So, there�s been an apocalypse. The world is in trouble. You got this gig driving trucks for a living, and it ain’t easy. There’s Ice Reavers. There’s other drivers wanting to tear you down. There’s megalomaniacs with your face in the middle of a target range, just drooling for a piece of your sweet action. And all you want is just enough cash to help some folks out, and have some fun in the sun. Because oh, you’re in SIBERIA. Working hard for the money. Trying to stay out of trouble.
But trouble always finds you. And this time, there’s no more running.
BUY AT: AMAZON.COM | BARNES AND NOBLE | DORCHESTER | POWELLS
Road Warrior, go ahead and kiss Raina Bowen’s sweet derriere. DRIVEN, part of the new SHOMI line, is one of the best books I�ve read in ages, and I don�t hammer praise home lightly. This is a fantastic adventure, a delicious romance, and I promise you that the images you take from this story will stay with you for a long, long, time.
Because I love this book just that much, I’ve invited its author, Eve Kenin, to join us for the weekend as part of an interview and Q&A session. Check out what she has to say about writing DRIVEN, the way she attacks her stories, and then, ask some questions of your own! Eve will be around until Monday, answering and responding to your thoughts and queries.
To celebrate her release, Eve is also very kindly offering a prize for all you lucky readers. A copy of her new historical, DARK PRINCE, a copy of DRIVEN, and the official SHOMI tote bag! Here’s how you can get your name in the drawing:
1. Ask a question of Eve, or even just leave a note in the comments below. If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, even better!
2. Mention this interview in your blog, along with details about DRIVEN—and then let us know about it in the comments.
We’ll randomly pick a name at Midnight EST on Monday, August 27th.
Now, on to the interview.
Tell readers about yourself and your alter-ego.
I dreamed of writing from the time I was a kid. My first story was about an unwanted teddy bear that found a new and loving home. I actually sent that book to a publisher and received my very first rejection letter; I was nine. Life took a few winding paths from there. A couple of post-secondary degrees, a decade in a health care field, a decade teaching human anatomy, and I ended up back at the place that made my heart sing. Writing. After a bazillion rejection letters, I made my first sale in 2005. As Eve Silver, I write historical gothics for Kensington and contemporary paranormals for Grand Central. As Eve Kenin, I write for Dorchester�s amazing new Shomi line. I�m hanging on to my keyboard and loving this crazy ride.
Why Siberia? Why truckers? Tell folks about the genesis of DRIVEN.
Ah, I wish I had an excellent story for this, but the truth is that DRIVEN just happened. It was a story that blossomed to life in full, living color�or�umm�lack of color, given that the setting is bleak, barren and frozen. I started writing and I thought, I need somewhere cold. Really, really cold. Siberia�s cold. Perfect. I live in Canada, and that�s pretty frigid (especially the northernmost parts), so part of the book is set in a futuristic version of Canada.
The truckers? Okay, there were no truckers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly, but for some reason, when I watched that very cool, very unique series, it planted seeds in my brain. DRIVEN bears absolutely no resemblance to Firefly, but that show was a significant inspiration.
And I can�t talk about the genesis of DRIVEN without mentioning my critique partners, Brenda and Nancy. Nancy in particular loved, loved, loved this story. Every time I thought it was too out-there, too strange, every time I said I thought it might never find a home�because, no kidding, I wasn�t seeing too many post-apocalyptic trans-Siberian trucker tales in the romance section�she was there telling me that this was her favorite of my stories.
Wizard doesn’t have much dialogue, but what he does say packs a punch. What was it like writing him?
Wizard was a blast to write. There were no constraints, no restrictions, because he was a blank canvas, a man without emotion. Not a guy whose emotions were hidden. Not a guy who had buried them. A guy who really didn�t have any. But if he had no emotions, how could he fall in love with the heroine? A conundrum�one I had a great deal of fun with.
My favorite characters are the folks I’d like to invite home to dinner—and Raina Bowen makes the cut. What makes her different from the other heroines you’ve written?
The kick-butt heroine was new to me, but Raina and I had a very cool journey together (in both the metaphorical and literal sense, given that DRIVEN is set in the frozen Northern Waste). As Raina�s character developed, I discovered that the most engaging strong heroine has equally strong human failings. Raina has a ton of those, dark corners of her soul, hidden hurting places that make her human. These weaknesses are what make her so special to me and, hopefully, special to the reader. And it�s the balance between her strengths and weaknesses that makes Wizard melt for her like ice in the sun.
Chemistry between characters is key in any book, and Raina and Wizard ooze it like crazy, right from the start. Was that difficult to write, or was it an organic process? And along those lines (if you haven’t already answered this), are your characters and stories born or made?
I never gave a deliberate thought to the chemistry. These two characters were just meant to be together and it came through in every interaction they had. They clicked on both the emotional and physical levels, and that compatibility was organic.
Generally, that�s the way my books shape up. I don�t plot. I don�t plan. My outlines are embarrassing. I suspect that my editors cringe when they have to read them. When I start a book, I don�t know anything about the story. I just start to type, and out comes the tale. Usually I don�t even have a sense of the characters� names; I just type YYY for the hero and XXX for the heroine until they tell me their names. Then I use the handy-dandy “find and replace” feature, LOL! As I write, I often feel the same experience as the reader feels, turning pages to find out what happens, my heart pounding, my attention snared. For me, the unplanned chemistry is the best kind.
What was your biggest joy in writing this book?
Each book I write has a special place in my heart. I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to share my stories with readers. DRIVEN was a blast to write (a frigid blast, LOL!), but I think the best part was when my editor bought the book. She loved it. She absolutely loved it, and she understood the story in every way I could hope. Her vision of the book exactly clicked with mine, and her edits were spot on. It was a joy to find the perfect home for this story.
So, when I called your editor to rave like a maniac about this book, she mentioned that there’s another one coming up. Can you tell me about it? And on another note, is this going to become a series?
There is another book coming up. HIDDEN is scheduled for release in 2008. I can�t tell you much about the book because it will give away secrets from DRIVEN. But I can tell you it is hot, action-packed, dark, with little bits of quirky humor. And cold. Really, really cold.
What is it with me and the Frozen Waste?
My editor dubbed DRIVEN a “post-apocalyptic trans-Siberian trucker tale”. I think that line makes her the queen of “high-concept”. I loved my truckers, but I didn�t want HIDDEN to simply be a repeat of DRIVEN, so I veered in a slightly different direction. HIDDEN is a post-apocalyptic, human-versus-deadly-plague story that combines elements of Resident Evil, Doom and just a hint of Sleeping Beauty. The hero is dark, sexy, tortured. The heroine is tough, smart, brave. And the tidbits of humor are there, just as in the first book.
HIDDEN picks up shortly after DRIVEN leaves off, continuing with some of the same characters. But I like every book I write to be readable as a stand-alone, so if a reader got to HIDDEN first and then went back to DRIVEN, they wouldn�t be lost. As to a series�that will depend on readers. If they love these characters and want more, I will be glad to oblige ?
Publisher’s Weekly has given you its highest honor for DRIVEN—a starred review. What did you do when you saw that?
The truth is, I was stunned and honored. It took a few reads through that review to really accept that it was DRIVEN that had garnered such praise. I�m still pinching myself ?
Historical versus Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi � how goes the transition in your head when you write, or is it easy to make the jump?
As a reader, I jump around a lot. I love romance: historicals�dark, light, anything in between�and I love contemporaries, romantic suspense, paranormals. As a writer, I never really gave much thought to the fact that I genre-jump. At heart, everything I write is romance, so whether I�m writing moody gothics (DARK PRINCE~August 2007) or dark, sexy paranormals (DEMON�S KISS~October 2007) under my Eve Silver persona, or a kick-butt trucker tale (DRIVEN~September 2007) as Eve Kenin, my books are romances at their core.
Folks always ask me about favorite novels, but I feel that poetry is just as revealing. Tell me about one of your favorite poems or lines of poetry.
I love the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. Yes, I know, very dark and tormented, but I see it too as full of beauty. The Raven, Annabel Lee, A Dream Within A Dream, all such beautiful works.
“You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream”
When I’m writing and “in the zone”, it can be a rush. Everything speeds up, nothing else exists. When you’re writing—and in the groove of the story—what do you feel?
Marjorie, like you I can get pulled into the “zone” and all that I know is the story. When I�m at that point, my writing day can run to 15 hours (and sometimes more). The house falls down around my ears (figuratively), the kids and hubby pick up the slack (literally), the laundry piles up (well, okay, the laundry always piles up). Truth is, writing is the biggest high for me. I love, love, love it.
Some of my friends almost soiled themselves (from shock) when they found out I was writing romance novels. How did your friends and colleagues react? And do you think that reaction would have been different had your books been in a genre other than romance?
I�ve heard stories like that, LOL! The reactions I have encountered have tended toward the positive. So many people are thrilled for me. My family members have been incredibly supportive. My brothers, who had never read romance before, have read all my books. They bought boxes of my books and had me sign them and used them as promotional give-aways for their businesses and as seasonal gifts. In addition to writing, I also teach human anatomy; my boss was thrilled for me and bought copies of my books to pass on to his family members. The company that my husband works for was so excited when I published that they bought boxes of my books, had me sign them and used them as the centerpiece of their Christmas gift baskets. Friends who had never read romance bought my books and read them and told other friends about them. Acquaintances I had lost touch with over the years (we�re talking people I knew in junior high!) emailed or phoned to congratulate me when they heard about my books (either through mutual friends or through articles written about me in the local paper). Even my kids� friends got excited and helped with promotional mailings. No one seemed too focused on what genre I write; they were just happy for me that I�d managed to fulfill my dream.
The photo of you and the motorcycle is one of the best author shots I’ve ever seen. Do you ride?
Thank you! There�s a story behind that one. My publisher asked for author shots, so I sent over two versions that I have. Nice, friendly, smiling shots. They liked them, but what they really wanted was something different, something action-oriented that reflected the tone of the Shomi line. Hmm�something action oriented from me? Klutz-queen? So hubby suggested that I sit on his bike and he�d take a shot. Sounded like a plan, and when I sent the photo over, my publisher was happy, so I was happy.
Do I ride? You bet�I ride sitting behind hubby with my arms wrapped tight around his waist, LOL!
You have a gorgeous family. Do you discuss your work with them while writing, or are you the strong silent type until a book is done?
Again, thank you! DRIVEN was the first book that I discussed at length with my family, and they provided a great deal of input, especially in regard to the action/fight scenes. My younger son actually shook his head and said, “Mom, if you want to make this believable, you’re going to have to think of some descriptions other than her fist connected with his head or his foot connected with her stomach. Can you try a different verb?”
My older son provided suggestions to enhance the vehicles and the way they traveled over the terrain. And hubby and sons all provided plenty of opportunity to observe guys in real time, to listen to guy-speak, and to try to figure out the way their minds work.
And there, that’s it. Please thank Eve for stopping by and graciously giving up her time this weekend. Remember to either blog about DRIVEN and this interview, or just step into the comment room, for a chance to win some books and a tote bag.
Finally, Publishers Weekly gives DRIVEN a starred review and calls it a “steamy, sinewy universe.” An apt description. But don’t take their word for it. Go and read. Fall into another world.
Snow will never look the same.