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Friday, August 19, 2005

Guest Blogger: Liz Maverick Talks About Crimson City

My guest blogger today is the very talented and funny Liz Maverick, creator of the Crimson City series. Liz is a world traveler, novelist, freelance travel writer, and odd-jobs specialist whose contract assignments have taken her around the globe. She's driven trucks in Antarctica, attended university in the New Territories of Hong Kong, and worked on reality TV shows in California.

Liz writes women's fiction comedy for Penguin Putnam's NAL imprint and futuristic/paranormal action romance for Dorchester and Red Sage. She's also been a finalist in the National Readers' Choice Awards, the PRISM Awards, the Daphne Awards among others.

Now, here's Liz to talk about Crimson City and other stuff.

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So, I just flew in from L.A....and, boy, are my arms tired. No, seriously folks. It's great to be here, guesting on Patti's blog. I asked Patti what she thought I ought to blog about and she nixed The Bikini Wax, Part II in favor of some comments about Crimson City. Okay, fine. But I tell ya, you are missing out on some hilarious material.

I'm in the middle of writing Crimson Rogue, the final book in the series. Well, final is a relative concept. Who knows. There could be more Crimson books. But CR is the final book in the multi-author arc. Crimson City was about Dain Reston (human) and Fleur Dumont (vampire). One of the secondary characters was the jaded, slightly freaked out by demons, apparently drug-addicted bad-ass, Cydney Brighton. And somehow my editor decided to let me make her into the heroine of the CR. Which I thought was awfully nice of him, frankly, since romance heroines aren't supposed to be quite such big messes and all.

But it got me thinking about why I'm drawn to such characters. This isn't the first time I've dabbled in the gritty before. The Shadow Runners featured an ex-convict heroine. And there was the matter of those really delusional Australians who thought they were living in the English Regency when actually there were living in the future. And, of course, there's the world of Crimson City itself which has some deliciously seedy elements. And for some reason, I just love it. I love the dramatic possibility of it all. I love the bad-asses, the troubled souls, the people who are at war with both good and evil...

I'm actually a huge historical reader and two of my favorites feature heroes who come from the lower echelons of society. One is Judith Ivory's The Proposition and the other is by Lisa Kleypas. The name of the book escapes me at the moment, but his name doesn't: Derek Craven. Craven is actually a minor character in Then Came You before he gets his own book. Frankly, I think he stole the book and ran with it. (Bonus fact: Historical regencies are still my favorite romance genre to read, and Dain Reston is named in an homage to the hero of Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, my all time favorite romance novel.)

In any case, the Crimson City series indulges my taste for the dramatic flair of the gritty side of things, where people aren't always nice and don't always say appropriate things and sometimes punch the lights out of other people when you least expect it (*wink*) and somehow people manage to fall wildly in love anyway. That element is represented by the werewolf society and the underground world of informants, traitors, and rogues. What's also interesting is that the vampire world indulges my taste for the extravagance in the historicals I love so much.

I guess when I created the world of Crimson City, I subconsciously gathered elements of the things I loved most about the books I was reading along with elements I wanted to read about and couldn't find at all. And this would explain the three very different strata of Crimson City plus the demon underworld.

It's pretty damn cool, I tell ya. And when you add authors like the uber-talented Patti O'Shea to the mix, it makes the Crimson City world that much richer.

I hope you enjoy reading these as much we all enjoyed bringing them to life.