Monday, August 24, 2009

Interview with Jeanne C. Stein & Contest for RETRIBUTION

" engrossing read, with an action-packed story line and secondary characters that are every bit as intriguing as the heroine."
Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews
"...a powerful entry in an amazing saga! 4-1/2 Stars."
Romantic Times

How time flies! It wasn't so long ago that Jeanne Stein and I were exchanging emails about the release of our first novels. Jeanne is the author of the Anna Strong series and now she's about to celebrate the release of Retribution, the fifth in her series.

Here's a description of her latest novel:

With Belinda Burke, a powerful and deadly witch to track down, the last thing Anna needs is additional trouble with Williams. Warren Williams is the ex chief of police in San Diego, and a current leader in the local supernatural community. Their relationship has never been what Anna would consider good, but it’s deteriorating to a point that could be dangerous to both of their undead lives. Williams has a score to settle and he has no trouble destroying anyone who gets in his way, but it’s Anna who will ultimately put her life on the line and quite possibly save the supernatural population from a torturous and destructive future.

Jeanne has generously offered to give away TWO COPIES of Retribution here on Vampire Wire. To enter the contest, please leave a question or comment for Jeanne, or tell us what you like to see in a series. The contest runs through next Sunday night, August 30, and winners will be chosen at random. Contest limited to U.S. and Canada only.


MARTA: Welcome back, Jeanne! The last time we talked, you had just published The Becoming, the first novel in your Anna Strong Chronicles. Tell us a little about how the series has progressed since and your latest release, Retribution.

JEANNE: Thanks for having me back—always a pleasure!

Wow, a lot has happened since The Becoming (The Anna Strong Chronicles, Book 1) was published. Retribution is the fifth book in the series so new characters have come and old ones have gone! Mostly, I’m learning more about Anna and her world.

MARTA: Has Anna Strong evolved in the way you initially planned? Or has the character changed in any surprising ways?

JEANNE: Anna is continually growing and changing, sometimes in ways I didn’t anticipate. Like I’m sure you’ve found in your own writing, our characters take on lives and personalities of their own. They say and do unexpected things. It’s what makes writing so much fun.

MARTA: Can you give us any clues about what’s up next for Anna? How many books are you planning for the series?

JEANNE: As I mentioned, Retribution is the fifth book in the series. This is a pivotal book because it leads up to the sixth book, Chosen, which will be out next year. Retribution also features a character that I introduced in a short story, "The Witch and the Wicked," published in the anthology, Many Bloody Returns. Sophie is a witch with a split personality—literally, a split personality. She shares her body with a vampire.

Retribution is darker than the preceding books. Anna faces an old foe, the black witch Belinda Burke from The Watcher. Burke is threatening the lives of Anna’s friends—Culebra and Daniel Frey. Anna is fiercely protective of her friends and she is forced to make some tough decisions to save them.

The next book, Chosen, rounds out the first year of Anna’s vampire existence. In it, she learns what it means to be a Chosen One. It’s full of twists and surprises that (I hope) will keep readers turning those pages.

MARTA: You’ve also been contributing stories to anthologies. Is it hard for you to switch gears from longer formats to shorter? Any preferences?

JEANNE: It’s very hard for me to write short stories. It’s a challenge. But it’s also an opportunity to introduce new characters and themes. I have stories in two new anthologies: "The Ghost of Leadville" in the The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2(September 2009) and "Elizabeth and Anna’s Big Adventure" in A Girl's Guide to Guns and Monsters (Feb 2010).

As for preference—novel length is still my favorite.

MARTA: Paranormal stories, once a small niche, are now everywhere, especially with the success of “Twilight” and “True Blood.” Do you want to make any predictions about the genre?

JEANNE: IMHO, paranormal, especially Urban Fantasy is here to stay. The popularity of Twilight and "True Blood" proves the genre has legs. It’s an expanding market with lots of possibilities. The idea that our everyday world could have supernatural or otherworldly creatures existing side by side with us offers readers an exciting escape from the reality of day-to-day existence. It’s the “what if” factor we all crave. I love to read the genre as much as I love to write it. I’ll bet you do, too.

MARTA: Are you working on anything else, fangy or non-fangy?

JEANNE: I’m starting the seventh Anna book and developing an angel/demon idea with a co-author. I have another short story to write too, so I’m busy.

MARTA: What’s the best advice you ever got as a writer that you didn’t believe when you first heard it?

JEANNE: Not to take reviews to heart. I thought it was my duty when I first started out to read EVERY review. I soon found that you never remember the good ones and the not-so-good ones you never forget. Now, I try to write the best book I can and the only reviews I take to heart are the one’s I get from readers on my website. I pay attention to them and I answer every email.

MARTA: I really need to have my mini-Slinky around to write. Do you have any weird habits that help writing?

JEANNE: Hmmmm… I guess my only habit (weird or otherwise) is that I need to be at my workstation to get any quality work done. I’ve tried writing on the road with my laptop, but it’s not the same. I love my space. I’m surrounded by things that are special to me, pictures, awards, reference books. When I sit at my desk, I’m ready to work.

MARTA: Where can your fans learn more about you and your books?

JEANNE: My website and and the blog I share with fellow writer and pal Mario Acevedo.

Thanks so much for having me, Marta.

MARTA: Thank you, Jeanne, and best of luck on your new book and your short stories!

Read my January 2008 interview with Jeanne

Read an excerpt from Retribution.

Don't forget to leave a comment for Jeanne, or to mention what you like best about book series to enter the contest for two copies of Retribution!


I Heart Book Gossip said...

Hi Jeanne and Marta!

I loved the interview. What I love most about your books is that is very different from what I usually read.And the covers are really sexy!

Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Pamk said...

love the interview. And seriously need to find time to read the first one in this series.

Marta said...

Hi, I Heart, if you read my first interview with Jeanne, you'd find that her series were originally released by a different publisher with different cover art. And her new covers are great.

PamK, if you win, maybe Jeanne would let you have a copy of the first one. I always like to read series in order.

Trblcmn said...

Awesome interview! I really enjoy Ms. Stein's books. Loooove Anna Stong! Nice to red about a strong FEMALE vampire!

Wanda said...

What I like about book series is that the more you read and the more revved up you get about the story, the more you look forward to keep reading.
Please enter me in your draw.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi everyone-- glad to be here and thanks for the well wishes and nice comments. I'll drop in from time to time today to answer any questions you might have.


cfisher said...

I love this series!!! Anna is awesome!!!! I always like to reread the series before I read a new release... it makes it last longer!!!lol.
cfisher1504 at gmail dot com

Mary Anne Gruen said...

I'm ashamed to say I wasn't aware of this series. It sounds good! I'll be sure to get the latest book when it comes out. I'm glad it's on Kindle, so I can get it without waiting.

Virginia said...

Great interview! Sounds like an awesome read! I didn't know about this series.


Marta said...

Hi, everyone! Virginia and Mary Anne, fans of the series are excited about the new book. And Jeanne's gone international. Tomorrow I'll post covers of her German editions.

Anna said...

Wonderful interview! What I love most about this series is the covers and that the story is always full of action with never a dull moment. I'm look forward to reading this new book. :)

annasbookblog @

Brooke Reviews said...

Oh an Angel/Demon idea. I love those :) The cover for Retribution is beautiful, I love the orange!

Carolyn Crane said...

Hey, great interview, and Jeanne, I really enjoy your and Mario's blog, too. I'm definitely going to be jumping on the bandwagon with this series - I hear such great things about it all the time. Don't enter me - I've been winning books like crazy lately and I need to start at the beginning.


Cathy M said...

Hi Jeanne, I just ordered the first two books in this series and can't wait to start it.

RachaelfromNJ said...

Great interview! I love series books because once I fall in love with a character, I don't want to just say goodbye and move on to new ones. I like to revisit the characters who have become life like after a couple books. It's like seeing old friends again. :)

Kimberly Swan said...

Hi Jeanne & Marta - Great interview! No entry for me, just wanted to say hi, and that this is a series that fans of the genre shouldn't miss! :)

Marta said...

Hey, everyone! CFisher, I love your idea of re-reading a series before going on to the next book to make it last longer. You can also get a different perspective of the plot and characters' progressions.

Jeanne Stein said...

I like to reread my favorite series, too, before a new book comes out. You always find something new.

It's also the reason I like writing a series. Characters have the chance to grow and change.


Valorie said...

In a series, I like for books to draw upon each other. I want my series books so feel like they are flowing from one moment to the next with each book so that everything is interconnected.

I also like for the characters to have flaws and fears. It's just not realistic if the character is all kick butt and fearless.


Jason H. Jones said...

I love the Anna Strong novels and have had the chance to meet Jeanne several times at signings and cons. She's a truly pleasurable person!

Kainani said...

Hi Jeanne
I haven't read your books YET. The series is on my TBR list. I love the book covers. They are eye catching. Thanks for stopping by & thanks for the great intervieew.

Kimberly B. said...

Great interview! I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but have fallen behind in my reading---winning Retribution would definitely give me motivation to catch up! One of the things I really liked about The Becoming was the way Jeanne portrayed the vampires' attitude towards humans, and Anna's struggle to balance her vampire nature and human past.
Thanks again for the awesome interview and giveaway!

Derek Tatum said...

We love our Jeanne!

SciFiGuy said...

Marta thanks for having Jeanne as a guest. Jeanne I love the series and Anna Strong. I've followed since the beginning and once I start one of the books they are always can't put it down until it's done reads.

Vickie said...

Hi Jeanne! Swell interview and glad Marta has you here.

I do have a question. I know you said you like to work at your workstation to get quality work done. Do you work in quiet or do you have background noise like tunes going?

Looking forward to seeing you on 19 Sep with DH and Lady K at WhoElse Books.

Vickie said...

VWinship at aol dot com, just in case I get lucky and win....

Karen W. said...

Thanks for the interview!

I *LOVE* the Anna Strong series and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of RETRIBUTION! I'm glad to hear there are more books coming too!

karenwitkowski AT

donnas said...

Great interview. I love this series and cant wait to get the chance to read Retribution. Your books have such great covers too, do you have any input?

etirv said...

Jeanne! Great books! What kind of dreams do you have?!!!!


Jeanne Stein said...

To answer your questions:

Vickie asked:Do you work in quiet or do you have background noise like tunes going?

I work in quiet. I am so easily distracted, if I have music on, I want to sing or move. If I have a TV on, I want to see what's going on.Quiet works best-- look forward to seeing you and Lady K.

Donnas asked:Your books have such great covers too, do you have any input?

I wish I did. The Retribution cover was the only one I was asked an opinion on! I do like them, though, this one most of all. Marketing makes all key decisions about covers.

Etriv asked: what kind of dreams do you have?

I wish I could remember. Most dreams I don't. Lately, I don't think I've been sleeping well enough to dream! Promo becomes a full time job during release time. I'm seriously tired!

thanks for the questions, and all the nice comments from old friends and new.


Anne said...

Congratulations on the new release. I'm re-reading Anna Strong 1-4 to prepare for Retribution.

What I like most in a series is an interesting, strong protaganist (male or female) who has a diverse group of family/friends which provide a full life/backdrop for the main character in conjunction with the action.

I've read reviews at about the Sookie Stackhouse novels where the reviewer complains about the time spent on secondary characters. I think they add dimension and personality to the series. Sookie just having vampire troubles would start to bore me.

quiltingreader said...

Hi Jeanne,

I checked out your site. I love your book covers. Did you have any input on them. They're great.

Jeanne Stein said...

HI Anne-- i agree. Secondary characters are important. I'm glad you are enjoying the series.

And to quiltingreader-- I really don't have much input. This new one is the first time I'd actually been asked for an idea. But I love the artist, Cliff Nelson, and the designer, Judith Lagerman. They do a splendid job.


tetewa said...

I have many series that I enjoy reading. I guess what keeps me coming back to them is the characters, I enjoy reading what keeps happening to them next!

Marta said...

Good question about the music. Some authors are including their playlists with books, songs that inspired them. Sometimes a song will help with my mood or the theme when I'm writing, but sometimes listening to lyrics makes it difficult to write, especially dialog.

Jeanne, kudos to Cliff and Judith for their terrific work!

Shawna said...

Shawna Lewis

I love the covers they get me each and every time!! I also love the Kick Ass ladies in these books they just rock!!!
Thanks for this chance to win ;o)

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I love the covers to these books.

Pissenlit said...

Ooh, I wasn't aware of the short in Many Bloody Returns! I'll have to get my hands on that before I get to Retribution.

kalynnick said...

I really want try this series!

Carmen R said...

I love the Anna Strong series and can' wait to read Retribution.

My question isn't about the books but about Dragon con, I saw on the Dc site that you will be a guest there. Are you planning to do some signings or will you just be on some panels?

Cybercliper said...

Love series books!! I grow attached to the characters and like to see them appear through out the series, especially if some of what's going on in their life since they were the main character is revealed.

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi all-- Checking in again. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to hear such nice comments. I appreciate each and every one.

And Carmen-- I think I will have a signing time but I don't know it yet. As you could see, my plate is pretty full. I love D*C-- and if you don't catch me at a formal signing, just stop me after a panel. I love to chat!


Jenny N. said...

I have not had the chance to read this series but the covers all look amazing with the different colors.


Lori T said...

Great interview and I while I have not read one of your books yet...I love the covers and I really need to bump them up in my tbr pile..I think that Anna sounds like just the kind of character that I love to read about.

I would love to be entered.

Blondie! said...

I am so thrilled that another book in the series is out. I've been mooning around the bookstores in NYC,hunting, waiting and praying for a new one to show up.

This series is HIGHLY addictive. Thank you so much for creating it.

Froggy said...

I haven't heard of this series before but it looks amazing...I must add it into my must buy list!

My question which i hope wasnt asked is how many books will be in this series?

I would love to be entered to win one of the books!

Jeanne Stein said...

Thanks again, to all of you who have commented. I passed your kudos for the covers to my editor to pass on to the artist and designer. They probably don’t get much credit. In fact, it dawned on me that they definitely will be included in my next acknowledgment page.

And Froggy, I will write as many books as my pub lets me. Anna has many more stories to tell!


My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Jeanne and Marta!

I just read Many Bloody Returns, and The Witch and The Wicked was one of my favorites. Who knew that birthday candles could be so pivotal!

Please enter me.

Dottie :)

Jake Lsewhere said...

I haven't yet gotten to read this series, but after reading through this interview they look like something I should get ahold of.

Thanks for holding this interview.

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Dottie-- And when you're as old as I am, you don't even have to be a vamp to be afraid of standing too close to a birthday cake!! :-)

Jake, hope you like the series.


Roxanne Rhoads said...

This series is on my to-read list, it sounds awesome.

What I love best in a series is a string world with characters that are deep and meaningful and a heroine that I can personally relate to on some level.

And I especially love some romantic elements thrown in though there doesn't always have to be romance (like in Kim Harrison's Hollows series there's not a whole lot fo romance) but I do really like the romantic interaction even if it is drawn out through several books.

standing2gether to live cleaner and cheaper said...

super interview!Id like to win because Jeanne Stein and anne rice are my sons favorite authors and he does not have this book! enter me please,,,
standing2gether at

Laurie T. said...

Great interview. I received your series as a birthday present and starting the first one today. The covers are gorgeous!

Laurie T

Marta said...

Hi, everyone, and thanks for sharing your comments! Anne, I completely agree that secondary characters really give a story depth and interest.

Roxanne, one of my favorite series are the mystery/thrillers from Julia Spencer-Fleming. She draws out a very real and complicated romantic relationship through her novels and I can never wait to see what happens next.

Lorraine said...

Hi Marta and Jeanne!
The interview was awesome and fun to read! Congrats on the new release, Jeanne! I've reserved my copy at B&N :)
Something I'd like to see in future Anna series? Time Travel.


Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Roxanne—I don’t have a lot of romance in my books either, although Anna is getting close to Lance and that’s developing into more of a romance than a fling.

Wow—standing2gether…Anne Rice is one of my favorites, too. I am honored to be included with her.

And Laurie, hope you like the books.

Marta, it’s a pleasure to be here and Lorriane—time travel, huh? That would be fun!

I’m flying off to San Diego today so I might not be able to check back until this evening. I'll be signing at Mysterious Galaxy Saturday and Mystery & Imagination in Glendale on Sunday. If any of you are in those areas, please stop by and say hello. Details are on the website.

Thanks again to all of you for playing!!


Book Sp(l)ot said...

I'll definitely have to check out some of her short stories!... and I really, really need to catch up on this series, I already knew that but then I got a postcard for Retribution and it really kicked them up my TBR list. And it was great meeting Jeanne at the RT book Fair, too :D


Gloria said...

Hi Jeanne!

Besides Anna and David being badasses, what I love about your novels is your vivid portrayal of San Diego. I don't live there anymore, but I love how easily I can picture everything when I'm reading your novels.

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Lucille-- Nice meeting you, too. See you next year?

And Gloria, San Diego is and will always be home. I'm here right now, preparing for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy this afternoon at 2-- I must say, though, it was over 100 at the beach yesterday!! Not typical for SD at all.


Anonymous said...

magnets for new books?

Jeanne Stein said...

Yes- -I have magnets for the new book so if any of you would like to receive one, send a snail mail address via the website and I will see that you get it.

Almost September-- can't believe it. I'm in LA where the fire has made it almost unbearable here. I know it seems to happen somewhere in So Cal every year, but this one is even worse.


Marta said...

Hi, Jeanne, thanks for spending time here on Vampire Wire and contributing the prizes! I've announced the winners in my post today.

Sorry about the terrible fires in SoCal.

Jeanne Stein said...

thanks for having me, Marta-- it was great fun.

And to all who commented, please keep in touch.

Best, Jeanne