Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blogoversary J. A. Pitts Interview & Giveaway

I picked up J. A. Pitts' first novel Black Blade Blues by pure instinct as I was first drawn to the cover of the book. Once I began reading it I knew I was going to like it as Pitts' is part of the dark and gritty urban fantasy genre (which I love). Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:
J. A. Pitts

Your love of reading and eventually writing began as a child, is there one story or fairy tale that still inspires your writing today?
I have a strong fondness for folk tales.  Especially Jack Tales which originated in Appalachia with the Scot and Irish immigrants.  They are retelling of older myths and legends but with a mountain, back-woods flavor.  There are only a dozen or so of the historically documented Jack Tales, but I wrote one for the anthology The Trouble with Heroes that came out from DAW a couple of years ago.

Your love for science fiction started at an early age, why did you decide to write a novel in the urban fantasy genre instead of science fictions?
I've written short work in lots of genres, including main stream, romance, erotica, horror, fantasy, cyberpunk, science fiction, ya, etc. 

I love to read Urban Fantasy, with some of my favorite authors being Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Jim Butcher, Diana Rowland and many others.  I'm always looking for another good read.

I currently have a YA Science Fiction trilogy in my to-be-worked file waiting for me to get to it.

The Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genres appear to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres) what do you think the draw to these genre is? How do you believe your novels stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Well, some authors write in this genre due to evolution.  It's a natural progression from what they were already writing. Some people fell in love with the genre and wanted to add to it.  Some see that it's a hot, new market and want their piece of the pie.

No matter why they've decided to write in this genre, I find it all amazing and fascinating.  It's good for an author to stretch themselves and try new things.  The market is big enough for everyone.  There are plenty of readers out there.

As for my books standing out, I think there are a two strong aspects.  Firstly, my main character, Sarah Beauhall is a strong lesbian protagonist who is both vulnerable and kick-ass.  She's a complicated person who is struggling to make her way in a world that has suddenly become very foreign to her.

Secondly, my series is based on Norse Mythology.  There are a few outstanding authors who have used this mythos in the writing: Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Greg Van Eekhout come to mind.  Because of the Norse aspect, my work has no vampires nor werewolves.

I have been reading within the Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genre for years now and I have not read or have seen too many books that feature dragons, why did you choose to feature dragons and not some of the more classic paranormal creatures of Vampires, Werewolves and now Zombies?
A couple of reasons.  One, I wanted to utilize Norse mythology. This gave me a wide array of mythological creatures and personalities to deal with so I could expand beyond the typical Urban Fantasy trope.

Secondly, I love dragons. There are two prominent dragons in Norse mythology: Nidhogg, the corpse gnawer and Fafnir.  I thought it would be great fun to write a series about a real world dragon slayer and at the same time show that the world is never black and white.  There are always intricacies and details that complicate things.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I think, for me, Horror.  I'm a big fan of Stephen King and very much respect what he does,  but I find myself hard pressed to imagine sustaining that level of fright factor over the length of an entire novel.  I know it's not that simple.  You can't have the horror and tension high at all times, but the overall concept of it all daunts me.   In Horror, there are many sub-strata, many of which I have no interest in.  Movies like SAW, or the slasher/mass murderer stories just do not appeal to me.

Do you find that most readers are shocked to find out that there was a man behind the writing of lesbian woman? How do you find most people react to the information?
Some folks are totally cool with it, some are baffled and some are offended.  It runs the gamut.  Fortunately, most of the feedback I've received has assured me that I've done a good job.  I have friends, acquaintances and fans who are lesbians who have written to tell me how pleased I got the voice and issues down so well.  Many people believe I'm a woman. I find that to be the highest compliment for my writing.

That being said, there are a few people who have written in reviews and such that it's obvious this was written by a man, because a woman would never say/write the way I write.  I can only shrug and move on to the next project.  I know I'll never please everyone, but I know I'm having a positive impact on some readers and that's all I can ask for.

How did you manage to get into the head of a female character? Was it difficult at times to separate what you would do as a man and what you believe a woman would act?
It's hard work, let me tell you.  I believe men and women have many similar core values, beliefs, needs and wants.  My job is to try and look past my blind spots and my gender privilege and try and consider how the world looks from Sarah's point of view.  I remain open and listen, seek guidance and overall do my level best to be as sensitive to things as I can.  I'm sure I'll hiccup and stutter from time to time, but all I can do is my best and make sure I check in with others who I trust.  So far it's working pretty well.

What would you do with a magic sword that gave you incredible powers?
Interesting question.  Funny thing is, as Sarah goes through, you still have to pay your bills, feed your family, take care of your business.  A magic sword would be cool, but really, what would you really do with it.  If the government got wind of it, would they take it?  If you started using the sword for its intended purpose, would you end up in prison?  There are a lot of problems with this situation that the society we live in today would find untenable.  I think you'd put it over your mantle and dream of unfulfilled adventure why you worked your day job.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I'm currently writing Hearth & Home, the 4th book in the series.  I have several other projects in the work as well.  In the fall I'll be attending Orycon in Portland, if folks wanted to meet me in person.  I'm trying to blog more frequently and as part of that I've started over at every other Wednesday and I sub for others from time to time.  My blog is and you can follow me on twitter @japittswriter or on Facebook at J. A. Pitts - Urban Fantasy Writer.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite). 
Blackout by Mira Grant.  It's next up on my to-be-read pile.  I totally loved the first two books in this series and love her characters.  I'm very much looking forward to how she wraps up this trilogy.

I want to say Thank You once again to J. A. Pitts for stopping by and being part of my Blogversary. Although I have just recently discovered his books, I believe that he is an author to watch out for and does give a great new voice to the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal gernes. If you are looking for something different then Pitts is one to pick up. He has also very nicely supplied a giveaway to go along with his interview and it is a Winner's Choice. So whether you are an old fan or wanting to be a new one, there is something here for you, so make sure to enter below (this Giveaway is Open INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make Sure to check out the other Author Interview and Giveaways happening right NOW!!!
John Dodds (Open Internationally)
Amanda Bonilla (Open CAN/USA)
Angela Gerst (Open Internationally
J. C. Daniels (Open Internationally)

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