Chloe Neill has graciously agreed to meet me, Doll Believer, at a 24 hour pancake place down the street from Cadogan House on the eve of the launch of Drink Deep the 6th novel in the Chicagoland Vampires Series. I have just ordered a Dutch Baby Apple Pancake that the waitress assures me is a genuine part of the Chicago experience when I see Chloe walk in. I wonder if she brought SHH with her?
CN: Fall is on its way. There’s a bite in the air tonight! It’s “Biting Cold,” you might say, har har.
BLVR: Thanks for meeting me! Can I get you anything? Want some of my Dutch Baby?
CN: You’re welcome. Yes, please. I’ve always wanted to try one of those. And a Diet Coke. It’s my weakness.
BLVR: Your Super Hot Boyfriend is now your Super Hot Husband! In this day and age – writers are under a lot of pressure to interact with their fans via websites, signings, conventions, tv, twitter, facebook and you tube. What does SHH think of your fame, your fans and your work?
CN: Yay! He is very patient with me, and has a great attitude about the books, the signings and everything else. I think he generally gets a kick out of it.
BLVR: How does SHH feel about your fascination with Beckham? Any issues there? Have you gotten any hate tweets from Posh?
CN: He accepts it, just like I accept his fascination with Felicia Day. J And no hate tweets from Posh. But why should she? I’m giving her man some great press.
A GINORMOUS cake covered in apples and powdered sugar is placed right in front of me by the ever perky waitress. My jaw literally hits the floor and Chloe is trying (unsuccessfully) to hold back a laugh. I’m gonna need a lot more coffee.
CN: Please bring me the largest Diet Coke you can find. And then a chaser of Diet Coke. And a fork, please.
BLVR: In describing Merit’s character I am struck by Merit’s strength. She has been profoundly betrayed and manipulated throughout her young life by her father. In Hard Bitten you reveal that it was her father’s ambition to have a personal connection to the Supe world of Chicago that ultimately led to her being turned. You have written quite a few scenes with Joshua Merit allowing us the opportunity to see him in action. I’m curious though about Merit’s mother, Meredith. What role did Meredith play in Merit’s upbringing? Does she even care about Merit?
CN – *Frowning, and gnawing her lip in concentration* I wouldn’t say Meredith betrayed Merit, but Meredith definitely believed her loyalties were to her husband, and only secondarily to her children. And Merit really was the odd one out—the other children adjusted to their fancy lifestyle a lot better. In her position, if the majority of your children are well-adjusted, wouldn’t you just assume the problem was with the odd child?
BLVR: You know in college, I took Psych 101 and they had this case called an Electra Complex. Not that I’m saying that Merit wants to kill her Mom so she can be with her Dad. *Chloe’s expression lets me know that I have officially crossed over into the Crazy Interviewer mode. Okay – that was stupid! I start shuffling my index cards looking for the next question before Chloe decides to run away.*
CN: She definitely would not want to be with her dad—or a man like her dad. She respects men with authority, but only if that authority is balanced by a strong sense of right and wrong and the value of the individual, not just money.
BLVR: Luc strikes me as the type of person where what you see is what you get. But Lindsay is a puzzle. Why is Lindsay so reluctant to give this relationship a chance?
CN: I think it’s fear, mostly. She’s known Luc for a long time, and she’s worked with him for a long time, and she doesn’t want to risk either of those relationships.
BLVR: The Chicagoland Series is at heart Merit’s story. When we meet Merit she is a fairly reclusive book worm happy to be lost in the stacks of books dedicated to the past. By the time we encounter Merit in Drink Deep, she is a martial arts master in a leadership position deeply involved in politics and intrigue. What is the message you want your readers to take away from this character’s development?
CN: Hmm. Interesting question. When I started writing Some Girls Bite, the key feeling I had about Merit was her sense of surprise—that she would be thrown into this world, and she’d turn out to be pretty good at it. But both she—and the others who knew her—would be surprised she was good at it. I think we would all love the chance to surprise people, for them (and us) to learn that we can do more than we thought. I hope readers know that they can be those surprising girls.
By now – I’ve given up on trying to finish the monstrosity I ordered and am instead trying to gather the courage to bring up the next question. If Chloe didn’t hate me before – she will now.
BLVR: It is fair to say that Merit is a woman with few friends. She is not a social butterfly in fact you make a point of that when you have Ethan put her in charge of social functions for Cadogan House. Is Merit anti-social? *I Arch my brow trying to achieve a wise Barbara Walters look.*
CN: I am not intimidated! Okay, maybe a little intimidated. In any event, Merit is absolutely anti-social. Or maybe introverted would be a better word. Some people relax by hanging out with others; she relaxes by being alone. Very much like me.
BLVR: You began writing in 2005 and have written two series in two different genres and 10 books in 6 years. If the Muse gave you carte blanche and guaranteed it would be a success – what genre or project would you try your hand at?
CN: I have some darker YA ideas in mind that I’d really like to work on. I also have two other adult supernatural series I’d love to write. I have a day job, so it’s mostly a matter of finding the time.
*Chloe looks at her watch and gives me a smile.*
CN: Sorry B but I’ve got to run! SHH and the dogs are waiting for me back at the house.
BLVR: Thanks so much for meeting me Chloe! We wish you and SHH all the best and look forward to reading Biting Cold.
CN: Thank you so much! It was a pleasure, and I hope folks have a chance to check out DRINK DEEP!
BLVR: Thank you Chloe, Congratulations on the new book and handsome hubby!
This interview also appears on http://paperbackdolls.com/?p=7795