I have the pleasure of hosting the talented Peta Crake on my blog tonight to talk about her new book, Revelry and all things paranormal – a special love of mine. Welcome Peta. Thanks for being a guest. It’s really exciting to have you here.
PC: Thanks, Leisl. It is always nice to chat with another paranormal fan and author.
LL: I really loved your debut novel, Harbinger – for me it was a mix of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series with a touch of the quirky yet butt kicking heroine, a la Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse. Your new novel, Revelry, is set in a different ‘world’ of shifters. Tell us a little bit about it and your new kick-arse heroine, Revelry Bell.
PC: Awww thank you. I love Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris’s work. You’ve made my day.
Revelry Bell, a wolf shifter, is on the run from her pack which has treated her so badly she would rather die than return to it. She takes refuge in a small town which coincidentally happens to also be the home to a lot of shifters. She only intends to stay for a few months, long enough to earn some money to top up her empty coffers, then move on.
Unfortunately, trouble seems to follow her around as she immediately attracts the attention of the local Enforcer who has the power to arrest her and send her back to her pack or sentence her to death.
LL: Ooh, that sounds amazing. Now I’m struggling to finish this interview and not go and pick up my copy (it’s next in my TBR pile). But, I’ll control myself and get on with the questions. What inspires you to write paranormal romance? Where do your ideas come from?
PC: I love the world and character building of paranormal romance. I love being able to create worlds that could co-exist with our own. Worlds that create that whole “are they real or aren’t they?” mystique. It is like when I was a child, I loved the idea that fairies might be real, that they could be living in my garden. Or all those urban myths like alligators living in the drains below New York or a black panther living in the south west of Australia. It appeals to the side of me that loves mythology and folklore. As for the romance part, even when I start out writing a story with no intention of it being a romance, my characters often have other ideas.
I get my ideas from all over the place – documentaries, news stories, scenery, and people walking down the street. But I would have to say my biggest inspiration comes from music. Sometimes a song I have heard hundreds of times will all of a sudden trigger an idea or a character in my head. One of the scenes in Revelry (and her name) was inspired by the Kings Of Leon song, Revelry. I have a whole tragic scene mapped out for another story set to Ed Sheeran’s The A Team.
LL: That sounds fascinating. Can’t wait to see what comes of that. I love stories about Weres and shifters – they are so raw and passionate and ruled by their senses. What do you think is their appeal to lovers of paranormal romance? What’s their appeal to you?
PC: I think the biggest appeal for me is the added element characters have to deal with giving them both internal (fighting natural instincts that may not be appropriate at the time) and external (having expectations placed on you for what you are rather than who you are) issues. There is also the whole dilemma of when a character’s animal side is attracted to one person but their human side is attracted to another. Part of me also loves the idea of being able to change into another creature so I could fly, run really fast or swim underwater for a long time.
LL: I’m with you there, Peta. I also love that added dimension to the conflicts of a shifter character. You have mentioned that you lived in Japan for some time and your love of the paranormal was fed by their wonderful mythology. Why do you think these mythologies are so enduring and speak to so many people on so many different levels? Why do they speak to you?
PC: I think the thing I loved most about the mythology in Japan is how alive it still is. It is an active part of their culture. For example, there are manekineko (good luck cats) in many shops, and statues of Tanuki (shape changing racoon dogs) are often seen in front of shrines. Not to mention, practices such as Setsubun, a custom where, at the beginning of February, people walk about their houses throwing roasted soybeans and calling for good fortune to enter and evil spirits to leave. I enjoy mythology from around the world as it helps me understand the people who created the mythology in the first place. I love seeing how the environment and natural forces played a part in people’s beliefs. Mythology teaches us life lessons through example rather than telling us what we should or shouldn’t do.
LL: That is so true. I’ve always been drawn to mythologies for that reason. They are endlessly fascinating. So, aside from being a writer drawn to mythologies, who is Peta Crake? What do you do? What hobbies do you have? What gets you up in the morning and going every day?
PC: Other than being a writer I am also a mum to a tween and a teen and I work part time in retail. I also dabble in polymer clay creations and art clay silver. Although I haven’t practiced for a while I also like Japanese flower arranging (ikebana) which I studied when I was in Japan and officially reached the basic level necessary to teach it. What gets me up in the morning? Usually a cat demanding food.
LL: LOL. Both my cat and dog do that – and they know they don’t get fed then. Bottomless stomach, both of them. And wow, art clay silver and Japanese flower arranging – you are one talented lady. But enough gushing and on to the interview. I know many authors of paranormal fiction do a fair amount of research into various mythologies, while others pretty much make everything up. What camp do you lie in? Do you research current mythologies and use the gods, creatures, spirits etc. that are already known, or do you prefer to go with something fresh and new and just out of your mind?
PC: I do a bit of both. For example, Harbinger features gods from Greek, Norse, Egyptian and Celtic mythology as well as a few of my own creations. Sometimes I do not have a clear idea of the mythological creature/god I am after, rather, I know what the character represents or can and cannot do, then it is just a matter of a lot of research to find the creature or god who fits those characteristics the best.
LL: What’s Peta Crake’s pet peeve? What’s your favourite thing?
PC: My pet peeve would have to be the amount people are disrespectful towards others. I am very much of the “treat people how you wish to be treated” camp.
LL: Me too. I’m always saying that to my boys. And your favourite thing?
PC: My favourite thing? I am not sure I have one favourite thing and if I do I think it changes all the time depending on my mood.
PC: I pitched Harbinger to Penguin at the Melbourne RWA conference in 2011. They requested a partial, then the full then sent back a very thorough “revise and resubmit” letter. I stewed over the changes I needed to make for a few months. I had just finished the final edits of Harbinger and sent it off for the second round of the Emerald awards when I got an e-mail from Penguin asking if I had made the revisions and would I like to resubmit the manuscript to them. I sent it off. Not long after I received a lovely phone call from Sarah Fairhall saying they were setting up a new imprint, Destiny Romance, and would love Harbinger to be one of the launch books. *cue running around house madly giggling and shrieking*. So within a year of attending my first conference and pitching for the first time I became a published author.
LL: What a great story. After all that happened, what’s been the most surprising aspect of getting that call and being a published author?
PC: I think the steep learning curve. I thought I had done a good job of editing Harbinger before I submitted it but there was so much more to do before it could be published. I learned so much during the editing process that I think my writing has slowed down a little as I now think differently than I did before. I am constantly asking myself about character motivation and consistency.
LL: What’s up next for you? Any projects on the boil? I’m hoping for a follow up to Harbinger – there’s a tease for that on your website – any news there?
PC: I have just finished a story which features a mixture of Asian mythological creatures, fairies, vampires and were-cats which I need to find a home for. I am also working on a sequel to Harbinger as well as another project which I am unsure how to categorize just yet, maybe a gothic paranormal romance.
LL: Sounds fascinating. Well, thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Peta. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.
PC: My pleasure. I’d also like to give away an Kindle copy of Revelry to those who comment and answer the following question:
In a paranormal world, what kind of shifter would you be?
LL: Great question. I think I’d like to be some kind of predatory cat – a tiger maybe. They’re beautiful and you know what they say about cats – they have nine lives. Also, they’re graceful. I’d like to be more graceful. Thanks once again, Peta. You can buy Peta’s new novel, Revelry, from:
Destiny Romance: http://www.destinyromance.com
Google Play: http://tinyurl.com/mkzm895
Peta Crake grew up in a small town on the south coast of Western Australia, where the idea of fairies and monsters residing in the thick forests was perfectly believable. After spending nearly a decade living in Japan and revelling in its culture, she turned her hand to writing. Now living back in Australia with a husband, two kids, a cuddle-addicted cat, and a thoroughly confused dog, she writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance full of strong sassy heroines, surprising heroes and disturbed side-kicks.
You can find out more about Peta at:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peta-Crake/134686450045477
Dark Side Down Under: www.darksidedownunder.com