Monday, October 7, 2013

Something Wicked Returns Blog Hop, week 2: An interview with author/editor Donna Ansari

This is the second week of the Something Wicked Returns Blog hop. This cool blog hop runs for the entire month of October. This year's event is run by Heidi@Rainy Day RamblingsCandace@Candace's Book BlogMaja@The Nocturnal Library and Ali@My Guilty Obsession.

For this week's post, Reader Girls is placing the spotlight on Donna Ansari, an author and editor. She edited Urban Harvest, Tales of the Paranormal in New York Cityan urban fantasy anthology featuring paranormal stories that take place in New York City or one of its five boroughs. That could mean vampires, ghosts, and more! How cool is that? The great thing about Urban Harvest is editor Donna Ansari is giving the proceeds from this ebook to a very deserving charity, City Harvest, an organization which helps to feed those in need. We are offering a Giveaway of an eBook copy of Urban Harvest and an Amazon gift card. Read all about this giveaway here and enter below.

Donna is also the author of the Vampire in the City series: New Blood, Wild Blood, and Witch Blood. For our spotlight post, Reader Girls has an interview with Donna Ansari and the author is offering 5 readers eBook copies of her first Vampire in the City book, New Blood

New Blood (Vampire in the City #1) by Donna Ansari
Paranormal fantasy

eBook, 216 pages
Published September 30th 2011 by Donna Ansari 

(first published January 1st 2011)

Emma Hammond is a normal young woman living in New York City whose life changes forever when one misstep brings her very close to death. Luckily, Alex Thompson, a handsome stranger (who also happens to be a vampire), jumps in to save her, turning Emma into a vampire. She quickly discovers the numerous advantages (no more allergies, glasses, or acne) and slight drawbacks (wanting to eat her boyfriend) of joining the ranks of the creatures of the night. But Emma soon finds out her new undead life isn't all it's cracked up to be when she gets pulled in to an age-old dispute between two feuding vampire clans.

Wild Blood (Vampire in the City #2) by Donna Ansari

ebook, 148 pages
Published February 6th 2012

Recently-turned vampire Emma Hammond is not only getting used to her undead lifestyle, but also to living with her new and unlikely roommates--her human best friend Tammy, and David, a werewolf. While the girls speculate as to possible drawbacks to having such a fuzzy tenant (shedding and marking of territory, to name a few), nothing will prepare them for the dispute that is to come between the NYC clan of vampires and an upwardly-mobile werewolf pack from the suburbs. Will Emma be able to get out of it with both her undead life, and her blossoming friendship with David, intact? And, perhaps more importantly, will she be able to choose between Alex Thompson, her sire and sometimes lover, and James, a slightly-unhinged vampire with a mysterious past?

Witch Blood (Vampire in the City #3) by Donna Ansari

ebook, 221 pages
Published March 30th 2012 by CreateSpace 

Vampire Emma Hammond and her best friend and roommate Tammy Torres have rarely had a disagreement, but that’s all about to change. Apart from hating each other’s boyfriends, the duo have more monumental problems to deal with, like controlling Emma’s growing and increasingly dangerous bloodlust and trying to get blood stains out of the carpets. And when new witch Tammy joins a coven whose leader’s lust for power knows no bounds, Emma is unwittingly pulled into their plan.

Purchase the series: Amazon

About the author:
Donna Ansari was born in New York City and has lived there for most of her life. Donna graduated from Pace University with a BA in Literature and Communications. Since then, she has been working as an editor, primarily in the field of medical education.

Donna lives in Queens with her husband, son, and large black cat. She is not currently aware of any vampires in her neighborhood.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Webpage | Facebook | Twitter: @donna_ansari

1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Your favorite genre(s) to write?
When I was in first grade, I entered a writing content in school and won first place for my age level. I was very into the idea that I could make up things that were not true, and in essence, bring them into existence with my thoughts. When I was in fifth grade, I had a very encouraging teacher, who had me write my first novel, reading one chapter aloud to the class a week. I wish I still had it, but I distinctly remember it was called "The Mystery of the Golden Castle" and was my first foray into fantasy writing. Since then, I have gone from writing fantasy to mostly urban fantasy.

2) What was your first published piece?
In my last semester of college I worked as an Editorial for a magazine that had trouble holding onto Freelance Writers, so I was asked to try my hand at writing a piece on the wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Coincidentally, in my Nonfiction writing class, we were given the final assignment of writing a piece for a magazine and submitting it. Since my article was published just as the semester was ending, I turned in a copy of the magazine as my final project. It was a real rush, not to mention a guaranteed A!

3) How did you get the idea for your Vampire in the City series?
I've lived in New York City for almost my entire life, and I've always thought it would be the perfect place for a vampire. For one, there are tons of people, so they would never have to go hungry. Another thing is that there is a certain amount of anonymity in large crowds, which would help them from being discovered. Plus, vampires and NYC are both so cool; it's natural to want to put them together!

4) Tell us about Emma. How many books will be in her series?
Emma, the protagonist of the Vampire in the City series, was turned into a vampire in book one. Prior to becoming a vampire, she worked at an ad agency, lived alone, and had relationship issues. Now she still works at an ad agency and still has relationship issues, but lives with a witch and a werewolf. Emma has not fully come to terms with being a vampire yet. She is happy about not being allergic to her cat or having to wear glasses anymore, but doesn't like to involve herself in vampire politics. There will be a total of six books in the Vampire in the City series.

5) Besides writing, you work, you edit anthologies, you're a wife and mom. How do you juggle it all?
To be honest, I'm not completely sure! Two things that suffer the most are cooking and cleaning! I also rely heavily on my long subway commute and lunch break to get writing done. Because by the time I've put my son to bed and cleaned up, the only thing I usually want to do is relax with a book that was written by someone else!

6) Did you go the traditional publishing route or simply decide to self-publish? What are your thoughts on publishing today?
Despite having worked in magazine publishing for years, the prospect of looking for an agent and submitting my stories to various publication companies had me paralyzed. So much so that even though I wrote my first book in 2006, I didn't get around to getting it published until 2011, when I learned how easy self-publishing had become.

7) Who are some of your favorite authors? Have they inspired you in any way?
About 20 years ago I first read a book by Charles DeLint, and was introduced to the concept of urban fantasy. Neil Gaiman has also been a big inspiration to me, particularly Neverwhere, which takes place in London, another one of my favorite cities. Mike Carey's graphic novel, Lucifer, taught me that it's okay to route for the "bad" guys, and I'm currently enjoying his urban fantasy Felix Castor series.

8) As an editor, what do you look for when reading submissions? Can you share any tips for writers (like something you see repeatedly or things that bother you)?
Apart for being good stories in their own right, each story that goes into an anthology has to fit in and play nicely with all the others. In this anthology, I tried to feature a mix of different kinds of stories, while having them all feature NYC in a way. As to what particularly bothers me as an editor--that would be writers who don't proofread their work! You could have a brilliant idea for a story, but if I'm going to have to spend several hours picking through the mistakes, it's not worth it. 

9) Tell us about Urban Harvest. Why urban fantasy? Was this your first anthology? How did you settle on City Harvest as the charity of choice?
As I've said, New York City is so full of people that on one hand, it seems a highly unlikely location for paranormal activity. But on the other hand, it also seems like the perfect location. There are so many worthwhile charities, so picking one was a difficult decision. But you can't live in NYC without seeing how many people are going hungry. It's often a stark contrast to the amount of cheap junk food that's available. And with the the season now being autumn, the harvest, I couldn't help but think of those who go without enough food.

10) Do you think you'll put any other collections together?
I enjoyed putting together Urban Harvest so much that I am strongly considering doing another one next year. Possibly with a different theme and to benefit a different charity. Maybe one about shifters to benefit an animal shelter.

Donna is giving away 5 eBook copies of her first Vampire in the City book, New Blood. Below this giveaway is another giveaway from Reader Girls of one eBook copy of Urban Harvest and one $25 gift card to AmazonBoth giveaways are open internationally and end at midnight on October 31st. 
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  1. Love about paranormal creature, my favorite was shitfer and vampire :)

  2. I always enjoy read INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE by Anne Rice.

  3. I love reading about vampires, werewolves and anything paranormal and generally like the good guys over the bad! Paranormal novels tend to take you way out of the norm where you can just enjoy getting lost in the story. Thank you for the giveaway!
    Bonnie Hilligoss - bonnie at bonnieanddave dot com