Saturday, April 9, 2011

About L.A. Nocturne

These are five stories of urban fantasy set in a Los Angeles where the paranormal is normal.


Katherine Tomlinson is a former journalist who began writing fiction when she realized it was more fun to make things up. Her stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir, ThugLit, Powder Burn Flash, Clarity of Night, Astonishing Adventures Magazine, and DarkFire. She is the publisher of Dark Valentine Magazine. Her collection of short fiction, Just Another Day in Paradise, was published last October. She and artist Mark Satchwill collaborate on the serial novel NoHo Noir published twice weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.

What will readers like about your book? 
I think they will enjoy the very “real-world” take on urban fantasy here. All the stories take place in a connected universe—Los Angeles—but with different characters. I’ve tried to steer away from the more threadbare paranormal creatures, but I think my take on the vampire world is unusual.

Why did you self publish? 
I've been earning bylines since I was 16, so it wasn’t just about the rush of seeing my name in print. (Although, that never gets old.)

I've published the traditional way, have the non-fiction books on my shelf to prove it. For me, self-publishing was the logical choice. My friends were doing it and the stigma of “self-publishing” is lessening, especially now that writers like us are being rebranded “indie authors.” But what really led me to it was this—I had a friend named Susan Garrett who was a wonderful writer. She was huge in the fan-fic world and wrote, literally, millions of words. She’d published a novelization of the cult TV show Forever Knight but never really pursued her dream of publishing. She died last year and it was a wakeup call to all of us who loved her and loved her writing. If not now, when? I self-published my first book two months after her death and have not looked back.

What is your writing process? 
My process is “catch as catch can.” I have a “day job,” so writing my stories is fitted into a hectic schedule. I almost always start with the character. I will write down ideas and jot down sketches of plot and snatches of dialogue as I think of them and then sit down and start stitching them together.

How long does it take you to write your first draft? 
It depends on the length. It’s not uncommon for me to write a short story in an hour or so. (The first draft anyway). I’m a former journalist, so I’m used to “banging things out.” Then the process really begins. As for the first draft of the novel, it’s taken absolutely forever. My sweet spot for stories is around 1500 words, so writing something in the 90,000 word category is tough.

What inspired you to write this particular story? 
The first story, “Tired Blood” came out of an idea I had about the consequences of living a very long time. It “stars” a character who will be the central character of my upcoming novel, MISBEGOTTEN. She’s a paranormal crime reporter whose mother was bitten by a vampire while she was pregnant. The conceit is that the stories in the book are “cases” that take place in the character’s world. All of the other stories just sprang out of my attempts to make the magical Los Angeles as realistic as possible. I love my version of Los Angeles.



Do you know how old a vampire has to be before it begins to show its age? The one sitting across from me looked 60—silver-haired and still vigorous—but I knew he was much, much older.

He'd told me once he'd been born into the blood when he was only 14 and that had been some time during the 50-year reign of Djer, back in Egypt's 1st Dynasty. That made him something like five thousand years old, give or take a decade.

He'd told me in his youth he had been beautiful as a woman, even before his transformation. I saw no reason to doubt it. Even now, even to my eyes, he was a handsome man.

He called himself Haarith and the mayor called him “Harry” and the norms that did business with him addressed him publicly as “Mr. El Gabri,” and called him other things out of his hearing. Varisto, the term coined for vampire aristocrats in the tabloids, was the most frequent epithet. Haarith chose to consider it a term of respect.

His children, who numbered around 1500, simply called him “Father.” His clan was the largest and most powerful vampire family in the city and when Los Angeles had gone bankrupt, his family had purchased Griffith Park and turned the observatory into their own private frat house. Haarith kept his children on a short leash but lately there were rumors that all was not well in the house on the hill. There’d been a series of murders in Silverlake that no one wanted to talk about until a fed-up cop sent me an anonymous e-mail with crime scene photos clearly showing the puncture marks. I’d broken the story on three weeks ago, scooping the smoking by publishing both the official and unofficial police reports. The resulting controversy had landed me on Alexa.coms list of 100 top-ranking sites in the United States, somewhere between QuizRocket and Best of all, the site was tracking way higher than the L.A. Times site, which had folded their para-crime coverage into the regular crime beat and downsized all their para-crime reporters, including me. Call me a sore winner, but it felt good.

Haarith had asked for this meeting, and I’d picked the place—a 24-hour diner that catered to a Goth after-hours crowd that wouldn’t freak out if they recognized him for what he was.

He'd shown up rolling like a gangster, his Brabus Rocket driven by a hulking chauffeur who looked human and trailed by a pair of bodyguards wearing beautifully cut jackets with discreet lapel pins bearing the logo of Etebari Enterprises. The Etebaris were a werewolf clan that had pioneered paranormal security, with offices in six US cities as well as London, Paris, Berlin and Beijing. They were considered the best in the business and they didn’t come cheap.



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