Message From The Author
Ilona Andrews Edges Into New Territory:
Kate Daniels' Creators Begin A New Series!
By Liz French
Ilona and Gordon Andrews, who write together as Ilona Andrews, are garnering major attention with their urban fantasy series starring kick-ass heroine Kate Daniels. Book three, Magic Strikes (Ace), received an extremely rare "gold" rating from RT Book Reviews in April, and book four, Magic Bleeds, will come out, to much anticipation, next May. In the meantime, the duo begins another series with On the Edge (Oct.). The book has Rose Drayton traversing two worlds but not feeling at home in either.
On the Edge starts a new series about parallel worlds and Edge dwellers. What inspired this new world?
Ilona: I can tell you how it started. I'd written a tiny chunk of a scene where Rose shot her zombie grandpa and didn't know what to do with it. I'll let Gordon tell you where the inspiration for it came from.
Gordon: There is a story in my family about my grandfather. He used to frequent this bar owned by a former circus fat lady and get completely drunk. One day he failed to show up for work and nobody knew where he was. He'd snuck out to the bar and drank until he was too intoxicated to think straight. Finally he showed up in front of his house, accompanied by his little dog, and announced his presence by yelling at my grandmother, "Helen, I want five dollars to go to the bar." My grandmother was none too pleased and wouldn't give him the money. He started bargaining, and she kept saying no, until finally he crossed his arms and proclaimed, "Helen, this is your last chance to give me a dollar!"
I: It was too good not to use. So I kept coming back to that little snippet over the course of several weeks and looking at it. At some point, I decided to make it into a romance novella. We have a lot of short fiction available free on our website, and the novella was going to join it. I fleshed it out a bit and showed it to [urban fantasy author] Jeaniene Frost, who's my critique partner. She felt it was a very good set-up and pretty much demanded that I expand it to a novel format.
Does the new series follow Rose throughout, or are there different protagonists for each book? How many Edge books are you contracted for?
G: We're contracted for two books. The second book features William, a character from the first book, and a girl from a family of thieves.
Why did you branch out from the Kate Daniels books, and how does Kate differ from Rose?
Are the Edge books also written in first person?
I: We branched out for several reasons. The story wouldn't leave me alone. In addition, both of us were a bit tired of working exclusively with Kate's books. They have a lot of history and many details, which we continuously have to double check. They're very labor intensive. We wanted to take a break and do something new, and we were pretty sure we could pull off two books a year. Also, the switch from the first person of Kate to the third person in the Edge series was very nice.
G: Kate is more direct, more violent and much better educated. Rose is not that worldly. They're both strong women, and they do the best with what they have, but Kate is a trained killer. Kate never had normal to begin with, while Rose sort of had a semi-ordinary childhood that came to an abrupt end.
Did you read a lot of sci-fi and
paranormal books when you were younger? What do you read now?
G: My aunt and uncle, who raised me, are fundamentalist Christians. I wasn't allowed to read fiction with magic in it. I made up for it when I started living on my own. My favorite authors include David Gemmell, Robert B. Parker, Charlaine Harris, Garth Ennis, Mickey Spillane, Robert Howard and others.
I: I wasn't allowed to read sci-fi and paranormal books either when I was young, but in my case it was a governmental restriction. The USSR was very strict on science fiction; it had to comply with the vision of a communist future. When perestroika finally happened, we were flooded with science fiction, and I read pretty much everything. I kind of still do. My favorite authors are Leigh Brackett, Johanna Lindsey, Robert Heinlein, David Gemmell, Loretta Chase, Robert B. Parker, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Dean Koontz ... I should probably stop.
You incorporate different world mythologies and folk-tale aspects into the Kate Daniels books -- Irish/Celtic, Hindu. Have you considered incorporating Russian folk tales into a Kate story?
I: Actually we just wrote a Kate short story for an anthology edited by P.N. Elrod, which uses a lot of obscure Russian mythology. I would definitely like to do an entire book with it.
Where does Kate's humorous sarcastic streak come from?
I: Both of us. We don't take ourselves that seriously.
How many Kate books are you contracted
to write? Are you considering any spin-offs?
G: We're contracted for seven books in Kate's series.
I: I've been trying to get Gordon to write a book from the
point of view of Nick, the crusader knight from Kate's series.
But at this point, we don't have anything concrete.
G: We'll see.
I: And to be honest, a lot depends on the publisher.ÊIf Ace would be interested in bringing spin-off books to the readers,
we'll happily write them.
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