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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q&A Interview with Roxanne St. Claire

Please help me welcome Roxanne St. Claire to Reviews at Martha's Bookshelf.
Q1. I love series and I like to ask this question:  When you do a series do you have each book plotted out before you start the first one or do the subsequent books flow from the first book?
Roxanne:  It really depends on what the publisher is expecting.  When I proposed my first series, I only plotted one book, but laid out how the series might unfold.  That ended up being eight books and two novellas.  With the Guardian Angelinos, I plotted the first book and identified future heroes and heroines, as well as their possible storylines. 

Shiver of Fear (The Guardian Angelinos)I write stand alone books in a series.  They are sometimes very loosely connected stories, but the story never requires someone to read another book in the series.  For me, as a reader, that is critical; I don’t want to feel like I’ve missed something.  The characters will reoccur and might even have an arc from one book to the next, but job number one is to make each individual book awesome on its own, then make sure the “world” of the series is behind it.

Q2. What most inspires your plots?

Roxanne:  I ask myself three questions:
1.  First, about the characters I have in mind:  How can I make this person’s life hellacious?
2.  And about the series: What kind of story would my readers love to read in this series?
3.  And then about the problem the characters have to face: What if THIS happened to THAT person? 
Usually, after I answer those three questions, the threads of a plot start to tickle my brain and I begin to weave them into a story.

Q3. Is there an ancillary character you had the most fun with while writing the Guardian Angelinos series?

Roxanne:  Uncle Nino!  This 80-something (he won’t tell) year old Italian (grandfather to the Rossi family, great uncle to the Angelino cousins) is the glue that holds the entire series together!  He loves to cook, solve puzzles, dole out wisdom, and get involved in the lives of the Rossis and Angelinos.  He is employee #3 of the Guardian Angelinos (twins Zach and Vivi Angelino are #1 and #2) and he’s in every book in the series so far.  Readers love  him, and his recipes, many of which are on my web site.

Q4. Have you had to do any unique research or what was one of the most surprising things you learned in researching for any of your books? 

Roxanne:  I had to research bioterrorism for the plot in SHIVER OF FEAR, and that was kind of frightening and eye-opening.  The poison used as a tool of terrorism in SHIVER OF FEAR is purified botulinium toxins.  That would be…botox.  Obviously, there are huge benefits to this substance.  (Ask any movie star!)  But, in the wrong hands (as it was in my book), botulinium can be turned into a gaseous form and released into the air, causing paralysis and death to anyone who breathes it…and they won’t know for a few days.  Terrifying.
Face of Danger (Guardian Angelinos)
Q5.  If you could have a theme song for the Guardian Angelinos, what would it be? And/or do you have a dream cast for your books? 

Roxanne:  I never answer the dream cast question!  If someone wants to make my books into a movie, I’ll be thrilled with whoever they cast.  A theme song is a very interesting thought, though.  It would have to be emotional, yet hard driving, with an irresistible beat and an unforgettable melody.  I’ll have to work on that one!

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