Everyone, I am very excited today to welcome Storm Grant, our very first author to visit Joyfully Jay!  On Monday I reviewed her new short story Sucks & Blows, and today she is here to talk to us about vampire dentistry, puns, and other fun stuff.  Please help me give her a warm welcome!

Thank you so much, Storm, for visiting Joyfully today. I am very excited because you are my first author interview on my new little blog. So welcome, and I am thrilled to have you here!

I’m thrilled to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

You have a new story out called Sucks & Blows about a vampire and his horny dentist. Vampire dentistry is definitely not something you read about every day. What inspired this story?

I’ve always wondered what other body fluids a vampire might be able to survive on if something happened to his ability to bite.

Both Dr. Drool and Pierce Sharpe have problems. They meet, are strongly attracted, and discover they make an undefeatable pair. Although you only get a snippet of their lives, you come away knowing they’ll have a happily ever after ending.

It’s kind of like a sweet and sour dish. The storyline is sweet, and the puns are… if not sour, at least an interesting counterpoint to the unfolding romance.

This book has a lot of humor in it. I read in one of your interviews that you love puns. And in Sucks & Blows, Cary uses them all the time. Do you like to incorporate humor into your stories?

I do. Sometimes it’s just the chapter titles, or a few lines of dialogue. But if you don’t smile at least once reading one of my stories, then I haven’t done my job properly.

I did try to write darker, with a story about a robot sex slave. The story lacked sparkle. It got pretty good reviews, but didn’t sell well. But then I wrote a splatter-punk story about a truly sick and twisted man, and it was selected to be included in the horror anthology, Unspeakable, from Blood Bound Books. No one was more surprised than me. A reviewer called it the most disturbing story in the antho. For a horror writer, that’s a huge compliment.

Sucks & Blows is a short story so we see Cary and Pierce only on the night they first meet. In your mind, what happens after the book ends?

Other than that they have lots of hot sex?

Hmmm. Let’s see… In order to save his constituency for their own cavity catastrophes, Pierce implements a mandatory dental program for the vampires under his rule. And of course the only dentist specializing in vampires is Cary. Pierce’s Bite Club becomes the first to introduce socialized medicine. Cary gets rich, and at his insistence, Pierce turns him. They get married and live happily—sexily—ever after. (And when you’re immortal, that’s a long, long time.) And they never get tired of snacking on bjs.

You write both short stories and longer novels. In some ways it seems to me that short stories would be harder, because you have to get down to the core and capture everything in a small amount of space. Which to you prefer to write? Is one format easier for you than the other?

Yes. I’m a talker and I need a full novel to tell my story. With a short story, you have to have a fair amount of stuff have already happened, happen off-stage, or be about to happen. You can’t paint a detailed picture—you just get to see the highlights.

The standard rule of short-story writing is: Get in late, and get out early. So lots of stuff must be implied.

I’m working on a novel now that actually began life as a novella. I used the “Save the Cat” screenwriter version of “The Hero’s Journey” (which is an awesome writer tool), assigning one scene to each step. Fourteen steps equaled fourteen scenes. But then I decided to expand it to novel length. I just wrote “between the scenes,” filling in the blanks of all those details that the reader would have had to live without. It is turning out very well if I do say so myself. Interestingly, the “core” story was 20,000 words. Filling in “between the scenes” expanded it to 60,000 words. That’s three times the original core. It means that 40,000 words were left to the reader to figure out. Which is not a bad thing—readers will fill in the blanks with images and scenarios that mean something to them personally.

This book is an edited and updated version of a short story you had published previously. Can you tell us a bit about what has changed for the new release?

Not much, just the pacing, the dialogue, the characters, the humor and the sex. The plot stayed absolutely the same. It’s like seeing me in old work clothes, and then seeing me again in a ball gown with all the fixin’s. Same person, or in this case, same story, but unbelievably new and improved.

Do you find you like to read similar books to what you write? What genre do you most enjoy reading?

I read across genres because I’m looking for humor. Romance, mystery, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy. Even literary novels if they’re fun, like Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale.” I love Michelle Rowen’s paranormal romances with titles like “Tall, Dark and Fangsome,” and “Blood Bath and Beyond.”  I have read all 39 books in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Robert Asprin’s Myth Inc. series and Phule’s Company series are awesome. And oddly, I fell in love with a really dark (but funny) thriller called “Beat the Reaper” about a mafia hit man turned doctor.

If it’s funny, send it my way. I’m going to ask Riptide if I can have a copy of Andrea Speed’s zombie story “Pretty Monsters” instead of royalties. ;-D

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all my questions! If folks want to know more about you or your books, how can they find you?

Thanks again for coming! You are welcome back any time!