Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Interview with Linda Grimes, author of the Ciel Halligan series

Please welcome Linda Grimes to The Qwillery. All Fixed Up, the 4th Ciel Halligan novel, is published on May 24th by Tor Books. Please join The Qwillery in wishing Linda a Happy Publication Day!

TQWelcome back to The Qwillery. Your new novel, All Fixed Up (Ciel Halligan 4), is published on May 24th. Has your writing process changed (or not) from when you wrote In a Fix (Ciel Halligan 1) to All Fixed Up? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Linda:  Thank you for inviting me back. My gut reaction is to say my writing process hasn’t changed a bit, but if I’m honest, it has, at least when I’m working on the Ciel books. I can’t create the main characters on the fly anymore, like I did for In a Fix. They’ve developed complete personalities, and I have to stay true to them. Which isn’t to say the characters haven’t evolved over the course of the books, because they have. But it requires a little more planning now to make sure any surprises my subconscious pops up with will be credible within the basic framework of the personalities already established.

The most challenging thing for me about writing is putting it first. When you lead a busy life (and who doesn’t these days?), it’s too easy to put off writing that next chapter in favor of more “pressing” concerns. I’ve had to train myself to write under hectic and/or stressful conditions, at least part of the time, or I’d never get a book finished.

TQWhat do you wish that you knew about book publishing when In a Fix came out that you know now?

Linda:  That sexy cabana boys who bring you fruity umbrella drinks while you work do not automatically appear when an editor buys your book. I was so looking forward to that part.

But seriously, it might have been nice to know how much of a writer’s job is spent not writing books. There’s also maintaining a social media presence and book promo, like book signings, conferences, festivals, etc. Don’t me wrong—that part of it is definitely a lot of fun, and it’s fantastic to connect with readers, but it can really pull you away from the book you’re supposed to be writing. So, I suppose I wish I’d known how much I would have to budget my time. You know, so I could practice.

TQWhich character in the Ciel Halligan series (so far) surprised you the most? Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Linda:  Ciel herself surprised the heck out of me in In a Fix. When I started the book, I thought her sights were set squarely on Mark, but the more she interacted with Billy, the more I could see her attention might be divided. Also, I hadn’t thought she would be so…um, let’s just say “romantically inexperienced”…when I started the series. Her learning the ins and outs (no pun intended—well, much) of relationships with men is part of what makes her character so much fun to write.

The hardest character to write has been Mark, the adaptor CIA operative. He’s been every bit as secretive as you’d expect a spook to be, even with me sometimes. But that’s okay—I enjoy a challenge.

TQThe Ciel Halligan series is romantic Urban Fantasy. What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?

Linda:  I love the fact that UF allows me to take the characters—and plots—places it might not otherwise be feasible for them to go. If I can imagine it, I can find a way to make it happen, logically, within the framework of the UF world I’ve created. Now, that’s freedom.

TQTell us something about All Fixed Up that is not found in the book description.

Linda:  It’s set during the Christmas holidays, and “Santa” might be a bit naughty himself. ;) Also, there are seven cats that are named after Snow White’s dwarfs. (Really. Would I kid about something like that?)

TQWhy have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in All Fixed Up?

Linda:  I never consciously choose to—or not to—include social issues in my books. The characters are either affected by them during the course of a particular book or they’re not; all I do is try to tell the story that comes to me as honestly as I can.

TQWhich question about All Fixed Up or the Ciel Halligan series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Linda:  I wish a big Hollywood production company would ask me “How much do you want for the television rights?” To which I would reply “As much as my agent can squeeze out of you!” (Alas, no takers yet. But maybe someday!)

TQPlease give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from All Fixed Up.


“I sighed again, unsure if having a boyfriend was even good for me. It might be like coffee—something that perks you up and makes you feel sooo good, but then you get addicted, and the next thing you know you’re in pain when it isn’t available.” ~Ciel

“Yeah? Come here so I can rip your bodice. Now, wench! I’ve been waiting. If you’d been any longer, I might have been forced to start without you.” ~Billy

TQWhat's next?

Linda:  Don’t tell Ciel, but right now I’m working on a couple of secret projects. (I can’t say more than that, for fear of jinxing them. Yes, I’m that superstitious.) I love Ciel and the gang, and I’m not done with them yet, but there are other characters in my head clamoring for their stories to be told, too.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Linda:  Thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure to visit.

All Fixed Up
Ciel Halligan 4
Tor Books, May 24, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients--as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She's hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program...when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she's supposed to be, but means her harm.

When Ciel's elderly Aunt Helen—also an aura adaptor—is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated ... and it's starting to look like she's the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she's left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.

Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.

About Linda

LINDA GRIMES is a former English teacher and ex-actress now channeling her love of words and drama into writing. She grew up in Texas and currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband.

Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win copies of the four Ciel Halligan novels - In a Fix, Quick Fix, The Big Fix, and All Fixed Up - by Linda Grimes from the publisher. 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 June 3, 2016. 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


In a Fix
Ciel Halligan 1
Tor Fantasy, June 4, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, September 4, 2012

IN A FIX is the first of an original new urban fantasy series by LINDA GRIMES starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan.

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she's able to take on her clients' appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don't want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable...that is, until Ciel's island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client's about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she's been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client's intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

Quick Fix
Ciel Halligan 2
Tor Books, March 31, 2015
Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Trade Paperback and eBook, August 20, 2013

Quick Fix is the second installment in Linda Grimes's original urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan.

Ciel Halligan, an aura adaptor with a chameleon-like ability to step into the lives of her clients and fix their problems for them—as them—is working a job at the National Zoo with her boyfriend, Billy, and his ten-year-old sister, Molly. It's supposed to be a quick fix, giving her time to decide if it's wise to pursue the romantic relationship her charming scoundrel of a best friend wants, or if she should give Mark, the CIA spook she's crushed on since hormones first rattled her pubescent brain, a chance to step up to the plate.

Molly has already begun to show signs of being an adaptor herself. She's young for it, but she's always been precocious, so it's not impossible. What is impossible is her taking on the form of the baby orangutan she touches—adaptors can only project human auras. Until now, apparently. Worse, Molly is stuck in ape form. She can't change herself back.

Escaping from the zoo with their new baby orang, Ciel and Billy head for New York City and the only person they know can help: Ciel's brother James, a non-adaptor scientist who's determined to crack the aura adaptor genetic code. But when Billy winds up in jail, accused of attempted murder, Ciel begins to suspect Molly's unusual adapting ability is more than just a fluke. Who's been experimenting on Molly, and what do they hope to gain? And will Ciel survive to find out?

A Ciel Halligan Short Story
Tor Books, March 31, 2015
e-Book, 32 pages

Meet Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, in this charming introduction to Linda Grimes' "sparkling series" (Publishers Weekly).

A genetic quirk means Ciel can take on the appearance of anyone she meets by projecting their aura. This startling ability presents endless possibilities, and she's one of a rare few who has you'd think it'd be easier finding a day job that lets her put it to use. Actress? Model? Ethically dubious and possibly criminal activities, like her best friend Billy? Ciel's long-time crush and fellow aura adaptor, Mark, has found his calling as a CIA agent-a life of intrigue, danger, and the perfect utilization of their rather unique skill set. It seems like the obvious choice to Ciel: She could do good and spend time with her crush. What could be better?

"Seamlessly blending humor and action...This deliciously sexy and fun-filled romp simply is a must-read."-RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick! on In a Fix

The Big Fix
Ciel Halligan 3
Tor Books, May 12, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 320 pages

Linda Grimes's sexy and hilarious urban fantasy series that began with In a Fix and Quick Fix continues in The Big Fix.

Aura adaptor extraordinaire Ciel Halligan, who uses her chameleon-like abilities to fix her clients' problems—as them—is filling in on set for action superstar Jackson Gunn, whose snake phobia is standing in the way of his completing his latest mega-millions Hollywood blockbuster. There's only one thing Jack fears more than snakes, and that's the possibility of his fans finding out he screams at the sight of one. Going from hero to laughing stock isn't part of his career plan.

Seems like a simple enough job to Ciel, who doesn't particularly like snakes, but figures she can tolerate an afternoon with them, for the right price—which Jack is offering, and then some. What she doesn't count on is finding out that while she was busy wrangling snakes for him, his wife was busy getting killed. When Ciel goes to break the sad news to the star, she finds out Jack was AWOL from her client hideaway at the time of the murder.

Ciel begins to suspect Jack's phobia was phony, and that he only hired her to provide him with an alibi—but if she goes to the police, she'll have to explain how she knows he wasn't really on set. Up against a wall, Ciel calls on her best-friend-turned-love-interest Billy, and her not-so-ex-crush Mark, to help her set up the sting of a lifetime.


  1. Great interview! All Fixed Up sounds like it has the most tense plot yet...aura adapters being hunted! I'm looking forward to Ciels newest adventure.

    1. Hi, Laura! Oh, trust me, there is all kinds of tension in the latest (take that as you will). Hope you enjoy it. :)

    2. I'm so looking forward to it...and to all types of tension!! ;)

  2. Enjoyable post. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway.

  3. Would love to win the giveaway, thanks for hang it! ;)

  4. Would love to win the giveaway, thanks for hang it! ;)

  5. Would live to win this, thanks for having the giveaway! Cari

  6. Every book in the series is better than the last. Grimes knows what she's doing and we, as her readers, can only hang on for the ride.

  7. The first book in this series has been on my to read list for a bit now but I think I'll have to move it up the list now. Thanks!