Meljean rocks. She writes these incredible books that are at once smart, violent and sexy as hell (or heaven, depending on where the characters are at the moment). When I read Demon Angel, I had a moment of outright envy over Lilith. I sat there and thought, why can't I write like that?
It took me weeks of bribing, cajoling, and pleading (not really, I just emailed and said, "Come do interview with me!" and she said, "Okay!" but it is more dramatic this way) but my Russian mind control powers prevailed. I have Meljean on the blog. Squuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeee!
1. Is it true you were discovered because you wrote fanfic?
It's true. I'd been writing Batman/Wonder Woman shipfics for a while, but I'd begun straying more and more often to alternate universe fics, so I realized I wasn't really using those characters anymore, and it was time to move on to my own work. So I began writing the early version of Demon Angel, and I was about 30K words into it when I got an e-mail from Cindy Hwang at Berkley. She'd read my fanfic and the first three chapters of Demon Angel that I had put up online, and wanted to talk.
So I pretty much just died on the spot, because I knew who she was -- I'd already had a list of editors I'd love to submit to, and she was right at the top.
2. Who is hotter, Batman or Nightwing and why?
Considering that I wrote Batman/Wonder Woman fanfic, it seems a no-brainer that it's Batman. He's dark, broody, a billionaire, and can beat a thug unconscious with his pinkie toe (Batman's, not the thug's.) But ...
Dude has issues. Sure, Dick Grayson has issues, too -- but Batman has Issues. There's something about "slightly psychotic" that decreases the overall hotness factor, and unless you're a princess from an island of women, a thief in a catsuit, or the daughter of an immortal megalomaniac, not the kind of issues a normal woman can take on and come out alive (or at least, not turned into a robot.)
And although I bet they'd both be ferocious in the sack, something tells me a part of Bruce wouldn't always be _there_ there; Dick would be, and that's much hotter.
3. Lilith (Demon Angel) and Savi (Demon Moon) are both assertive,confident, and when occasion requires, violent women. Yet at the sametime they are passionate and unashamed of their sexuality, making themstand out from the other romance heroines. Their inner strength was whatfirst attracted me to your books. Did you consciously made the decisionnot to write to the stereotype or was it the case of characters simplydeveloping, as the characters often do?
I think we all hope that our characters won't fit any stereotype, and write with the intention of making them unique -- and I'm a firm believer that careful and complex characterization will create a unique character, every single time. That said, I didn't know everything about them until I started writing them, and they began as sketchy characters easily contained by a couple of words.
Lilith, for example -- when I began the story, almost everything was the same: she was a demon FBI agent who'd had a reluctant friendship with a Guardian until he fell. She was strong and kickass, but it was all surface -- there wasn't much depth beyond a strong-and-kickass heroine with a wicked side and a few morals.
But writing the story, I was able to get under her skin, to tease out the vulnerabilities -- and to see how she really worked. Her sexuality was a big part of it; she'd used it for thousands of years to bring out the worst in people, so she was comfortable with it and aware of its power. It wouldn't have made any sense to make her uncertain or timid, and to need Hugh to teach her about sex. Sex with Hugh represented something different to her than she'd known before, definitely -- but it was the emotional rather than the physical aspects of it that left her vulnerable.
Savi and Lilith are very different characters in so many ways, but one thing they have in common is that they know themselves pretty well (even if they lie to themselves) -- and I think that lends them a lot of inner strength ... or, if not strength, stability in character. I'm not interested in writing characters who aren't -- on some level -- self aware. Not that characters can't learn about themselves or change over the course of the story (and I hope they do) or that other characters can't see things about them that they don't, but that they are confident and sure of themselves, and not pushed around and buffeted about by other characters.
We all know what happens to leaves on the wind -- they get a harpoon through the chest.
4. If you ever received an offer for the production of graphic novel based on your work, who would you like to draw it?
Oh, geez. Alan Davis, maybe. I fell in love with his work in JLA: The Nail -- it's so clean and laid out beautifully. Would it be dark enough, though? Hmm. Steve Dillon, maybe, who worked on Preacher -- there's another gorgeous book. Or Nicola Scott, whose work I've only recently been following, but I think her pencils are just amazing, and her women are strong without being totally cheesecake.
But if I wanted it to sell like crazy, I'd go for Jim Lee. His touch seems to be pure gold.
5. What is the third book about? (Third book: Demon Night, go look at the cover, it's awesome.)
Demon Night is about Charlie Newcomb, a recovering alcoholic and former opera singer who vampires have decided would be a tasty snack (but who are motivated by nefarious, um, motives). Drifter is a Guardian assigned to protect Charlie, and he's been pulling a Clark Kent for the past two months, living as her neighbor without revealing his secret identity. And there's Charlie's sister, who works for Legion Laboratories (hmm, what kind of beings might call their corporation Legion? *grin* Yeah, I'm not a subtle writer), a new kind of demon in town, vampires, cars being thrown off bridges and Ford F-150s dropping out of the sky, lots of blood, a jaunt to Hell, and lots and lots of sex.
6. Do you ever get embarrassed while writing sex scenes? (I always get embarrassed.)
I write mine while I'm sitting in Starbucks.
I actually enjoy writing sex scenes. Not for the sicko reasons, of which there are several, but I kind of approach them as I would a fight scene -- the physical movements, but also the risks: what are the risks, how does their style of fighting/lovemaking (how far they take it) reveal about their characters, what is it going to change? So it's a lot of fun, and if I squirm a little, that just means I’m doing a good job.
Now, if someone looked over my shoulder, I probably would get embarrassed. But I do at every part of the story -- even during the most innocent scenes, I freak out if someone reads it as I write it.
7. When we meet at a con, and I come and impose on you and drag you away from the legion of screaming fans to buy you a drink, what drink would you like?
Anything caffeinated. If I'm not jittery, then I'm probably sleeping --and I'm so shy it's difficult enough for me to talk even when I'm awake. So, dump me full of coffee, Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper (or all of them at once) and I'll be ready and open for all kinds of imposition