Monday, August 26, 2013

Interview with Kait Ballenger, author of Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) - August 26, 2013

Please welcome Kait Ballenger to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews and the Twilight Hunter Blog Tour. Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) will be published tomorrow. You may read Kait's Guest Blog - The Specialties of the Hunters of the Execution Underground - here.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Kait:  Thanks for having me! I’m really excited to be here.

TQ:  When and why did you start writing?

Kait:  I wrote several short stories as a kid, but I first started writing seriously right after I graduated high school in 2008. I started writing because I love reading and I wanted to tell stories that would make people happy or affect their lives in some way.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Kait:  Hmmm. My only writing quirk that I can think of is that I always feel like my house has to be cleaned before I can sit down and start writing. Otherwise, I just feel really disorganized, like the environment around my effects my mood. This can cause me a lot of trouble when I’m on deadline and I don’t really have time to clean lol.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Kait:  A bit of both. I’m naturally a pantser, but my books lack a solid plot structure when I write that way, so I force myself to write vague outlines before I start writing, so then the plot arc is solid.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Kait:  The most challenging thing is probably just butt-in-chair, which seems silly since once I sit down, I enjoy writing, but starting can sometimes be difficult. Despite that I get paid for what I do and being an author is most certainly a full-time job, when you work from a home office, it’s hard to take yourself seriously at times. If I want, I can go to work in my pajamas every day and I can also go to work at any hour of the day, which is absolutely great for flexibility, except for when you’re feeling a little lazy and need someone to crack the whip and you have no one but yourself. It takes a lot of self-discipline.

TQ:  Describe Twilight Hunter (The Execution Underground 1) in 140 characters or less.

Kait:  A werewolf hunter partners with a female wolf to hunt a sexual sadist, while he confronts his own two-natured identity and his growing feelings for his partner.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Twilight Hunter?

Kait:  I actually started out writing YA urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. I wrote that for several years and when the manuscript I was working on at the time wasn’t hooking any agents into offering representation, I thought I would try my hand at one of the other genres I love to read: adult paranormal romance. Needless to say, it worked out well and was a perfect fit. When I was brainstorming ideas, I wanted something different and thought that it would be great to make a series where the heroes were primarily humans who hunt supernatural creatures, rather than supernaturals fighting other supernaturals like in most paranormal romances. I’m a big fan of the T.V show Supernatural and the main characters from that, Sam and Dean Winchester, really inspired me to want to write about humans involved in the paranormal—with my own original characters and unique twists, of course.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Twilight Hunter?

Kait:  My research has been more focused on all of the books rather than each specific one. There were characteristics about the city of Rochester and the surrounding geography which I researched for the series as a whole. I wanted to make sure I had some events in the novels occur in specific places around Rochester. For example, there is one scene in Twilight Hunter that takes place in Manhattan Square Park on top of a large metal structure in the park—that’s a real location, along with several other places throughout the book. I also researched different types of guns for the hunters to carry, their cars, and their poisons of choice (their favorite liquors haha), since I’m not super familiar with any of those. In Twilight Hunter, Jace uses a Mateba revolver, drives an H3, drinks Bushmill’s Irish whiskey and smokes Marlboro Reds. Something I researched specifically for that book alone was Norse mythology. Readers will see why once they get about mid-way through the novel. I don’t want to give any spoilers.

A fun fact: my husband took me out to the shooting range and taught me how to shoot all the different types of guns he has in his personal collection, which is a lot lol, as I was writing Twilight Hunter. I’m actually a decent shot now and it helped me describe how the guys would use their weapons. I already knew fighting and disarming techniques from being a black belt in Tang Soo Do, so I just needed to learn the weaponry to make it authentic.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Kait:  Jace’s character is the easiest I’ve written thus far in all of my books, including my YA ones, because he is such an open character emotionally. He’s very reactionary and speaks his mind in a really frank and blunt way, so I never have to second guess about how Jace feels about something; I just know. The hardest characters I’ve had to write are a tie between Damon, David, and Robert. Damon, the leader and founder of the Execution Underground, was hard to write at first because he was so mysterious, especially in Jace’s book, but once I wrote Shadow Hunter (Damon’s prequel story), which you can find in the After Dark anthology alongside a novella by Gena Showalter, he’s been easier to work with. It was really helpful for me to be able to tell his origin story even though it’s one I never intended to tell. I can’t wait to write his final full length book, Dark Hunter. Before, I was dreading it lol. David, the hero of book two, Immortal Hunter (Feb 2014), and Jace’s closest friend has been difficult because he is the character that is the least like me. He’s very calm and level-headed when he needs to be, something I am not, and he also has a really good sense of humor. Since I’m not used to writing humor, it was difficult to get into his head. His book was a bit of a struggle to get started with, but once he and I got into a rhythm, I was able to find his narrative voice well. Robert, who is the villain of Twilight Hunter, was difficult to write just because his point-of-view is so disturbing. Really gruesome stuff.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Twilight Hunter?

Kait:  Oh gosh, that’s a difficult one. A scene in Twilight Hunter I really like is a love scene later in the book between Jace and Frankie. Jace shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night, a little inebriated, and confesses a lot of things to her he’d never say otherwise. Once he sobers up, he realizes the impact of all he’s said and from then onward everything is kind of out in the open between them. I like the vulnerability of his character in that moment.

TQ:  What's next?

Kait:  My next release for this series will be Immortal Hunter, David’s book, which releases in early February 2014. I also just turned in the third novel for this series, Shane’s book, which will follow David’s in early July 2014, and my agent is currently starting negotiations for books four, five, and six. For my adult paranormal romance, this series is my sole focus at the moment. But readers hoping for another adult series from me can periodically check my website. I keep it up-to-date with my newest releases.

Readers can also look for upcoming YA paranormal novels under my maiden name, Kaitlyn Schulz.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Kait:  Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure to answer all your questions! I’d love to be back again sometime.

TQ:  I'm sure that can be arranged as we'd love to have you back!

The Execution Underground
Twilight Hunter
The Execution Underground 1
Harelquin HQN, August 27, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity...but what happens when danger collides with desire?

Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground. Despite his mixed blood, his hatred for the werewolves he hunts is legendary. But in his search for a sadistic killer, Jace finds himself face to face with a stunningly seductive packmaster…and longing for a night with his mortal enemy.

Nothing can stop Frankie Amato from defending her kind--or catching the rogue responsible for killing women in her territory. For that, this alpha female needs Jace’s skills more than she wants to admit. But as their investigation exposes evil truths, need burns into a passion that dare not be fulfilled. For to do so will have deadly consequences for them both…

After Dark
Gena Showalter and Kait Ballenger
Lords of the Underworld and The Execution Underground
Harlequin HQN, June 25, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

A Timeless Seduction

A Unique Temptation

And a Whole World of Dark Desires...

From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

The Darkest Angel

Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he's never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long....

And from debut author Kait Ballenger

Shadow Hunter

Vampire hunter Damon Brock's newest assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn't the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer an option when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. Forced to unite against the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they must decide between their lifelong beliefs...and their newfound desires.

And coming in 2014

Immortal Hunter
The Execution Underground 2
Harelquin HQN, January 28, 2014
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages

Hunters of the supernatural, the Execution Underground are an elite group tasked with protecting humanity…but at what price?

As an exorcist, David Aronowitz grew up the target of demonic assassins. Now he's a member of the Execution Underground and hellspawn everywhere fear his name. But when a demon slips into the seductive body of the only woman he's ever loved, David must confront the heartbreak of their past to save her.

The piece of her heart Allsún O'Hare gave to David so long ago left her trapped between two worlds: the Fae and the human. And when David comes to her rescue, fate reunites her with her greatest temptation—and her biggest mistake.

Now, as they're swept together into a wicked game with the demon who controls her, David must decide if saving Allsún's life is worth sacrificing his own—and the future of humanity itself.

About Kait

Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published, award-winning author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series. With a B.A in English from Stetson University, Kait is currently earning an M.F.A in Writing. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she hopes to be a bestseller and to see her novels on the big screen. Look for the next two books in her page-turning Execution Underground series: Twilight Hunter, book one (August 2013) and Immortal Hunter, book two (January 2014), and don’t forget to check out Shadow Hunter, a prequel novella to the series featured in the After Dark anthology along NYT Bestseller Gena Showalter—now available in trade paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats. For more information, please visit or follow her on Twitter @kait_ballenger.

Website  ~  Twitter @kait_ballenger  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads


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