As you can see, we haven't gone dark just yet (and we likely won't...well except in the humor department). Good thing too, cuz today is a special day here in the League Lounge. Joining us is the lovely and talented Michelle Maddox, author of the futuristic death game romantic thriller from Shomi, COUNTDOWN!!
I had a bit of difficulty tracking down Ms. Maddox, it seems she wouldn't take my calls and you all know, I won't be ignored. But eventually I was able to convince her.
Me: That's not too tight for ya is it?
Michelle: Um... my wrists are burning a little bit. And what's that nasty smell? But...uh...I'm okay for the moment. I guess. *looks around helplessly*
Me: I'm so glad you've come along peacefully. I've been reading your latest book, Countdown, and drinking a bit. Not too much, just something to take the edge off and don't worry, I'll get you that water. I promise. Anyway. Countdown.
Your heroine's name is Kira. Did you snatch that from the roller disco classic Xanadu?
Michelle: Wow, there's an obscure reference. Nice. But no, Kira's name came to me without snatching it from anywhere but thin air. Character names tend to do that with me.
Me: So tell the readers a bit about Countdown, and don't try anything squirrelly while your at it.
Michelle: *tugs at ropes* I resent the assumption of any potential squirrelly behavior. Anyhoooo.... COUNTDOWN is from Dorchester Publishing's Shomi line. It's about a woman forced to play a futuristic game show with a convicted mass murderer as her partner. There are six levels they need to complete to win their freedom. If they fail, they die. They're connected to each other and to the game itself through computer chips in their heads which, if they stray more than ninety feet from each other, will explode. Oh, and it's a romance novel. I've been getting great reviews on this, including my first 4-1/2 star Top Pick from Romantic Times. Rock on.
Me: Your throat is sounding a little dry. There's something familiar about this book, I got a Richard Bachman vibe off the premise. Any reason why that should be?
Michelle: *coughs hoarsely* I was inspired by many sources and The Running Man was one of them, although more the Arnie movie than the original source material. When I first got the idea I was going more for an Amazing-Race-on-Acid vibe since that show is based on working with a partner. The Running Man was just a futuristic game show where it's kill or be killed. Wasn't the guy from Family Feud in the movie too?
Me: Don't be coy Maddox or Rowen or whoever you really are, you know all to well that Richard Dawson played that game show host with style and grace. *removes a box from under his chair--there's a series of buttons across the top*.
Michelle: So...uh...what exactly does that high-tech gadget do?
Me: Oh, I'll tell you. *pets the box lovingly* Each of these buttons corresponds to an electrified microchip implanted in my fellow League members brains. So don't plan on getting gamey, or... *presses button and a scream echoes through the building, this time male, though it could have been a little girl for the high-pitch of it* ...do you follow me? There's only 5 more now, but I don't mind goin' solo up in this bitch.
Me: *suddenly smiling* Now, let's talk about the decision to go futuristic thriller, I'm reading Countdown now and it's fantastic, I'm on the edge of my seat. If it weren't for the bits of relief at the end of each "level," I think I'd have an aneurysm.
Michelle: That was the general reaction I was hoping for.
Me: And how about that pseudonym. Maddox. It's so aggressive, like an accusation. I love it. How'd you decide on Maddox and why go pseudonym at all?
Michelle: I wanted something that sounded kick-ass. Sort of. Maddox, as I scoured the phone book one night for any last name that went well with Michelle, was the only one that jumped out at me. I wanted to use a pseudonym to separate my more violent, sexy stuff from my lighter Rowen paranormals.
Me: Kick ass, huh? You think you're too cool for school, dontcha?
Michelle: Me and my pseudonyms will kick your ass if you don't untie me soon you &**%$# @$$%!!! Help me! Somebody help me!!!!
Me: I'm sorry to hear that. *pushes another button. More screams* Jaye so badly wanted meet you, too. Shame. *shakes it off* Now. You normally writes you up some spicy-ass vampiric romanticals. Have you abandoned your toothsomeness? What's next for your vamps?
Michelle: Spicy-ass? Not sure I'd describe them as such, but yeah, I also write a vampire series called Immortality Bites for Grand Central Publishing. Next year the last two books in the five book series are out. Stakes & Stilettos in April and Tall, Dark & Fangsome in September. Basically I take my fledgling vampire heroine Sarah Dearly and make horrible stuff happen to her in a hopefully amusing and entertaining way while she tries to balance her bizarre new vampire life with her love life and not having very much success with either. The series has been so much fun to write -- and I just finished the last one. I'm really going to miss those characters.
Me: Alright, you've been polite and compliant with my questions thus far, so I'll make you a deal. I'm going to loosen your ties, but just remember... *holds up the box, tweaks a purple button like a nipple* ...Jackie's next.
Michelle: Don't hurt Jackie! She owes me money! Okay, okay, I promise not to go anywhere, you heartless Zombie King. Satisfied?? *eyes the exit*
Me: There now. Better? Good. Countdown is really cinematic, have you imagined who might play Rogan or Kira if Hollywood were to come calling? Olivia Newton John, perhaps?
Michelle: I always cast my books with actors so I can see them in my mind as I'm writing. For Countdown I pictured Josh Holloway (Sawyer on Lost) as Rogan and Kate Beckinsale, sans English accent, as Kira.
Me: Nice. I so can see that. Are you planing a sequel?
Michelle: Nope. I like to mix my series books with stand alones and this is definitely a stand alone. I do, however, see myself writing similarly fast-paced romantic thrillers some time soon. Whether or not they'll be futuristics or grounded in reality will have to be determined. At this moment, I'm super-busy with my Rowen books.
Me: Just a couple more, now. You're being so good. What are you reading, right now, and what made you decide on it?
Michelle: Because I've been fascinated with the controversy surrounding the fourth vampire book from Stephenie Meyers, I've picked up the series from my TBR shelf and zoomed through New Moon and have just started on Eclipse. Loving it so far, although I'm sure I'll be disappointed in the final book. I'm also devouring about a dozen Harlequin Blazes since I'm writing my first book for that line right now.
Me: *fumbles with the box, which falls on the floor...face down.*
Michelle: *shakes off her loose restraints and darts out the storm cellar door to the shrieking refrains of a chorus of leaguers*
You can visit Michelle at her website, where she blogs regularly (at least I assume that's where she's run off to). In the meantime, check out what she's been up to in her latest novel Countdown.
And as an added incentive...leave a comment and automatically be entered into a drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card! That way you can buy Countdown yourself! We'll draw the winner on Friday so make sure to check back!