Thursday, January 6, 2011

Interview: Chloe Neill

Today I'm hugely excited to welcome Chloe Neill to the blog! Ms. Neill writes two of my very favorite series, the Chicagoland Vampires and the Dark Elite, and has a snarky sense of humor I can't help but adore. Her characters won me over the moment they opened their little sarcastic mouths, and I always look forward to seeing what snappy one-liners are waiting for me in between the pages. Hope you enjoy the interview!

Both Lily and Merit have very distinct, very snarky voices, have you ever found yourself losing track of them and using Merit’s voice in Lily’s world or vice versa? Or is it easy for you to slip into their heads and stay there?

Not really. Lily and Merit are very different people, and I think I am a "method" writer (like a "method" actor). Instead of trying to "sound like" Lily or Merit, I try to "be" Lily or Merit when I type. Because I have a pretty good sense of who they are, if I try to be them when I'm writing, switching between voices isn't so difficult.

The characters in the Dark Elite novels have unique gifts, do you find it more difficult to come up with the parameters of that particular power or to assign it a name?

Thanks! I actually keep a running list of powers as they occur to me, although it is difficult to sometimes match the right Adept to the right power. I enjoy coming up with names to match the powers, although with so many fantasy and magic based books out there, it can be difficult.

Though I don’t know for sure, the increased role of Sebastian in Hexbound creates the potential for a romantic triangle between him, Lily, and Jason. Why do you think love triangles are so appealing to us as readers?

I think partly we enjoy the idea of our being in the middle of a love triangle–being the object of two men's affection. And, it definitely creates an interesting conflict for readers to delve into and think about.

Your bookshelves – are they organized any particular way (alphabetized, color coordinated, etc.) or are the books just placed wherever there’s room?

Generally, they are placed where there's room, with two exceptions. My cookbooks stay near the kitchen, and my Chicago and paranormal research books stay in my office. Everything else gets lumped together. :)

When writing, how closely do you adhere to your outline? Do you stick to it precisely, or do you find a lot changes once you sit down and start creating?

I previously had a pretty detailed outline, but I found writing felt very administrative when I wrote that way. I now utilize a plot graph similar to that (allegedly) used by J.K. Rowling. You can find a sample of hers here:

I know when I’m reading, I can do so with the television on but the radio royally distracts me, are you the type of person that can read with a lot of noise or do you need absolute quiet?

It really depends. I used to write with music, but I tend to have the television on now. Usually something I've seen before–marathons are awesome. I'm writing this (and editing HARD BITTEN, the fourth Chicagoland Vampires novel) while watching a CSI marathon.

If you could choose between Merit’s strength and skill with a katana or Lily’s control of Firespell, which would you choose?

Oh, interesting question. I'd probably go with FIRESPELL, because I think it would be fascinating to figure out all the various ways the power could be used.

Were there any alternate titles for either Hexbound or Firespell you can share with us?

Actually, FIRESPELL was the first and only title, which is a miracle! My editor and I tend to go through LOTS of titles before picking a winner. I don't recall the pre-HEXBOUND titles, although I know there were a number.

Do you find subsequent books in a series easier to write because the world is already established, or more difficult because you need to keep readers interested in a world with which they are already familiar?

I think they're much easier to write because you don't have to introduce the main characters to magic. Both Lily and Merit were mostly unaware of their various magical worlds, so FIRESPELL, for example, involved a lot of hinting to Lily that magic existed so she could figure it out later.

Can you give us one trait either Lily or Merit possess that you wish you did? One you’re glad you don’t?

They are both really brave, which I appreciate. I'm not sure I'd have handled their respective situations as well as they did. I'm really glad not to be in high school like Lily. Does that count? :)

Thanks for having me today!

Thanks so much for stopping by Chloe! If you haven't had the chance to read either of these series, drop what you're doing immediately and give them a try, you won't be disappointed! There is a third book in the Dark Elite series under contract, but no release date as of yet. Good news on the Chicagoland Vampire front however, we get not one, but TWO Merit and Ethan books this year. YAY! Hard Bitten releases May 3rd, and Drink Deep releases in November. For more information on Chloe and her books you can find her here:


HEXBOUND (from Goodreads):

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend…or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…


  1. Not allegedly. J. K. Rowling did post that graph on her site as part of one of her hidden Easter Egg hunts a few years back. I assure you I remember it well.
    Two more series that I'm adding to my TBR list!

  2. I haven't read either yet, but I am waiting for Some Girls Bite to arrive any day.

    I am really excited from all the talk I have heard.

  3. You're so evil Jenny giving me two more series I must now start reading :P

  4. Great interview. I was really into Firespell and had a great time dong the review, so I am quite anxious to read Hexbound. I loved the questions about Neill's characters and knowing that for her they a so distinct that she can jump between each one as she writes without problems.

  5. Great interview. I think Chloe Neill's answer about love triangles is so right. What girl doesn't want two gorgeous guys chasing her!

    Haven't read Firespell but I did enjoy Chicagoland Vampires series. Must try this series :)

  6. Thanks for this interview! I love the Dark Elite series! Her writing is awesome. I will have to start reading her Chicagoland Vampire series.

  7. I'm reading Firespell right now and loving it. I have Hexbound from a book tour so hopefully I can start it tonight. :)

  8. Wow...I love her answers! I wish I could use an awesome plot graph when I write haha I'm much too lazy. I absolutely must read her work now...I can't believe I haven't! Great interview, Jenny :)

  9. Aylee - I knew I would be able to rely on you to know some JK Rowling information, thanks for sharing!

    BLHmistress - I love Merit and Ethan, they are one of my all time favorite couples, I hope you like Some Girls Bite!

    Zahida - YES! Read them, you'll like them (I hope:)

    Jan - I quite enjoyed Firespell as well, I just love her style of writing:)

    Nic - I know I wouldn't mind if two boys were chasing me. Hubs might mind, but I think I would enjoy it;)

    Savy - You should definitely read Merit and Ethan, you would love them!

    Michelle - Can't wait to see what you think of Firespell once your done! I have Hexbound waiting for me, can't wait to start it this weekend:)

    Melissa - I think I would be too lazy to do the graph too. Of course, I'm too lazy to write a book in general so that doesn't really even apply to me:)

  10. I didn't know that Chloe had also written YA books. I need to read more Chicagoland and the YA series!

    That plot graph is crazy details. I'm too lazy to do that.

  11. Wonderful interview. I have yet to read any books by Chloe Neill, which is something I seriously need to do. I love the sound of a sarcastic female character. I'll definitely get Firespell next time.

  12. I'm totally up for dropping what I'm doing to get lost in this series. Don't know why I haven't yet. *be's full of fail*

    I have to say, that plot graph looks crazy! But obviously it works. And method writing...very cool! It must be fun to completely give yourself over to your characters.

    I could totally read with the TV on, but not the radio. Though if a CSI or Buffy marathon was on, I wouldn't be able to resist watching. LOL

    Fantastic interview! Lily and Merit sound like the kind of gals you'd want to have as Besties.

  13. I just finished reading Firespell and soon going to pick up her Chicagoland series :D

    Great interview :)

  14. Alison - Yes! Firespell was fun:) I'm partial to Ethan and Merit, but that could be because there are more books featuring to I know that world better than the Dark Elite world. I'm looking forward to Hexbound though!

    Adriana - Thanks! I think you'd really like them:)

    Missie - You would be a fan of Merit I think. She's got sass and I would totally want to be her friend if she were real.

    Catherine - I love Merit and Ethan, if you liked Firespell, you'll love the Chicagoland vamps!

  15. Awesome interview! I can't wait to start reading these series!

  16. Oh such a great interview! I wonder how much of CSI influenced the book or if it was just nice for the background. :) I need to delve into those Chicagoland vamps. Oh yes I do!!

  17. Haha oh my gosh, I need to stop coming to your blog - I keep finding such great series to read. :) (Yeah right, you couldn't get me to leave even if you PAID me!).

    This was a wonderful interview! I now have a new series I need to read. :3

  18. Carissa - I think you're going to be a Merit and Ethan fan, watch out, they're addicting:)

    Melissa - Thanks! I <3 the Chicagoland Vampires, I'm so excited we get 2 books this year!

    Kristina - Just a little payback for all the brilliant books I find on yours:)

  19. I can't believe I haven't read any of Chloe Neill's books! I have all of them on my wishlist though. There are so many books I want to read and the TBR just keeps increasing.
    Wonderful interview, btw! I never knew that info about JK Rowling even though I am a crazy HP fan :)

  20. Chloe Neill is by far one of my favorites writers ... I love the Chicagoland Vampires series, can't wait until Hard Bitten <3. Thanks for this wonderful interview.

  21. Misha - They're fabulous! I started with the Chicagoland Vamps and got hooked on Chloe Neill from there:)

    Jessica - Mine too! I'm counting the days until May 3rd:)

  22. Nice interview, I just ordered Hexbound so hopefully I can read it soon.

  23. Just wanted to say that this was a great interview! I can't wait for Hexbound to come out. Chloe Neill is one of my favorite writers. :)

  24. Must get my hands on "The Dark Elite" series! Not only are the covers beautiful, but the stories sound pretty fantab too!