16 Feb 2015

Interview with Crimson Romance author Jillian David

Hi Jillian! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Immortal Flame is the first book in my Hell to Pay series. This book introduces readers to the Indebted -- mortals who literally sold their souls to the devil and now live for eternity, forced to kill criminals to feed Jerahmeel, Satan in physical form. One Indebted, Peter Blackstone, is a particularly tormented "good guy" who hates his existence, but has no way out. Then he meets Allison La Croix, a beautiful physician with a horrible gift to see the death of people she touches. And that's what Peter is -- death. Well, seeing death every time she touches Peter -- that's a problem for Allison.
What I liked the most about the book was exploring the internal conflicts within each character first. Then, I put those damaged individuals together and what do you know? Sparks flew like nothing I could imagine. Immortal Flame is an emotional and action-packed roller coaster.

What inspired you to write it?
Two things. First, I sometimes show up for hospital emergencies right before the emergencies occur. Freaks out the nurses. I call it instinct and luck. But then I started thinking, what if a character actually had a gift where they could tell which patients would die? How would that go? What kind of person with this gift would go into medicine and why?
At about that same time, I got the phrase "deal with the devil" stuck in my head. What if people really could make a literal deal with the devil? What circumstances would trigger the deal? What would motivate people to sell their souls? What would the rules be for this situation? How could people get out of the contract?

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
Honestly, I didn't come up with it. I believe my editor at Crimson, Julie Sturgeon, created that awesome cover. If she had used my ideas, the cover would have mountains, numerous characters, weird auras pinging off people, and breathless/tormented gazes. In short, the book cover would've had to be HUGE to fit all of that hot mess. Julie did a far better job. One super sexy guy on cover, looking kind of tormented with reddish background. Perfect.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Hopefully I'll jinx myself by saying this, but this won't get made into a movie.
Ok, so if it were a movie, Anne Hathaway might have the right balance of solid, tortured, generous and sweet/sexy. For the guy, a younger Peter Hermann (Mariska Hargitay's husband) is who I envisioned while I wrote this book. Both characters are in their 30's (well technically, Peter is like 100 years old but looks mid-30's) so these actors fit well.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

Paranormal means that anything is possible. Paranormal books are not confined by normal world rules and can blur the lines of reality. That having been said, I do like to ground my stories in real places and in realistic scenarios, then mix in the paranormal piece.

What made you want to become an author?
I've always written stories. Writing in general has been a part of my life, even through medical school and practicing medicine. When I'm writing progress notes, I like to paint accurate pictures of my patients that capture what they're really going through. And I try to use language to educate my patients. Similarly, I try to use language to create a vivid, realistic world that readers might enjoy for a fun escape.

How do you come up with character names?
It's like naming kids. You try out some names, then try to think of everyone with those names who annoy you and then trash those names. So then it's down to looking up historical period-specific names for several characters and pairing them with contemporary names that hopefully reflect the age and background of the characters. Ok, it's dumb luck.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?

One of my most cherished books is Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonflight." Love that entire series!

Who, or what, inspires you?

Well, I was reading "Truman" (yes, that 1000+ page massive text -- it was super interesting) near the time of outlining Immortal Flame. That got me thinking about World War II, society at that time, vets, and medical advancements around that time.
My patients' stories always inspire me. Truth IS stranger than fiction!

Where is your favourite place to write?

I'm >supposed< to say "in my office at the desk". But ergonomics be damned, it's "in my jammies in my La-Z-Boy recliner".

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Ok, so I'm hoping this is a clairvoyant statement, but I am really looking forward to "The Martian" movie coming out. That was a really fun book to read!

Name two of your favourite authors.

Anne McCaffrey, Anne Bishop

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?

Mark Twain and Flannery O'Conner and Eudora Welty. Because they all would have PLENTY to say and some of it would be true.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I hate big cities and crowds. Thankfully, I have always lived in rural areas. Heck, my home town still doesn't have a stop light!

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
There aren't a lot of stumpy, sarcastic actresses with cankles out there. It's slim pickings.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.

The area isn't rural, it's frontier. Which is like 1 person/square mile average, I believe.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?

The next books in the series are written and in various editing stages. Relentless Flame should come out, I believe, in the summer. Flame Unleashed should come out in the fall.
Beyond that, I'm kicking around a historical paranormal series and also an offshoot of the Hell to Pay series. And then there's that first book I wrote, a romantic suspense based in Wyoming… Ok, it got shredded, but the concept is still really good. I might consider resurrecting those Word files and reworking the story.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I'm doing it right now with the published books!

Favourite myth / fairytale?

Orpheus and Eurydice

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A fireman until age 7. After that, a doctor. Actually, if you look at pictures from when I was 4 and my brother was a baby, I was already using every instrument in the Fischer Price doctor's set on him. Even the thermometer. (Thank goodness he had a diaper on, poor kid.)

World War II veteran Peter Blackstone traded his soul so that his wife could live. That was 1945. Since then, Peter has lived an unnaturally long life as a hired killer, providing the life forces upon which Jerahmeel feeds to survive.
Doctor Allison La Croix has a big problem. She randomly sees people’s deaths. She has longed to be free of her twisted “gift” to live a normal life without fear of predicting yet another loved one’s demise.
After a horrific accident, a severely injured Peter arrives in Allison’s ER. The vision Allison experiences when she touches him nearly kills her. He teaches her to block these devastating episodes as she finds a way to unlock his forgotten, passionate soul.
But Jerahmeel’s minion has orders to destroy Peter and anyone he loves. Will Peter’s and Allison’s shattered souls survive the devious plan? Or could their love save them both? Someone will have hell to pay.

Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and two bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.

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