Uzuri is a first for me – as she is an author supplied to me by a publisher.   As I am not much of a romance author, I do not usually read this type of book.  So for my readers I will include the blurb of her book:

Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun.

Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way.

When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little existence is not what it seems as her cryptic past and present start to unravel.

I must say, after reading this myself in preparing for this interview, I got quite interested.  I know that Uzuri has waited quite a while to see this interview on my blog so, without hesitating any longer I present Uzuri Wilkerson.

What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?

I would love to do a sprawling, epic trilogy. Those are usually in the fantasy realm, something I haven’t ventured into yet. I’d like to create a universe with different creatures we aren’t used to seeing. I used to love Greek mythology in high school. I’d like to reintroduce myself to those themes, as well.

Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?

They usually pop in my head at random times so I’m always carrying a notebook and pen. I then sit down with one idea—usually just a scene or overall, vague plot—and let the story flow. There are times when I need to storyboard, when the story isn’t complete in my head or isn’t coming together as I write.

When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?

I come up with the title later, once I’ve already gotten it on its way and I have a feel for the story.

Do you see the future of fantasy and science fiction as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?

I think so. I know it’s been hard for sci-fi and fantasy to thrive in the mainstream in the past. Just look at some of the television shows and movies that have cult followings but weren’t very popular or profitable. I think of some current shows, like Fringe, Supernatural (although they’ve been holding on for longer than expected), FlashForward, V, Firefly, Terra Nova, Carnivale, just to name a few. There are some exceptions, like Buffy, Charmed, and The X-Files that had long lives considering their contemporaries.

Books are a bit different. I think it has to do with word of mouth and the fact that you can read at your own pace instead of trying to catch a show at the same time and night. Plus, e-readers make books cheaper and more portable. That seems to make sci-fi more widespread in literature rather than television and film.

There are a few popular authors thriving in the genres. Charlaine Harris’s books inspired the pop hit True Blood. I hear Christine Feehan’s name often, and there’s Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Laurel K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, and now Seth Grahame-Smith (although he may be more satire than fantasy). Even James Patterson got into the game with his young adult series.

There just seems to be an influx lately. We have The Hunger Games series, The Vampire Diaries, Inception, Tim Burton has always been in the fantasy/sci-fi realm, even Christopher Nolan’s Batman series and The Bourne series dabble in science fiction themes. This all means sci-fi lovers like me have more options for entertainment.

What themes are being overused?

I haven’t found any that are over-utilized. I like when people veer a little away from the norm with supernatural beings but I also enjoy seeing elements that are constant throughout stories and legends.

Are movies of books ruining the book?

Oh, no, definitely not. At least, the idea of turning books into movies is a fun one. I like to see my favorite books as movies. I get to compare character descriptions, scenes, and scenery that I read with real people and places. It is disappointing when these things don’t match up with what was in my head but I still enjoy the idea of books as movies. I still get excited to hear that it’s coming to a theater near me. They can’t capture everything, unfortunately. You just have to hope they pick the right parts. Or, if they do make changes, that they maintain the heart of the original story.

Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?

I do. It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately, and it makes me sad. Mainly because I like the feel of books—you can ask anyone. They all know that’s my humble opinion. I like to place my books on my bookcase and look at them later. I can lend them out to others so they can experience the story like I had and we can discuss. I like to see the wear and tear from multiple readings. I enjoy perusing the aisles of bookstores, taking in the different colors and textures. Even with my book. You won’t be able to feel the smooth, matte finish of the cover through your e-reader. The actually book gives the story a more complete feel.

Do you prefer to read established authors or debut authors? How do you choose which ones to read?

I read a lot of established authors because of reviews. However, if I read a synopsis that sounds interesting, I’ll check the book out, new author or not. I don’t tend to seek out new authors only because there are so many. I usually find books through recommendations from Borders (in the past), Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. That’s the only way for me to find new authors besides word of mouth.

What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?

I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s the alternate world to this reality we see and hear and feel all around us. With fantasy and science fiction, we get to imagine the hidden elements. It’s not just this world we know and live in but something else just below the surface.

Can I get an autographed book? (lol)

I’ll get my pen ready!

Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can they have on the whole story?

I do have a few people I have asked in the past to read my stories. It’s a little tricky because I’m afraid they’re being nice—or rather not as critical—because they are friends. Their enthusiasm fuels me to continue writing. I do appreciate having an editor who doesn’t know me personally and can focus solely on the construct of the story.

Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?

No, which might be a problem. Limits are good for me, so that I don’t overdo it. I think I’ve found the discipline to know when to end a story. That’s helpful so that the story doesn’t become tedious and rambling. Instead, it has a focus and an endpoint. I know where the finish line is.

Do you have a target each day?

I make sure I write every day, whether it’s continuing a chapter or fleshing out scenes to give them more description and depth. As long as I’ve done something, l feel satisfied that the day wasn’t a wash.

Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?

I’m always writing. Back when I was searching for an agent, I would go for weeks sometimes without writing because I was upset and disappointed by rejections. Those were the only times when there was a pause in writing. Generally, though, there aren’t breaks between books. That’s why I was able to make it to the fourth book of this series while shopping around Sweet—book one—and write two other novels, too. I have tons of notebooks filled with ideas to keep me occupied for a while.

Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?

When I’m in a situation and a comment or thought pops in my head, I’m usually thinking something like, “Hmm, Jay would say that…”

After so many books, how do you keep them unique?

With the exception of this series, I have to block out other books and focus on the current plot and characters. Then I have to re-read and make sure there aren’t any similarities—besides location since most of my stories take place in Boston. Even with the Bitten novels, I have to focus on the plot for that particular book.

What is your biggest (self-imposed) time waster?

Probably watching television. I’m a TV junkie when I could probably be outside or something.

Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?

Well, I haven’t seen it in a store yet but I had goose bumps and wiggled in my seat when I first saw it listed on Barnes & Noble. I kept showing the page to everyone who passed by me. I think they were just humoring me after a while but I don’t care. I have a book!

Do you read other people’s writing?

I’m the only writer I know. I’m mainly asked to proof-read newsletters and there was a college essay.

Would you read mine?

I’m always looking for my next book to read.

My novel is called “Sweet”. Its the first book in my “Bitten” series. It was released in June and is available online at the moment. The ebooks will be available soon, although I believe it can be purchased on my publisher’s site right now (www.azizapublishing.com).

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