TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
KS: My background is in drama and computer game design, and it’s been a blast to get to use all those skills in writing an interactive series. I’m currently a screenwriter based in Los Angeles, working on the Syfy TV show “Alphas.” I also wrote for “Eureka” and the cult hit vampire drama “Moonlight,” which is where I fell in love with blending paranormal romance and mystery. As for not-so-paranormal romance, I’m engaged to a fantastic man and we’re getting married in August – so I’m juggling wedding planning along with “Alphas” and writing Parish Mail Book 2!
TBP: Describe Dead Letter Office using nine words or less.
KS: Veronica Mars meets True Blood: magic, murder, hot ghosts...
TBP: What was it like writing an interactive story and how did you come about the decision to write Dead Letter Office in that fashion.
KS: I’ve found writing interactive books both very challenging and very rewarding. I create two documents, an outline and a flowchart, when developing the story, and those are how I track the narrative beats as well as the various choice points and paths. There’s a lot of story “testing” to make sure the reader sees the right text after making a certain choice – sometimes the changes are quite subtle from version to version.
I had been considering writing Parish Mail as a TV pilot and even as a movie, but after talking with Lisa Rutherford at Coliloquy it quickly became clear that an interactive, episodic series of books would be such a rich, fun way to tell these stories. I love the idea of letting the reader shape their own reading experience. Would you rather follow forensic clues with hottie Donovan? Or magical clues with your quirky BFF Tilly? Which suspect should Celia chase? Only an interactive book can give you that freedom.
TBP: Dead Letter Office is set in the beautiful, history rich city of New Orleans. What is your connection to New Orleans and one of your favorite things about it?
KS: I’m fascinated with urban history, particularly cities where the very new and the very old exist side by side. In America we don’t have many of these places, but New Orleans is one, and is unique in its cultural evolution and everyday acceptance of the supernatural.
But – true confession time – I’ve never been to New Orleans! Not yet, anyway… it’s a city I’d dearly love to visit, and might try to as I’m finishing up Parish Mail Book 2. I did grow up partly in the South (Virginia) and I did a ton of research both online and off- including several interviews with a friend who’s a 16th-generation New Orleans native.
TBP: The emotions that Celia goes through after the loss of her father are so palpable and real. Have you experienced a similar loss?
KS: Celia’s loss is a devastating and emotionally complicated one that I’m trying to portray as truthfully as I can with having never gone through it myself. People in my life have passed away, and those are some of the experiences I’m drawing on here, but I am so fortunate in having both of my wonderful parents around.
TBP: Now, time for some fun. Let's lighten things up a bit. You just murdered a celebrity. Who was it, why, and how?
KS: For someone who kills people in stories all the time, I’m actually pretty live-and-let-live! But I wouldn’t mind if I had a machine to zap those annoying, selfish, greedy reality show stars off to a desert island, never to be heard from again…
TBP: If you could shapeshift into any animal, which would it be and why?
KS: I've always envied the elegance and mystery of cats. And their ability to nap for 22 hours a day.
TBP: You wake up in the hospital and are told you were electrocuted. What stupid thing were you doing to cause that to happen?
KS: My bathroom is tiny with badly-placed outlets, so I’m gonna go with dropping my hairdryer into the sink.
TBP: Zombies are taking over the world and it is up to you to stop them. You can choose ANY three people to help you fight them off and one supernatural power? Who do you pick and which power?
KS: Supernatural power: the ability to start and control fire. Useful for roasting zombies, and even better to set up defenses, protect ourselves from other survivors, and to keep warm in a world without electricity.
As far as my posse, my fiancé for sure – he and I have long discussions all the time about zombie apocalypse preparation and defense. I’m not even kidding. He’s very handy, and so could build things we’d need to survive. I’d also invite along a doctor, bonus points if he or she had a bag of antibiotics and other medical supplies. And probably an expendable, out of shape guy just in case: as the old joke goes, we don’t have to outrun the zombies, we just have to outrun him.
TBP: Anything else you'd like to add?
KS: Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I’m really excited to bring you and your readers the Southern Gothic/urban fantasy/teen detective spicy gumbo that is the Parish Mail series. Hope you enjoy it!
Thanks, Kira, for that wonderful interview. And thanks to you readers who've stopped by to read it. I hope you enjoyed it. To find out more about Dead Letter Office and see what I thought, check out my review.
Kindle / Nook