they saw many. But her tribeswomen were survivors in dangerous times. Their history brimmed with reminders.

The feline bared pointed white teeth. "Call me Rei." His husky voice reverberated like a deep growl.
He launched into the air and, before she could react, flattened her to the ground. Air whooshed out of her lungs. Her eyes widened and locked onto his.

He pinned her arms next to her head and pressed his feline lips to hers. His tongue scraped across her lower lip, causing nips of pain to cut through the alluring sensation.

She shook her head hard, breaking the kiss. Her breath rushed out short and quick. Never before had she kissed anyone. His mouth on hers created fiery stirrings within her body that felt almost too good. Her racing pulse only spread the warmth throughout her body that much faster.

Twice a year, her tribeswomen associated with Indian men. The younger girls were forced to stay in a hut during those visits, although Adara had snuck out once with Rubia in a fit of rebellion. She'd spotted one of her kin pressing her mouth against an Indian male's. Could this be what happens?

But men weren't to be trusted. Her kin had learned that the hard way many, many years ago.

Her mind flashed to the tales she'd heard from the wise woman. Horrible reminders assaulted her, memories of the men from long ago, enslaving her kind, killing them ruthlessly with diseases and swords.

She could imagine the cruelty of the conquering, pillaging men as vividly as if she had been there herself, so strongly had the wise woman spoken. It had taken weeks for her to sleep soundly after listening to that story.
Sudden panic swept away the lust that burned inside her. This creature could do the same. He's chased me, after all.

"What do you want from me?" Adara asked, trying to sound forceful, but instead her voice came out husky. She cleared her throat and returned his gaze.

Talking with an animal! Rubia would be jealous. Her tribeswomen would never believe this story... if she survived the encounter.

Rei smiled, warmth emanating from him. "You." His chest rumbled, and he rolled the word off his tongue like an exotic purr.

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available late autumn.


Ella Gray said...

Congratz on Jungle Heat, Sarah! Techno Crazed was great and I'm looking forward to this new series as well. It's amazing that you are able to switch between such different stories and have it all come out so good. Ian is my fave, BTW :-)

Great interview, Marsha!

Kinley Baker said...

Awesome excerpt, Sarah! I loved your characters in Techno Crazed! Can hardly wait to read Jungle Heat again.

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Hi Ella! Thank you!! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Techno Crazed! Yay! Thanks for the compliment and checking out my new series too! I hope you enjoy reading Jungle Heat! I'd love to hear what you think!

Hey Kinley! Thank you! I'm so happy you liked Techno Crazed!! :-D I can't wait to hear what you think when you read Jungle Heat again. :-D

Suzanne Johnson said...

Great interview--congrats on the releases, Sarah! Looking forward to Jungle Heat :-)

Sarah Mäkelä said...

Hi Suzanne! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I hope you enjoy reading Jungle Heat! You'll have to tell me how you like it. :-D