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As part of the Bewitching Book Tour, I’m excited to welcome author Carol Van Atta to SWR! Carol is the author of I KISSED A DOG, the first book in her new UF series, Werewolves of the West. The book features a heroine with unique powers and a sexy love interest who happens to be a werewolf. Please welcome Carol to the blog as she discusses werewolves, writing, and good books!
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SWR: For those who haven’t yet read I KISSED A DOG, can you tell us a bit about the story and the series as a whole?
The story/series features an array of paranormal characters (some very different from the norm) and the humans with whom their crazy lives are intertwined. The first book features Chloe Carpenter, a twenty-four year old woman, who after a horrific, near death experience can now communicate with animals. So when a werewolf, in the human form of hottie, Zane Marshall, strolls into her life as a coworker at the local animal park, she can read his thoughts. Yep … because he’s part animal! They fall for each other hard and fast and are launched into an adventure of supernatural proportions. Murder, mystery, and a whole lot of mayhem ensue. Secrets, lies, and a ton of twists and turns take the reader on an often unexpected journey of surprising, even shocking, revelations. And, yes, book one ends with a major cliffhanger. Book two starts with a bang right where our characters left off, and adds a whole new dimension to the tale.
SWR: Do you already know the arc of the series? How many books are planned or are you keeping it open?
I know the general arc, and expect at least a trilogy. I’m under contract for two books, with the understanding there are more to come.
SWR: One thing I appreciated was that Chloe Carpenter, the heroine of the series, is Christian, biracial, and a virgin. This is not a combination you see very often in paranormal romance and urban fantasy! I appreciate the diversity it adds to the field. What was your inspiration for such a unique heroine?
Well, I wanted someone who wasn’t the typical heroine. Granted, her faith was a bit rusty, and she was just barely holding onto her virginity. Sadly, in the editing cuts that take place, some of Chloe’s background story was lost, background that would have helped readers who seem to dislike Chloe understand her better, but that’s the nature of the editing beast. She’s a love her or hate her kind of gal. As for her being a biracial woman, our world is filled with multiracial individuals. It’s about time we feature real-to-life characters in our books. On a personal note, my children are biracial. It just made sense!
SWR: Chloe’s special abilities were very original. Where did the idea come from to give her the ability to communicate with animals?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I look at my puppylicious sweetie, Stryder, and wonder what in the world is he thinking. Those big doggy eyes are so expressive. What if we knew what our pets were thinking? Thus the idea for the book.
SWR: What is your favorite scene in the book and why?
Oh goodness! Not that question … no! Hum … I like the parts where they’re investigating the murder scenes, the final battle, and I love it when the wig comes off. You have to read the book to understand the whole wig thing. That darn wig wreaks havoc in Chloe’s life.
SWR: Who would be in your dream cast for Werewolves of the West the TV series or feature film?
I’ve pondered this question on occasion. I thought maybe the lovely girl, Kat Graham, who plays Bonnie (a witch) on Vampire Diaries would make a good Chloe. Or maybe even Beyonce’. As for Zane, speaking of Game of Thrones (I peeked at your next question) Jason Momoa/Khal Drogo ‒ yummy. Valamir (vampire) would be played by a young Gary Oldman as he looked in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (you said “dream” cast). Alcuin (vampire) by Alexander Skarsgard. As for the werewolf father son duo … I honestly don’t know. Any ideas? For Jazmine (evil “b”word) Claire Holt (with dark hair) who plays the wicked Rebekah on Vampire Diaries. As for Luke Snider, I can totally see bar owner, Sam Trammell, with a tan. Though, on the other hand, finding a cast of semi-unknowns would be a blast.
SWR: You started your career writing Christian fiction. How did you move into the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genres and did you find it an easy transition in terms of writing style?
Odd transition, huh? And I still write both. I’ve always read paranormal romances and urban fantasy. I guess it has been my guilty pleasure. I wanted to write a story that wasn’t all sex and swearing, but still provided plenty of thrills, chills, and romance. It is fairly easy to go back and forth between genres. Some Christians would find what I’m doing appalling, while others would have no issue with it. I honor and understand both viewpoints. We all have the right to pick and choose what we read and why we read it. So far, my Christian novels have been in third person, with multiple POV’s, where my Werewolves of the West series is in first person. In book two, there will be two first person narrators. Very interesting.
SWR: What are some of your favorite werewolf novels and films?
For books, I’ve enjoyed Molly Harper’s series, I love Charlaine Harris, and the older werewolf books by Robert R. McCammon. I loved his book, The Wolf’s Hour. I’m looking forward to reading Anne Rice’s new werewolf book as well.
SWR: What’s the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend?
I’m pretty easy to please. I can find redeeming stuff in most of the books I read. I just finished an awesome book, The Devil’s Metal, by Karina Halle. Loved it! Read it! I’m an ex-80’s groupie chick so it was right up my alley. Rock n’ Roll with a supernatural twist. Tasty! I’m also enjoying a Christian vampire series by Ellen C. Maze. Her “Rabbit Series” is so original. VERY edgy for a Christian series on vampires.
SWR: I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones where every family has a motto – the Starks have “Winter is coming” and the Lannisters have “Hear me roar!” What is the Carol Van Atta motto?
I love Game of Thrones too, both the books and the series. Amazing! Every time I hear “Winter is coming,” I get a chill. So creepy. As for my motto. Wow. That’s tough. The first thing that popped into my head: “Howling for Heaven.” Corny, maybe? Deep and profound … possibly.
SWR: Thanks so much for the interview, Carol!
Thank you! This was one of the best interviews I’ve had. Great questions!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Chloe Carpenter isn’t like other women. She can communicate with animals. A gift she unwrapped following one of her frequent dances with death.
In her otherwise wacky life, she’s finally found a semblance of sanity working at the Plum Beach Wildlife Park, where her unique talents can make life or death differences for the animals in her care. That semblance is shattered when a new veterinarian roars into the park in his spiffed up sports car and sets his golden gaze on her. If she had her way, he’d roar right back out.
Problem: He’s her new coworker and he’s saved her life twice – in the past twenty-four hours.
Zane Marshall, Enforcer for the Pacific Pack of purebred werewolves, has a job to do – figure out who or what is mutilating the young men of Plum Beach.
With orders to find the woman who talks to animals, he accepts a position working alongside the fiery Chloe Carpenter, a female who ignites his interest far more than he ever expected. Remarkably, she’s the one elusive female with potential to bring meaning and passion to his empty existence.
Problem: She despises him.
Together, they’re forced to unravel a mystery of supernatural proportions, a murderous mystery with eternal implications for everyone. In the process, they discover opposites really do attract.
Major Problem: Zane is pledged to another woman, and she’ll do anything to keep him from Chloe.