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LISA SHEARIN ON URBAN FANTASY
Jennifer: Welcome, Lisa! Please tell readers about your SPI Files series.
Lisa: Thank you so much for inviting me, Jennifer!
The SPI Files books center around the knowledge that creatures from myth and legend are real. They’ve always lived among us, but only in the last few decades have humans become irresistibly interesting to them — and beings previously known only in the fantasy section of a bookstore have become a very real problem for us.
Most of them come here wanting the same things as the rest of us: a good job, nice house, 2.5 kids, and a dog. But what happens when there are others who want more? Combine that with magical powers that humans have never had to deal with, along with supersized supernatural greed. These beings don’t just want their slice of the American Dream; they want the whole pie, and they don’t care what they have to do, who they have to kill, or how many city blocks they have to level to get what they want.
That’s why SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations) was founded. To even the odds. SPI’s mission is twofold: keep the world safe for supernaturals and humans alike, and cover up the truth. Because when it comes to supernaturals, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson: people can’t handle the truth. SPI has offices worldwide, and their agents are recruited from various alphabet agencies, top police forces, and military special ops, and are supported by the sharpest scientific and academic minds.
At least most of them are. Then there’s Makenna Fraser. A small-town Southern girl who is recruited by the director of SPI as a seer. “Mac” comes from a long line of seers, people who can see through any veil, ward, shield, or spell any supernatural can come up with as a disguise.
Her job as the seer for the New York office is to point out the supernatural bad guys, then step aside so SPI’s commando-ninja-badass monster fighters can take them into custody — or if necessary, take them out. Doing her part to help keep the world safe is gratifying work, with regular pay, and her job description includes three of the most beautiful words in the English language: full medical coverage. If Bigfoot was on the rampage hurting innocent campers, Mac would hunt him with a butterfly net if it meant having a decent dental plan.
Her partner is Ian Byrne, who came to the SPI by way of the NYPD. His partner was gutted by a ghoul during a robbery gone wrong. Ian wanted to get the thing that killed his partner. That’s next to impossible to do if the people you work for don’t officially acknowledge that said perp even exists.
In The City That Never Sleeps, there’s plenty of weirdness for everyone.
For SPI, business has never been better.
Jennifer: The first book in the series, The Grendel Affair, releases on Dec. 31. Can you tell us a little about it?
Lisa: A killer is loose in New York. The police think it’s a sickle-wielding serial killer. We know that it’s something far worse.
Prowling beneath the city’s subway tunnels is a descendant of Grendel. Yeah, that Grendel. We don’t know who smuggled the thing into the country or why, but it’s a short list of supernatural sickos.
We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI). We battle the very real monsters of myth and legend—and those who would unleash them. We take down the monsters and we cover up the truth. Because when it comes to monsters, the truth won’t set anyone free—it’ll incite a global panic attack.
This thing’s ancestor was, shall we say, notorious for its intolerance of drunken revelry in King Hrothgar’s mead hall. Carnage is the nicest way to describe how it would stop loud parties. Unfortunately, its descendant is a chip off the old claw.
The timing of the modern Grendel’s release is no accident. In less than 48 hours, New York plays host to the world’s largest party—New Year’s Eve in Times Square. A million people there, and billions more watching. Unless we find Grendel before midnight, when the ball drops, the secret’s out and time’s up.
Jennifer: What appeals to you about urban fantasy?
Lisa: What happens and how we humans react when paranormal creatures or supernatural events come charging into and disrupt our ordered little lives.
Jennifer: What inspired you to write the SPI Files series?
Lisa: I’ve always loved movies like Ghostbusters, Men in Black, Big Trouble in Little China, and Galaxy Quest. It’s so much fun to watch (and read) what happens when creatures that we humans think don’t exist punch a hole into our world and show us how very wrong we are.
Jennifer: What are some of your favorite fantasy books/authors and why?
Lisa: In the 80s, I devoured anything and everything by David Eddings, Raymond Feist, and Terry Brooks. Now, my favorite fantasy reads are the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher, everything by Rob Thurman and Ilona Andrews, and the Monster Hunter International books by Larry Correia. I also love reading thrillers with a paranormal twist — in particular James Rollins’ Sigma Force books, the Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, and the Event Group books by David Golemon.
Jennifer: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What got you started on your writing journey?
Lisa: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. As soon as I learned to read and write, I’ve been making up stories and writing them down. But it wasn’t until college that I decided I wanted to be an author. I remember that I’d just come back from a trip to the local Waldenbooks and was bummed that I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read. Apparently it was a complaint I’d made often enough to annoy my roommate. She said that if I couldn’t find any books I wanted to read, why didn’t I just write my own? Ever since then I’ve been writing the books I want to read but can’t find in a bookstore.
Jennifer: What’s next for you? Will there be more books in the SPI Files series?
Lisa: I’m contracted for three books, but hope that they’ll sell well and my publisher will want to buy more. These stories are so much fun; I want to keep writing them. At the same time, I’d like to get back to my characters from the Raine Benares novels, either with more books, novellas, or short stories. I miss Tam, in particular.
MORE ABOUT LISA
Contrary to popular belief, most authors do have day jobs just like everyone else. Lisa’s happily freelancing for an advertising agency as an editor and proofreader. In her previous corporate life, she’s been a magazine editor, advertising copywriter, and writer of corporate marketing materials of every description.
Lisa is the national bestselling author of the Raine Benares novels, a series of six comedic fantasy adventures. Her next series — the SPI Files — is an urban fantasy that’s been described as Stephanie Plum meets Men in Black. It will debut on Dec. 31, 2013.
Lisa is a voracious collector of fountain pens both vintage and modern. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and a Jack Russell Terrier who rules them all.
Lisa is offering a signed copy of The Grendel Affair. The giveaway is open to those 18 and older, worldwide. The giveaway will run through midnight, Wednesday, Dec. 18, EST. To enter, use the form below.
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