Thursday, February 5, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

The Night Shift with Margo Bond Collins

The Write Way Café welcomes Margo Bond Collins, a college English professor with voracious reading habits and a degree in British literature that have influenced her writing choices.  Today we’re discussing her Night Shift series and drooling over her suggested Night Shift dessert!  

Tell us a little about your Night Shift series.

     The Night Shift series is an urban fantasy set in a world just a few years after supernaturals have started appearing in public. It's very much a world in flux—and my characters are in the process of figuring out where the monsters came from, and what (if anything) can and should be done about them.

The first book of the series is Sanguinary:
     Only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
     When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
     But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
     So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
     But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?

The second book is a standalone companion novella, Bound by Blood:
     Sometimes the monsters in the dark are real...
     As a child, Lili Banta ignored her grandmother's cryptic warnings to avoid children outside their Filipino community in Houston. When many of those other children fell ill, Lili ignored the whispers in her community that a vampiric aswang walked among them.
     Years later, Lili returns to Houston to work for the Quarantine Station of the Center for Disease Control—but she is plagued by dark, bloody dreams that consume her nights and haunt her days. When a strange illness attacks the city's children, Lili is called in to find its source, and maybe even a cure.
     But in order to save the city, she must first acknowledge the sinister truth: A monster stalks the night—closer than she ever expected....

If Sanguinary was made into a movie, who would play your main characters, and why?

  • Cami Davis: Dallas Police Detective and member of the Paranormal Victims Unit
  • Played by: Emma Stone
  • Reese: Cami's contact at the Blood House—a cowboy-turned-disaffected-vampire
  • Played by: Josh Holloway
  • Quentin Garrett: Cami's one-time partner and current vampire-bite junkie
  • Played by: Matthew McConaughey
  • Jeanie Vincent: Paranormal Victims Unit squad member
  • Played by: Viola Davis
  • Administrator Mendoza: Owner of the Dallas Blood House, local vampire leader
  • Played by: Benicio del Toro
  • Dahlia: Vampire, member of the Sanguinary
  • Played by: Taylor Momsen
  • Leah Richards: Doctor, director of the Westlake Rehabilitation Clinic in Dallas
  • Played by: Maggie Gyllenhaal

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?  What’s your best writing advice for others?
     The very best advice I ever got was just this: keep writing new things. Always have a work in progress. Finish writing a piece, do a quick edit, and submit it somewhere for publication. Then move on to the next project. Don’t wait to hear back—that way lies madness! If it’s rejected (and often it will be; that’s the nature of writing for publication), don’t let it get you down. Just send it out again and go back to your work in progress.

What “keepers” are in your home library?      
     Never ask an English professor to discuss books unless you want the multi-paragraph answer! Like most novelists, I am a voracious reader in my field, which means that I read all kinds of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. But in addition to being an urban fantasy writer, I have a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. This means that any time anyone wants to talk books, I have more than my share to say, and I've got piles and piles of books.
     In early British literature, I love the classics—but especially the stories with heroes and monsters: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Knight’s Tale. I love Shakespeare’s plays, but my favorites to teach are Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream because each is such a great example of its genre. Hamlet’s tragedy seems virtually unavoidable, and Midsummer’s comedy hits all the high (and low!) points.
     In my own sub-specialty of eighteenth-century British literature, I love the early novels written by some of the first women to make a living writing in England, such as Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, and Delarivier Manley. Behn’s 1688 novel Oroonoko tells the story of a king who became a slave and found the woman he loved in the process, only to kill her and their unborn child to save them from slavery. In Haywood’s Fantomina (1724), a young noblewoman sets off on a sexual adventure full of disguises and intrigue. And in Manley’s The Wife’s Resentment (1720), a young woman takes revenge against her unfaithful husband with a gruesome murder. These early novels influenced later gothic tales, with virtuous damsels in distress and monstrous villains out to destroy them.
     I think these various loves in more traditional literature—monsters, heroes, strong women, and gothic settings—are all parts of what have influenced my love of urban fantasy and horror. I love seeing many of the same tropes and ideas in more recent publications that influenced earlier works, as well.

If you could be a character in any book you’ve read (or written), which character would you be and why?
     I don't know that I'd want to be a character in a book—by their nature, novel characters lead exciting lives (it's very dull, after all, to read about drinking tea and staring at a computer). Life throws enough curve balls at us, anyway—I think I'd rather live my boring life and read about excitement!

What book do you wish you could have written?
     Robin McKinley's Sunshine. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect vampire novel and perfect urban fantasy.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
     The best compliment is always asking when my next book comes out!  And as a general rule, I'm not bothered by criticism. In graduate school, I learned not to take criticism of my writing personally. (My dissertation director was tough—my worst fiction critics are lovely and kind by comparison!) So now I read reviews to see if there's anything useful to me as a writer—one plot point of a sequel I'm writing came out of a valid, useful piece of criticism a reviewer had of a book, for example. I take what I can use and don't worry about the rest.

We’re adding books to our Café menu.  Would your book be a drink, an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert? What would you call it?
     The Night Shift series would be a dark, decadent dessert, all full of dark, warm, gooey chocolate and cherries. And, come to think of it, "The Night Shift" would be a great name for a dessert.

What is your favorite social media?  Why?
     I like to hang out on Facebook and Twitter, but I'm just now getting going on Tsu.  I wish I had more time for Pinterest. Maybe someday.

Do you have any compulsions you must do for no particular reason?
     Not really. I'm way too busy for compulsions!

Tell us about the book in your closet.
     Ha! I don't keep books in the closet. They are all out and proud.

And now for the fun stuff!

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?
     I'm a dash—there's always something more to see!

If you aren’t a full-time writer, what is your day job?
     I'm a college English professor.

What is your biggest shopping downfall?
     Books. Always books.

Are you a dog/cat/other person?
     Primarily cats—I've had cats since I was five. But I like dogs, too. I'm a sucker for a sweet animal. For a while, we even had a ridiculous turtle because I couldn't stand to see a stranded or hurt animal and not take care of it.

What is your favorite season and why?
     Summer. I love spending all day in the cool blue water of a swimming pool.





About Margo:  Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.

Connect with Margo:  
Amazon Author Page       Website       Blog       Twitter @MargoBondCollin  
Google+       GoodreadsAuthor Page       FacebookAuthor Page       Pinterest       Tsu


HiDee said...

Great writing advice, Margo. And I can almost taste that decadent Night Shift dessert...yum! Thank you for being with us today!