Please welcome Naomi Clark to the Spicy Butterfly Garden! I am so pleased to have her and that she allowed me to pick her brain a bit. Naomi is going to give us a little insight into her re-release of Blood Hunt, the second novel in the Urban Wolf series. Evernight Publishing picked up her series when her previous publisher went under and we are excited about that. Let’s give Naomi a warm welcome!
Give us the title and genre of your book and a quick 50 word or less tagline.
Blood Hunt – urban fantasy.
Werewolf Ayla Hammond is taking on Paris – but what kind of monster is stalking the streets of the City of Love, and will Ayla and her girlfriend survive it?
Did you have any inspiration for this story or its characters?
This is the second novel in my Urban Wolf series, so the characters have been with me a while now (through one novella and the first novel). The inspiration for the story was twofold: I wanted to write something set in Paris as I have such amazing memories of the city, and I wanted to take a different approach to some classic urban fantasy tropes. I can’t say much more without spoiling the plot though!
What was your favorite scene to write? Why?
I do love writing action scenes, and there are plenty in Blood Hunt! But I think my very favourite was writing Ayla and Shannon visiting the Arc de Triomph, as that’s where my fiance took me to propose. So I have lots of very happy feelings associated with it!
Awwww! So awesome to connect a personal aspect into your story.
Give us an interesting and fun fact about your book and/or its characters.
I used a mix of real European folklore and my own imagination to create a lot of the history and werewolf lore in this series. You see a lot of that in Blood Hunt when Ayla and Shannon visit a few Parisian museums. I loved writing those scenes too!
As an author myself, I find one of the hardest parts to completing a story is coming up with a title that captures the true essence of the story. How do you come up with the title to your stories?
Blood Hunt was originally published back in 2011 as Dark Hunt. The reason for that was there was another lesbian werewolf novel released a little earlier that year called Blood Hunt, so my original publisher felt we needed to go in a different direction. I liked Dark Hunt fine, but I felt it didn’t really reflect the book. When Evernight took the series on after the original publisher folded, I was quick to change the title back to Blood Hunt! I feel it gives a hint as to the plot without giving everything away, and captures the underlying horror elements of the story.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received? The worst?
Best – “get it written, then get it right.” You can edit anything except a blank page, so give yourself permission to write crap if that’s what it takes to get the first draft done! Then you can polish it up.
That is great advice. Focusing on editing before it’s all out can cause roadblocks, at least for me. Allowing yourself to have days where you don’t write good stuff but knowing you can go back and edit later, frees the mind.
Worst – “write what you know.” I actually feel this, although well-intentioned – restrictive advice. Write what you love is a better maxim for me.
I like your advice coming out of your worst advice. I tend to write what I know, but I’ve ventured into the realm of paranormal recently and it’s been interesting!
What has been your most rewarding experience since becoming a published author?
Silver Kiss, the first novel in this series, was part of the American Library Association’s recommended GBLT list for 2011. It was an incredible achievement just to be nominated, but to actually make the list? Indescribable.
Wow! Congratulations on that! 🙂 That is awesome!
What book (or books) are you reading now?
I’m switching between Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams in paperback and Goddess of Legend by Erin Ashley Tanner in ebook. Loving them both!
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I make my own perfumes and rumour has it they’re pretty good!
Three words that best describe you:
Creative, patient, eclectic.
Favorites of all Time:
Me too! Me too! J
Argh, so hard to pick just one…Love Like Winter by AFI
I’m currently loving Pacific Rim, but for all time favourite, I have to go with The Last Unicorn (although it makes me cry every single time).
Oh The Last Unicorn! I loved that movie. Haven’t seen it in years!
Favorite place on Earth?
Gotta go with seeing my fiance drop to one knee at the top of the Arc de Triomphe and ask me to marry him 🙂
Before you go, can you please provide us with a tantalizing snippet from your book?
Beyond the portal, the skeletons began. The arrangement of bones was neat and orderly, with occasional bursts of arty patterns, like the heart shape made of skulls and shinbones. The bones were all yellowed with age, some of them cracked and chipped. Wolf skulls with empty eye sockets stared down at me from shadowy recesses, some heartbreakingly small—cubs, nestled in stone alongside their elder Pack mates. I ran my fingers over the smooth, dry bones, awed by the sheer number of them. Every now and then we ran into rusted gates that blocked off access to parts of the catacombs tour groups couldn’t visit. It was at one of those gates that I noticed a smell that shattered my wolf’s happy calm. Sweet. Rotting. I gagged.
“What’s wrong?” Shannon asked, slowing down to join me at the gate. “Ayla? Something wrong?” She peered through the bars of the gate with me, down the passage into blackness. You couldn’t see more than a foot ahead, but that horrible smell was coming from down there somewhere. It was faint, nothing like as strong as it had been round Mike’s body last night, but it was unmistakable.
How could Shannon not smell it? I glanced at her, saw no sign of revulsion or even awareness on her face. She couldn’t, I realized. She couldn’t smell it at all.
“Le Monstre,” I said softly, letting my wolf move forward in my head, sharpening my senses without actually letting her out. She was nervous now, on edge and ready for flight. It was such an unnatural response for her—for me—that I didn’t know what to make of it. But with my senses switched on high, I was sure of one thing.
Whatever Le Monstre was, I didn’t think it was here. The smell was stale, maybe a few days old, which might explain why Shannon didn’t notice it. It was still strong enough for a wolf’s senses, but too faint for a human’s. Maybe the creature had a lair deeper within the catacombs, or had made a kill here recently. I couldn’t smell flesh or blood, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave the gate either. I needed to know what Le Monstre was, where it was. I curled my fingers round the bars, rust flaking off against my skin, and inhaled that scent, desperate to identify it.
“Ayla.” Shannon tugged at my sleeve. “Are you okay?”
“Is there a tour guide around?” I asked, barely hearing her question. “They need to get someone down there.”
She looked around. We’d started out tagging along behind a small group, but split off to visit the wolf caves and now we were alone, surrounded by shadow and bone. It was too easy to picture some lurking horror down in the darkness, feeding on human flesh. Panic burst through my wolf and suddenly I did feel claustrophobic and trapped; trapped down here with a monster that might be just on the other side of that gate.
About Naomi & Where to Find Her:
Naomi Clark lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she’s not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once.