Nicole Peeler: Part Deux

When we last left the League clubhouse, Nicole Peeler had been cast down in the pit of Stumpy, the terrible were-chupacabra, as punishment for her chronic diarrhea of the mouth.

While we were away, Nicole managed to subdue Stumpy by talking his ears off--literally. Now she has the earless were-chupacabra, as well as the other members of the League, tied up in the center of the League interrogation room. This is where we join the action:

Nicole: Ask it!

Jaye (cringes and shakes her head): Never!

Nicole: Ask it or I'll tell the story about when I got The Call again.

Mark (gasping): For God's sake, woman, ask her the question!

Jaye : Fine! Why did you chose Maine as the setting for Tempest Rising? (she dissolves into pitiful tears)

Nicole: What a great question, Jaye! How creative of you to ask! Setting the book in Maine came from having Jane be half-Selkie. She had to know she's not quite normal, but not because she glows in the dark or starts fires or something she can't hide. Swimming is normal . . . she knows the way she does it isn't normal, cause it should kill her, but swimming is normal, right? That's gotta be her thought process. You have to believe she could convince herself to just keep swimming, keep it quiet, and just keep her worries to herself. So she had to be close to water. But a Californian or Hawaiian girl who swims all the time wouldn't raise eyebrows. So it had to be "extreme." Hence our Northern shores. I figured the Atlantic is colder than the Pacific. Then went as North as I could get, without going into Canada, and there was Maine. Then, as I'm a good academic, I started doing my research, and found the Old Sow. Which is completely real. Everyone who's read the book has told me how brilliant I am for making up the Sow and how it's genius and I'm so creative. Well, no, I'm not, because it's real. That's probably my biggest advice for struggling writers: do your research. Because truth is always stranger than fiction, and you'll find such good stuff if you start looking at a place's history, or a legend's origins, or whatever. Rockabill became so real to me once I made all these Old Sow connections, and who the hell would make up a whirlpool named after a pig? It was too good to be true, and I could never have come up with that. Plus, if my readers google "Old Sow" they can hear it squelching on someone's website. And I love when UF really links in with reality; when our world pads their world so tight it's like a sausage in a casing. I'm a terrible abuser of bad metaphors, by the way. Ask my students. Anyway, that said, the series is definitely not relegated to Maine. Tempest Rising moves to outside of Quebec, and then the sequel is mostly set in Boston. So Jane will be doing quite a bit of traveling. I'm very peripatetic, and my protagonists are definitely going to have similarly itchy feet.

During Nicole's speech, Anton, Jackie and Jeremy die of boredom. Mark, Jaye and Stacia are whimpering. Caitlin looks like she's ready to start cutting just to stop the pain.

Nicole: Oh, shoot, we lost a few. Oh well. Next question!

Mark (sobbing): Who are your favorite Urban Fantasy authors?

Nicole: Well, to be honest, I hadn't read anything in the genre for about ten years before I wrote the novel. Then I figured I'd better see what else was out there. So I've been playing catch up. Obviously, Charles de Lint is my all time favorite. And I still remember worshiping Mercedes Lackey's series with Diana Tregarde from when I was a kid. I also still re-read Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series. I loved it when I was young and still adore it.

As an adult, the book that got me writing Tempest was Charlaine Harris's Dead as a Doornail. I was at a bookstore in Illinois with my brother, Chris, and my niece and nephew, Abigail and Wyatt. I asked my niece and nephew to help me pick out a book to read on my flight home because I'd just finished my thesis and, for the first time in like five years, I didn't have to read anything. So, my niece said, "Read this one!" and pointed to Dead as a Doornail. It had this adorable, glittery cover that appealed to both a six-year-old and to me, 'cause I bought it and started reading it on the plane back to Scotland. And the reason I was in the states, at the time, was because I'd had my campus visit to Shreveport, as part of the interview process for the job I have now. So I'm reading this random book, on my way back to Scotland, about a waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana, who is about to drive into Shreveport to visit the local vampire bar. I nearly died at the whole kismet thing. Sitting on that plane, I knew two things: that I was going to get this job and that I wanted to write a book that made me laugh, and tear up a little, and get a little hot under the collar, and adore the heroine, the way this one did. I started writing Tempest a month later, after I'd obsessively outlined everything I could outline, and three months later I had a rough draft.

Since then I've gotten hooked on the rest of Harris's books, as well as Katie MacAlister's paranormal romances. I love her sense of humor and how she pokes fun at the genre, while obviously adoring it. I have been eating up Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, and am really enjoying C.E. Murphy's Urban Shaman series. I love her connections between Celtic and Native American mythology. I also worshiped Stacia Kane's Personal Demons, and I've sent it as a present to about 14 people.

(Stacia perks up.)

I think that book is so clever and so readable, which, to me, is the perfect UF fantasy. Something I can tear through, with the gusto I used to tear through my books when I was a kid, but that also pings in my brain box with little notes of inspiration or, "huh, that's cool," moments.

Stacia: Wait a minute guys. Maybe we've been too hasty in our judgment of this obviously brilliant woman. Jaye and Mark glare at the blonde vixen. Cailtin rolls her eyes.

Nicole continues: I also love Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, especially as I'm from a suburb of Chicago, and Tom Holt's bizarre books about the demonic forces that run amok on London's Fleet Street. Another thing I literally couldn't put down--I was a complete psycho, finishing it and then going immediately back to the beginning to read it again--is Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. And there's a book by Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr. Y, that is one of the darkest, smartest, coolest, most incredible things I've read in a long time. It's UF on intellectual heroin. It involves both Derrida and rough sex, although, luckily, not at the same time. It's sublime. I don't think it made a big splash in the US, but it was big in the UK. Find it; read it; love it. It's breathtaking.

Jaye (under her breath): Your ego's breathtaking.

Nicole: Next!

Stacia (perkier now): What's your weirdest writing habit?

Nicole: Thanks for asking, Stacia. Have I mentioned I love your books?
(Stacia beams back.)

When I'm home, using my desktop, I write sitting on one of those giant pilates balls. I love it, and I'd never go back to a desk chair. But I bounce all over the place. I'm a very "active" writer . . . I talk to myself, and laugh at my jokes, and try to feel out the physicality of a fight scene or a love scene. Which is awesome, as I also work in coffee shops a lot. So, I'm the chick at Starbucks, mumbling to herself while she punches at the air. Okay, that lady just forgot to take her medication. I'm the one sitting next to her, with the great hair and the Betsy Johnson jewelry. Who is also talking to herself and feeling herself up, but in a really refined, charming way that oozes intellectual sophistication. Right?

Stacia nods enthusiastically. The others glare.

Nicole: Right? (she lifts a megaphone) Don't make me use this. RIGHT?!?

Mark wets himself. Jaye begins twitching. Caitlin sulks. But they all muster a half-hearted chorus of "right."

Nicole: Now, I've been thinking. This place needs a little life. A little pizzazz. Just because I love Stacia's books so much, I will join the League. You may thank me now for my genius.

Stacia: Great idea!

Caitlin shrugs. "Whatever."

Mark and Jaye exchange horrified looks. "But--"

Nicole: If you want to walk out of this room without a severe limp, you will just smile and nod. (she waves the megaphone at them)

Mark and Jaye, knowing they are broken, hang their heads and nod.

And that, my friends, is how the League was infiltrated by one of its newest members.


macbeaner said…
she has to make up for killing off half the league somehow!

Welcome to the insanity Nicole!
Skarrah said…
Rofl. I HAVE to read your book. Welcome to the Madhouse!
Mark said…
You DEVIL Peeler!!!
Nicole Peeler said…
Hi everybody! I'm a crafty minx!

Except for the fact I'm totally on the technology short bus. So I will drive ALL OF YOU NUTS. If I haven't already.

And thanks for the welcomes! I hope to do you all proud.
Ericka said…
Sounds like you fit right in with the rest of the League :). I look forward to your posts.
Mark said…
Wow it seems like we're gearing up for our big member announcement. 1 down. ? to go.
Jaye Wells said…
Maybe we should hold a contest to let people guess how many new members we're adding.
Nicole Peeler said…
What was that about a big member, Mark?
Qwill said…
Wow and cool. I'm afraid to say anything else.
Lori T said…
Welcome to the group seems that welcoming you would most likely be the safest course of action after hearing about Jackie, Anton, and Jeremy!

I am sure that you are a hit at your local Starbucks...everyone loves a sophisticated author feeling herself up over their morning cup of joe!
Nicole Peeler said…
Thanks guys! And I promise not to kill anyone else off. Unless you invoke my wrath! I'm just kidding, I don't really kill people. Except in my fiction. Which is my fantasies, really. So I guess I kill people quite often, in my dreams. Isn't being a writer f-ed up?
Nicole Peeler said…
And I'm wondering just how I would become a devil peeler . . . would I start at the horns and work downward?
Jaye Wells said…
Nicole, always begin with the footwear. Hooves are the must-have accessory of any would-be devil.
tom-gallier said…
Yes, Louboutin hooves are all the rage on the blood red carpet this season.
Nicole Peeler said…
HA!!!! I love Louboutin and have many jokes about his shoes in Tempest. How funny! And they're great for walking in blood, due to their soles! And their hot little shoe souls, which are definitely predatory.
tom-gallier said…
OMG, I had one of my lady vamps wearing Louboutins for the red sole/blood reason, and for the joke. LOL
Nicole Peeler said…
Great minds, and all that! :-)
And great shoes.
shelly-ann said…
lolz i am so going to read your books they sound really cool
Nicole Peeler said…
Shelly Ann: YOU sound cool. And yes, I am that easy. ;-)

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