Recently I was fishing around for recs for a good paranormal read since all I’m being given lately involves way too many vamps, wolves, and witches. Bor-ing! I wanted something fresh, something unique and voila! Alicia Kat Dillman’s Daemons in the Mist fell in my lap (figuratively obviously-I use a Kindle) almost as if a time-travelling witch had made it so! Now you may be asking yourself, what’s so great about this book? And to that I give you:
Exhibit A: fantastic cover art
Exhibit B : obviously fun and engaging author (seriously: girlfriend is sporting a Hogworts uniform and hanging with R2D2. What’s not to like?!)
Exhibit C: The plot synopsis: Seventeen year old Patrick Connolly has been hopelessly infatuated with Nualla for years but he is all but invisible to her. Until, that is, he rescues her from a confrontation with her ex. Little does Patrick know he’s just set off a dangerous chain reaction that will thrust him into a world of life altering secrets and things that shouldn’t exist, because the fog and mist of San Francisco is concealing more than just buildings.
First and foremost, Daemons: real or not?
Of course they’re real. If they weren’t would they be on Wikipedia? ‘Course they did get a lot wrong.
If you could be one paranormal/mythical being, which would it be and why?
It’s a real toss up between the Moon Children in my upcoming series The Chronicles of Rayn or a witch from the world of Harry Potter. The first, imagine being able to create anything you could dream into a real physical form. Like you were sculpting reality out of the air. The second, well, do I really have to explain how awesome being able to perform magic would be? And I have to say Hogwarts,: way cooler than my schools for sure.
What kind of research did you do for Daemons in the Mist? Can an author actually do research on supernatural/paranormal phenomena?
Now the question on all the ladies’ minds (but mainly mine): who was your inspiration for Patrick and where can we find him?
Which YA boy would I have liked to date? Either Jem from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series or Sam Roth from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.
Which character do you most relate to in Daemons in the Mist?
Could you describe your creative writing/art process from conception to realization?
Typically, this is how it goes. Out doing (insert random activity here) and a song comes on. There’s this explosion of images in my head like a mini movie. Basically that’s what an idea being born in my head looks like. I start jotting ideas down on the index cards in Scrivener and then shuffle them into an order that makes sense. I then set a target word count, in my case it’s always 70k and divide that among 30 chapters. Then I set each chapter’s target word count to 2,333. Then basically, I just start writing. I write non-linearly, which means I write what comes to mind at the time and then piece those bits together during the pre-editing process. I do research and add or rearrange chapters as needed, but mostly I just live in my stories and let it expand outward naturally. It’s a lot like walking through fog, you never know what will be waiting there in the next few steps, but when it appears you just know that it was always meant to be there.
I make playlists for every project that I continuously add to as well as keeping a Pinterest for each project. My stories are essentially set to music. Sometimes I will listen to a song on repeat as I write a particular scene. I spent 12 years in musical theater, so for me music brings a story to life within my mind.
When the story is ‘done’ I go through the whole story from start to finish and make sure it flows well, that the sections transition nicely. Also I check to make sure nothing is missing, unclear, or needs fixing. When this revised first draft is done it goes off to editor one. I fix anything he thinks should be changed. Next it goes to editor two and she does a more indepth check of everything. When those changes are finished the text goes to the copyeditor. When I get the book back from her I read through it one more time. If everything looks good I put my stamp of approval on it and then off it heads to design to be formatted and layed-out for the print and digital editions of the book.
First, I decide what story I’m trying to tell; what I’m trying to get across in the image, then I sketch out a quick thumbnail in the computer or on a scrap of paper. The thumbnail is nothing to look it, more like visual shorthand because I can see the image I want in my head. Truthfully, most of my design work and sketching is done in my head.
After that, it’s reference gathering time. I gather anything related to the project. For I’ll Never Let Go, I gathered reference of lights in the rain, wet clothing, wet pavement, people kissing, stuff like that. In case you’re wondering, yes, I own those boots Nualla’s wearing.
Next, I jump into the digital painting program Corel Painter and start drawing. When thestructure of the image is complete, I start painting with my palette of custom designed brushes. Between 2-20 hours later, I sit back and look at the image. If I think the image is done, I walk tothe other side of the studio and stare at it for a while. I like to make sure my images have a visual impact from both close up and at a distance before I stamp them complete and either send them off to the client or upload them for my viewers.
If someone famous sat down beside you, who would it have to be to make you squeal like a fangirl?
Oh a lot of people, I’m a huge fan of a lot of things. But I’ll just pick two. If it was a writer, it would have to be J.K. Rowling (are you seeing a recurring theme here?). If it was an actor, I’d say Nathan Fillion, though Hugh Laurie is a very close second.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I have an obsession with miniature stuffed animals. I don’t really need them, but they are so cute and soft I can’t help but buy them. Some are the normal kinds, kitties and sheep, but others are really unusual like a periwinkle alpaca or a saber-toothed cat we named Chompy McChomp Chomps. My fiance just gives me this look every time I get a new one because there are about 36 of them already in the studio.
What is the most flattering thing a fan has ever told you?
My fans say the nicest things, from that I inspired them to write to that they dreamed they were in the worlds created. But I think the most flattering was when one fan said that they forgot while reading my book that the characters weren’t real people because they felt so real. Or the fan who said they would defend the authenticity of my story it was made into a movie.
Do you have a personal motto? If so, what is it and how do you try to live by it daily?
The incriminating one- “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I’m a ‘live in the moment’kind of girl. I don’t tend to dwell on the things I can’t change and don’t really have a desire to travel back and change them. Even if something was hard or painful it’s both the bad and good that make you the person you are. Why would I want to change that?
The creative one- “Create the world you see when you close your eyes.” I have so many worlds that live in my head and I try everyday to bring those worlds to others, either through images or words. But it’s more than that, I try to take time out of each day to pay-forward the kindnesses done me. Because I’d really like to live in a world where we all help each other move forward.
Lastly, tell us why we should read this book:
Daemons in the Mist offers readers believable characters, an unpredictable plot and a story that’s both thrilling and romantic.
And there you have it: still no freaking clue what a Daemon is (seriously, now: WTF is a Daemon???) but I have to admit, I want all of those things she lists above (and really you should too unless you’re kind of soulless…wait, are you a Daemon?), do yourself a favor and GET THIS BOOK STAT!