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Lisa Desrochers; Author Interview + Gabe Stops By!

October 18, 2010

The fabulous Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons (Review), has increased her Fabulous Status in agreeing to let me interview her! I was thrilled when she said yes and took my time compiling my questions. Five of them are for Lisa herself, and the remaining six are questions I asked Gabe. Without further ado (because I know you’re not here to listen to me jabber), Lisa and her angelic friend, Gabe:

Questions for Lisa:

ME: When you sat down to write Personal Demons, did you have a concrete idea of what you wanted to do with the book, or was it more conceptual and you decided to see where your whims took you?

Lisa: All I had when I started writing Personal Demons was a name, Lucifer Cain. He popped into my head and started telling me a story. The rest flowed from the characters.

ME: It’s inarguable that the Heaven, Hell, and Limbo in Personal Demons are incredibly well-formed and rather unique (I know I was wowed by the details). You seem to blend various bits of myths and legends to create your worlds. How much thought went into the world-building process, and are you still creating different facets of the ways the three operate?

Lisa: I did a lot of research into demon and angel lore. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to keep Personal Demons contemporary, so I took what I learned and put a modern spin on it. In Personal Demons, Hell is a bureaucracy. I looked at demon hierarchy and tried to figure out what departments there would be and who would be in charge of them. Then I did the same thing with Heaven. Once I had that sorted out, I had to figure out how, within this bureaucracy, it would be determined who went to Heaven and who went to Hell. It made sense that Hell would have an Acquisitions department. Heaven, on the other hand, would be in charge of sorting the souls who died before they were tagged because of the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, so they wouldn’t need and Acquisitions department. They would be more like the police and judicial system, to keep Hell’s Acquisition team from running wild on the mortal coil. So, it’s really based in the bureaucracy of modern society. It’s continuing to evolve in the sequels.

ME: Did you always intend the book to have two POVs, and what made you choose to leave out Gabe’s? Did you have difficulties keeping Luc and Frannie’s voices distinct enough to avoid readers’ confusion?

Lisa: Well, only the reader (you) can tell me if the voices are distinct. In my head they are. As far as who got a POV, again, that flowed from the characters themselves. Luc was the initial POV character, but when Frannie showed up, she demanded to tell her side of the story. Though Gabe has a strong presence in the novel, I always heard him through Frannie or Luc. Not only did he not demand a POV, he didn’t want one. For you Team Gabe fans out there, you’ll be happy to know he is demanding a POV in Hellbent (bk #3) so we’ll be hearing from him soon.

ME: How many rewrites did you go through before querying? How was the dreaded querying experience for you?

Lisa: I wrote Personal Demons in about seven weeks and spent another six or so revising and polishing before I queried. It took me about a week to put together a killer query letter and another week to research agents and decide who were the best matches for what I’d written. I initially sent my query to five agents, holding back on 15 more until I heard from the first five. My thought was, if I didn’t get any requests, I could revise my query before sending it out to the others. Luckily, four of the first five agents I queried requested manuscripts. In the end, I had 12 manuscript requests and four offers of representation.

ME: What’s a day in the writing life of Lisa Desrochers like? Do you write every day? Wake up in the wee hours of the morning to spurt out a few thousand words before daily distractions take hold? Or do you write whenever you feel the urge?

Lisa: I only write when my characters have something to say. Unfortunately, that’s often when I’m in the shower, driving down the road or at three o’clock in the morning. I find that if I set a strict word count per day, I just end up writing drivel that gets cut anyway. When I’m drafting a novel, the story seems to come fast and furious, so I’m writing in every second I can sneak to my laptop or scribble a note on the back of a Taco Bell receipt. When I’m between novels, I can go for weeks without writing anything. It’s really up to my characters.

Questions for Gabe:

ME: If you were mortal and didn’t have the incredibly amazing job as a Dominion Angel, what do you believe you’d like to do for a living someday?

Gabe: Good question. I’m an angel, so I probably should say something profoundly angelic, yes? But, since I can’t lie…I’d want to teach skydiving.

ME: What looks like the most disgusting of human food? (Please don’t say mushrooms. It would break my heart.)

Gabe: Lasagna. It’s red and squishy with chunks of stuff. It seriously looks like it’s already been chewed.

ME: How many years did it take for you to reach the status you have (or have you lost track)? Being the left-hand of the Gabriel must have been difficult place to end up. Do you remember what your first calling was?

Gabe: I was created by the Almighty just after the War to replace some that Lucifer took with him. I’ve always been a Protector. Gabriel took me under his wing (literally) from the time of my creation. The understanding has always been, should something happen to him, I’d take his place. I suspect that’s the reason they named me Gabriel. Everyday of my existence has been training for that possibility, though, his is a job I’m not sure I’d want. There may come a time I have no choice.

ME: How many people have you tagged? Have any slipped out of your grasp before?

Gabe: We have teams of angels whose job it is to tag souls, so it’s not something I do often. When I’m sent, it’s usually a special case…someone special who needs extra protection. In those cases, if I can tag them I will. It’s the surest way to protect them from the other side. But the thing about that is, it’s really up to them. I can’t just tag whomever I choose. They have to earn the tag. There have been a few that weren’t able to find it in themselves to do what needed to be done to allow me to tag them. Others just flat out chose to go the other way.

ME: Have you and Lucifer found yourselves after the same target before, or do your shields usually work?

Gabe: Lucifer and I have a history. Other than Frannie, Lucifer has gotten past my Shield twice. Unfortunately, he seems to be particularly perceptive. I’m not naming names, but the two other times we’ve run up against each other are the two times the mortal has chosen to go the other way. Not only is Lucifer perceptive, but also persuasive.

—-

First of all, Lisa had the dream writing/querying experience. I think my jaw would have dropped when I read that if my jaw was actually in the habit of doing that.

Anyway, if you have not read Personal Demons, I seriously recommend it! Lisa’s a fabulous author and her book has a refreshing take of Heaven, Hell, and that little place in between.

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