Hello once again, readers!!!
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Rebecca Chastain, author of A Fistful of Evil, so let’s take a moment and do a quick happy dance!
Now that we have that out of our systems, let’s get to the good stuff-the interview.
- What are the unique rules of magic in A Fistful of Evil? In other words, tell us a little about your world.
The world of A Fistful of Evil reimagines the classic battle between good and evil, with the magic rules originating at those dichotomous extremes. Madison Fox is one of the good gals; after years of living as a normal person, she learns she has the ability to see and work with good energy. As an illuminant enforcer, she is tasked with exterminating all evil within her region (which also happens to be my hometown, suburban Roseville, California). The novel introduces a whole new cast of fantasy creatures, both good and evil, and Madison is far from the top of the food chain. When something deadly hones in on her territory, she has to scramble to learn how to do her job . . . if she wants to live through the first week.
- What inspired you to write in the genre you’ve chosen?
I love the mixture of modern technology and magic that encapsulates urban fantasies. As exciting as pure fantasy is, envisioning creatures walking among my city, driving cars on my freeway, and attacking people like those I interact with daily holds a unique immersive and relatable appeal. Plus, it’s fun to throw familiar haunts into my stories. ☺
- In a genre populated by hardcore protagonists (vampire hunters, necromancers, warlocks), what made you decide to write about a character just coming into her powers?
In small part, I wanted Madison to be untrained and untested because, at the time, all I was finding were novels with protagonists who made entire SWAT teams look insignificant. I wanted to write a character who was weak learning to be strong.
However, the main reason is that in my first draft many, many years ago, Madison and I were figuring out the world together, and it made sense to start with a character who knew as little about the world as I did. I was a much younger writer, and it was my first time doing NaNo WriMo. I would never write a novel in the same way I wrote A Fistful of Evil, mainly because it took an extraordinary number of drafts for me to mold it into something worth reading; now I don’t start writing until I’ve finished extensive outlining. If I sat down to write this novel now, would I write Madison the same? I really don’t know, but I love her nonetheless.
- Is writing your sole form of artistic expression?
I think once you start to emphasize art as a priority in your life, it’s hard not to pursue it in multiple forms. I adore writing, and I happily give my novels as much creative energy as they need in any given day. But if I have any left over, I like to paint (objects, like ornaments and figurines, not paintings) and make bizarre collage artwork.
- What are you currently working on?
I’m writing the sequel to A Fistful of Evil. I wrote the first draft of this book years ago, and I’ve just finished thoroughly revamping the outline, adding an entirely new third act, and threading new plot ideas throughout. It’s been challenging, but I’m having a blast exploring this world and I can’t wait to share it with my readers.
- Do you have any ideas that are outside of the paranormal genre? If so, are you working on them?
My ideas are always centered around the magical abilities of a character, so fantasy will always be a part of anything I write. For instance, I have published an alternate history / elemental fantasy novella (Magic of the Gargoyles) and I’m toying with a steampunk idea.
Amazing, right? Here a few fun this or that questions I threw in:
- e-book or paperback? E-book!
- Night or day? Day
- Vampires or Werewolves? Werewolves—I’ll take a warm animal over a cold corpse any day
- Hero or Heroine? Heroine
- Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate, please
A Fistful of Evil synopsis:
Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.
On the positive side, her money problems are over, she’s possibly discovered her purpose in life, and her coworker is smoking hot. On the negative side, evil creatures now actively hunt her, and deadly experiences are becoming the norm.
When she thinks it couldn’t get worse, a powerful evil sets up shop at a local hotel’s video game convention, and it’s got its eye on more than the gaming geeks: it is hungry for Madison’s soul. Madison needs to become an expert illuminant enforcer overnight to save her job, her region . . . and her life.
Links to buy A Fistful of Evil:
Rebecca Chastain is the author of the fantasy novella MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES and the urban fantasy novel A FISTFUL OF EVIL, which is an Amazon Top 100 Fantasy Bestseller in the United States, Australia, and Canada. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. She has been employed as a VHS sales clerk, bookshelf straightener, government pseudo-employee, professional finder of lost sporting goods, and strategy guide wrangler in the video game industry. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.
Follow Rebecca here:
Chapter 1: Don’t Follow Me. I’m Lost, Too.
The interview was a catastrophe. It started out fine—better than fine. Kyle, the sales manager for the bumper sticker company, Illumination Studios, met me in the warm confines of a nearby Starbucks, purchased me a grande green tea, and selected a table in the corner, away from the door and the cold blast of November air every customer brought in with them. Soft music, cappuccino-machine clacks and whirs, and the murmur of conversation created a cocoon of privacy.
I handed Kyle a copy of my resume, determined to prove myself the mandatory employee for the boring junior sales associate position. I wasn’t particularly qualified and I would normally have rather peeled hangnails than perform cold calls—which is what I strongly suspected the position was—but four weeks of unemployment, seven failed interviews, and escalating credit card bills proved very strong motivators.
Strong enough for me to ignore the desperate reason I’d applied for the job in the first place. Never trust your soul-sight, I told myself for the thousandth time. But my imminent eviction trumped mistrust of my bizarre, mutant vision.
Kyle dropped my resume to the table without glancing at it. He scrutinized me over the top of his dry cappuccino. Kyle exuded salesman, from his maroon button-up shirt and khaki trousers to his thinning brown hair with its frosted tips. His face was pinched, as if someone had pressed his baby flesh between their hands and pulled, extending his nose and pulling his lips and eyes in tight. He couldn’t have been much older than me, despite the sullen brackets around his mouth and deep grooves between his eyebrows. Maybe his expression fell into disapproving lines naturally.
“How many years’ experience do you have, Madison?” Kyle asked.
“Specifically in the bumper sticker business, none, but I believe my time at Catchall Advertising will—”
“I don’t care about the bumper sticker crap. I care about your experience in the field.”
My weirdo radar, dulled by the overpowering mix of desperation and determination, flickered to life now.
“I honed my sales skills while working as a saleswoman at Sundage Cars. My experience there taught me how to connect with people from all walks of life.” Though it hadn’t taught me how to sell a car. In the six months of my employment as a used-car saleswoman, I sold a grand total of zero cars, which is why David Sundage, my cousin-in-law and owner of Sundage Cars, had fired me at the beginning of September. But I wasn’t going to concern Kyle with that minor detail.
Kyle set his cappuccino down on the table and leaned back in his chair. “How old are you?” he asked.
“I’m not sure I understand the relevance—”
“What regions have you worked in before this?”
Regions? “I’ve worked mainly in Roseville since I—”
“With who? Not with Brad or Isabel.” Kyle leaned forward, his dark eyes intense.
Who? I eased my tea to the table and ran my palms down the sides of my black knee-length skirt, telling myself it was only nerves that were making Kyle seem so volatile.
“Um, most recently with David Sundage,” I said.
“Where are his headquarters?”
Headquarters? What is this, the FBI?