1) What’s the title of your forthcoming book?
Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I first came up with the character of Cassie Zukav in 1997 when I wrote the short story "How You Can Prevent Forest Fires..." for the Urban Nightmares anthology that I edited with the late Josepha Sherman. I first came up with the notion of sending her to Key West when I was invited to pitch original novels to John Ordover at Pocket Books. He asked for too many changes to my proposal for Down to the Waterline (a Cassie story that will get told some day), and I withdrew it, instead pitching what became Dragon Precinct. So that worked out okay....
Anyhow, Cassie lay dormant for a while, though I had plots for three novels all set. Ironically, the second of the two novels was called Ragnarok and Roll, and it started out life as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel proposal that was rejected. (For those that have read the story, make Mayor Fred's the Bronze, make the ficus tree the Hellmouth, and you've pretty much got it. Oh, and Willow's the one immune to the glamour.)
I repurposed the novel pitches as comic books, and it was BOOM! editor Matt Gagnon who suggested actually explaining why Cassie was a weirdness magnet, which I did in the "Ragnarok and Roll" storyline. BOOM! wound up passing on the comic book, but then I redid "R&R" as a short story for Deb Grabien's Tales from the House Band anthology. She loved the story, so I pitched a novel series to her, starting with Down to the Waterline. She said, no, she wanted a short story collection. I was surprised, but I already had four stories (the one from '97, "R&R," plus stories I'd written for House Band Volume 2 and the next Bad-Ass Faeries antho), so I just had to write a few more. Which I did, including taking the original third book of the series and redoing it as three separate stories (which we'll be releasing as three eBooks leading up to the release of the book under the umbrella title of Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet).
Wow, that was long....
3) What genre does your book fall under?
4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?
This one's hard, because I know exactly what all the characters look and sound like, and they don't all have good matches in actors I'm familiar with. In particular Cassie's a challenge, as she's a 5'11" woman in her 20s. Uma Thurman would've been perfect 20 years ago, but I can't think of anyone who'd work to play her right now. EDITED TO ADD: archersangel in the comments has pointed me at rather a good possibility for Cassie: Blake Lively.
One person who I absolutely know is perfect for the role is Gretchen Mol as Sigyn. She's the perfect mix of old and young for an immortal, someone who could pass as 25 or 45. And she's a redhead!
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Cassie Zukav is a scuba diver, a rock and roll fan, a regular at Mayor Fred's Saloon whenever the house band is playing, and also a Norse fate goddess -- which is handy, because there's lots of weird stuff in Key West, Florida, and she gets to deal with it, from the ghost of a wrecker captain to the various Norse gods who have chosen to hang out at Mayor Fred's to the occasional mythical creature.
6) Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
To be published this year by Plus One Press.
7) How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, it's hard to say, given the modular nature of the book, and given that four of the stories were already written. But I started writing the new stuff in November, and just finished the last of the new stuff yesterday......
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I dunno, are there any other urban fantasy novels with female protagonists out there??????
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've always been a big fan of Norse myth, going back to my days reading Thor comics -- though my version of Thor owes a lot more to Neil Gaiman's interpretation in the "Season of Mists" storyline in Sandman than anything done by Stan, Jack, Walt, et al. And I've loved Key West since I first went there in the 1990s. And I've loved music all my life. These stories marry all three.
10) What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
The stories contain the relaxed, yeah-whatever-let's-have-another-beer attitude of Key West with some fun modern takes on folklore and myth, and are also, if I do say so myself, funny as shit. I'm real pleased with the cast of characters that populate these tales, and I think folks will find them very appealing, from Rance Demitrijian, Cassie's sorta-kinda-not-really love interest, an FBI agent who babbles; to Chet Smith, prototypical bass player; to Jana Naha, musical prodigy, Goth chick, and with the worst taste in men ever; to the ever-cranky ghost of Captain Jeremiah Bottroff; to the various and sundry Norse gods who show up.