Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interview with Yasmine Galenorn

New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes urban fantasy for Berkley: both the bestselling Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon Series for Berkley and the upcoming Indigo Court urban fantasy series. In the past, she wrote mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and nonfiction metaphysical books. Her books have hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists numerous times.

Yasmine has been in the Craft for over 30 years, is a shamanic witch, and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos. She lives in Bellevue WA with her husband Samwise and their cats. Yasmine can be reached via her website at

*My thanks to Yasmine for agreeing to answer the interview questions and for participating in our book club discussion. Be sure to stop by on August 12th for our discussion of Night Myst.

The Craft
1. What is your writing process like? Do you keep organized notes? Do you designate a set time for writing each day?

I write full time, which translates—with the administration and promotion—to about 55-75 hours per week. I pretty much live my work. I’m always writing, even when I’m too tired to even look at the keyboard, my mind’s busy. As far as notes, yes, I have what I call my ‘Research Notebooks from Hell’—most of my friends who are writers know about these and, in fact, I do workshops on them. Every series I write has a notebook, which is basically a bible for the series. Notes about every character, notes about all the subplots and story arcs and the places visited in each book and the villains and the structure of, say, the Faerie-Human Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and on and on ad nauseum. My desk is covered with post-it notes, I write reverse outlines (every time I finish a chapter, I write up a bullet list of what went on in that chapter—helps because I don’t write to an outline, so this way I know what’s happened in the book). I’m very Type-A, and very organized. It keeps me sane. I’m also more than a little OCD and need to work in an uncluttered environment.

2. Do you have music that you listen to for inspiration? If so, what do you
listen to? If not, what inspires you?

Each book has a playlist, and I put that playlist on both my website under the description of each book, and I’m now adding the playlists to the backs of the books, so my readers can see what I listened to. There are some songs that make it on every playlist, but it does vary. I listen to music about 70% of the time while writing. My top picks are: Gary Numan (especially his darkwave industrial goth stuff—the new work he’s been doing), Orgy, Nirvana, Thompson Twins, Oingo Boingo, NIN, Ladytron, Air, Beck, Gorillaz, Talking Heads, Bowie, Dead Can Dance, and more.

3. How do you celebrate finishing a book?

By crashing for a day or so and then recharging for about a week. Video games, movies, TV, reading—whatever I can do to play.

4. Why did you choose the vampire as a character for your book?

In the Otherworld Series, Menolly is one of the three main characters—she’s the vampire of the group, and she chose that herself. Let’s put it this way: my subconscious, by the time I met the Sisters, had already decided that she was a vampire. I love Anne Rice’s vampires and witches, and loved Dracula, and have always been fascinated with things that go bump in the night. Vampires are sexy and yet—totally predatory. They are terrifying, powerful symbols of a being able to conquer death and the image of the vampire imprints itself on the psyche very easily.

5. What is easier to write- the hero, the heroine, or the villain?

Heroine—especially if they aren’t weak, demure, or timid. My heroines are all strong willed women who can rescue themselves.

6. Favorite character that you have written?

That would be Camille—one of Menolly’s sisters. And, in the new series, Cicely Waters. Both are witches, which should tell you something. ~laughs~

7. Do you prefer to use the traditional vampire mythology or do you prefer to create your own myths?

I intermingle. Some traditional lore and then add on and subtract where I need to. Since legends are all we have to go on, I’m comfortable making up what I need to. My vampires aren’t the vampires of Anne Rice’s work, and they definitely aren’t the vampires of the Twilight world.

General Vampire Questions
1. Looking back in history, who is the one person you'd expect to find out was really a vampire? Why?

Grigori Rasputin, the Russian mystic who was damned near indestructible. His ability to bewitch people was legendary, and it took poison, a flurry of bullets, and finally, binding his still-living body and tossing him in the river to drown to actually kill him. He seemed more-than-mortal.

2. What would you want to say if you met a real vampire?

Exit, stage left. And then I’d make tracks. Fast. Vampires in my world are predators. I would not rely on the hope that the one I met was in a good mood.

3. If vampires existed should they stay hidden, or reveal themselves?

If they revealed themselves, the vampire-hunters would be out in full force. People are always afraid of those creatures that seem more powerful than themselves. For their own good, stay hidden.

4. Would you make a good vampire?

I think I’d enjoy the power too much. ~grins~ I would miss the light, as much as I love the dark.

Speed Round
1. Vampires- fangs or no fangs?

Fangs. Long, dangerous fangs.

2. Blood- fresh, bottled, or syn

Fresh and bottled.

3. Romance or Horror?

Mix the two and you’ve got my work.

4. One thing readers would be surprised to know about you?

When I was in fourth grade, I tried to sharpen my teeth by chewing foil because I wanted fangs. My mother was not amused.

5. Favorite vampire book? Movie?

Book: Dracula. Movie: Queen of the Damned.

Thanks so much for all your help and for agreeing to participate!

Thank you! I enjoyed it.


Jen D. said...

I enjoyed this interview Anna. Didn't really know much about Yasmine Galenorn other than her book was picked for July.


Vickie said...

Highly enjoyable interview. I do love reading Yasmine's books.