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Finally, I’m not talking to myself.

23 February 2011

Fellow Carina author and all-around awesome geek Shirin Dubbin agreed to answer some questions from me a few weeks back. She had no idea what she was getting into. Observe:

1. Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your secret origin story?

I was born from the fusing of a sacrificial maiden’s soul with the all too human desires of an elemental, trapped in a volcano. In modern times, if it pleases mankind to call me fiery I know of which they speak and am pleased. Or I’m a Southern girl from a fine little city in North Carolina. Which ever pleases you.

2. So, Dreams Dark Kiss is how I got introduced to your writing. Want to tell us a little bit about it?

Before I get into Dreams’ Dark Kiss I want to thank you for all the support you’ve given me and the book. I appreciate it!
To share a bit more about it with your readers I’ll quote you, via Goodreads:

“If you’re looking for a story that’s excellently crafted and imaginative as all hell, this is the one for you. Give yourself about two chapters to get into it, and let the book really work on your psyche — I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did. Truly an outstanding work.”

(Did I mention: thank you?) To share a bit more here’s the elevator pitch:

CIARAN, a woman who escorts the souls of the dead to the other-side, and KEONI, a warrior who guards us as we sleep, must stop a host of demon-like NIGHTMARES from taking corporeal form; feeding on the world’s greatest fears and kicking off the apocalypse. Worse, the Nightmares need Ciaran’s blood to make it all happen.

3. It’s no secret I loved the hell out of Dreams Dark Kiss — to me, it was a startlingly original story with a lot of elements that made me ask “how did she come up with this?” How do you follow that up? What are you working on now?

I’m excited about the follow up. It takes place in the same world, The Three Realms, but is more solidly urban fantasy where Dreams’ was romantic. I’ve codenamed the story Phantom and it deals with the spirits/ghosts who slip through soul-conductors like Ciaran’s fingers. These souls remain in the waking world as an energy drain. Somebody has to clean up the mess and that’s when soul-charmers come out to play.

For those readers who like a bit more fun in their fantasy, I’ve got an UF retelling of Goldilocks coming out in the fall with Carina Press. CHAOS TRYST is an action romp with shape-shifting bears, oni, goblins (there’s always room for goblins) and tricksters. Lots of fun.

4. If folks saw our Crackhead Smackdown competition on Twitter and Facebook, it should come as no surprise that you are, like me, a geek. What comics/movies/TV shows/books do you count as your top five geeky favorites?

[sings the Crackhead Smackdown song]
Only five? Five is for footlongs. <—I have no idea what that means. =giggle= These are the ones that come to mind right now. Ask me in an hour and the ranking will have changed. There’s so much geeky goodness out there.

1. Hitman by Garth Ennis
2. She-Hulk 2 by Dan Slott
3. 100 Bullets by Azzarello and Risso
4. Scalped by Jason Aaron
5. Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman

1. The Matrix (the first)
2. Amelie
3. Every Jet Li film ever made (in Hong King)
4. Red Sonja (oh, the shame…at least I didn’t say Krull…and I wanted to)
5. Brick

TV Shows
1. Eureka
2. Supernatural
3. Spartacus: Blood and Sand
4. Cowboy Bebop
5. Buffy The Vampire Slayer

What? You said five for each, right?

5. What writers inspire and influence you?

Neil Gaiman, Octavia Butler, Joss Whedon, Ilona Andrews, William Faulkner, Mike Carey, Roald Dahl, Johanna Lindsey, Alan Dean Foster, Alice Walker’s Temple of My Familiar (specifically), Hans Christian Anderson, Richard and Wendi Pini, RA Salvatore, Virginia Hamilton… I luv writing that thrills and surprises me.

6. So, the peak oil shortage has hit. Yep, right there between questions 4 and 5. The world is now an anarchist wasteland, not unlike The Road Warrior. Possibly that guy in the hockey mask and Speedo is even tooling around on a dune buggy somewhere. What’s your survival plan? What items do you obtain, and which people do you surround yourself with?

Oh heck, I’d prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse and now this—all that ammo and pig brain is going to be useless… Well, with the dawn of an anarchist wasteland, I’d strap on a chain mail dress, get a Mohawk, build myself a Thunderdome, wait to meet a guy with a great ass, and end epic chase scenes with phrases like “Well, ain’t we a pair, raggedy man?” That’s the only way I know how to make it work.

That or use people as batteries to fuel my machines… Hm. Or I could turn half the people into batteries and the other half into life sustaining green wafers. This is a really hard question. Can I have more time?

7. Most of us writers have day jobs. What’s yours? How does it influence your writing, if it does?

My secret identity is a graphic artist who eats a lot of PopChips. The PopChips fuel the writing (not as well as human copper tops would, but you do what you can) and graphics help me design new worlds and beings.

8. To you, what’s the most important element of a good story?

Depth and surprise, as a unit, make for a good story. When storytelling is layered and takes you places you didn’t expect to go it is visceral.

9. What’s your creative process like? How/where/when/what do you do when you sit down to write?

The expression “get in where you fit in” comes to mind. I write whenever I can and keep a running set of notes for each story in my mobile. That way I can jot down themes, ideas, scenes and dialogue whenever they come to me.

10. Anything you’d like to add? Any words of wisdom for the struggling writers and artists out there?

This is going to sound like a Nike commercial but I’d tell any burgeoning writer or artist to “do it now.” Don’t wait until Aunt Pansy comes back from the grocery store, or your son goes to pre-school, or after your feet stop hurting. Whatever your dream, pursue it whole-heartedly in whatever time you can make for it and the universe will rise up to fulfill it.


See, folks? She’s wicked smart and fun, this one. Have questions for Shirin? Post them in the comments!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 February 2011 0707

    Great interview full of goodness! I’m one that looks forward to all Shirin’s books, and she suddenly has me wanting to go to an anarchist wasteland, just to witness her saying “raggedy-man”. lol

    • 23 February 2011 1355

      Hey Abby, I’m glad you stopped by! C’mon and hang out beyond Thunderdome. You’ll just need some chain mail and a really aggressive pair of black spiky shoulder pads (football style). =giggle=

  2. Heather permalink
    23 February 2011 0834

    Hey, I love Krull! That’s a great bad movie!

    • 23 February 2011 1357

      It really is. There are so many awesomely bad movies from the 80s. There should be a film festival. I vote for Toxic Avenger, Killer Clowns From Outer Space, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Are you in, Heather?

      • 23 February 2011 1642

        Killer Clowns!!!! Titus!

      • 28 February 2011 0845

        I’d replace Killer Clowns with Damnation Alley, but otherwise, totally in!

  3. Trace permalink
    23 February 2011 0852

    Shirin’s aces. I’m getting into her book now, and it’s really very good.

    • 23 February 2011 1359

      Hey, Trace! Thank you and I’m so happy you’re enjoying the book. You’ll have to let me know your favorite and least favorite parts when you’re done.

  4. 23 February 2011 1741

    Shape-shifting bears *and* goblins? Oh, be still my foolish heart… Cool interview, Shawn and Shirin.

    • 24 February 2011 0546

      Hi Marcelle, There’s something about a shape-shifting Russian bear, isn’t there? =grin= Thanks! Do you have upcoming or new release news to share?

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