Rambling On

Anthony R. Cardno's Fiction and Commentary

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin

It’s always a pleasure to welcome Linda Poitevin back to the site to talk about her latest. This time out, we’re discussing SINS OF THE LOST, the third book in her four-part series The Grigori Legacy. Linda is also the author of the contemporary romance GWYNNETH EVER AFTER. You can read all of my previous interviews with Linda, and get a sense of how The Grigori Legacy series has developed, by clicking HERE.

ANTHONY: SINS OF THE LOST, book three of The Grigori Legacy, comes out this month. Now that you’re several books into the series, what roadblocks or character moments did you hit while writing the new book that caught you by surprise in comparison to the earlier books?

LINDA:  I was actually surprised at how difficult the entire book was to write, to be honest…probably because I had to do so many awful things to my characters. I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from the trauma, lol!

ANTHONY: There’s been a bit of a gap from the publication of book two, SINS OF THE SON, to book three. You published GWYNNETH EVER AFTER, a stand-alone romance, in between.  What caused the long break from TGL?

LINDA: There were a number of reasons for the gap: (1) it took a while to settle on a contract with my publisher; (2) when I’m not under a fixed deadline, I tend to drag my heels on writing; (3) this really was a tough story to write; and (4) I met with a dog-walking accident (hint: one should not have the leash of a 127-pound dog wrapped around an index finger) that put me out of commission for almost a month with a bad sprain.

ANTHONY: OUCH! How much time has passed for the characters, and where do we find them at the start of the new book? (And can you answer this question without major spoilers, haha?)

LINDA: Very little time passes between the books; Sins of the Lost picks up a scant two weeks after Sins of the Son left off. Alex and Seth are back in Toronto, struggling to make a go of their fledgling relationship in the aftermath of the events in Vancouver, and Alex is just returning to her job.

ANTHONY: Assuming we will be spending plenty of time with Alex, Aramael, Seth, Lucifer and the rest … are there any new characters we should be excited for / wary of?

LINDA: One very important new character is hinted at in Sins of the Lost, but you won’t actually get to meet her until the fourth and final book. Apart from that, there’s a return of an old enemy and more of the Archangel Michael…who really is one of my favorites. 😉

The Grigori Legacy, Book Three

The Grigori Legacy, Book Three

ANTHONY: Color me intrigued! SINS OF THE LOST is only out in e-book format, right? Why the change from the print versions we got for books one and two?

LINDA: Sins of the Lost is what my publisher is calling “digital first” — which essentially means that there’s a possibility of print, but no guarantee (it will depend on sales figures). The change occurred because sales on book 2 slumped a little, as second books often do, apparently. But, while that slump generally spells death for a series, my publisher (and my amazing editor) really likes the series and wanted to give it another chance. Talk about a vote of confidence! 🙂

ANTHONY: That is a great vote of confidence. Please thank the publisher for giving it another go. So many fun urban fantasy series do seem to fail with book two. Now, the cover art is also a bit different. It seems that Alexandra Jarvis is not on the cover for the first time. Does this bode unwell for our heroine?

LINDA: LOL…Alex is safe, Anthony, I promise. Horribly tortured, perhaps, but safe. 😉 The change in art was made because of the switch to digital-first. Too much detail doesn’t show up well on the widgets you see online, so we needed to simplify the design a bit. We also wanted to place more emphasis on the angel aspect of the story.

ANTHONY: Which makes sense, given the events of the book.  And not that I’m rushing you, but what will book four be called and when will it be done? No, like, seriously. When? 😉

LINDA: This book is going much faster than the last one, lol. It’s tentatively entitled Sins of the Warrior (expect a lot more Michael in this one), and I plan to have the first draft done by the end of March. No word yet on publication, however…sorry! 😉

ANTHONY: Well, you know, if you need a beta-reader for it, you have my email address. 😉  Instead of my usual “what’s your favorite book” question, which I think you’ve answered several times, tell us what your resource on Angels and their mythology has been most helpful/influential on you in creating the Grigori series.

LINDA: Google was my best friend when it came to research for this series. Because I knew I would be twisting angel mythology to fit with my own nefarious purposes, I didn’t need accuracy as much as I did inspiration—and the Internet is rife with sources for that. I read extensively on Bible study, Catholic, and new age sites, taking bits and pieces from all over in order to construct my own world for the series. The diversity in the takes on angel lore was utterly fascinating and made for great fodder…and I barely even scratched the surface of what’s out there.

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The lovely Linda Poitevin

It’s always fun to welcome certain folks back to Ramble On with me about new projects. Linda Poitevin is one of those folks. Linda is the creator of THE GRIGORI LEGACY series of urban fantasy (SINS OF THE ANGELS and SINS OF THE SON available now), and she recently debuted a new romance novel. You can see my previous interviews with Linda HERE and ALSO HERE, and sharp-eyed readers of my story “Chasing Satellites,” now available in the anthology BEYOND THE SUN, may notice a nod to Linda therein as well.

 

ANTHONY: Welcome back, Linda!

LINDA: First of all, Anthony, thank you SO much for inviting me onto your blog again—I’m truly honored to be here!

ANTHONY: You released GWYNNETH EVER AFTER recently. Tell us a bit about the story.

LINDA:  I’m not very good at seeing the underlying themes in stories (I detested that part of high school English, lol), but a reviewer identified Gwynneth Ever After as a “Cinderella tale” and darned if she isn’t right! In my story’s case, “Cinderella” is an ordinary single mom/architect raising three children and juggling all the ordinary stresses in life, and her Prince Charming is a famous Hollywood actor. But all isn’t love and sweetness, because they have a lot to try to overcome. Gwyn’s and her children’s hearts have been badly damaged and she is fiercely protective of them all—and Gareth is harboring a secret that could drive her away forever.

ANTHONY: GWYNNETH is not at all connected to your “Grigori Legacy” series, correct?  Where did the inspiration for this story come from?

LINDA: No, Gwynneth isn’t connected with the Grigori Legacy at all. It was actually written (and published) before Sins of the Angels was released. At the time, I was focusing on writing romance, had a huge crush on an actor who shall remain unnamed, and regularly walked past a house in my town that became my inspiration for Gwyn’s home — and her occupation.

And wanna know something weird? About three years after I wrote the book, I found out that home’s owner—who had renovated the house just as Gwyn did—was also an architect.

ANTHONY: That is a little eerie! Did you find that your writing or editing process changed because you were writing in a different genre?

LINDA: My writing and editing process is…well, I’d have to call it a work in progress, lol. Gwynneth Ever After came earlier in my career, so my process has actually evolved a great deal since I wrote it. For instance, I used to be a pure “pantser,” not plotting out anything in advance. That worked well enough with Gwynneth, but needed to change with the complexity of the Grigori Legacy series because there were just too many threads to keep track of entirely in my head. Now I straddle the fence between pantser and plotter, having just enough of an idea of what’s coming up to be sure I don’t miss something or—even worse—write myself into a corner when it comes to a future plot point.

ANTHONY: That last comment is a logical segue into this question, if you can answer it without spoiling the outcome: is GWYNNETH a stand-alone novel or the start of a new series?

LINDA: Gwynneth was written as a stand-alone, but I haven’t ruled out a sequel at some point down the road. Mostly because there’s a certain cousin in the book who really, really needs to meet his match, in my opinion. J Also, several readers have suggested a novella that perhaps features Gwyn & Gareth’s wedding…I’ve never tackled a novella, but it might be fun!

ANTHONY: What prompted the decision to self-publish this book after going the traditional publisher route for the first two “Grigori” books?

LINDA: My publisher was actually interested in taking on Gwynneth as well, but once I made the decision to release, I wanted to do so faster than they could manage. With almost a year and a half between the releases of books 2 and 3 in the Grigori Legacy series, Sins of the Son and Sins of the Lost, I felt I owed it to readers to fill the gap with something and my editor and agent were very supportive of the idea.

Cover of GWYNNETH EVER AFTER

ANTHONY: That’s fantastic that they were supportive. What were the challenges of self-publishing? And why only in e-book form?

LINDA: The main challenges of self-publishing were the enormous learning curve and the sheer amount of information I had to sift through to find the answers I was looking for. It really is a “buyer beware” world out there when it comes to the plethora of services offered to authors who are self-publishing and you need to be very well informed in order to make sound decisions.

As to why only e-book, I honestly just haven’t had a chance to look at the possibility of print at this point. Again, I haven’t ruled it out.

ANTHONY: What would your two lead females, Alexandra Jarvis and Gwynneth, think of each other?

LINDA: That is such an interesting question. Both women are very strong in their own right—they’ve had to be, given the circumstances of their lives. I think they would recognize and respect that strength in one another if they were to meet, but I also think Gwynneth would want to keep her family as far away from Alex as possible if she knew even a fraction of what was going on in Alex’s life these days. Alex would be inclined to agree with her—the war between Heaven and Hell has no place in the lives of three small children and their mother.

ANTHONY: And speaking of Alex, when is the next Grigori Legacy book coming out, and what can you tell us about the plot?

Sins of the Lost will be out on October 15th—darker and grittier than either of its predecessors. Alex’s new relationship with Seth is struggling, Lucifer’s Nephilim army is on the brink of its birth, and humanity is beginning to disintegrate in the face of its own fear. Apart from that, all I can tell you is that bad things happen, Anthony…very bad things. (I’m beginning to become a little concerned about this sadistic streak I’ve uncovered in myself, lol!) Before readers become too upset with me, however, I’d just like to point out that the Grigori Legacy is not a trilogy and there will be a fourth book!!!

 

You can follow linda on Twitter @lindapoitevin, and “like” her page on Facebook, or go direct to her website for updates on all of her projects.  GWYNNETH EVER AFTER is available in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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This week I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for Linda Poitevin’s SINS OF THE SON, the second book in her series The Grigori Legacy.  And don’t forget, after the interview, to check down below for a chance to win TWO different giveaways!

The lovely Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin was born and raised in B.C., Canada’s western most province. Growing up in an era when writing was “a nice hobby, dear, but what are you going to do for a living?”, Linda worked at a variety of secretarial jobs before applying to be a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Due to an error in measurement, however, she was turned down when she didn’t meet the height requirement of that time. Undeterred, Linda became a civilian member in the force and was a dispatcher for two and a half years, during which time she met her husband, a police officer.

Following their transfer to Ottawa, Linda went on to become a real estate agent and then a human resources consultant before starting a family. She has been a stay-at-home mom ever since and has homeschooled her youngest daughter for the last nine years. Now that she has realized writing can be more than a nice hobby, she continues to live her dream of being a cop vicariously through her characters.

Linda currently lives near Ottawa with her husband, three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

In addition to her books, Linda also does freelance writing and editing. Information about her services can be found at www.lindapoitevin.ca. Linda is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Quebec Writers’ Federation, Romance Writers of America, RWA Futuristic Fantasy Paranormal Chapter, and Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association.

ANTHONY: Welcome back, Linda! It’s always great to have people come back for a second interview.

LINDA: Thanks so much for having me back, Anthony! I’ve really been looking forward to this. 🙂

ANTHONY: So let’s start out with a little recap: what is The Grigori Legacy series all about, and who are Alexandra Jarvis, Aramael and Seth?

LINDA: The Grigori Legacy series melds angel mythology with suspense, thriller, and police procedural aspects to create a world where God is a woman, Heaven and Hell are real, and homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis has been thrown into the struggle between them…with humanity’s very survival hanging in the balance. Aramael is–or was, in book 1–an angel who hunts Fallen Ones and the soulmate Alex was never supposed to have; and Seth is both the son of the One (God) and Lucifer and a pawn in their ongoing cosmic game.

ANTHONY: The first book, SINS OF THE ANGELS, was very clearly focused on Alex and Aramael: their relationship and their struggle with serial killer / fallen angel Caim. Some of Alex’s fellow cops  and Aramael’s fellow angels play strong supporting roles, and of course there’s a major subplot involving Seth, but mostly it’s Alex and Aramael’s story. The focus shifts for SINS OF THE SON. Not unexpectedly,  because the book is about him, Seth joins Alex at center stage. How hard of a decision was it to make Aramael slightly less of a presence?

LINDA: The series really is about Alex as a main character, so lessening Aramael’s presence wasn’t really a decision, per se, it was more just a natural progression in Alex’s story.

ANTHONY: You expand Heaven’s ranks a bit by bringing in perhaps the most well-known arch-angel ever, Michael. I believe you hinted at the reason for his absence in book one, and we get closer to the full story in book two. Do you have detailed histories written out for each of the major angelic characters (Michael, Raphael, Aramael, Verchiel, Mittron, etc), keeping track of where and when they’ve crossed paths in the past?

LINDA: Wow, the more questions like this that get thrown at me, the more I realize how much of a pantser I really am, lol. Perhaps my subconscious has already worked out these details, but they only surface as I’m doing the actual writing…so no, no written histories as yet. I am, however, working on writing them down as I uncover the details, and I plan to put them up as a series of short backstories on my website…eventually. 🙂

ANTHONY: You also introduce two more main human characters, Detective Hugh Henderson and Doctor Elizabeth Riley, who play much larger roles than any of Alex’s fellow cops or family did in book one. Was your plan always to expand the human cast in book two to give Alex a bigger support network, or did you find that the story as it developed necessitated letting Alex share the spotlight with other humans?

LINDA: It was definitely something that developed with the story…poor Alex really needed some kind of human sidekick. 🙂

Sins of the Son cover

ANTHONY: Good point. Although I have to admit: at one point I thought there was a very real possibility that you’d pull a George RR Martin and kill off your main viewpoint character. Was there ever any thought to killing off Alex and turning the series over to Henderson and Riley? (Hey, even JK Rowling considered killing off Ron Weasley at one point!)

LINDA: Really? You thought I might kill off Alex? For real, I mean? That possibility honestly never even crossed my mind! I cannot guarantee the safety of all my characters, however. (Mwahahaha!)

ANTHONY: Yes, really. And I adore that evil laugh. Now, you gave us  a very well-developed, if non-conventional, look at the hierarchy of Heaven in book one, so it makes sense that you’d give us a glimpse of Hell in book two. It’s a small glimpse, most scenes featuring only Lucifer and Sammael. Do you have maps of Heaven and Hell in your head, and how completely does Hell mirror Heaven?

LINDA: I have a clear vision of Heaven, but not necessarily a map of it, no. Hell itself mirrors Heaven very closely, but in an anti-Heaven kind of way. You’ll see more of that in books 3 & 4.

ANTHONY: Taking yourself out of creator/author role for just a moment: as a reader, would you be #TeamAramael or #TeamSeth? (Please don’t say #TeamHenderson….!)

LINDA: #TeamHenderson was never even a possibility, so you’re safe there! And I remain firmly on the side of #TeamI’mStillNotTellingYou, lol!

ANTHONY: Curses, foiled again! You can’t blame a boy for trying, though! On a more craft-oriented note: did your writing process change at all from book one to book two?

LINDA: Hugely! The Grigori Legacy is my first attempt at a series, and while I’ve never been a plotter, book 2 forced me to take a more long-range view of the series…and to start keeping at least a few notes about backstories (just so I didn’t get myself too lost!). I was also writing under contract for the first time and so there was an element of expectation I’ve never had before. For the most part that worked in my favor, keeping my butt in the chair and on schedule, but every once in a while it resulted in some serious performance anxiety, too. Book 2 taught me how to work through roadblocks created by my own insecurities.

ANTHONY: Okay, so you know I have to ask: when’s book three coming out? Can you at least tell us the title and tease us a little of the plot?

LINDA: In book 3, Sins of the Righteous, Seth’s decision in book 2 creates unforeseen complications for the entire universe, Alex is stretched to her limits with trying to keep both her relationship and humanity glued together, and more impossible choices will have to be made. No pub date has been set yet, but you can be assured I’ll let everyone know when I do (most likely by yelling it from the rooftop!). 🙂

ANTHONY: You’ve got a plan for the end of the series, right? Have you known it all along, or did it evolve from what you’ve written in the first two books? Does the ultimate series-ending allow for other books/characters in the same world at some time in the future?

LINDA: I do have an end in mind, yes. It evolved through the first two books and cemented itself at about the 3/4 mark of Sins of the Son. I think there would be room for other books/characters in the future, but I’m not sure I’d want to go there. I like the idea of ending this series as planned and moving onto a fresh idea (and yes, I already have one in mind). 🙂

ANTHONY: My usual closing question is about favorite books, but you fielded that one last time. So, let’s change it up: what’s your favorite movie and what would you say to someone who has never seen it to convince them that they should?

LINDA: My favorite of all time isn’t actually a movie, but a mini series: the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. If someone has never seen it, I’d tell tell them that it is head and shoulders above the Hollywood version, with brilliant acting (Colin Firth is just sooooo good in it!), and a script that stays unbelievably true to the story itself. I love the series for the snapshot it provides into another era…and for its historical accuracy.

ANTHONY: Thanks again, Linda!

LINDA: Thank you, Anthony, for another wonderful invitation to visit!

 

Now, on to news about those giveaways:

GIVEAWAY #1: You can win a copy of SINS OF THE SON, just by commenting on this post! It’s easy. Just  choose who you think Alex Jarvis should end up with when the series concludes. Are you #TeamAramael? #TeamSeth? #TeamHenderson? Or #TeamSomeoneElse? Have fun with it, and add your reasoning if you feel like it!  A winner will be chosen by random, by me, on the last day of the SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour, which is APRIL 26th, 2012. Chosen winner will be notified by email to arrange delivery, so please provide good contact information!

 

WIN THIS!

GIVEAWAY #2: All of the book winners from all the stops on the SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour will be entered into a Grand Prize drawing for this beautiful necklace/earring set designed by Cemetary Cat, aka @psynde on Twitter:  Winner will be chosen by Linda herself, who will then contact the winner to arrange delivery.

 

Remember, you can find Linda on Twitter as @LindaPoitevin, you can find her author page on Facebook, and of course you can go right to her own webpage for even more information and goodies.  And here’s a link to my original interview with Linda when SINS OF THE ANGELS was released.

And you can see the full list of SINS OF THE SON blog tour stops (with lots of other interviews, guest posts by Linda, and chances to win) RIGHT HERE.

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Today we ramble on a bit with author Linda Poitevin.

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin currently lives near Ottawa with her husband, three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

In addition to her books, Linda also does freelance writing and editing. Information about her services can be found at www.lindapoitevin.ca. Linda is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Quebec Writers’ Federation, Romance Writers of America, RWA Futuristic Fantasy Paranormal Chapter, and Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association.

ANTHONY: Hi, Linda! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

LINDA: Thank you for inviting me, Anthony! It’s a pleasure. 🙂

ANTHONY: Let’s start with the basic premise of SINS OF THE ANGELS. What made you decide to write an urban fantasy about angels rather than, say, wizards or zombies or vampires?

Sins of the Angels


LINDA: That wasn’t actually my decision, I’m afraid — at least, not a conscious one. Aramael just kind of turned up in my head, already an angel. 😉

ANTHONY: What kind of research did you do into the hierarchy of angels and the legend of the Grigori? What sources did you pull from to craft your version?

LINDA: I did a tremendous amount of reading — there are huge numbers of angel books available, and fabulous sources on the Internet. I drew mainly from the Catholic descriptions of the hierarchy, but did a lot of literal interpretation of the descriptions to arrive at my own version.

ANTHONY: Talk to me about your writing process. Are you more of a detailed outliner, or a “see where it goes as I go along” type of writer?

LINDA: For the most part, I’m a “see where it goes” type. I like being surprised by my characters and twists that I didn’t see coming. I’ve found that writing a series has required a certain amount of planning ahead, however, so that I can be sure that something I write in book 1 or 2 won’t become a problem later on in the story arc. I also do a lot of mental scene-building (yes, I’m a daydreamer!), so I tend to have a lot of a story “written” before it ever makes it onto actual paper.

ANTHONY: Were there any moments in the writing of the book where a character’s actions took you by surprise?

LINDA: Many, many moments, to be honest. The biggest surprise to me was Seth’s appearance in the book. When he knocked on Alex’s door in the first draft, he very nearly took over the entire story. That’s when I realized that this would be a series…I had to promise him his own story to get him to cooperate! 😉

ANTHONY: How long did it take to go from initial concept to final publication?

LINDA: Are you ready for this? Ten years. Of course, most of that was spent doing stuff other than writing, lol, but that is the actual time it took to write Sins of the Angels.

ANTHONY: I’m not surprised. It gives me hope. My mystery novel AMBERGRIN HALL is going on year eleven right now… Tell us a little about Alexandra Jarvis and the joys or challenges of writing such a very strong, but emotionally conflicted, lead female character.

LINDA: Alex was actually really easy to write. I’m a very strong-minded person myself, and most of my friends are as well, so it was almost like creating a character I would like to know as a real person.

ANTHONY: SINS is obviously not meant to be a stand-alone book. Is this the first in a trilogy or the first in an on-going, open-ended series?

LINDA: What, you didn’t think things were wrapped up at the end? 😉 You’re right, of course. This is the first in a series of four books.

ANTHONY: There is a dense history not only to the character of Alexandra Jarvis but also to the world in which she exists. “Real” Toronto is as much a character in the book as the angelic world you’ve built around it. How hard was it to balance the two?

LINDA: I’m honestly surprised to hear you say that…one of the reasons my editor was comfortable leaving the novel in Toronto was that she felt the setting was not a “character.” I chose Toronto simply for its familiarity and my knowledge of Canadian police procedure, but otherwise I think the story could have been set in any major city. Heaven, of course, is an entirely different matter… 🙂

ANTHONY: Have you had any feedback, positive or negative, about the representation of God as Female and Lucifer as her male counterpart?

LINDA: Feedback on a female God has been very positive, with some readers saying that alone was enough to make them pick up the book. So far no one has commented negatively on the idea, and no one at all has commented on the Lucifer issue. These are early days, however. 😉

ANTHONY: It’s a trueism that names have power. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the names Caim and Aramael are to Cain and Abel. Was that on purpose, and if so, how?

LINDA: It wasn’t a conscious thing, no…and it wasn’t until a beta reader asked me the same thing that I even realized I’d done it. Apparently my subconscious has a strong hand in my writing!

ANTHONY: In some Judeo-Christian myths, Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, and you have a Seth who comes into the story and has a mysterious destiny. Is there any deeper connection between Seth, Caim and Aramael?

LINDA: None at all.

ANTHONY: How soon can we expect the next book to come out? And what else are you working on other than the Angels books?

Sins of the Son

LINDA: Book 2 of the Grigori Legacy, Sins of the Son, will be released on March 27, 2012. I can foresee the series keeping me busy for the next year or so, after which I do have another series idea I’d like to pitch to my editor. No angels in that one!

ANTHONY: And my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

LINDA: I think my all-time favorite is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. For anyone who hasn’t read it, I consider it an absolute masterpiece of plot. The way Dumas pulls all the threads together at the end is nothing short of brilliant. It’s the kind of book you can read over and over again, and never grow tired with it.

ANTHONY: Thank you, Linda!

LINDA: You’re very welcome, Anthony! Your questions were great and I really enjoyed answering them!

You can find more about Linda’s work on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter as @lindapoitevin and friend her on Facebook.

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