Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Interview with Travis Luedke PLUS a cover poll for his next release

Today I'm I'm happy to host the talented and prolific author, Travis Luedke. Not only is he sharing an interview with us, he's also conducting a poll to help choose the cover of his next release! How fun is that? Be sure to leave your choice in the comment section below. Welcome, Travis! 


Thank you for taking the time to stop by Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night today.  I really appreciate your time.  Can you tell us a little bit about your coming release? 

I am actually switching gears for this novel. I typically write very adult paranormal erotic romance with thriller intensity.

But I wanted to publish something my children could read in this decade.  So an idea was born.  It’s a YA paranormal thriller called THE SHEPHERD.

Of course there will be romance, but it’s not really central to the plot.  It’s a tale set in my hometown of Moses Lake WA.

The elevator pitch:

Skate punks, kleptomaniacs, clairvoyance, and reincarnation...

Sixteen year old Mike Evans enters a dark, gritty world of mutual obsession when a homeless girl, Nadia, begins visiting him nightly.  Struggling with the tortures of high school and his clairvoyant visions of grisly death, Mike tries to avert disaster before it strikes.  But his visions have never been wrong before.

And as much as he needs a friend, Mike can no longer ignore the signs that Nadia is much more than she seems.

What inspired this novel in particular?

I read a news article about a Swedish film, “Let The Right One In.”  Inspiration struck, and I began envisioning the story of a troubled teen who is drawn into a dangerously obsessive relationship.

So, without having seen the film, which was later remade here in the US, I began writing.  A portion of my teen life and experiences poured into this tale.  So there’s definitely some reality blended in.

Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?

That would have to be Nadia/Natasha.  Though a dark and dangerous soul, Nadia retains a certain innocence, even when the truth about her is revealed.  Nadia has a vulnerability, she needs Michael for her own redemption.  He’s her one shot at a second chance.

What comes first--characters or plot ideas?

I have written my very adult Nightlife Series based on the voice and face of a character, Michelle.  So, in that instance, Michelle and all her idiosyncrasies breathed life into the story.

With THE SHEPHERD, it was the idea of a sixteen year old boy with all these issues.  The obsessive compulsive behavior of a young man trying to find his identity in a world that is not very friendly.  The tortures of high school are more than sufficient, but then you toss into the mix elements of clairvoyance, reincarnation, and the paranormal...

How important is setting? Does it play an integral role in this story?

The setting is everything to me (in this novel), because I lived in Moses Lake as a teen.  Growing up in the 80’s, the world was a very different place.  The things we got away with, it’s insane to sit and think about it.  I am lucky to be alive today.

Though the novel is set in present day, with all the electronic gadgetry that absorbs our lives, writing this story felt like stepping into a time machine.  I literally relived and experienced all that I had done as a teen, in awe of the things I had forgotten.

I was one of the kids your mother warned you about, even if I didn’t exactly look the part.

What motivates your main characters?

Mike needs to understand who he is.  As a boy raised without a mother, estranged from his father, he is navigating life alone.  He experiences visions, dream-like moments where he can see future events that will come to pass.  Mike needs to understand this curse, and find a way to stop these grisly things from happening.

Nadia needs Mike.  She needs him to redeem her soul from the darkness that has claimed her.  She needs him like an addict needs a fix.  And she will do anything to protect him.  Anything.

What is the central conflict?

This is a tale of coming of age, of acceptance, and forgiveness.  Mike has much to learn about relationships, about his friends.  And Nadia desperately needs his acceptance and forgiveness.

As a teen, I spent lots of time with teen girls, doing things we all hope and pray our own teenagers never do.  I am the worst case of “Do as I say, not as I did,” when it comes to my own teens.  But, I have those experiences to draw from, life on the edge, the whirlwind abandon of first love, and betrayal.  These are the conflicts of my young adult fiction.

And the sad truth for teens today is that many are lost, with no sense of identity.

Mike is seeking his identity as a person.

 What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? 
I can inhabit any world I choose.  I am the master of all that I survey.  I can dabble in the darkness of my soul without consequence.

And it’s pretty cool to get paid for all that.

What draws you to this particular genre?

I’ve had a love affair with macabre, horrific, perverse fiction since I was teenager.  I finally found a way to allow my inner scifi/horror/paranormal geek to bloom in the light of day.

I have been accused of being a soppy romantic, so I guess paranormal romance is my guilty pleasure.  But paranormal fiction in general is my focus.

Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?

Scifi would be my second choice beyond Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.  I actually have a science fiction novel half written.  I will probably tackle that towards the end of 2014.

What’s your goal as an author? By that, I mean...why write? Why is it important to you? 

I really enjoy telling a good story.  By the time I finish with all the edits, the cover art, I have created a work of entertainment specifically crafted for me.  Obnoxious, perverse, funny, exciting, provocative, and dark with elements of violence, sensuality, and of course, the paranormal.  I really enjoy publishing my flights of fancy.  And the fact that I can sell it, people buy it, people actually enjoy it too, that is just plain awesome.

I spent quite a few years doing many different things before I decided to start writing novels.  This is my calling.  This is what I was meant to do.

If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 

Married with children, I would go to Disneyworld, spend a couple weeks of reckless abandon, hit every single ride twice over.

But if I was single, I would go to Panama.  And if you don’t understand why Panama, then I have no business telling you about it.

Tea or coffee?

I do like tea, but nothing replaces coffee.

My perfect recipe:
1 oversized cup of strong coffee, 1 crushed starlight peppermint, 1/3 pack of hot cocoa, 2 packets of splenda, a dash of creamer.  Heaven in a cup. 

When you taste that coffee the clouds open to shine down rays of sunlight and choirs of angels sing.

Night person or early riser?

Both.  In the right company I can stay up all night long.  But when there’s books to be written and social media to be socialized, I am up at the crack of dawn.

Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself. 

I lived in Mexico for 4 years.
I cook better Mexican food than my wife.
I like my tequila straight with lime and salt.
I listen to just about every style of music EXCEPT COUNTRY.
I couldn’t catch a tan if paid me to, but I burn like white toast in about the same amount of time.

Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.

As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.

Okay, everyone, let's have some fun. Travis wants to do a cover art poll from the photos below. Let's help him choose--from left to right--1, 2, or 3. Leave your choice in the comment section!


Unknown said...

I have been leaning towards #3, simply because my wife and kids like that one the best.

But, in truth, its hard to decide, because I like them all for different reasons.

Thanks for having me here, its been fun!


Amber Lea Easton said...

I agree. My first choice is #3, my second is #1. Good luck deciding! Tough decisions.

Amber Lea Easton said...

Just checking in this morning--over 200 views in less than 24 hours, yet no votes on the cover?! C'mon...I know you all have opinions. LOL I'm checking to make sure the comment box is working! Ha. said...

First of all, great interview Amber Lea & Travis! Travis we are totally loving the direction of this new book of yours. More especially, for two authors who embrace dark themed plots and diverse characters, Nadia sounds fun as hell and layered. We have two of your books to read right now, but will most definitely be grabbing THE SHEPHERD as well! Amber, loved the question: What is your favorite aspect about being a novelist? And to you Travis...perfectly said: I can dabble in the darkness of my soul without consequence...beautifully true, and not many would admit to that. Our first book, my favorite character to write for was the most evil of the characters. There's just something so utterly perfect about being able to live out your inner thoughts and ideas through the most vilest of creatures without staining your soul! Well done guys, will be adding this one to our must read!