Thanks so much to Stephanie and all the folks here at Paranormal Haven for having me here today! I’ve been a fan for a long time, so it’s really exciting to be invited as a guest.
I love urban fantasy in all its forms. What I love best is the idea that there’s more to the world we’re living in than what we can see. Fantastic creatures lurk around every corner, and all those creatures have stories of their own to tell.
Monster in My Closet was a tough sell, though, and I’m grateful to my publisher, Carina Press, for giving it a chance. There’s a fine line between being different enough to stand out from the crowd, and being so different it disappoints readers.
I straddled that line as well as I could. As a result, some of the regular urban fantasy flags might not be quite as expected:
The Heroine: Zoey Donovan is not the tough chick typical of most urban fantasies. She’s a wedding planner. Her power comes from the ability to feel the emotions of those around her. That’s not exactly an offensive skill. It’s barely even a defensive skill. She doesn’t know any martial arts or have any expertise with weapons, either. That doesn’t mean she’s weak, and it doesn’t mean she’s helpless. Strength doesn’t necessarily come from a wicked blade or explosive magic.
The Romance: This isn’t a paranormal romance. There’s a love story, sure, but it’s not the driving force behind everything. Riley’s important to the plot, but his relationship with Zoey is on a slow build. Remember what it’s like to meet someone new? The butterflies and uncertainty? The thrill of that first date? That first kiss? Yeah. I love that part. This is a series. Zoey and Riley have time to work through all of that. Let them enjoy the beginning. It only happens once per relationship. There are lots of orgasms in this book, but very little sex—none of it pleasant, and none of it between the hero and heroine. Orgasms can kill you if they aren’t done right, you know.
The Monsters: Quirky, sometimes sad, but never wallowing in their problems, the supernatural creatures in Zoey’s world (with the exception of the bad guy) are there because they need her help. They don’t have ulterior motives to use Zoey in some big plan. They’re hurt, either emotionally or physically, and their problems are not due to anything supernatural. Their issues are very human. Divorce, alcoholism, rejection—these aren’t just human problems. Closet monsters, brownies, skunk apes, sea serpents—despite their bizarre appearances, they’re just like you and me.
The Bad Guy: This is where the book drifts over the line into slightly more expected territory. Sebastian the incubus is slimy, deadly, and altogether bad news. Still, you won’t see him in an alley pulling out a katana and slicing off people’s heads. This book is pretty bloodless. There’s blood in the next book, though. I’m not against blood. And I’m not against people in my books dying. It’s just that Sebastian’s creep-factor has nothing to do with chopping up body parts. Remember folks, orgasms can kill. Just saying.
The Humor: I have a weird sense of humor, and it leaked into my book. As a result, despite some of the dark, icky aspects, it’s lighter fair than most of the urban fantasy I read. Zoey has so much thrown at her at once, she has to roll with it or get sucked under. She covers up her confusion and discomfort with humor. Laugh or go crazy, because the world no longer fits into a neat little package.
So. Monster in My Closet has all the pieces you’d expect, but they line up a little differently. Too differently? Not enough? You’ll have to decide for yourself. The second Monster Haven Story, Pooka in My Pantry comes out in March. Zoey takes on the Board of Hidden Affairs and the Leprechaun Mafia. More weirdness, more death (now, with bloody bits!), and more romance between Zoey and Riley. Enjoy!
Thanks again for having me, Stephanie!
After all, I’ve always been a magnet for the emotionally needy, and not just in my work as a wedding planner. Being able to sense the feelings of others can be a major pain. Don’t get me wrong, I like helping people—and non-people. But this ability has turned me into a gourmet feast for an incubus, a demon that feeds off emotional energy. Now, brides are dropping dead all over town, and my home has become a safe house for the supernatural. I must learn to focus my powers and defeat the demon before he snacks on another innocent woman and comes looking for the main course…
R. L. Naquin is an urban fantasy novelist and short story writer. Her first novel is Monster in My Closet from Carina Press. You can find her on the Web at: http://www.rlnaquin.com/
Rachel lives in a world slightly askew from the rest of us. She is an expert in monsters, urban legends, and mythological creatures. In her spare time, she ponders the care and feeding of cryptozoological creatures — and shares her tips on Twitter as @RLNaquin #monstertrivia.
Originally from Northern California, Rachel has a tendency to move every few years. She has lived in seven different states, and had a six-year stint in England. Currently, she’s hiding in the Heartland, planning her next grand adventure. She has one heroic husband, two genius kids, three annoyed cats, and an imaginary dog named Waffles. She doesn’t have time for a real dog.
R.L. is giving away 2 e-copies of Monster in My Closet. This giveaway is open internationally and will end on August 11th. Read giveaway policy before entering. Good luck!
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