Interview with author Ani Gonzalez!
I had the pleasure of interviewing, Ani Gonazalez, author of Banshee Creek series. Having read Must Love Ghosts, I look forward to reading more in this set!
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Welcome to PNRLovers, Ani.
Tell us about yourself. When you’re not writing all the awesome words, what are you doing? What kinds of things do you like to do for fun?
Fun? What’s that? Just kidding. I love folklore and mythology so I love ghost hunting and taking day trips to places with stories and legends. That’s why I created the Banshee Creek series. It’s a town I’d love to visit. My readers would too. Most of my reviews say something like “I’d love to live in this town.”
I also love to cook, so that’s something I do for fun. I think that’s why there’s so much food in my books. I have ghost cupcakes and Halloween sangria and all kinds of quirky (but delicious!) recipes. In my new release, Snowbound with Ghost, my protagonists are stuck in a cabin for the weekend so they have to cook. Lily, the heroine makes rocky road brownies and, Sebastian, the hero, makes pasta puttanesca (or, rather, tries to make it, it doesn’t turn out well). I love food and ghosts.
Before a book is published, it goes through rigorous rounds of edits. What does your editing process look like? How has it changed from when you first started out?
I have three rounds of edits (developmental, copy-edits, and proofreading). I got lucky and found two great editors right off the bat and I’m very grateful about that. When I started out I read that you should just keep on writing and revise the manuscript later so I tried it out. Boy, was that a mistake. It took me forever to revise that book and get it to where I wanted. I now revise as I write.
You have beautiful covers. How much of a hands on approach do you take in creating your covers? Do you do them yourself, or hire them out? If you hire them out, how much input do you have in the creative process?
I make them myself and I have way too much fun with them. I do dozens of drafts and I try out tons of different looks. Even though I love the current Banshee Creek covers, I’m going to try something different for Spring 2016. Readers keep comparing my books to Kristen Painter’s Nocturne Falls series and Deanna Chases’ Jade Calhoun books, which have very striking and colourful covers. I’m going to follow their recommendations try out some fun, bright designs. The new covers are amazing so keep an eye out for them.
Balancing a work life, a family life, and being an author can be like juggling with knives. How do you make it work? Is your family supportive of your writing career?
My family is very supportive. They believe in me more than I do myself. They’re fantastic (and probably a bit delusional).
You have three stories in your Banshee Creek series. Which story did you enjoy writing the most? Why? Did any of them have you banging your head against the keyboard?
I love Snowbound with Ghost the most. The characters are fantastic and I love the second chances theme as the eerie creature stalking the cabin and the crazy ghost hunters chasing it. It even has a paranormal radio station tie-in which was inspired by David Schrager’s Darkness Rado and John Carpenter’s horror movie, The Fog. That book practically wrote itself. My readers say it’s their favorite Banshee Creek book.
Ghost of a Chance was the hardest to write because the supporting characters, particularly Caine and his merry band of ghost hunters, kept trying to take over the book. The number one comment I get on that book is: “I love Caine. When is he getting his own book?” It also deals with grief and loss, which are always difficult subjects. Of all the Banshee Creek books, though, it has the most heart.
Are there any plans for other stories in your Banshee Creek series?
Absolutely, The Valentine’s Day book, My Ghostly Valentine, will be out at the end of January. Patricia, the goodie-two-shoes town baker wants to acquire the town’s haunted B&B so she can turn it into a tea shop, but she has to deal with Zach, Banshee Creek’s resident bad boy, who also wants the house. There’s also the B&B’s resident ghost, who has her own ideas as to what she wants to do with her house. How does a haunted town celebrate Valentine’s Day? You’ll find out in this book.
After that, I will publish the first book in my witchy spin-off series, Main Street Witches, which will reveal all the behind-the-scenes magic that makes Banshee Creek such a special (and downright crazy) town. Magic, like everything else in Banshee Creek, doesn’t quite work out the way you would expect
And now for the silly…if you had to choose, who would you say is your all-time favorite book boyfriend? What makes him so appealing to you? This can be from your own work, or someone else’s.
Right now, I absolutely adore Sebastian, the hero from Snowbound with Ghost. He’s a Hollywood actor who specializes in villain roles (kind of like Tom Hiddleston who was the inspiration for the character). He gets a second chance with the love of his life, and he definitely deserves it. I also love Dimitri from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and Jacques from Christine Feehan’s Carpathians. I reread their books all the time.
Do you have anything specific that you’d like to say to your readers?
Thanks for all your support, guys. Releasing a new series is not easy and I had tons of support from my readers and reviewers. The Paranormal Lovers Group is fantastic and I’m deeply grateful to all of you.
What’s in the works for you right now? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
I’m doing a big series rebrand in January with new covers, a boxed set, and new epilogues for all the books. That will lead to the release of my My Ghostly Valentine.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Here’s an excerpt from Snowbound with Ghost. Enjoy!
Lily Holroyd rolled her eyes at the vintage radio on the shelf. The worst snowstorm of the season was approaching and the local radio station was devoting its airtime to sightings of the Virginia Devil Monkey. This happened disturbingly often in Banshee Creek, Virginia, also known as America’s Most Haunted Town.
She glanced at the antique tambour clock on the fireplace mantle. It was five o’clock and the storm wasn’t scheduled to arrive until seven. She’d be able to get home in time, if the traffic jam on Stuckeyville Parkway had cleared up, but that was a big if. She couldn’t even check the traffic conditions, because the isolated cabin had no television, Wi-Fi, cellphone signal or even a landline phone. Her only contact with civilization was the refurbished radio on the bookshelf, an appliance so old that its polished wood exterior felt like soft leather. She’d tried to tune another station, but tonight it only received one signal: WPRV, the official radio station of PRoVE, otherwise known as Paranormal Research of Virginia Enterprises.
“Was there any blood?” the deejay asked, clearly hoping for some gore.
“No,” the radio caller answered, sounding heartbroken. “Just some tracks and a dead squirrel.”
“Now that’s interesting,” the deejay replied thoughtfully. “Apes are mainly herbivores, but most ape and monkey species live in tropical climates. The carnivorous behavior could be an adaptation to the temperate Virginia climate. The Japanese snow monkey, for example, is an omnivore.”
She fought the urge to slam the radio against the wall. She didn’t want to listen to a dissertation on simian eating habits, she wanted the traffic report. Unfortunately, WPRV could happily continue to chat about the fictional monster all night long. The accident on Stuckeyville Parkway may have been cleared, but she wouldn’t know about it for hours. Should she just get in her car and leave? She glanced out the window, trying to make a decision.
Thanks to last week’s storm, a baby compared to the one heading their way, the ground was already covered with snow. The lake access road, a dark, winding thoroughfare with lots of trees and very few houses, was already partly blocked. No, she shouldn’t leave unless the streets were clear. Being stuck in a snowstorm in a rustic lake cabin was bad, but being stuck in a snowstorm on an isolated mountain road would be worse.
“Japanese snow monkeys eat insects, man,” the caller scoffed. “They don’t eat squirrels. This thing’s not a natural monkey. It’s one of them geomagnetic fault critters.”
She sighed. Ah yes, the famous Banshee Creek geological fissure that causes all the hauntings and attracts everything weird and unexplainable to their small Virginia hamlet. But, she shouldn’t scoff. After all, like most of her neighbors, she made her living out of the town’s paranormal mystique. A one-time commission to paint a couple of murals spoofing horror movie classics had, miraculously, snowballed into a career. Fortunately, one does not have to believe in the supernatural to profit from it.
“That’s what I’m saying,” the deejay explained patiently. “The creature probably lived in the tropics, maybe Florida or Alabama, and the fault attracted it here. Then it adapted, mutated maybe, to fit its new environment.”
She snorted. The PRoVE staff was going too far. When did Alabama become a tropical locale?
“Why is it attacking cars then? Maybe it thinks my Ford Ranger is a banana tree?” The caller laughed at his own joke and the deejay chuckled and called for a commercial break.
She threw herself on the distressed leather sofa in exasperation. This could, and most likely would, go on all evening. And she really, truly, positively didn’t want to be stuck all night in this cabin.
Not that the house wasn’t charming. It was a true log cabin, with warm wooden floors and a large stone fireplace. There was no fire burning, but a large stack of firewood sat next to the slate hearth. The sofa she was sitting on was plush and cozy and the Persian rug on the floor was silky soft. No expense had been spared in the decor, and all the furnishings and accessories, from the Native American-inspired fabric on the chairs to the handcrafted coffee table, were tasteful and unique.
She should know, she’d decorated the place herself.
It was a welcome commission, a nice change of pace from the Victorian houses and American foursquares she decorated for Banshee Creek’s reality TV show, House Haunters. As the show’s stager, Lily had furnished séance rooms, fortunetelling parlors, and, in one memorable instance, an exorcist’s home library. She loved her job, and she was very good at it, but she had to admit that a run-of-the-mill decorating assignment was a refreshing change.
The cabin was perfect, except for one tiny little detail.
“Now hear me out,” the deejay continued after the break. “What I’m suggesting is that the creatures are mistaking your truck, and all the other vehicles they attack—” He paused for dramatic effect. “For hot springs.”
Skeptical silence greeted his statement.
“Hot springs?” The called seemed on the verge of laughter. “Now, you’ve lost it, dude. This happened right in town and the hot springs are to the west.”
“Now, listen to me,” the deejay urged. “The Japanese Snow Monkey is known for its fondness for hot springs. It’s how they deal with the cold of their habitat. I think our Devil Monkeys are doing something similar; they’re using our automobiles to warm up.”
She groaned. Hot springs? Were these people out of their minds? And would they ever get to the traffic report? She had to get out of this place. The storm would be hitting soon, but something even worse would arrive before the storm.
And that was not a confrontation she was looking forward to.
Where can we find you and your books? Do you have a mailing list that our readers can join?
My website is www.AniGonzalez.com and my mailing list link is here. I’m currently gifting a sexy ghost hunters novella to new subscribers, but that will probably end next year when the rebrand happens. Get it while it’s hot! You can also follow me on Facebook.
You can purchase Snowbound with Ghost here.