Hi everyone, today I am very excited to welcome our friend L.A. Witt back to the Joyfully Jay. She is here to talk to us about her two new releases, Noble Metals and The Given & the Taken

L.A., welcome back! I hope your holidays went well and your move is going smoothly.

Thanks! The move has been crazy, but it’s finally over. Now to empty all these boxes.

So you are super busy – two new releases coming out! Let’s start with Noble Metals, which comes out today. I really loved the setting during the Klondike Gold Rush. Can you tell us more about what inspired this story and the setting during this time period?

My friend, author Misa Buckley, and I started a bit of a convoluted inside joke that ultimately resulted in us coining the term Mittenpunk. We decided that sounded like winter-themed steampunk, so…well…here we are. (Misa’s story will be published by Champagne Books in 2012)

So, when I got to thinking about a winter-themed steampunk story, my mind immediately went to the Klondike Gold Rush, which is a part of history I’ve always enjoyed studying. I’ve been to the KGR Museum in Seattle an embarrassing number of times, and have just always been fascinated with it.

This book moves away from contemporary into a more historical setting with a steampunk vibe. Was that a conscious decision try something different, or were just inspired by this story?

Part of it was what I mentioned above…the Mittenpunk thing, plus my fascination with the KGR. I had also wanted to try some new settings, time periods, and subgenres, so it was a chance to test the water in historical as well as steampunk.

Chilkoot Pass Summit, 1898

I was impressed by how much detail you included about the gold rush and the journey. What kind of research did you have to do when writing this book?

Thanks! I’ve been reading about it since I was a teenager, but I also spent quite a bit of time researching specifically for this book. Go figure, the one time I could make practical use of the KGR Museum, and I lived in Japan.  >.<  So I made do with books, the internet, and picking the brain of the odd Canadian here and there to make sure I got some of those details (i.e., the flag on top of the inspection station) correct.

I thought it was an interesting choice to make Robert a prostitute. He could have come across very unsympathetic but I found him very likeable and admirable in his determination and dedication to John. Was it hard to find that balance?

Not really. Robert wasn’t my first prostitute (wait, that doesn’t sound right…), so I’d written about sex workers before. They’re human, just like any other character, so I write them accordingly. Much like the Klondike Gold Rush itself, I’ve found aspects of the sex industry fascinating, both in historical and contemporary settings, so it was interesting to get to write about a prostitute in the late 19th century versus the contemporary one I’d written before (Damaged Goods, under my hetero pseudonym Lauren Gallagher).  Coincidentally, I’m typing up these answers while taking a break from writing yet another prostitute story, this time in a futuristic SFF setting. Somehow I doubt this will be the last…

Ok, let’s move on to The Given & the Taken, which comes out tomorrow. I reviewed the book last week, but can you just tell us a bit more about the story from your point of view?

In short, for those not familiar with it, it’s the story of a werewolf who defies his pack’s rules about mates, and the whole thing blows up in his face. After his partner not only cheats on him in a moment of weakness, but does so with a vampire and then converts to a vampire himself, well…hijinks ensue.

I thought that this is an interesting ménage story because the characters don’t really interact as a threesome until late in the book. Instead they each come together as couples with the other two men. I thought it was a nice way to see what draws the men to each of the others. But I wondered if this made it harder when you were writing to connect them all together as a threesome at the end so well.

It wasn’t intentional. In fact, it wasn’t even supposed to BE a ménage story. I pretty much threw the outline away during the third chapter, because the boys sort of…ran off with the story. By that point, I was just along for the ride, and had no idea what was going to happen.

That said, I think it allowed the relationships to happen organically. I kind of wondered if Levi and Darius were just going to kill each other, at least until…well, you read it. 😉 You know what scene I’m talking about. [Oh yes, I do! Super hot!]

I mentioned in my review that I just loved Selena. You don’t get too many awesome, kick-butt female side characters in male/male books. What inspired this character and made you focus such significant parts of the story around her?

Oh, yeah, speaking of characters running off with the outline…Selena. Ah, Selena. She was supposed to be a secondary character who kind of showed up and then faded into the background. The minute she stepped on-camera, I knew I had my hands full with her, and decided to let her come along for the ride. Just as well, really. Those boys needed someone to smack them over the heads a few times.

Basically, when I realized Levi had been paired with a female, and was supposed to be bonded with her, I knew I couldn’t tell the whole story without her at least being a part of it. Obviously she had a dog in this race (erm, so to speak), and the outcome would have a significant impact on her, so who was I to make her sit on the sidelines and hope for the best?

You mentioned to me that you were writing a sequel to The Given & the Taken. Can you tell us more about that? When can we expect the next book? Any hints as to what it will be about?

At this point, there isn’t much to tell. These boys never stick to outlines, so I don’t dare drop hints about what will happen, because knowing them, they’ll change it just for spite. What I can tell you is that the sequel, The Healing & The Dying, picks up almost immediately after The Given & The Taken. There’s a lot of physical and emotional aftermath to be dealt with, and I fully expect some more problems to arise. I mean, where Darius, Ian, and Levi go, trouble is sure to follow. And bloodshed. And sex. And…yeah.

As for a release date, I don’t have a concrete date yet, but keep an eye on my blog in mid-late February for updates.

Not that you haven’t been busy enough, but is there anything else you are working on that you would like to tell us about?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on another prostitute story, this time in a futuristic SFF setting, plus I’m working on The Healing & The Dying. There are a few more contemporaries in the works, and I’ll be writing some more as Lauren Gallagher this year. I may even have a non-erotic, completely mainstream thriller kind of thing up my sleeve. One thing is for certain: I won’t be running out of plot bunnies any time soon…

If readers want to learn more about you or your work, how can they find you?

My website is: http://www.loriawitt.com and my professional blog is http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com, plus I’m on Twitter as GallagherWitt.

Thanks again so much for being here and sharing your books with us!  And if anyone has not yet had  a chance, check out my reviews of Noble Metals and The Given & the Taken. L.A. is also giving away a copy of each book that you can enter to win by leaving a comment on the review posts (both contests close January 3 at 11:59 pm EST).  

FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Interview