Author of: GHOST MOON, the latest in the Berkley Sensation Moon series
Favorite Candy: Red Hots (little cinnamon hearts)
Favorite Cartoon Character: Rick Redfern in Doonesbury
Super Power Most Covets: Ability to step outside of time
Q.) Your new release, Ghost Moon, (May 2008) is part of your “Moon” series with Berkley Sensation. How many books are in the series so far? Can you tell us a bit about the series and the newest addition to it?
R.Y.) There are six previous books and two novellas. I had no idea I was writing a series when I started. But after Berkley bought that first book, they asked for more. I’m often asked, “Why is the hero in the second book in your werewolf series not a werewolf?” I still didn’t “get it” that the hero of the book had to be a werewolf. I fell in love with Jack Thornton, the police detective in KILLING MOON, and wanted to write his story. So my first werewolf, Ross Marshall, became a strong secondary character in that book. I love writing about a family of werewolves because I can bring back characters from previous books and use them in key roles in new stories.
Since I hadn’t planned a series, I realized after a few books that I would need to introduce new elements to keep the books fresh. So I created an alternate universe that’s very different from ours. Characters cross over between the two universes. In that other timeline, lots of people have psychic powers. Some of them are werewolves who are not part of the Marshall family. In fact, there are also female werewolves in that universe.
Q.) You obviously love werewolves. How are your weres different from others? What traditional werewolf lore do you keep in your books?
R.Y.) Actually, I haven’t read many werewolf books because I don’t want to be influenced by other authors. When I was fifteen, I read DARKER THAN YOU THINK, by Jack Williamson. It was a werewolf story so vivid that he made me want to BE a werewolf. Later, I read THE WOLF’S HOUR, by Robert McCammon. Those two books stuck with me, and finally I wanted to write my own werewolf story. But back then, paranormal was not “in” in the publishing world, so I kept thinking, “who would buy a werewolf book from ME?” I knew that if I wanted to sell the book, I’d have to write the whole manuscript on speculation. I resisted for a long time, but finally I went ahead and did that. And I was lucky that Berkley bought it just before the big paranormal wave began to surge.
I think I don’t use a lot of the old werewolf conventions, although I’m not sure because I didn’t deliberately investigate them before I started writing. I picked what I wanted to use–and it’s basically the idea of a man who can change to wolf form. There’s nothing special about the full moon. You don’t get to be a werewolf by being bitten by one. Instead, it’s a genetic trait. And, of course, my werewolves are the good guys in my books.
Q.) On your web site you say romantic thrillers are your passion. Can you define the term for us? Do you consider all your books to be romantic thrillers?
R.Y.) I’ve debated with my writer friends what “thriller” means. I think it’s the new, sexy word for “suspense.” It’s a fast-paced story where the hero (and or heroine) is in danger, being hunted by sinister forces out to destroy him/her. The emphasis is on the danger and the action, not the mystery, although there should also be a mystery element to the story. And, of course, in my books, the romance is as strong as the suspense. I love weaving the suspense and the romance together in a book so that the story depends on both of them to work.
Q.) Not all of your books have paranormal elements. Do you find it hard switching between a paranormal book and one without those elements?
R.Y.) No. :D I realized early in my career that I was much better at writing romantic suspense than at writing straight romance because I love plotting as much as I love developing relationships. The paranormal just works in naturally with a lot of my suspense stories, because I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy when I was a kid.
Q.) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Character-driven or plot driven? Ever try to be the opposite? Do you have a set method you use when starting a book?
R.Y.) I am a plotter. The plots in my stories are complicated, so I need to know where they are going and how they will work out. If I get my choice, I like to write as much of the plot as I can think of, then stop and write two or three chapters so I get to know my characters. Then I go back and fill in some of the plot holes. I have always wondered about the distinction between character-driven and plot-driven. I think those two key elements must work together. The most important thing about any scene is how the characters react. You can have a man dangling off the side of a cliff, and it will be exciting. But if the heroine’s heart is in her throat as she tries to rescue him, the scene will be a lot stronger.
Q.) What can readers expect to find in all your books no matter the subgenre?
R.Y.) A heart-tugging romance woven into a story of suspense and danger.
Q.) Who and what do you read for fun? How about movies? Any favorite werewolf movies? How about any that “gnawed” at you?
R.Y.) I haven’t really seen any werewolf movies! I did like the TV series, WOLF LAKE, and I was sorry that it went off the air so quickly. I don’t have a lot of time to read, so I listen to books. Mostly in the car or when I exercise. I’m listening to two books now, HIGH NOON, by Nora Roberts, and PLUM ISLAND, by Nelson DeMille. I listen to a lot of thrillers. And I look for ones with a romance. But I’m constrained by what the publishers put on tape. My husband and I often listen to Nora Roberts, Harlan Coben, Clive Cussler, Dick Francis, Carl Hiaasen, Terry Pratchett, Tess Gerritsen. If there were more paranormal books on tape, I’d listen to them.
Q.)Any new projects on the horizon? What would you like to try next?
R.Y.) I’m always working on a new book. Right now I’m finishing ETERNAL MOON. The heroine is the reincarnation of a goddess, and the werewolf hero is the reincarnation of her lover. They have been torn apart over and over down through the years by evil forces. But this time, hopefully, Jacob Marshall is strong enough to help Renata Cordona break the cycle. Readers meet Jacob in GHOST MOON. As I was writing that book, he threatened to take it over, so I knew I had to do his story. He’s got an interesting talent. He’s a “dog whisperer.” He’s able to communicate with animals–and this talent is very important in ETERNAL MOON.
Q.) Finally, where can readers find you on the web?
R.Y.) I’m at www.rebeccayork.com I hope readers will come and visit. In my picture gallery (under new pictures), I’ve got some great wolf photos from Bays Mountain Park, in Kingsport, Tennessee. Most of them were taken by Karen Travis. You can also sign up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers are also eligible to enter the contests that I run. On my home page, you can see my book trailer for GHOST MOON. And I have a page with video interviews and previous book trailers.
Back to Lori: Great interview, Rebecca! Thanks for answering all my questions. Ghost Moon will be available May 6th, but readers can hop over to Amazon and pre-order a copy now. :)