Monday, February 02, 2015

Interview with Lisa Shearin and Giveaway - February 2, 2015

Please welcome Lisa Shearin to The Qwillery. The Dragon Conspiracy, the 2nd SPI Files novel, was published on January 27, 2015 by Ace.

TQ:  Welcome back to The Qwillery. How does working as an editor affect (or not) your own writing? How do you stop your internal editor when necessary?

Lisa:  Toward the end of writing The Dragon Conspiracy, I finally got my internal editor under control, meaning it’s only taken me eight books and two novellas to get her to sit down and wait her turn.

For me, there’s a time for letting my internal editor in on the process, and while I’m writing a first draft definitely isn’t it. The words flow more freely when I’m not trying to edit myself before the words even get out of my brain and onto the paper or screen. And yes, I still write the first draft entirely in longhand in a journal with a fountain pen. To date, I have over 50 fountain pens, both new and vintage, the oldest being from the 1930s. I’ve been learning to do my own repairs. I write 2k words a day during the week, and use the weekends to type what I’ve written. The editing is done mainly on computer, but when I need to wrap my head around a plot problem, I write it out in longhand. I wish I could compose on a computer, but I just can’t do it.

TQ:  Tell us something about The Dragon Conspiracy (SPI Files 2) that we won't find in the book description.

Lisa:  For fans of my Raine Benares series, there’s a surprise inside, and I also introduce a goblin bad boy.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Dragon Conspiracy?

Lisa:  Let’s see, I needed to read up on ley lines and how they work. I also needed to research the area in and around New York City to find potential lairs for my Big Bad that fit the needs of my plot. I’m also a history buff and needed to include details about the murder of the Romanov family and Rasputin; the suicide of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun; the lives and deaths of Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; the Hope Diamond and other cursed diamonds; as well as gorgons and other Norse, Greek, and Roman mythological creatures and gods. Fun stuff!

TQ:  How do you pick names for your SPI characters?

Lisa:  I try to keep it simple and make a connection to the character’s personality.

TQ:  Makenna Fraser, an SPI agent, is a seer. Does she see all or are things murky? Ian Byrne is Makenna's partner. How would he describe her? How would Makenna describe Ian?

Lisa:  Mac can see through any glamour, ward, spell, or magical disguise that a supernatural creature could possibly use to hide what they are from humans. Her skill is pretty rare; there are only five seers in the entire SPI worldwide organization. At first Ian saw Mac as a burden. He’s one of the top agents in the organization, and he’s been assigned as Mac’s partner—but mainly to keep her alive. SPI’s past three seers in the New York office have met with suspicious fatal accidents. Someone out there is trying to keep SPI without a seer. I’m gradually revealing the reason. Let’s just say that everything’s connected. Let’s see . . . Mac’s description of Ian. She describes him as “the ultimate commando-ninja-badass monster fighter.”

TQ:  What's next for the SPI gang and are there any additional Raine Benares stories upcoming?

Lisa:  I’m writing three books this year, so 2015 is going to be busy, but in the best possible way. First is the third SPI Files book, The Brimstone Deception, which I’m writing now. When that is finished on March 1, I’ll be returning for a while to the world of Raine Benares with two more books: the first will be a followup to the events of the sixth Raine book, All Spell Breaks Loose. For Raine, there’s only one thing scarier than taking on the world’s top assassins—meeting her future in-laws. Yep, Raine and Mychael finally get married. Naturally, events aren’t going to go without a hitch. Let’s let Raine tell you herself; she does it better than I could. ; )
With the destruction of the Saghred and a new (and non-psychotic) king on the goblin throne, an elf/goblin peace treaty is being negotiated on the neutral ground of the Isle of Mid. For as long as history has been written down, elves have hated goblins and goblins have despised elves, with humans just trying not to get caught in the middle.

Over a thousand years of hate isn’t going to go away overnight just because some royals get together and sign a piece of paper. Ink scratched on parchment isn’t a guarantee of anything, not even good penmanship. When the goblin ambassador is found with an elf dagger sticking out of him, soon followed by an elven noble sporting goblin steel, there’s way too many suspects and far too few clues.

As a seeker and new Guardian, my job is to find the assassins before the rising body count derails the negotiations and the assassins’ victims become merely the first deaths in the next racial war.

As a bride-to-be, my job is to introduce my pirate family to my Guardian fiance’s aristocratic parents without having a panic attack. In addition, I have to ignore that my pirate cousin Phaelan and my former-almost boyfriend and goblin royal emissary Tam are in charge of the bachelor party. Last, but certainly not least, I have to foil the attempts of Tam’s spellsinger and exotic dancer son Talon from showing up as the entertainment at my bachelorette party.

And I thought assassins were going to be my biggest challenge.
After that book is finished in the early fall, I’ll be writing my first book from a man’s POV. My readers have been asking for it, and I’m going to deliver. It will be the first book in a Tamnais Nathrach series. My goblins are tall, dark, and sexy, and their fangs aren’t for decorative use only. Tam is a fan favorite (and one of mine), so we’ll be going to the goblin court. Here’s Tam to tell you about it:
My name is Tamnais Nathrach. In my past, I was the chief shaman and magical enforcer for the goblin queen Glicara Mal’Salin. I had the job for five years, apparently setting some sort of Mal’Salin dynasty record. The lifespan of a chief shaman tends to get cut short. I left that life behind—along with the highly addictive black magic I had used—and became a businessman, owning a pair of nightclubs and gambling parlors in cities far from the goblin court. But my past didn’t go anywhere; it was waiting for me. Patient. Confident. Knowing that I would return. Not caring that it wasn’t by choice. Personal experience has taught me that the past cares for nothing except spotting its next chance to bite you in the ass. My posterior now sports more than its fair share of teeth marks.

The king I now protect and serve, Chigaru Mal’Salin, has proclaimed me his heir until he and his queen, Mirabai, have their first child. Chigaru didn’t give me the title of prince. He wisely took prudent—and well-founded—precautions. Some called it paranoia; I called it self-preservation. Precautions like not giving one of his nobles, regardless of how trusted, a title that eventually will have to be given back. The children of Chigaru and Mirabai will be princes and princesses. I will not. The king need not worry about me returning what was never mine. I don’t want a title; but if I am to be his heir, even temporarily, I have to have a title higher than any other at court. An annoyance? To say the least. The reasons are political. And complicated. It seems my present is conspiring with my past to make my life as uncomfortable as possible. They have succeeded. Admirably.

Daily life in the goblin court consists of conspiracies on top of plots, woven together with ruthless ambition. Treachery is a full-contact sport, and fatalities are merely a way to rearrange the game board in your favor. I expected attempts on the king and queen’s lives—and mine. The nobles of the goblin court haven’t been a disappointment. They more than lived up to my expectations, and a few of the more creative efforts even earned my admiration.

Despite my every precaution, Chigaru and Mirabai have been poisoned. A healer managed to hold off death until myself and a pitifully small number of mages I still trust put the royal couple in stasis, keeping them barely alive until an antidote is found.

Everyone is a suspect. One name would have been at the top of my list, except he’s dead. Though that’s never stopped him before, and my last view of him was being carried, screaming, into the Lower Hells by a demon yours truly summoned. Screaming, but still very much alive. However, there were ample rotten apples sharing Sarad Nukpana’s tree. His absence created a void that many are eager to fill—beginning with the more powerful members of the Khrynsani, an ancient goblin secret society and military order. The Khrynsani, with Sarad as their leader, nearly succeeded at wiping out the Mal’Salin dynasty and seizing the goblin throne. Chigaru disbanded the Khyrnsani and imprisoned those we could catch. We did not get them all. The most dangerous enemy is one who has nothing left to lose.

There are a few goblins who I can trust, most notably my old teachers, Kesyn Badru and A’Zahra Nuru, whose efforts to cure me of my black magic addiction at least allow me to consider myself rehabilitated. I call on my friends, the Guardian paladin Mychael Eiliesor and new Guardian and seeker Raine Benares. There has yet to be a situation dire enough that we can’t overcome. Of course, there’s a first time for everything.

To find the antidote, I have to make a deal with a devil from my past, a past that, as a practitioner of black magic, nearly cost me my immortal soul. I’ve always been a gambler and never minded high stakes. When I win—and I always have—the payout is worth it. But if I lose, I’ll spend eternity paying . . . and paying . . . and paying.
I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter to keep readers up-to-date with publication dates, writing progress, contests, and more. Anyone who would like to be added to the distribution list, just send me an email at with your name and email address, and I’ll sign you up.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Lisa:  Thank you so much for inviting me!

The Dragon Affair
SPI Files 2
Ace, January 27, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

After solving The Grendel Affair, the agents have another SPI File to investigate...

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. We battle the real monsters of myth and legend, but this Halloween, we’re searching for diamonds…

A gala opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attracted the upper crust of Manhattan—and thieves. A trio of vile harpies attacks the crowd and steals the stars of the exhibition: a colorful cluster of seven cursed diamonds known as the Dragon Eggs.
In the right mage’s hands, each stone can pack a magical wallop. Together they have the power to “cure” the supernaturals of the tristate area—but for many of those vampires and werewolves, that means turning into dust.

I’m Makenna Fraser, a seer for SPI. With the help of my partner, Ian, and the other agents, I have twenty-four hours to prevent total global panic, find the diamonds, and save the supernatural community. No biggie...
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million : IndieBound


The Grendel Affair
SPI Files 1
Ace, December 31, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 304 pages

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn’t exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…

When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out.

Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.

About Lisa

Photo by Jimmy Allen
Jimmy Allen Photography, Inc
Contrary to popular belief, most authors do have day jobs just like everyone else. Lisa’s happily freelancing for an advertising agency as an editor and proofreader. In her previous corporate life, she’s been a magazine editor, advertising copywriter, and writer of corporate marketing materials of every description.

Lisa is the national bestselling author of The Raine Benares novels, a series of six comedic fantasy adventures. Her second series—The SPI Files—is an urban fantasy that’s been described as Stephanie Plum meets Men in Black.

Lisa is a voracious collector of fountain pens both vintage and modern. She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her husband, three spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and enough woodland creatures to fill a Disney movie.

Website  ~   Twitter @LisaShearin  ~  Facebook  ~  Goodreads

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of The Dragon Conspiracy by Lisa Shearin from Ace. US/CANADA ONLY

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on February 10, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change without any notice.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I haven't read the Grendel Affair yet but it is on the list! I read and enjoyed Shearin's Raine Benares series so I'm sure I'll like this one.

  2. Lisa Shearin is talented and creative and I enjoyed the feature and interview greatly. What a captivating book which interests me greatly. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. The Grendel Affair was great, I loved the used of a such a classic, yet unusual for urban fantasy myth. I'm excited to pick up the sequel :).

  4. this series sounds awesome!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I'm sure the SPI Files are great, but I am SO excited for more Raine and Tam.

  6. Haven't read the series yet, but I added to my books to read. Love the interview, and thanks for the giveaway.

  7. didn't know this was a series

  8. Loved the first book, and can't wait to see what happens in this one!

  9. SPI series sounds very interesting. It is like a secret organization like X-Files.