Hi everyone! I hope you will join me today in welcoming author Andrea Speed to the blog!  Andrea has recently released Pretty Monsters, the first book in the new Josh of the Damned series available from Riptide Publishing.  I reviewed the book earlier today so be sure to check it out if you haven’t read that yet (quick mini review: it was awesome).  Don’t forget to check out information about the giveaway at the end of the post.

So here we go….

In Pretty Monsters, Josh is working at a convenience store with a hell vortex in the parking lot.  He is pretty matter-of-fact about it all after just two weeks.  Did Josh know about the existence of all these creatures before taking the job?  Or is he just a “roll with it” kind of guy?

It is established he was informed of the hell portal when he applied for the job, and he gets a little extra money for working the shift. It’s not in the story, but I have a feeling Josh was the first to accept that his boss, Mr. Kwon, wasn’t completely nuts. Even if he had been nuts, Josh would have taken the job anyways. Josh is a very laid back, type B guy, a “live and let live” sort of person. Which is why dealing with zombies and lizard people quickly became his new norm. The unthinkable is his typical boring job. He’s very brave, but in a way he never quite realizes.

This story introduces both Josh and Colin (aka Hot Guy) and is the first book in a larger series.  Can you tell us more about what to expect from future books?  Are both guys in the next story? 

Both guys are in the next story, and their relationship and the mysteries of Colin and the place he comes from only deepens across the stories. Josh continually meets up with stranger beings, one after the other, and his job does take on a dangerous dimension. I don’t want to spoil, but one of these creatures is a yeti. And, in another story, a giant rampaging mustache. No, really.

A lot of your books, including Pretty Monsters, have a paranormal focus.  What draws you to these types of stories?

Well, I love horror, I really do. I could go on about horror films and horror writing for days. But what the Josh of the Damned series really comes down to is the horrific smashed together with the mundane. Just imagine, you go down the aisle of a well lit supermarket to pick up a Ho-Ho, and suddenly there’s a zombie there, all rotted flesh and tattered rags. It’s both funny and scary at the same time. That’s just a fictional intersection I love: the thing that shouldn’t be, but is. How everyone deals with it is where the fun is, or at least I hope.

I saw on your Facebook page that you also have an interest in comics. Do you write them as well, or just review? What are your favorites?

I review. I’ve been a comics reviewer (for CXPulp, nee Comixtreme) for years. Comic writing is a lot like screenwriting, a style of writing I’ve never mastered, but I admire it, and there’s a lot of crossover between prose and movie/TV writers and comic writers. I think a lot of people would be surprised.

I have a lot of favorites in graphic novel form, from Transmetropolitan to The Tick, but favorites in currently running series? Chew, which is all about a cop who’s a cibopath, meaning he gleans all sorts of meaning from whatever he eats, in an alternate world where chicken has been outlawed due to a worldwide pandemic of bird flu. Supposedly; there’s mystery there. A hard comic to explain, but it’s horrific and funny and so completely original it’s amazing. Speaking of comedy/horror, The Goon is hard to beat in that category. The recent Criminal series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips has just wrapped up, but whatever those two work on I’m there. They’re pretty awesome, especially when it comes to hard boiled storytelling. Also, if you find something written by Jeff Lemire, you should read it, especially if it’s the recently relaunched Animal Man series. Another horror title that’s not currently running in a series is Criminal Macabre, although it does pop up in specials and one offs, and every time Steve Niles releases an issue of that I pick it up.

In addition to writing, what else do you like to do in your free time?

Well, I read a bit, watch TV – often at the same time – I do minor house repairs, work in the garden, and spend what seems like an inordinate amount of time cleaning up after many animals. I have many animals, and I haven’t trained a single to pick up after themselves. Oh, I would if I could. [Ah yes, I dream of the day my cats put away all their little mouse toys!]

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?

Oh, I have a ton of links. There’s my home page, www.andreaspeed.com, and my Twitter page if you like a bit of nonsense, http://twitter.com/#!/aspeed.

I can also be found on these places, if you want more choices:

Thank you again Andrea for taking the time to stop here and chat at Joyfully Jay!  And now for the giveaway.  One lucky commenter will win a copy of either Speed’s Infected: Prey or Making Contact.  The contest closes on Friday, November 25 at 11:59 EST.  

And now the fine print:

  • By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.

Thanks again to Andrea for coming by Joyfully Jay and good luck everyone on the giveaway!