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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Dead Harvest by Jeanette Battista and Tracey Phillips

Dead Harvest 
Jeanette Battista 
Tracey Phillips

Someone’s been raising the dead and it’s J’s job to find out who. As a detective operating in the Underworld, J—with her powers of shadow manipulation—is uniquely equipped for the job. What she isn't counting on is the help of an escapee from a mental institution who seems to attract trouble just by existing.

It’s up to J and T—two very unlikely allies—to find the necromancer and bring him before the Underworld Balance Magistrate for judgment before the human world gets wise to the dead walking among them.


Hi Jeanette and Tracey!  How are you guys doing today?
Jeanette: I am awake, which should count for something, I think.

Today we are here to talk about you both, and your new release, Dead Harvest.  I’ve not read it yet, at the time of this interview.  What can you tell me about this story?
Jeanette: I think fans of Buffy, Monty Python, and Terry Pratchett will enjoy the story we’re telling and the world we’ve created. Dead Harvest is the first in a series about two female detectives who are little more than strictly human. They work in the Underworld solving cases for the Underworld Balance Magistrate.

Tracey:  It’s the heartwarming tale of one woman’s struggle to make her family proud. Everything else is just details.  

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with several author teams, and they all work differently.  How did you two divide tasks when writing this book?

Tracey:  We meet for burritos and make each other laugh.  Then we divvy up the chapters.

Jeanette: We take turns writing a chapter. When I’m done with my chapter, I send it to Tracey. She reads it and gives me feedback and we talk about what the next chapter needs to be about. Then I’ll make my revisions as she starts writing her chapter.

Is this the first book you’ve written together, and are there plans for any others?

Jeanette: Technically, we’ve written other books in this series before we wrote this one. But then we thought about it and wrote the first chronological book so we didn’t need to do a lot of retconning later. And yes, there are plans for MANY others.

Tracey:  This is actually number 3 of 4, although chronologically it’s the first one.  So yes, there are plans for others.  Lots of plans!

The characters in this book go by the initials J and T.  Are these characters modeled after their authors?

Tracey:  We do tend to write more for the character that shares our initial, but the joke that started the whole thing was that these characters had names that were so horrific that they decided to shorten them.  Personally, there are aspects of both characters that I find appealing.

Jeanette: Oh, I wish! I think T might be everyone’s wish fulfillment. They may have parts of us in them, but the initials are accidental. We picked really horrible names for both of them so that they’d want to go by initials because the names totally don’t fit their personalities.

If you were to pick a soundtrack to go along with Dead Harvest, what kind of music would be on it?

Tracey:  Probably White Zombie with a little Barry Manilow mixed in, because T is a fan.

Jeanette: See, I would have thought T would have been more of a Neil Diamond girl. J   I write with music--I always have a score going through my head when I think of scenes, especially action ones. And I tend to write visually--like I’ll see the scene as how it would look in film or tv. So my playlist for Dead Harvest had Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy--those kind of bands.

What are some of your favorite books that you would suggest to your readers?

Jeanette: I’ve read so many great books this year. Ones that I couldn’t stop thinking about were Shadow and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, and Unspoken. Hugh Howey’s Wool was terrific too. And I really enjoyed Texas Gothic.

Tracey:  I have a middle schooler, so I am completely absorbed by all things Rick Riordan right now.  In my life as a grownup, I’m enjoying Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, as well as some nifty historical fiction by Sharon Kay Penman.

This is a really eerie and wonderful cover on Dead Harvest.  Who designed it, and if it wasn’t you – how much input did you have?

Jeanette: I found the cover image of the stone face. I just thought it was so awesomely creepy that we had to use it. I gave that to our cover designer--Char Adelsperger--and she came up with the rest. She’s done all of my covers and I love her.

Tracey:  Char did the design work, and Jeanette found the initial image.  I just smiled and nodded a lot, and I love the result!

What is the best part about being a published author?

Tracey:  The satisfaction of actually being able to share something you made with other people.  Sounds corny, but there you go.

Jeanette: I love hearing from readers. Even if someone didn’t like the book, it’s pretty awesome that they took the time to pick it up and read it. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so it’s cool that I’m able to do that!

If you could be a character in any book by any author, who and which book would it be?

Jeanette:  I remember reading The Lord of the Rings and wanting to be Eowyn. She got to ride horses, wield a sword, kill stuff--basically be a badass. And she killed the Lord of the Nazgul, so she totally rocked it.

Tracey:  I would like to be Galadriel from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but only if we got to see just how much of a buttkicker she really is.  Tolkein alludes to it, but you never get to see her in action.  So if there were an Adventures of Galadriel series, I would absolutely love it!

Do either of you have any other projects in the works individually that you can share with us?

Tracey:  The aforementioned middle schooler has commissioned a series that I’m working on.  Hope to have the first one done in the next month.

Jeanette:  I write the Moon Series, which just finished up with Hunter Moon in December. And I’ve got other projects that my agent is currently trying to sell, so hopefully there will be more out soon.

And lastly, a little bit of “This or That”
Zombies or Vampires?  Jeanette: Vampires--the bloody kind, not the ones that sparkle
Soda or Pop?  Jeanette: Soda
Country or City?  Jeanette: City
Ice Cream or Potato Chips?  Jeanette: Ice cream
Reading or Writing?  Jeanette: Reading
Millionaire now or Live Forever?  Jeanette: Live forever. All the books I could read!

Zombies or Vampires?  Vampires, but the kind that actually, you know, murder people.
Soda or Pop? In the south, everything is Coke.  Or Co-cola, if you’re really southern.
Country or City?  Suburbs, baby.
Ice Cream or Potato Chips? Potato chips.
Reading or Writing? Writing.
Millionaire now or Live Forever? Millionaire now, please.  Carpe diem!

Ok, I think that’s it for now.  Thank you so much to the both of you for talking with me today!  Best of luck to you on the rest of your tour!

Tracey Phillips bio:
Tracey is a science writer by day and gamer by night. She’s worked in a tea factory, dropped creamed spinach on a four star General, wrangled the prose of college freshmen, and stage-managed more amateur theatrical productions than you can shake a stick at. Her random and misspent youth also included a yearlong sojourn in Scotland that left her with a strange fondness for daffodils and fife and drum music. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children, every video game console known to man, and an extremely low-maintenance cat.

Jeanette Battista bio:
Jeanette graduated with an English degree with a concentration in medieval literature which explains her possibly unhealthy fixation on edged weapons and cathedral architecture. She spent a summer in England and Scotland studying the historical King Arthur, which did nothing to curb her obsession. To satisfy her adrenaline cravings—since sword fighting is not widely accepted in these modern times—she rode a motorcycle at ridiculously high speeds, got some tattoos, and took kickboxing and boxing classes. She gave up the bike when her daughter came along, although she still gets pummeled at the gym on a regular basis.

When she’s not writing or working, Jeanette spends time with family, hikes, reads, makes decadent brownies, buys killer boots, and plays Pocket Frogs. She wishes there were more hours in the day so she could actually do more of these things. She lives with her daughter and their two psychotic kittens in North Carolina.

Twitter: @Battista_j
Follow J (character) on Twitter @J_DiscreetDemos

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