Today’s guest author is someone I hope to meet in person some day. Hayley B. James has written several books from bright and sunny, and dare I say warm – Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you read any of her books don’t get too comfortable. She’ll lead you one way only to snatch it back and change directions a few chapters later. Contemporary, fantasy, mystery, historical.  Pick a genre and she’s probably written a book in it or thinking about. [Just don’t look for straight up fluff.]

If you’ve not picked up any of her books, I’d suggest starting with Water Waltz, the first in her Elemental Attraction series.  Don’t get too comfortable, however.  Like I said, she’ll lull you one way and take you another. But it will be worth the ride.

Author Profile: Hayley B. James

1)    You’ve written several books that have been published.  Which one was your first?

My first published novel was Undercover Sins. I’ve learned a lot since then! I hope to put that knowledge to good use when I write the sequel.

2)    Water Waltz is the first in the Elemental Attraction series.  Tell us a bit about the series.

Water Waltz_lowres

Triste

Elemental Attraction is a fantasy series set in a world begrudgingly shared by demons, angels, devils, faeries, and humans. The fantasy creatures aren’t the typical ones. For example, angels conceal their wings inside their bodies and demons can control an element. The tension between the four major countries set the overall world plot and each book has a standalone romance.

3)    Fairies, Angels, Devils, Demons and Humans.  That’s quite a diverse world.  What made you think of writing a story where Demons and Angel work, live and love together and Humans are cowering in fear?

I wish I could understand where my inspiration comes from. I wanted to write a story of a demon in love with an angel but not write biblical angels and demons, so I created the races and had them live in an alternative real world setting. I used everything I love from the past and shaped the Elemental Attraction world. There are coattails and waistcoats, but technology is slim.

4)    Undercover Sins, is a mystery thriller, World on Fire, is contemporary Fantasy, Elemental Attraction is Fantasy, and Paid Leave looks like another mystery/thriller.  You seem to like many different genre’s.  How do you find inspiration for all of them?

I can only blame my love of anime, reading, and TV shows for the multiple genres bouncing around in my head. I take inspiration from everything in my life. When I don’t want to try something new, I try to look at it as something I could write about later—like volunteering to be shocked by a Taser by the police department. It was a life experience I could turn into something in a story.

Paid Leave spurred from how Albuquerque citizens were reacting to the police who protect them, and how I felt like the only person siding with the PD. Writing out Benji’s story started as a way to communicate my belief that police officers are human just like anyone else, but it turned into a cute romance story between an officer and a barista. Paid Leave is scheduled for release in June 2013.

5)    Which is your favor genre? And why?

To read? Mystery! To write? I have no idea. My muses bounce from genre to genre so much that it’s hard to pick a favorite. I do enjoy making up rules in a world and ignoring history and physics, so fantasy is best just for that. Despite loving to do so, I always think mysteries are too complicated for me to write, but Fire Tango’s mystery came out just fine, so I might be too hard on myself.

6)    What brought you to New Mexico and what’s it like living there?

My parents brought me to NM. I was born and raised here. It’s a nice place with weather I would miss if I left. Parking is easy, and the traffic is light compared to other major cities. (Yes, Albuquerque is a major city. I know! Crazy.) I have no big complaints about NM.

7)    We all have favorite books what’s yours? Is there a writer or writers who inspired you to write or whose writing style you look up to?

In mainstream fiction, I love the Julian Kestrel Mystery series by Kate Ross. I could read those books a hundred times and never get bored.

In gay romance, I read anything Charlie Cochet and Shira Anthony write. Both have styles that make writing seem easy.

8)    Tell us about your most recent novel. What was the inspiration(s) for the Book? Which character do you most connect to?

I have to admit, my two beta readers bothered me for months to write a sequel to Water Waltz and I refused, saying a sequel wasn’t possible. Then one day a plot idea smacked me in the head. (I need to just understand that my beta readers often know what’s best.) I fell in love with Fremont while writing Water Waltz, and felt there was more to him and his story, so he was on my mind long enough for a plot seed to sprout for Fire Tango.

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Leandre and Freemont

Fremont is a relatable character because he hides his insecurities and worries beneath a carefree and happy mask. He doesn’t want anyone to know he’s scared. The dynamic between his personality and Leandre’s was fun to write because no matter how much Fremont pushed him away, Leandre refused to budge. I don’t know if authors are allowed to have favorites, but Fremont is mine.

The murder plot came from my love of regency murder mysteries (see answer to question #7) and is modeled after a trope often seen in that genre. A murder at an estate, the guests are suspects, whodunit? There’s obviously a twist (a few) because nothing with Fremont is ever simple or what it first seems.

9)    What is your favorite book that you’ve written and why?

I have a soft spot for Fire Tango. I’m very pleased with the mystery part, the romance, and the side characters. And of course, Fremont is the lead. But I’m very excited to share Paid Leave because I adore both leads and their story. I also rarely attempt and succeed at writing what readers refer to as “fluff.” Paid Leave has drama, but it’s sweet.

10) Do you ever model characters after people you know? If so in what way? Looks? Personality? Life events?

The only time I remember doing this was for Paid Leave. No one is an exact copy of someone I know, but bits of personalities were used. I do use names of friends for some side characters in all my stories. I avoid using names of friends for characters in sex scenes because that might get awkward.

11) If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby was the first book I fell in love with, so I’d want to shake his hand and thank him for starting my love of reading. (My mother also helped with that, I’m sure.)

12) I know you like to travel, what’s next on the list for you?  Do you ever go places and find inspiration for a new story in a new place?

I’m heading back to Washington State to see some friends. I’m also setting a contemporary romance (with a private detective) in a “fake Seattle,” so while I’m there for fun, I’ll be using my time for the author side of my life too. The trip after this one is to Montreal. No plans yet of a story set there, but I’ve always wanted to see Montreal! I’m sure I’ll find a story for the city when I’m there.

Thank you Hayley!

Blurb for Water Waltz:

In a land where humans are enslaved as sexual toys, angels and demons are in constant conflict with their playthings. The demon Varun works with STAR, an organization devoted to human liberty, and it’s a never-ending battle.

Two years ago, the angel Triste broke Varun’s heart by choosing to be his butler instead of his beloved, giving Varun no explanation and no hope. However, that doesn’t mean that Triste will simply sit back and watch as Varun takes the human Elden under his protection, and Triste’s secret investigation will unearth terrible secrets, including the kernels of a pernicious plot.

Despite appearances, Triste and Varun are still in love, and Varun may well risk everything to protect Triste and discover why the angel left him heartbroken. But a still worse danger hangs over them as they seek to calm the threat of a catastrophic war.

Buy Water Waltz and Fire Tango: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=54_699

Hayley’s blog: http://www.hayleybjames.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HayleyB_James

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HayleyBJames

Excerpt:

THE chosen restaurant was known for the better part of the city’s nightlife. A live band performed on the small stage throughout the night and into the morning. The shared tables circled around a dance floor, and the waiters kept the drinks full. Triste sat beside Zephyr and an angel he recognized but could not place a name to the face. The other three guests, a faerie and two demons, were strangers to Triste.

It was only after the first round of drinks arrived when Triste began to doubt his decision. He had been angered by Varun’s refusal and acted against him. It was a childish thing to do and not something Triste usually did.

“Don’t look too miserable,” Zephyr whispered, placing his hand on the back of Triste’s chair. “I’m actually surprised you agreed. Although, I know you only did in order to upset Varun.”

“I don’t know why I agreed,” Triste admitted. He rubbed the stem on his champagne flute, watching how the bubbles continuously floated to the surface.

“I’d like to think you wanted to see me, but I know not to fool myself.”

“Don’t believe it had anything to do with you.”

Zephyr’s fingers grazed the back of Triste’s neck. “You must be stressed, my little angel. Your feathers are trying their best to be seen.”

Triste covered the spot with his hand. “You returning did not make the best work environment.”

“Why are you there, Triste?”

“That’s a need to know basis, Zephyr.”

“Of course it is.” Zephyr sipped his white wine and returned the glass to the table, positioning it closer to Triste’s.

It wasn’t Zephyr that made Triste uneasy. He had spent too many nights in Zephyr’s arms to be worked up over a dinner together. He worried what Varun would do when he returned. If Varun did nothing, it might hurt more than violence. The burning discomfort flared on his skin. Triste pressed his palm against the growing feathers. Joining Zephyr had been a terrible idea.

“I traveled east earlier this year,” Zephyr said, beginning conversation where it had stopped in his vehicle. “I actually went into a human city. The capital. Senac.”

“They let demons in?”

“I went as an emissary. They live so differently than us.”

Triste sighed, trying his best to relax. “Humans are an entirely different species, really.”

“I find them interesting. I believe that’s why I chose my work. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Zephyr’s hand left Triste’s neck, leaving an empty feeling. Triste looked at Zephyr and found the warm smile that had captured his heart a lifetime ago.

“Why did you really ask me here tonight?” Triste questioned softly.

“I have to admit, I’m curious if there’s still a flame and, if there is, I wonder if I could rekindle it.”

The quiet voice, gentle tone, and eyes focused on the table were all signs Zephyr had spoken the truth. Triste surprised himself by remembering the subtle nuances in Zephyr’s actions.

“I’m sure there’s not even an ember left, Zephyr.”

“Do I blame myself or Varun for that?”

“Time,” Triste answered. “You can only blame time.”

“Well, then, let’s enjoy your night off, Triste.” Zephyr raised his glass. “Do you still dance?”

Triste paused with his glass halfway up to meet Zephyr’s. “Dance?”

“You were once brilliant on a dance floor. I could hardly keep up.”

“That was a long time ago.” Triste lowered his flute, returning it to the table.

“Let’s see if your feet remember the feel of hardwood floors.” Zephyr placed his wine glass beside Triste’s, rose, and pulled the reluctant angel to his feet.

“I’m more than happy to wait for dinner at the table,” Triste protested weakly, following Zephyr as he dragged him out onto the floor.

“One dance, Triste. I’ll be satisfied after just one.” Zephyr turned, pulling Triste against him. His hand fell into the small of Triste’s back just as Triste’s hand found his shoulder. “It’s a waltz. Do forgive me for errors. It’s been a while for me.”

“I’ll lead,” Triste offered. Zephyr traded hand positions with Triste with a grateful smile.