As one of the #CMCon21 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2021 and introducing you to their many stories.
Writing short stories, even mini-fiction, can’t always be worked into a writing schedule; so for those authors who may not be able to let their characters play in the sand, I’ve invited them to a nighttime beach bonfire to have a drink, listen to the crashing waves, and answer a few questions of my own.
Joining me in the sand is Lexi George, author of the Demon Hunting In Dixie series and the Fledgling Magic series (writing as Alexandra Rushe).
Can you tell us a little about yourself, something readers may not have heard before?
I have been active in community theatre for years, and I wrote a children’s play in 2019 called Once Upon a River that is based on The Wind in the Willows.
Official Bio: Lexi George writes paranormal romance about sassy Southern heroines and hunky demon hunters. She has written five books in the series, plus a novella, and is currently at work on the sixth full-length demon hunter book “Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff.”
Lexi lives in a small town in Alabama much like the fictional town of Hannah – charm and characters in abundance, a crater and a bridge spanning a river. Alas, it is sadly lacking in woo-woo and alpha male immortals. Her two spoiled felines, Sabrina and Sam, rule her with an iron paw.
Lexi George | Alexandra Rushe
Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon
Can you introduce us to the world(s) that you have created?
I write in two worlds! Hannah, Alabama is the setting of my demon hunter novels. It’s a small town situated on a crater, and unbeknownst to the norms (those without supernatural powers or DNA), the crater is the source of the magical shenanigans that happen in Hannah. And there are a LOT of magical shenanigans! The town is peopled by a cast of crazy Southern characters, and the heroes are immortal demon hunters and huntresses who come to Hannah in pursuit of demons and fall in love for the first time.
My other world is Tandara, where monsters and magic are real. The heroine of my fantasy novels is sucked through a portal into Tandara, where she discovers there is an evil wizard who wants her dead AND that she may have powers of her own. There are warriors and wizards, giants, trolls, and other monsters, dwarves, and elves in Tandara.
Will this be your first Coastal Magic or are you a veteran? What was it about Coastal Magic that drew you to it? Why have you continued to return?
This is my first Coastal Magic convention, but I attended Old City New Blood in 2012. Excited to be back!
If you’ve been before, what is your favorite CMC memory? If you’ve never been, what are you looking forward to?
I adored being on the panels, meeting other authors, and readers!
What was your inspiration when you created your characters and the worlds they live in?
My inspiration for the demon hunter series was Janet Evanovich. I read One for the Money and howled. I loved the pace of her writing and the zany characters. My other inspiration for the demon hunter series was Georgette Heyer. I adore Regency romance, and my heroes, though immortal and hunky, are loosely based on the heroes from some of her books. The paranormal element came in because I have always loved myths and fairy tales. Oh, and fantasy. I love fantasy.
Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that stand out in your stories?
Nicole Eubanks, aka Mullet Woman, moves to Hannah with her demon dog, Frodo. She is a hoot!
Evan Beck was supposed to be a villain, the evil twin of the heroine in book three, but he had taken on a life of his own and is now one of my favorite characters. Love his story arc!
Meredith Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is the town bitch. She was murdered in book two and comes back in every other book to torment and insult people.
Is there any character that didn’t make as big of an impact on the story that you thought they would? Is there a character who stayed on the page longer than you thought they would?
No to the first part of the question, but a resounding YES to the second! I have so many secondary characters that I love, and I have a hard time keeping them under control. They tend to take over the story!
Do you have a favorite or least favorite character? Do you find that readers agree or disagree with your view?
I love all my characters, probably because it takes me so long to write a book! We really get to know one another in the process.
Is there any part of your series, any of your series, world(s) that you would like to expand on in the future?
Oh, yes! I can see numerous spin-offs from both series! I am tinkering with a series set in Hannah where the main character is a psychic detective, and I have an idea for several spin-offs based on Tandara, my fantasy world.
Since creating your world, has there been anything you’ve regretted starting or wish you had started sooner? Was there something that worked out great in the beginning, but now you wish you had done differently?
My main regret is that I am such a slow writer. I got sick in 2018, and that knocked me off track on the book I was writing. I am still writing that same book! Ugh. So frustrating. But I am almost done, hallelujah! I get very frustrated with my “process,” but I am meditating and learning to accept myself and my writing. Worrying never helps, so I am concentrating on finding my joy!
How do you take our world and build something fantastical from it? How do you turn our reality into fantasy?
I see possibilities all around me. I look out across my back yard and imagine centaurs plodding through the woods behind my house. Also, I layer when I write. Every pass I make on a chapter, I add details and characters. For example, in the book I am currently writing (the one that will not end!) I was writing a scene set at a pickle festival. The first pass I made on the chapter, I described the food at the festival and the booths. Round two, I added a doggie costume party. Pass three, and I added a gorgon and her boyfriend, the Grim Reaper. Things just spring into my mind when I write.
I also think it is great fun to take a “normal” place like Hannah, a small Southern town, and mix it up with supernatural creatures. Werewolves and rednecks, what’s not to love!
What was it about your worlds that made you want to share them with everyone?
Honestly, the thing people either like about my writing, or hate, and that’s the humor. I was an appellate prosecutor for nearly thirty years, and all I did, day in and day out, was read criminal transcripts about the HORRIBLE things people do to one another. It gave me a dark sense of humor, but also an appreciation for whimsy and the ridiculous. I hope people laugh when they read my books and escape reality.
Which do you find is more central in your writing: the characters or world creation? Why?
In my books, they go together. The world shapes my characters and often “births” them. In the demon hunter series, the small-town setting grounds the crazy, and I like the juxtaposition of the supernatural with the ordinary. In my fantasy series, the heroine is experiencing another world where magic is real, and that is so much fun to write. My very own version of The Wizard of Oz, I suppose. I love portal stories, love the idea of exploring new realities. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit the shire or Hogwarts?
What kind of reading experience are you hoping to create for your readers? What do you want them to come away from your books saying, thinking, and feeling?
I hope they escape and laugh and sigh, the same things I want when I read a book! That’s why I adore fantasy and romance because anything is possible and it’s fun to imagine yourself in that world.
What is your favorite scene? What makes it so special – characters, setting, dialogue, action?
That’s a hard one, but I guess I’d have to say The Weenie in the Bag Scene. It was SUCH fun to write. I laughed the whole time! It’s set in a funeral home and two women get into a tussle over the deceased’s . . . um . . . mister.
What makes a sex scene suck? What makes a sex scene good? Which tropes lead to epic eye-rolling? Is there a certain trope that will never go out of style?
Oh, gosh, everyone has different tastes when it comes to what makes a sex scene work, but for me, it’s the emotional connection between the two characters. I mean, you’ve been pulling for these two people to fall in love and when they finally do and they wind up in bed, it’s amazing! As a writer, I find sex scenes hard to write because I am nervous that I won’t get the emotional component right. Sex scenes and battle scenes are the worst for me!
When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you and/or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why?
My reading tastes are all over the place. I love romance and fantasy, and recently reread my favorite Georgette Heyer books. Listened to them, I should say, because I love audiobooks. I also enjoy listening to spiritual books. I recently discovered Michael Beckwith, and I’m listening to his book Life Visioning. I’m also listening to Exile, the second book in the Dark Elf Trilogy about Drizzt Do’Urden, a drow elf.
What drew you to writing in the genres you do as opposed to other genres?
I write what I read, which is fantasy and romance! I’ve tried other genres as a reader, but those two are my tried and true, absolute favorites. I try to write what I want to read.
What is the most painful part of the process for you when you’re writing a book? Why?
All of it, really. Writing is hard for me. As I’ve already said, I am a slow writer and a pantser, meaning I make things up as I go along. I fratch over every chapter and worry that I won’t figure things out. Once the book is written, the pressure if off and I enjoy the editing process, although I edit, edit, edit as I go along. I never get tired of tweaking my work. I am obsessive about it!
Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
George R. R. Martin because of his worldbuilding. The man is ruthless, though, and I doubt I could ever write that dark, but his worldbuilding is off the chain. Hated, hated, hated the end of the HBO series. Still mad about it. I’m hoping he writes a different ending, though knowing Mr. Martin, it won’t be pretty.
If you could be any fantasy creature/person/magical thing, what would you be? Why?
A wizard, of course! I want to do magic!
If you could be one of the characters in your book for one day, who would it be? Why?
Raine Stewart because she gets to go through a portal to Tandara. I’d love to have a beer with Gertie, the troll in my series, or go for a stroll on the shoulder of Tiny Bartog, the giant in the series.
If you were stranded on a desert island (or quarantined indefinitely), what 3 things would you have to have with you?
- Tea – I am addicted to tea.
- A laptop so I could write, and a power source to keep it going.
- A friend to keep me company, preferably someone with survival skills. Otherwise, I will probably die.
Don’t miss your chance to meet over 40 fabulous urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance authors at Coastal Magic next February! This super casual book-lover weekend happens on Daytona Beach, and gives everyone the chance to hang out with fellow readers and amazing storytellers.
If you haven’t been to Coastal Magic yet, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. Be sure to keep up with all things Coastal Magic, by following it via your own personal social media drug of choice: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Tumblr | Pinterest | CMCon21 Reading Challenge