Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Venom Blog Tour Stop - Q and A with Fiona Paul

Today I have Fiona Paul stopping by for a Q & A as part of the Venom blog tour. Be sure to check out the next instalment of the short story Venomous as well. If you haven't started the story yet be sure to visit Fiction Freak for the first part. If you haven't already be sure to add Venom on Goodreads. Also be sure to check out Paperlit Lantern Lit's website as well for more info.

1 Describe Venom in three words
Dark. Mysterious. Seductive. 
2 How would Cassandra describe Falco in three words?
Compelling. Frustrating. Exciting. 
3 Did anything in particular influence you to set the novel in Venice? 
Venice is such an amazing city, and it totally fits the dark, mysterious, and seductive vibe needed for the book. I had traveled there a year or so before starting Venom so I felt more comfortable trying to bring it to life on the page than I would have felt writing about some other awesome city like Prague or Bled that I haven't visited yet. Also part of the plot deals specifically with things documented as occurring in Venice during the late Renaissance. 
4 Do you stick to a strict writing schedule (eg, so many words a day, etc?) 
I am a strict word count girl and generally write between 2000-3000 words a day four days a week, then revise them for two days then (hopefully, though not lately) take one day off. I normally work on multiple projects simultaneously, but for the past few weeks I've had to set everything else to the side to get ready for Venom's release and stay on deadline for the third book in the trilogy. I am pretty beat down at this point so for the people reading this, if I forgot to thank you for a retweet or for featuring Venom on your blog, please know that it was an accident and that I am super-duper grateful for your support. 
5 What has been the most surprising aspect of being a debut author?
The networking aspect of things. Living in St. Louis, I started out feeling isolated--like everyone had this tight-knit group of published author pals except for me. But since Venom sold, I have become friends (and in a couple of cases critique partners) with the other Apocalypsies, the 2012 debuts. I've also become close with one of my agent-sisters, the local YA authors, and my fellow Penguin Teen Breathless Reads authors. Then, thanks to twitter, I started to connect with bloggers and other industry people. Everyone has been so cool and welcoming. Now I feel like part of a ginormous writerly community. 
6 What is the last book you read that you would highly recommend?
Man. When I get questions like this my brain is always torn in a million directions because I love so many books and always want to give them all mad props. I'm going to list a few: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, Black City by Elizabeth Richards, This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, and Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly. All of those books appealed to me for different reasons, but they all stayed with me after I finished them. For me, that's one of the hallmarks of fantastic writing--the reader can't quite let go of it after they close the book.
7 What is the strangest thing you did for research?
I could go on and on about the tremendous amount of research done by multiple people for this book, but a couple of things stand out in my mind as strange, even for me: 1. I went to the oldest cemetery in town by myself at midnight to get a better understanding of what Cass should be feeling when she takes her graveyard jaunts. Guys, it was seriously creepy, and I hope that comes across in the book. I'm not scared of graves or dead people, but man, there really are a million places for a murderer to hide. 2. I blocked out a fight scene with butter knives and baristas at my favorite coffee joint. I really wanted to get the subtle stuff right, like if someone holds a knife to your neck, can you look down and see it? What does a knife look like arcing through the air as someone lunges for you? How close do your bodies have to be for them to make contact? You'd be surprised what you can get baristas to do if you tip them nicely :) I did not, however, don any uncomfortable Renaissance undergarments that require a handmaid to get in and out of. Hmm, perhaps I should have.
8 Is there any part of the story that you loved but had to cut out? If so can you tell us a bit about it?
I can't think of anything specific that got hacked out of Venom but I had to let go of an awesome fistfight between Falco and one of the other major characters in the second book, Belladonna. It was scary and sexy and action-packed, but alas, after the revisions it just didn't fit anymore. I'll have to use it as bonus content somewhere after Belladonna comes out.
9 What three things do you need during revisions?
Only three?? *starts to get a little frantic* The deadlines for these books have been tough and there is no end to the things needed to tame the revision monster inside of me. Luckily, I'm not married, because if I was I would probably be divorced :) I would have to say I need coffee (good, bad, instant, just keep it coming), quiet, and exercise. Honestly, I usually need those for drafting too, but drafting is much less stressful to me so I can adapt to my surroundings a little better.
10 If you could go back in time to any time period and any place, where and when would you travel to?
Honestly? I would go straight back to the nineties and hang out in a Seattle coffee shop listening to Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. So much of how I see the world and my views about politics and society stem from growing up against the backdrop of grunge and alternative music. Back then music was the primary medium that could really reach inside me and make me Feel Things and I still rock my Nirvana tee shirts loud and proud. The nineties: Best. Decade. Ever. 
Now for the next part of the short story

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story
By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high-class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on Read Breathe Relax.


I mean it too. I would miss him, if I couldn’t see him again.
He doesn’t expect much of me when we’re together. We chat and go for walks and sometimes we kiss. In another life, in another world, he’s the type of man I would marry.
Batista takes one of my gloved hands in his own, squeezing my palm gently. “Why do you insist on calling me Batista?” he murmurs.
It isn’t his real name, but it’s the name he used when we met. It’s common for men to give prostitutes false names, as if they think we might track them down and steal from them in the middle of the night if we know their true identities. Of course, I eventually learned his real name, but by then I was so used to thinking of him as Batista that it became our little joke. Besides, his false name protects him. If Joseph ever discovers my dalliances and decides to put a stop to them, he’ll send his henchmen to find Batista—a man who doesn’t exist.
“It’s fun, don’t you think? Another secret.” I curl a lock of my dark hair around one of my fingers. I lean toward him to whisper in his ear, my lips just barely grazing his throat as I add, “Besides, who cares what I call you? Just so long as you remain my absolute favorite.”
His forehead relaxes and for a moment his eyes light up and it reminds me of the day we first met. Once I had learned what there was to be learned from the coarse men I found in tavernas, I began to appeal to more cultured men—artists and writers and musicians. They couldn’t afford to pay me so instead they taught me to read or paint or play the lute.  Batista was sketching the outside of a church. We arranged for him to teach me about the great Venetian masters like Titian and Bottacelli. At first he refused, saying his knowledge was insufficient. I told him I wasn’t trying to become an artist; I only needed to be able to converse about the subject. He was upset, at first, to discover what I did for a living. But like most men, he warmed to the idea once he got to know me. We became fast friends. He even painted a picture of me.
The music changes tempo and the dancers adjust their pattern, switching from four lines to the shape of a square.
Batista exhales hard. “Meet me later tonight,” he says as I pull back, flicking another glance over my shoulder.
Joseph is watching me.


For the next part of the story, visit Rainy Day Ramblings tomorrow, 10/11.


  1. Thanks for being part of my blog tour Kathy!

  2. Thanks for the interview! You asked such great questions.

    1. Awww! Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the interview.


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