I am delighted to welcome fabulous author M.V. Freeman to my blog. M.V. is also represented by Aponte Literary, and I had the great pleasure of meeting her at the 2013 Southern Magic Reader Luncheon – hats off to M.V. and her RWA chapter for all of their hard work organizing such a fantastic event! It’s no secret that I love urban fantasy romance. After reading and loving Incandescent, I was delighted to get the opportunity for an interview.
Here’s lucky me (right) hanging out with Debbie Herbert (middle) and M.V. (left). I’m a happy fangirl!
Thanks for being here with me today, M.V.! Let’s talk heroes. Some of the men who spring to life from the pages of your work tend to be a bit…abrasive. I’ll admit that Mikhail Petrov was tough sell for me, in spite of that exotic Russian accent. He’s arrogant and high-handed at best, downright ruthless at worst, and yet he somehow manages to captivate his heroine (and your readers, including me) with his unexpected depth and charm. Who or what inspires your anti-heroes?
I love the anti-hero because they are complex, wounded souls (which they will deny). To them the end justifies the means, and it makes them fun to write.
But where does it comes from? I’m not quite sure. I’ve always been drawn to these types—especially as I’ve become older and can appreciate the many shades of grey in life. I collected Marvel Comics as a kid and my favorite hero—Wolverine. Now that was a guy who would get the job done, damn the consequences. He also understood he wouldn’t be liked—and this to me–showed great strength. There is a moment in the comics (and the movie showed it very well) when he had to make a decision which cost him personally by killing someone he loved; but had to be done to save so many more. It still makes me shiver.
For my book Incandescent—Mikhail was inspired by the movie “Eastern Promises” starring Viggo Mortensen who played a brutal, charming, pragmatic Russian—I knew as I saw this movie I had to write a Russian anti-hero. I wanted him to be scary. There is a scene I actually changed in the beginning of my book because he was too harsh– it involved telling his current lover her anaphylactic shock was cheaper than botox.
(As a side note—I like to keep all my bad guys, anti-heroes to writing and reading. I’d need therapy if I spent too much time around these people in real life—but then again—I’m a writer, I hear voices all the time….) *grin*
Oh, I’m with you on the bad boys in writing and reading. In real life, not so much… Viggo Mortensen – ah, he’s such a versatile and compelling actor. What a great source for inspiration! Speaking of exotic Russian accents, what inspired your fascination with Slavic languages and culture?
It started when I was in the Military—I was sent to learn Russian and found a true fascination of the culture and the language. But—I didn’t complete the course because I was kicked out for not “learning fast enough.” Which hasn’t deterred me, I’ve recently begun listening to language CD’s again, and I have a few friends who speak it fluently who try and set me straight. I swear, by the time I’m 80, I’ll be speaking it…or at least be able to order coffee.
As a writer—I love the accents and attitudes because it differs so much from ours. This adds great conflict and isn’t that what we like to read as well as write? (It would be pretty boring if not!). Still, my interest over the years hasn’t diminished, only grown and it has inspired my interest in other cultures as well (like Asian).
I have every confidence in your linguistic prowess! You enjoy pairing your anti-heroes with determined heroines – these ladies have to be pretty tough and resolute to match wills with their men! What I love most about these sorts of pairings is how the inherent conflict ultimately brings out the best in both characters. You do this very well, so I’m curious how you manage the transition your characters undergo from bitter adversaries to passionate allies.
It all comes down to motivation, and putting the heroines and heroes in situations where they have to choose which is the worst option—fight each other, or the one threat that would destroy them both. I like impossible moral situations—and how they decide what would be the best choice for them.
I also make sure my heroines and heroes have a deep seated need, whether they recognize it or not, which the other fills. It’s usually a mix—loneliness, fear, anger, trust—those things we all search for. I try very hard to make my character’s feelings evolve. I am not a huge fan of “instant love”, lust maybe, but not love. I like to see how one can fall in love with a total asshole, and why.
The kicker—my anti-heroes don’t change; for the heroines yes. He will make allowances for her (within reason) but he doesn’t stop being him. If he is a cut-throat, fierce man—he stays that way; especially to others. Because isn’t that what the heroine fell in love with? This also goes for the heroines—because people are still the same, but to each other there is something “more”. I think that’s the magic of romance.
(And it’s a whole lot of fun to write!)
You definitely weave all of those elements into your stories and make them shine! So, strong coffee with cream for late night writing…fair enough, but do tell a bit more about kettle bells. My curiosity was definitely piqued after spotting that on your website J
Ah, Kettle bells—they are a ball of metal with a handle on it. It originated from Russia and my husband introduced them to me. The purpose is to work your body in ways you can’t utilizing regular weight lifting. The work outs are short, hard, and work—if you do them regularly. (I admit some weeks are better than others…)
I’m a huge fan of functional fitness, a term I heard coined, and Kettle bells help with this by strengthening those muscles we use in turning and lifting in our day-to-day life. My favorite exercise? The swing—it works your back, rear, legs, and stomach. It is one of the best over-all exercises. I’m not building huge muscles, but I am building strength and flexibility.
I just wish I could break my love of chocolate….
Ha! That’s funny. The only reason I bother working out is so I can maintain my love of chocolate. Aside from the Hidden Races series (can’t wait for more, BTW), are there any other projects you can tell us about?
Thank you! I’ve got a number of projects in the works:
–A Science Fiction romance; where a woman’s decision to make changes in her life brings on more than she expected.
-A YA UF futuristic: Where a girl struggles to find herself when all her choices are taken from her. (See what I mean about impossible odds?)
–A series of Novellas featuring: Shapeshifters, Witches, and Vampires—Oh my!
Then there is book three in the Hidden Races series I’m pondering.
I have ideas scribbled on paper in note-books… everywhere…..Now I just need to find the time.
Wow, you have some very exciting work going on – can’t wait to add these to my Kindle queue! And… big news! M.V.’s Hidden Race’s series has just been picked up by Omnific Publishing. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!!
How do you balance life and writing (yes, I’m always looking for advice on that!)?
This is ever evolving. I wish had great answers. What I do know is I say “no” a lot to many things in my life. I also try to set aside writing time in the evenings (7/8 to 10p) this includes participating in social media (Facebooks, twitter etc). Emails are early in the morning/afternoon when I get home from work. I also make a point to meet with one writer I brainstorm with at least once a week.
I usually have one day off from day-job during the week—and that’s filled with errands, but I’m going to try and fit in a few hours at a coffee shop. I have stories I want to tell and I can’t afford to waste my time.
Plus—I read a lot—via audio books (I can’t say enough good about them). Many sites (like Tantor) have sales once or twice a year where you can get them at rock bottom prices and I stock up. I listen while driving or when I am doing things that don’t require my focus.
I wish I could do better; there are those out there who do far better. It amazes me. I’m also open to suggestions!
You are a machine! How lucky for all of your readers (does a happy dance as one of them). Random question just for fun – dark chocolate or milk?
Both! Dark for the decadence, milk for the comfort! Next to coffee, I can’t stay away from it.
Love that you embrace the virtues of all things chocolate! Top three absolute favorite romance books?
Only three? I’ll try….
On Thin Ice—by Anne Stuart
Once Burned—By Jeaniene Frost
Twice Tempted—By Jeaniene Frost
These are fairly new—but I have read them via books and audio over and over again. They all have dark anti-heroes and fabulous heroines. That’s how I judge a book—if I re-read them—it’s a keeper (or it makes me cry).
Oh, I adore Anne Stuart! ‘Fire and Ice’ is one of my favorites (mostly because Reno, a.k.a. Hiromasa Shinoda, is such a fabulous hero). I’m not at all surprised to find out that you’re also a fan of Jeaniene Frost’s Vlad. He’s a fascinating anti-hero. Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. To learn more about M.V., check out some of her favorite online haunts:
Thank you so much for having me here, it was great fun!