Special Guest – Interview with romance writer Mary Stella Clemens

*Note from Brynna – Anyone who leaves a comment for Mary and their email address (ex. brynna at brynnacurry dot com) between 11/8/11 and 11/15/11 will be entered to win a copy of Sea’s Sorceress (Book 4) from yours truly. 

BRYNNA:  Please help me welcome a very special guest today, paranormal romance writer Mary Stella Clemens. Back this summer, I donated a critique to Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction and Mary was the lucky winner. After working on her book, Irredeemable Angel, I fell in love with the story and the characters. Welcome, Mary! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown.
MARY:   I was born and raised in a small town in the French part of Canada. I’ll keep a little mystery around myself and I won’t reveal where exactly. *wink* The best part of being from such a small place was knowing everyone, it fed the social beast inside of me that needed daily (even hourly) human interactions. Now, I live in a big city (I’m not naming it either, heheheheh), but managed to find a neighborhood with the same close knit community. For me, this is essential as it provides me with a lot of material for my books.
BRYNNA:  Sounds like a great place to grow up. Other than paranormal romance, what genres do you write?  What made you decide to write in that genre?
MARY:  I love romance in general. I remember when I first held a Harlequin book, I must have been 12 or 13, it was a revelation. From then on, romance novels became my reading of choice, although I also enjoy thriller, mystery and horror novels. A few years ago, I came across a Gena Showalter novel and became hooked into the paranormal genre. Now, this is mostly what I read. I like this genre because it allows a greater freedom for my imagination. I’m fascinated with the idea of parallel universe, aliens and other strange worlds.
When my writer self reemerged (after some 15 years sleep! LOL), it was paranormal stories that started to take shape in my mind. I was instantly enthralled with heroes from other worlds who would have to deal with strong heroines able to give as good as they got. It love being able to play with a totally different set of rules, it gives all kinds of openings to situations that would be difficult to imagine in our world.
Believe it or not, in my spare time, I also write short children stories. But those are mostly for personal use, and for my own kids’ and nieces and nephews’ entertainment, not exactly publication material. J
BRYNNA:  I’ve never read a Showalter novel, but I think I’ll give it a try now. I love how paranormals allow the escape from everyday reality. I think sometimes we just need the crazy and way out there.  Tell us a little about Irredeemable Angel.  
MARY: How long do you have for this? I could go on and on and on for hours about Irredeemable Angel. I’m not sure if I can actually say only a “little” about it, but I’ll do my best to get you drooling about the story. J
Blurb:  Awakened by the sound of an intruder in her house, Josie Jackson gets out of bed to investigate. Muttering curses to make a sailor proud, she promises retribution to the SOB who dares invade her home. Little does she know that her world is about to be turned upside down, as demons and angels battle each other and try to secure her cooperation for their own purpose.
David, Principem of the Rengentys Angel Faction, receives the mission to approach Josie and correct an anomaly – a portal leading straight into Hell – she caused with her reckless behavior. Forbidden to experience any of the Seven Cardinal Sins, level-headed David isn’t prepared for Josie’s aggressive and unpredictable personality. Their first meeting leaves his emotions unbalanced.
After David saves her from demons, Josie must depend on him for knowledge on how to survive in this new world. Mistrust and bitterness are second nature to her, tainting her every word, and making her alliance with David a difficult one filled with frustration, anger and desire.
Battling against multiple enemies and emotions she doesn’t want to feel, Josie is unaware that her biggest threat may very well be her closest ally, since for David, failing his mission is not an option. To save the world, how far would he go?
*Admin note – Excerpt contains strong language 
Here is an excerpt of Irredeemable Angel from the first chapter.
Battle-worn instinct prevented David from being slugged in the back of the head. Quickly dropping, he twisted to the right as Josie sneaked up behind him with a baseball bat. He avoided the first strike but was not so lucky with the second one. She spun with the force of her initial strike, lowering the bat for a second hit that connected with his shoulder.
Under normal circumstances, she shouldn’t have been able to get that close undetected, but his mind had been busy sorting out how best to deliver the news to her about this unusual and complicated situation.
He jumped out of range of a third blow.
“I’m not here to hurt you!”
Josie cocked the bat back up again.
If he’d been anything other than what he was, he would have cursed Thomas and himself for the lack of preparation for this mission.
         “I need to talk to you about –” He twisted to the side and back, feeling the air shift as the bat flew a mere breadth over his head and chest.
The baseball bat clattered to the floor. He straightened to see Josie reach for the gun lodged in the waistband of her shorts. He flashed across the room.
Josie gaped at the empty space in front of her before her eyes, did a quick scan of the room and located him besides the couch.
“What the hell?” she muttered, her brows drawn into a harsh line. Her eyes traveled from where he stood to where he’d been and back.
David used the momentary break in violence to unleash some of his powers and scan her for illness, which would explain why she was home in the middle of a workday. And only partially dressed. Coming up with nothing, he was about to attempt to connect with her mind when she released the gun’s safety and aimed low. He frowned when he realized the gun pointed to his groin.
Lord in Heaven!
As her expression of shock migrated to one of fear, then quickly dissolved into fury, her grip on the gun tightened. She braced her legs apart like she was about to shoot him. Her eyes narrowed and her mouth thinned.
“Who the fuck are you and what do you want?”
He took a step to the side, making sure his lower body was behind the couch and out of range. At once, Josie adjusted her aim up to his chest. David lifted his hands to signal his surrender.
“Please, I mean no harm. I just want to speak with you.” He kept his eyes locked on her and the gun in her hand.
His introduction was met with a sardonic arched brow. She pressed her finger lightly on the trigger, but again, she didn’t shoot him. He wondered what she was thinking when some of her thoughts came to him.
Damn scumbag. Did he really think I’d fall for the “I’m no threat speech”? How gullible does he think I am? What’s up with the freaking “You blink, I’m gone trick”? I can’t possibly be this hung over.
He was about to reassure her that he wasn’t a threat when she spoke.
“Since you’re still breathing and alive—at least for the moment—I suggest you deliver your excuse for invading my home quickly. Better make it a good one if you want to leave here standing and pain free. Otherwise, this measly couch isn’t going to offer much protection, believe me. By the time I call the police to come get your sorry ass out of my freaking home, you’ll have several new holes in very unpleasant places.” Her warning came with a cool smile.
Before he could utter a single word, trouble walked—or in this case materialized—right at Josie’s back. David instantly placed himself between her and the newcomer.
“Well, well, well. If this isn’t the Principem of the Regentys himself, making an earthly visit. Fancy meeting you here, David,” the newcomer drawled.
David swiped his hands in a rotating motion to create an invisible force field and, as an added precaution, left his right arm raised with his palm facing upward, ready to send an energy bolt. Out the corner of his eye, he saw Josie spin around and almost stumble backward on the couch when she caught sight of the new addition.
“What the fuck?” Her hand with the gun wavered as she tried to regain her footing. Then, her eyes lit with recognition. “Damian? What are you doing here? Scratch that. How the hell did you get in here?”
David internally winced at Josie’s coarse language.
Damian waved at Josie like he belonged in her house. “Hey, Sweetness!”
“You couldn’t go for something a little more original than Damian?” David couldn’t help asking.
“The name suits me so well,” Damian drawled.
Of course, he would find this amusing. After so many centuries, Damian’s sense of humor had never improved. Smiling, Damian took a step forward toward Josie and bumped off David’s protective force field. David responded to Damian’s scowl with an arched brow.
“I’m no threat to her. She can tell you we’re sort of friends. You don’t have to go all protector on me.” Damian pouted like a child, his act clearly intended for Josie.
“Your very presence is a threat. Be glad I am doing nothing more than keeping you at bay. You have no right to be here. She is off-limits to you.” David pushed his hand forward and forced Damian to take a step back.
“You take the fun out of everything, David. And, let me remind you that I was here first.” Damian pressed a finger against the force field like he was testing it.
“I arrived before you did.”
“Today. You were here before me, today, but Josie and I’ve known each other for a while. Haven’t we, Sweetness?”
David turned his gaze on Josie and saw she still held the gun in front of her. She appeared undecided as to whom to shoot, pointing the gun back and forth between him and Damian. If anything, she looked even more pissed now than she’d been earlier—also more afraid.
Not good. He needed her cool and controlled.
“Please Josie, calm down—” David started in a quiet voice.
Josie interrupted him with a sneer and pointed the gun straight at him. “Shut up or I’ll shoot you where you stand! And be glad I didn’t do it alrea
dy, asshole. The only time you are allowed to make a sound is to answer one of my questions, otherwise keep it zipped.”
Damian laughed—nothing better than sex or violence to keep him entertained.
Until Josie shifted her eyes to glare at him.
“What are you laughing about? As far as I’m concerned you’re no better than him. Now, answer my question: How the hell did you get in?”
Damian took a few steps back and propped his hips against one of her yellow armchairs. He pointed at David with his thumb. “Same way he did.”
“What the fuck does that mean?” she snarled.
That’s enough. He needed to get Josie out of there and to somewhere safe where they could talk calmly without the risk of interruption. He extended his right arm and summoned Josie to him.
The only thing that moved was the gun in her hand, which shot straight into his.
May God have mercy, she was partly—potentially completely—immune to his powers.
BRYNNA:  Oh, that was my favorite part in the whole book! Like the good guy/ bad guy shoulder thing but yummified. After critiquing Irredeemable Angel, I found Josie to be a strong and endearing heroine.  Truly one of a kind. Where do you find your inspiration to create such powerful characters? 
MARY:  I always favored books where the heroine was as strong as the hero, with a sharp mind and strong sense of self.  When I started Irredeemable Angel, Josie kind of imposed her personality on me. She was caustic, proud, and a fighter to the core.  But what made her so much fun to write about was the softness that lay beneath. We get to see it in the way she loves to bake, the fact she’d chosen to specialize in tracking criminals preying on the weak, and how dedicated and selfless she is toward those she held close to her heart.
I must admit that part of Josie’s strength was also meant as a tribute to all those women I met during my chemo treatment, particularly the young ones. You should have seen the combination of pride, will and compassion in the eyes of all those cancer survivors. It’s something I will never forget and it seemed fitting my first heroine had some of that.
BRYNNA:  And I can see them, you’re life experiences really shine through the story. And of course the Josies of the world surely need a guardian angel.  Tell us about your hero, David. How does he fit the bill? 
MARY:  My initial intention with Irredeemable Angel was to write a story where the hero was the “Good Guy” and the heroine, the “Bad Girl”. When David started to take shape in my head, I was afraid he wouldn’t be strong enough to oppose Josie who was such a defiant and larger than life character. However, I soon realized that being good didn’t make him any less of an alpha-male. He is a born leader and handled Josie with finesse and firmness. Of course, the fact he came loaded with all those cool powers and an insanely delectable body did give him some advantages.
In the end, David may not stray outside the established rules, but his quiet will of steel and his emotional levelness made him the perfect yin for Josie’s yang… or is it the other way around? Anyway, you know what I mean. LOL
BRYNNA:  Lol. David’s patience is his greatest weapon and boy does he need it when dealing with Josie and of course Damian. Creating strong secondary characters that help move the story forward without stealing the show is truly a talent. Sometimes a little bit of wicked adds a lot of fun to the mix; tell us about Damian. 
MARY:  Damian was a total surprise. At the beginning, he was supposed to be the villain, the beast the reader wanted to see put back in its cage and throw away the key. Except, he had more layers than I anticipated and turned into a fun and definitively entertaining character I wanted to keep around.
Damian is a Lust demon with a purpose, an undetermined one as of yet. He likes to play with people and he’s a master manipulator. His wicked sense of humor and the way he knows how to push David’s buttons helped move the story forward, adding layers of mystery and lightness that complemented the main plot and characters perfectly.
Needless to say he has become a character I just can’t ignore and he will be around in subsequent books, as well as receive his own Happily-Ever-After. *wink*
BRYNNA:  Yay! I so wanted him to have his happy ending too. Finding just the right home for Irredeemable Angel is your current goal, but do you have any future projects planned you’d like to share with us?
MARY:  As I hinted previously, I have the next two books in this DAWN series – the one following Irredeemable Angel, in plotting stages. The heroes have already been identified, and yes Damian is one of them. I’m working on getting the right heroine for those strong alphas and making sure their story advances the series even further.
Also, I have another series, for the moment I named it my Space Travelers’ series, where I am in the final stages of the first book. This novel (I’m still trying to find the perfect title for) is one where my heroine is “kidnapped” by pirates during the Bounty Festival – pirates who turn out to be aliens living in a parallel universe to our own. Loaded with sensuality and action, this novel features the meeting of Eliana and Javis during a three days festival organized by a single-women resort. Eliana is determined to stay clear of those pirates who appear to have more sex appeal than should be legal and a reputation for bestowing the “chosen and usually willing” kidnapped victims with incomparable pleasure. Once Javis catches sight of Eliana, he is equally determined to claim her as his own, even putting the safety and secrecy of his people existence on Earth to risk for a chance to convince her he is the one for her.
BRYNNA:  Ah, pirates are so much fun, especially space pirates. Sounds like there is a lot for readers to look forward to. Now here’s a tough one. As an unpublished author, what is your opinion on the electronic publishing industry?  Do you feel e-books are taking the place of traditional printed and bound books?  Or do you think the e-book industry affords publishers the opportunity to take chances on unknowns without the liability of printing costs, while still leaving room for those ink and paper copies we love.
MARY: This is a difficult question to answer, but let me give you my reader’s opinion. I personally love a good printed book, and I tend to buy in print for all the authors I absolutely adore. However, I have taken a lot of chances on new author with kindle or e-pub books because they were more affordable in electronic format and I wasn’t sure I would like them or not. If I happen to fall in love with the writing of one, it isn’t unheard of for me to still go ahead and buy their books in print in addition to the e-book format. With the amount of books I read, there is no way I can find space for all of them in my house or when I travel. Since I move around a lot, for me it makes sense to travel with a kindle or computer loaded with books instead of trying to find a space in my 100 pounds (ok, I’m exaggerating but I’m sure you get the point! LOL)  luggage I try to carry around.
I would say we are in a transition period where the outcome is still unsure, but my opinion is that with e-books, many readers will be more adventurous in their purchase than in print. I don’t see print being totally wiped out either, at least not in the short term.
BRYNNA: I agree. I think both have a place in the reader’s world, still who knows what the future holds. Where can we find out more about your writing?
MARY: This is my next BIG task. Getting a website up and running. For the moment, I’m solely on twitter under MarySClem. I just have to find the time to do this… and I’ll get there someday. J  In the short term, I’m probably going to be guest blogging on fellow author sites who are so kind to provide me a window into their world (This is where I thank Brynna profusely for this opportunity!), until I can afford to stop working at my regular job – or at least cut back on the insane hours – and do what I love most, writing, full time.
You can of course also reach me by email at MarySClemATgmailDOTcom.
BRYNNA:  Lol. You are welcome. Thanks so much for joining me today, Mary.  It’s been a fun visit. Remember the name Mary Stella Clemens y’all. I am certain this lady has a bright shiny writing career ahead of her. I, for one, can’t wait to see where Irredeemable Angel lands.