Well guys, the fan-fair (haha get it…fan fair, because I’ve been at the fair all week??) is almost over and as usual, life must go on. And what better way for life to continue than to get a killer interview with brilliant author Gena Showalter, author of FIRSTLIFE.
All I can say is, if you haven’t read FIRSTLIFE, pop over to my review of it RIGHT NOW. Trust me, it’s amazing book. Definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. Or maybe you did read it and, unlike me, you hated it. Either way, definitely check out the interview I did with Gena. It definitely answered some questions for me and I’m betting it will answer them for you, too.
Rose: I’ve read plenty of reviews about FIRSTLIFE and one of the readers’ biggest gripes is Tenley’s choice to remain Unsigned. That she refuses to choose. Can you explain why Ten chose not to choose?
GS: No matter how frustrating, I had to stay true to Ten’s character. Whether she realized it or not, bitterness had taken root in her heart. She had unwittingly allowed herself to be ensnared by an insidious mental trap. She told herself she didn’t know what to do and allowed confusion to blind her to the truth: the decision not to choose wasn’t a simple case of indecision but a case of rebellion. Deciding not to decide was a way to strike at the people who’d hurt her without actually admitting she was striking out. Only when she let go of the past did she begin to see a clear path for her future.
Rose: I thought Ten’s obsession with numbers was intriguing. She managed to show us how you could tell a lot about their person even by their age. Where did you get the idea for Tenley’s number obsession?
GS: Ten’s obsession with numbers grew organically from her character. In fact, when I sat down to write the book, I had no plans to add this element—pun intended. But. In the opening scene, she needed a way to track time. The moment she created the blood calendar, her fascination with numbers clicked.
Rose: Can you tell us if Ten’s number obsession has something to do with upcoming books? For instance, in upcoming books, will Ten realize why she has always loved numbers? Or how they will help her in the future?
GS: Numbers play a huge part in Lifeblood, book two in the Everlife series. The book kicks off where Firstlife ended. Here’s a little nugget from the story: When Ten’s spirit leaves her body, one of her arms is branded with a series of numbers. A code she must solve in order to wield the great power trapped inside her.
Rose: When I first started reading FIRSTLIFE, I think I did exactly what you hoped your readers would do—I wanted to be Myriad. Troika was way too strict and didn’t seem to ever win. I wanted to be Myriad. How in the world did you pull this off?
GS: That makes me happy! Going in, I was a Troika girl all the way and poured everything into Troika and nothing into Myriad. Both my editor and my best writing bud (Jill Monroe) had to hammer at me during a double revision of the book—make both realms viable choices. I’m so glad they did!
Rose: I think the number one seller for FIRSTLIFE (for me) was the scripture you used, Job 39:19-36. What made you choose that?
GS: I love scripture. It is my strength when I’m weak, my compass when I’m lost, my medicine when I’m sick. And so much more! It’s life. Scripture is so much a part of me, I felt inspired to write an entire series based on what I believe are spiritual truths. Ephesians 6:12. For we are not fighting against flesh-and- blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Luke 10:2. The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. (My Laborers were born from this scripture. Here’s a behind the scenes tidbit: I originally titled the first book: The Harvest.) I chose to add Job 39:19-36 (which makes another appearance in Lifeblood) because of the powerful imagery dealing with war and bravery. Ten labored with her Everlife decision so long, she lost sight of what mattered: who and what she was in that moment. A warrior fighting for what she believes is right. Killian—through the scripture—gave her the boost she needed to keep going.
Rose: Killian Flynn was by far one of my favorite book characters, and I will absolutely be buying a mug with his name on it as soon as you guys make one. What was your inspiration for him? Did anyone inspire you to write him?
GS: Killian is an amalgamation of my favorite bad boy romance novel heroes, with a twist. I wrote him to be the incarnation of seduction and temptation…with a dash of uncertainty. Does he have her best interests at heart, or is he using her?
Rose: I loved how you skirted the love triangle and made Archer more of an older sibling than a potential lover. What made you take this path?
GS: Ten had enough indecision on her plate. Troika? Myriad? Seek revenge? Let go of the past? Ruin her future in an effort to save the spirits trapped in Many Ends? I didn’t want to add another worry—two romantic love interests—into the mix.
Rose: Do you have a soundtrack for FIRSTLIFE that you listened to while writing the book?
GS: Usually I do listen to music while writing my books. With Firstlife, I listened to sermons about kingdom versus kingdom, light versus dark, heaven versus hell.
Rose: I’ve been wondering this since I read the book. What is the setting here? Are we in the future? How far into the future?
GS: Firstlife is set in modern day, the here and now, simply in an alternate Earth. What our world would be like if Troika and Myriad were real and an accepted truth.
Rose: Were CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters an inspiration to you at all when writing this book, especially the messages in the first few pages?
GS: I haven’t read the Screwtape Letters but now I must, must, must. You’ve piqued my interest!
Rose: Many readers are chomping at the bit to read LIFEBLOOD when it releases on February 28th of next year. Can you give us any sneak peaks at the book? A little Easter egg we can try to find in the novel? Or even the name of a new character? Anything to tide us over until February!
GS: In Firstlife, readers heard about Abrogates, but in Lifeblood, you’ll see an Abrogate in action. Ten will face a deadly new enemy known as Penumbra. She’ll finally get to meet extended family members who have already experienced Firstdeath. And Killian…he will become her fiercest competition.
Here’s a snippet from the book:
“I tried to warn you,” Killian grates.
As I gaze into his haunted eyes, the truth hits me. Physically, our bodies will forever
reject each other. Darkness and light cannot coexist. One will always chase the other away.
By siding with Troika, I doomed our relationship.
Tears well in my eyes. “Killian,” I say. He did try to warn me, but I’d convinced myself
we’d find a way to be together, not yet comprehending the obstacles we’d have to face.
“What’s done is done.” He gives an almost imperceptible shake of his head as he backs
away from me. “Either we fight, or we die.”
Rose: You have written a vast array of books. How long have you been writing?
GS: I started writing—with an eye toward publication—in my early twenties. I had two young children and had to write while they napped. Five years later, I sold two books. The first arrived in bookstores in 2004. Since then, I’ve published over fifty books.
Rose: A typical question, but always my favorite to ask: what advice to you give to aspiring
GS: Write for an audience of one. Reading is subjective. What one reader loves another will hate and vice versa. You can’t please everyone and shouldn’t try. You’ll only drive yourself crazy.
Rose: Is writing your full-time job?
GS: I write full time, but I’m also a wife, mom and the leader of a pack of rescue dogs.
Rose: What has been the most exciting moment in your writing career?
GS: I cried and screamed the first time I hit the New York Times bestseller list. I danced with abandon when we sold the movies rights to Red Handed. I’ve met the most amazing women—other writers—I’m thrilled to call my best friends.
Rose: Are you looking to allow filmmakers to option any of your novels? Are we allowed to know if someone has optioned one?
GS: Always on the lookout for filmmakers! Seeing my books come alive on screen is a dream of mine. One of my books—Red Handed—has been optioned twice, but the last option expired years ago and nothing was made. I’m happy to report I’m rewriting Red Handed, adding new material, and it will be reissued sometime in the next two years.
Rose: If you could turn any one series of yours into a movie script, which series would it be?
GS: I think about this question a lot. LOL Here’s my order of preference:
2. Alice in Zombieland
3. Playing with Fire
4. Red Handed
5. The Closer You Come (I think I would love this as a Hallmark movie!)
6. Oh My Goth (which is being completely rewritten and reissued)
7. Catch A Mate
8. Heart of the Dragon
9. Ever Night
10. Last Kiss Goodnight
Well, there you have it, guys! Gena Showlater has written a plethora of books.
Don’t forget! I’ve got two exciting GIVEAWAYS coming up! Enter to win a paperback copy of The Swordmaster weeks before it hits the shelves here, or win a $15 Amazon gift card by answering these simple questions here!
What’s on your bookshelf?