As most of you know, I prefer historical romances. But today's guest just might turn me to the dark side .... learn why as we meet paranormal author Chris Marie Green. From her website,
Chris Marie Green, former school teacher turned full-time writer, gets out of the office by taking long trips to places such as Japan, Italy, and New Orleans. When she’s not causing international incidents, she enjoys yoga, reading just about everything, plus movie-going. She also writes under the name Crystal Green.
Kim: What subjects did you teach in eight grade? What did you learn from your teaching experience, especially the teens, that you can apply to your writing career?
Chris: They called me a “humanities” teacher—reading, writing, and U.S. History. I think teaching changed my life in a lot of ways. Not only did I generally learn a lot about how to help people through facilitating, I learned about other ways of life, other experiences, and to consider all sides of a story before evaluating something; this was really important in learning more about point of view in my books, in particular. I really learned how to open my ears and eyes, to read into body language; this aided me with characterization. Teaching allows you to learn a lot about people, not just the subjects you’re teaching. On a selfish level, I really miss the students because they gave me a lot of energy, LOL, and I need more of that nowadays, as a full-time writer!
Kim: I still remember my high school humanities teacher - I think he was a "retired" hippy. He coordinated a field trip to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (we lived in Clearwater). I don't think any of the students "got" the art but it was a day away from school. Plus we met the band Red Rocker (they performed Lunatic Fringe on the Vision Quest movie soundtrack). So I have fond memories for him!
Now I am intrigued by your travel - Japan, Italy, and New Orleans. Tell us about your favorite place, food, and experience from these places. Did they inspire any of your books?
Chris: It’s so hard to pick a favorite! Actually, I’m able to use something in my writing from every trip I take. I kept a detailed journal and blog about my Japan trip. The food surprised the heck out of me. I went there thinking I’d lose weight because I’d be eating a lot of seafood and rice. Nope. I gained at least five pounds, LOL. My favorite experience there was one night when my friends and I just explored out of the way bars—they were little surprises, so atmospheric and beautiful. I based one of my Harlequin Blazes on this trip (WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN).
I went to Italy for the Women’s Fiction Festival, which was fantastic in and of itself! (It’s amazing that I get to write off these trips. Best job ever!) We were eating meals at midnight, and they were so fantastic that I’d just about fall out of my chair, LOL. I gained a major love for fava beans and the different, creative, delicious ways you can use them. We stayed in Matera, in the historic Sassi District, where the dwellings are built into the hills. It was another world there, and I still plan to use the location. (Vampires would be right at home!)
I’ve been to New Orleans a few times, and I need to get back there! I crave the sauces and the Southern Comfort Old Fashions. I’ve hit the big restaurants as well as the smaller joints with crawfish, etc. All heavenly! Once, I went on a “ghost hunting tour.” They took us to a “certified” haunted location but didn’t tell us why it was haunted. Then they gave us the tools of the trade (divining rod, electromagnameter, temperature gauge) and separated us into teams. We explored this old, decrepit house. One of our team members had psychic vibes, and we got in touch with a spirit who claimed to be a baby. (Yikes!) I didn’t believe it at first, but at the end, when our tour guide told us that, back by the staircase, where we’d talked to this baby spirit, a pregnant woman had fallen down the stairs and had a miscarriage just before she died, I changed my mind. The house turned out to have been everything from a brothel to a general store to a boarding house, so a lot of people had come through.
That was my favorite tour, but I love the other walking tours, plus the bayou alligator airboat tours. The city just breathes history, and I couldn’t resist setting one of my Blazes there (BORN TO BE BAD). Also, I used a lot of the ghostly information I gleaned in my Vampire Babylon books. (which take place in Hollywood and London—which is another place I’ve traveled for the purposes of research!).
Kim: I would like to carry your bags the next time you attend an International Women's Fiction Festival! I am further intrigued by your statement, 'when she’s not causing international incidents." Would you like to share an example for the blog?
Chris: LOL. Luckily, I’ve only created minor embarrassments, like the time I was on a bullet train to Kyoto; I was trying to put my big rucksack on a luggage holder above the seats and it was so heavy that I dropped it on the head of the poor Japanese man below me. He was very polite, of course, but I felt like I’d just confirmed that I was a barbarian. Your stories are probably much more colorful! *
Chris: I do get into a different frame of mind for each genre. When I write my vampire/urban fantasy books as Chris Marie Green, I submerge myself in dark lore: scary movies, stories… I’m just in another world and I do think differently. When I write my romances, I feel a little lighter. After all, romances guarantee an emotionally satisfying ending, and you don’t necessarily get that with the urban fantasies.
When I write, I pretty much eat, live, and breathe in my fictional world. It’s a very internal thing though, so I’ll lapse into silence—my internal world—a lot, even when I’m around others. Then I’ll take out my notepad or the nearest piece of paper and scribble away. Thank goodness my friends understand what’s going on. : )
Kim: What's next for Chris Marie Green and/or Crystal Green?
Chris: 2011 will be a very busy year. I’ve got ten different releases, LOL. Five of them are under my Crystal Green romance name, five are Chris Marie Green urban fantasies. That includes a new series debuting in August—it’s called BLOODLANDS, and they’re calling it a “post-apocalyptic western urban fantasy.” Those books will be released during three consecutive months so the readers won’t have to wait between stories. That’s exciting!
If you’re interested, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and subscribe to my newsletters on both of my sites: www.chrismariegreen.com and http://www.crystal-green.com/!
Mahalo, Chris, for joining us at SOS Aloha (where vampires don't like the sunlight). In honor of Chris' visit, we are giving away 4 books from her Vampire Babylon series:
- NIGHT RISING, Book One
- A DROP OF RED, Book Four
- THE PATH OF RAZORS, Book Five
- DEEP IN THE WOODS, Book Six
To enter the book giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Chris, your favorite teacher, Japan, Italy, and/or New Orleans (which is crawling with vampires!)
2. Make sure I know how to contact you - send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. This contest is open to US readers only.
Kim in Hawaii