Friday, 28 June 2013

Interview with Laura Bickle + Giveaway

I am very happy to welcome back once again to Ex Libris one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, the lovely Laura Bickle! You might remember Laura and her books since I seem to be yapping nonstop about them, but what can I say, I just loved her Anya Kalinczyk and Oracle series and if you haven't read her work yet, what are you waiting for?! What I love about Laura's writing is that besides the gripping, nail-bitingly exciting storylines not only does she bring us wonderfully layered and interesting characters, but her writing is simply captivating and beautifully lyrical. So please give Laura a warm welcome as I got to ask her some questions about her Anya Kalinczyk series and there are some terrific giveaways at the end waiting for you. ;-)

Stella: Hi Laura, welcome back to Ex Libris! :-) Can you please tell us a bit about yourself for those readers to whom you’re a new author? What you have been up to since you were last here?

Laura: Hi, Stella! Thanks so much for the chance to visit with you again! :-)

I write YA and urban fantasy. My background is in criminology and library science, and I’m owned by six cats. They like to help with the writing process by walking all over my keyboard. We have nicknamed one of them “ERF” because that was the first word she typed. Her real name is Luna, and I’ve included a picture of her happy self at work, critiquing my latest manuscript.

My latest release is a YA thriller, THE HALLOWED ONES. Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the outside world. But the outside world comes to her when a helicopter falls out of the sky near her house. Katie must confront not only a massive disaster unfolding in the world outside her community, but also the threat of darkness in her own increasingly fragile society.

The sequel, THE OUTSIDE, is coming out this September.

Stella: Your debut novel was Embers, the first book in the Anya Kalinczyk series, which I loved (take a look at my review)! Can you tell readers what they can expect of the Anya Kalinczyk series?

Laura: By day, Anya Kalinczyk is an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department. By night, she’s the rarest kind of spiritual medium, a Lantern. While other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya devours and incinerates them. With the help of her fire salamander familiar, Sparky, and an eccentric group of ghost hunters, Anya chases down unseen threats to her city.

My favorite line is the first line of EMBERS: “Truth burned.” I have an excerpt of the first chapter available here.

Stella: So far there are two books in the series: Embers and its sequel Sparks, have you planned more books in the series or is Anya’s story concluded in Sparks?

Laura: I would love to do additional books! My contract on those two is finished, but fingers crossed that this can happen someday.

Stella: Fingers crossed then! Could you introduce the heroine and some of the main characters of the Anya Kalinczyk series?

Laura: Let’s do this personal-ad style!

Anya: I see ghosts. You will, too. Arson investigator seeks supernaturally-friendly companion. Friends first. Must love pets. Ideal companion will take things slow and not mind salamander sleeping in bed.

Sparky: Elemental familiar wants warm bed with Glo-Worm toy for plenty of snuggles. Cats okay. Must have grounding outlets for electrical appliances and not be too attached to cell phone.

Brian: Geeky guy looking for red-hot lurv. Let me reformat your hard drive, but don’t ask where I got that spectrometer. You don’t really want to know about my day job.

Drake: Looking for that forever relationship? Disillusioned humanitarian with emotional baggage seeks dragon to wreak vengeance and burn city that turned its back on him. The more ancient, the better. Smokers okay.

Stella: If the Anya Kalinczyk series were made into a TV series, and you could have your dream cast, who would play them?

Alyson Hannigan as Anya
Laura: I never picture real actors when I’m writing a book, but I think that Anya could be played by someone like Alyson Hannigan. I could also see Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brian.

Sparky would have to be CGI, but I would love for him to have some of the look of Toothless in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Unless any of Godzilla’s children are free, or someone has a trained komodo dragon that would be really tolerant of stage makeup. In any event, I imagine that he looks something like this:

Stella: Could you please summarize the Anya Kalinczyk series for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?

Laura: “Ghostbusters in Detroit with dragons and arson.”

Stella: It sounds kickass! :-D (And Readers let me tell you it is that and even more! :-) Do you still remember what inspired the Anya Kalinczyk series? Was there a specific moment/event that sparked the idea for the story?

Laura: I’d been having a weird series of dreams about devouring ghosts. They were sort of disturbing…and possibly connected to eating too much pizza too late at night. But I began to wonder how I could work those pizza-ghosts into a story, because the whole experience felt so vivid and real. I wondered if it would translate to the page, since dreams rarely make narrative sense in the waking world. But I think it worked.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of either Embers or Sparks (a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.)?

Laura: Anya’s rubber duck collection was inspired by my own rubber duck collection. They line a small shelf in a bathroom I call “The Quackarium.”

Stella: What shall we expect from you, what is next on your schedule?

Laura: The sequel to THE HALLOWED ONES, THE OUTSIDE, will be released September 3. As the title suggests, Katie has to confront the devastation in the world beyond her community. Her chief challenge will be protecting those she loves and her own survival in a very dangerous new landscape.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Laura: Hee. Well, I just started karate lessons. I took karate when I was a teenager, and promptly forgot all about it. But I’ve started up again. And my sensei is so patient to suffer through my lack of coordination. Picture a duck trying to do karate, and that’s pretty much what I look like. But I’m determined to learn!

Thank you so much for hosting me today! It’s so nice to chat with you again. :-D

Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She has written several contemporary fantasy nov-els for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, connect with her at

Embers by Laura Bickle

Book #1 in the Anya Kalinczyk series

Truth burns. Unemployment, despair, anger—visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit’s unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya—who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern—suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil’s Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya—with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team—can stop it.

Anya’s accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she’s risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.

Sparks by Laura Bickle

Book #2 in the Anya Kalinczyk series

Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern, who holds down a day job as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department—while working 24/7 to exterminate malicious spirits haunting a city plagued by unemployment and despair. Along with her inseparable salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya has seen, and even survived, all manner of fiery hell—but her newest case sparks suspicions of a bizarre phenomenon that no one but her eccentric team of ghost hunters might believe: spontaneous human combustion.

After fire consumes the home of elderly Jasper Bernard, Anya is stunned to discover his remains—or, more precisely, a lack of them; even the fiercest fires leave some trace of their victims—and she is sure this was no naturally occurring blaze. Soon she’s unearthed a connection to a celebrity psychic who preys on Detroit’s poor, promising miracles for money. But Hope Solomon wants more—she’s collecting spirits, and in a frantic race against time, Anya will face down an evil adversary who threatens her fragile relationship with her lover, her beloved Sparky’s freshly hatched newts, and the wandering souls of the entire city.


There are several great giveaways going on, where you could win several of Laura's novels, so just enter them by filling out the Rafflecopter forms below:

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Giveaways end on 21 July 2013!

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