I am so excited to welcome Jillian Stone to Reading Reality today to talk about her fantastic (review here) The Seduction of Phaeton Black and a little bit about her other Victorian series, The Gentleman of Scotland Yard. Phaeton Black has been on my wishlist forever, so I was thrilled to get a chance to ask Ms. Stone a few questions about this decadent and delicious steampunk paranormal series.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What does Jillian Stone do when she’s not writing?
My life, pretty much 24-7 writing and book promotion. Currently, I am writing an e-novella for The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series (Pocket Books) and this summer I will begin the last book in the Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator series for Kensington Brava.
Most of the time when a writer tackles, or re-tackles, the Whitechapel Murders (AKA the Ripper Killings), their detective solves the case. What made you decide to have Phaeton Black be linked to a previous failure, however unfairly?
The premise sets up Phaeton’s story as a misunderstood paranormal investigator. In the opening chapter the reader meets the one man at Scotland Yard who believes that Phaeton might have been onto something in the Whitechapel Murders, (before he was fired) and now there’s a second series of murders along the Strand. Could it be the Ripper again, or a new fiend? That’s all I’m telling!
Absinthe shows up, or drips down, in so much decadent Victoriana. What was the fascination with absinthe? What exactly IS absinthe, anyway?
Absinthe, or the green fairy, is a liquor distilled from herbs: anise, sweet fennel and wormwood. It gained its romantic reputation during the late Victorian period, and was a particular favorite of the Parisian artisan crowd. There is also a wonderful ritual to making the drink and a visible chemical reaction that takes place when the chilled water drips slowly into the glass and mixes with the absinthe. The effect of several glasses has been described as clear-headed or lucid drunkenness. Absinthe is Phaeton’s drink of preference and it suits his character perfectly. He also enjoys a good single malt whiskey.
What attracted you to steampunk for your paranormal series instead of the usual contemporary setting?
I enjoy writing historicals and I liked the idea of combining a few genres, paranormal and steampunk romance with a Byronic antihero character (occult detective). The book also has a few erotic love scenes, so it really covers a lot of subgenres! In The Moonstone and Miss Jones, the sequel to The Seduction of Phaeton Black, the historical characters do some dimensional time travel and explore contemporary London, which was fun to write.
If you were casting Phaeton Black, who would play the part?
Johnny Depp or Ben Barnes would be the closest to Phaeton in terms of looks. Personality wise, Phaeton is a libertine, somewhat brooding character, who can be very funny at times. He is a magnetic force throughout the story.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
Both. I wrote a seven or eight page synopsis for The Seduction of Phaeton Black and then adjusted the story as it developed.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
All the time. Sometimes I have to beat them back with a stick, other times I let them take me to a new, interesting place.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
I have always loved reading for pleasure, back as far as I can remember, whether I was being read to by my parents or reading to myself.
What was the first moment you knew you wanted to write?
I flirted with the idea of writing for years but never applied myself to learning the craft and business until the last five or six years.
What book do you recommend everyone should read, and why?
I think that Outlander by Diana Gabaldon was one of my more recent influences, along with Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. Just read them over and over. Neither book is perfectly written, so that should tell you something. It’s not about perfection or how lovely you can turn a phrase, it’s all about the story.
Can you tell us a little bit about your future projects? Phaeton will be back, right?
Oh yes, it takes three books to completely straighten up Phaeton and even then…! In book #2, I’ve introduced a number of new eccentric characters (The Nightshades) as well as several interesting antiheroes. The relationship between Phaeton and America takes a few twists and turns in book #2 as well.
I saw on your website that you also have another Victorian romance series coming out. How do The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard compare to Phaeton Black?
Actually, the first book in the series is available now, An Affair with Mr. Kennedy (Pocket Books). This is my historical romantic suspense series, with a bit of James Bond Steampunk tossed in. The heroes are all detectives for Special Branch, Scotland Yard, who become involved with spirited, heroic young women. The books are full of action, adventure and romance. I have two more full length books coming out this fall and an e-novella for Pocket Star.
Coffee or Tea?
French Roast in the morning. Iced green tea during the day!
Great questions Marlene, thanks for having me!
And thank you so much for answering them! The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard sound every bit as intriguing as Phaeton Black, even if they are based just slightly closer to the ground. (And that’s a bit of a hint about some of Phaeton’s adventures).
If you want to keep up with Jillian Stone, you can find her on her website or on Facebook , Twitter, or Pinterest.
If you want to find out about Phaeton’s adventures for yourself, you’ll have your chance if you enter the giveaway below.
The Key to Phaeton’s Heart steampunk necklace (designed by Ula Kapala and pictured at right) and ten (10) print copies of The Seduction of Phaeton Black are being given away tour wide.
To enter the giveaway just fill out the Rafflecopter below.
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