A big welcome to Alexis Hall who is here to telling us about Team Elise and celebrating the release of SHADOWS & DREAMS, Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator #2 (published on June 16, 2014 by Riptide Publishing). Want to win something Kate likes? Enter via the widget below.
Hello, and welcome to my second ever blog tour, celebrating Riptide Publishing’s release of SHADOWS & DREAMS, the sequel to IRON & VELVET. Yay! Thank you so much to All Things Urban Fantasy for hosting me. And, to you, dear reader, for stopping by. If you’d like to come with me and keep me company on my virtual wanderings, you can find a full listing of when and where I am.
There’s also some kind of contest type thing happening. I had a bit of trouble choosing a prize for this one because most of the things Kate likes (booze, cigarettes, knives, women) are illegal to ship internationally. I thought about a fedora, but then I remembered people had differently shaped heads and there was no point sending somebody an item of clothing they wouldn’t be able to wear. So, basically, that leaves coffee and Bovril and nobody likes Bovril except people from the North East of England. I’m therefore going offer 250g of Jamaican Blue Mountain, the nicest coffee in the known universe, purchased from a wonderful specialty shop, ground or beaned to your specification. If you don’t like coffee, I’ll replace it with an equivalently lovely tea. I’ll also throw in a hard copy of IRON & VELVET (or the other thing I wrote) if that’s the sort of thing you’d like. I can even scribble stuff in it, thus reducing its re-sale value … or, y’know, not do that. I’ll announce the winner a handful of days after the end of the tour.
I’ve always felt that part of the pleasure in reading this sort of book – the kind where a badass heroine finds herself thrown into a world of mystical weirdness – is having Very Strong Opinions about which of the supernatural hotties she should ultimately wind up with.
That said, I also think it’s kind of important for the heroine to have relationships with people she doesn’t want to bang. Which is a big part of what Elise is doing in the story.
Elise wasn’t actually part of the original plan. I’m not a big planner, plot-wise. I keep quite detailed notes on who’s doing what when, so that I don’t forget where the heroine’s car is, or what time of year it’s supposed to be, or whatever. But, particularly with the Kate Kane series, I tend to write by setting up a situation and letting it play out organically, and doing my best to follow the consequences of the things that happen as a result of all the other things that happen. Elise was one of those consequences.
In Iron & Velvet, Kate strikes a deal with an entity called the Multitude, an immortal gestalt rat consciousness which lives beneath London. I was very clear that I wanted the deal to have a real, long-lasting consequence for Kate but I also wanted to highlight that while the Multitude is creepy and squiggly, it’s actually peculiarly benevolent. So I hit on the idea of having it ask Kate to look after somebody.
This then left me needing a somebody.
I decided to make Elise a sentient statue for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to make it clear that there is all kinds of crazy stuff in Kate’s world, and that the baseline vamps/shifters/wizards triad was just the tip of a very weird iceberg. Secondly, I just really like artificial life. I think I probably watched Short Circuit at an impressionable age. Or maybe it was Mr Data. There’s just something really appealing about an entity which appears superficially human, but has to navigate to its own understanding of personhood without the established frameworks that regular Homo sapiens rely on.
SHADOWS & DREAMS builds a lot on Kate’s relationship with Elise. They’ve been flat-sharing for about three months at the start of the book, and Kate’s home is looking noticeably less squalid. She takes the edge off of Kate’s more self-destructive impulses and, ironically, keeps her more grounded in the real world (obviously I don’t want to make too big a deal of this, because the “do you see, the robot is really the most human” trope has kind of been done to death). Neither one of them are used to having friends, and they’ve both been hurt by people they cared about (or, in Elise’s case, had been mystically enchanted to care about), and so there’s a sense in which they’re both helping each other through quite a rough time in their lives.
I find writing Elise an absurd amount of fun. For a start she’s one of the few characters in the book who is (at least arguably) uncomplicatedly nice. She tends to think well of people, even people who are obviously ragingly psychopathic, and she’s genuinely enthusiastic about most things. Not only is she one of the few people in Kate’s life who don’t want to boink her, she’s also pretty much the only one who comes without a honking great hidden agenda.
Also I’m shallow, and the way she speaks makes me giggle.
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Coffee and one book from Alexis Hall’s backlist
Enter the giveaway via the widget below – Open to international
Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall
Available on June 16, 2014 by Riptide Publishing
Second rule in this line of business: be careful who you kill.
My name’s Kate Kane. And right now, I don’t know which is more dangerous: my job, or my girlfriend. My job makes me the go-to girl for every supernatural mystery in London. My girlfriend’s an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince. Honestly, I think it’s probably a tie.
A few weeks ago, I was hired for a simple missing person case. Next thing I know, I’m being arrested for murder, a vampire army is tearing up London, and even my dreams are out to get me. Something ancient, evil, and scary as hell is on the loose and looking for payback. The vampires are in chaos, the werewolves are culling everything, and the Witch Queen can’t protect everyone.
Which means it’s down to me. And all I’ve got to hold back the shadows is a stiff drink, a quirky sidekick, my creepy ex-boyfriend, and the woman who left me for a tech startup. It’s going to be another interesting day.
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