Larissa, thank you so much for joining us at Hooked On Romance! We are so excited to have you here as our first USA Today Bestselling Author. Congratulations on hitting that list so recently!


Can you tell us a little about your journey? How long did it take you from the sale of your first book to now?


Thanks for the welcome and the congratulations! I’m happy to be here! Let’s see....to answer your question, well, I sold my first story to Red Sage almost 3 years ago, so...almost three years! Sales to Bantam Dell and then Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing) followed months after that. The first book in my Demonica series sold 2 1/2 years ago.


WOW! 10 books sales and releases and making it to the USA Today Bestseller list, where you’ve been for 2 weeks now, in 3 years is astonishing and inspirational to all authors!



You have such sexy covers for your books. How much input does your publisher ask you for before they work on the cover concepts?


I have to say, Grand Central Publishing is FABULOUS when it comes to asking for input! They ask for character descriptions, of course, and for special touches...for example, the chains on DESIRE UNCHAINED, and the necklace on the heroine of PASSION UNLEASHED. They even asked about clothes. I just love them!



I have both of your Demonica books, PLEASURE UNBOUND and DESIRE UNCHAINED sitting here on my desk begging for me to read them. I will be digging into them as soon as I strike off a few more tasks on the To Do List. Can you give everyone some insight into how these books came to be? Where did you get the idea and inspiration for them?


Well, one day while I was watching an episode of Angel, I was struck by an idea when Angel (a vampire, for anyone unfamiliar with the brilliant Joss Whedon show,) was badly injured. He needed to go to a hospital, but, well, he was a vampire. I’ve always had a love of the paranormal and of emergency medicine — in fact, I actually went to school to become an emergency medical technician — so an intriguing idea came to me. What if there was a hospital created just for supernatural beings who need help? And what if it was run by other supernatural beings? I immediately started working up the idea, populating the world and building the medical center, and within a week, Underworld General Hospital, and the Demonica series, was born!



You also write as Sydney Croft (and) with Stephanie Tyler. Can you tell us what it’s like for you to manage the demands of different personalities? What made you choose to take multiple names and what can readers expect from your different personalities?


You know strangely, managing the different personalities isn’t all that difficult as far as writing goes. It’s easy to switch “voices.” My Ione voice/writing is rather dark and detailed, while the Croft voice is lighter, less detailed, and a little more over-the-top.


The reason we took multiple names is that when Stephanie and I sold the Croft ACRO series, our publisher, Random House, wanted one unifying name instead of two. So we agonized for days over names until we finally came up with Sydney Croft, which is a combination of Sydney Bristow (Alias) and Lara Croft (Tomb Raider). A perfect name, since our Sydney Croft books are action-adventure mixed with suspense, paranormal, and science-fiction. Oh, and a liberal helping of erotic romance.

The Ione personality is just as bold, but much darker and grittier. The bad guys are REALLY bad, and the good guys can be pretty bad too. *g*




Now for fun, and this may be a tough question, if you were a color of nail polish what would you be? What would your color say about you?


I’d be dried-blood red. Doesn’t that sound nice? *g* No idea what it says about me, except that I’m incapable of coming up with a pleasant-sounding name for it, like Burgundy Dreams or something frilly. Oh, no, tell it like it is: dried-blood red.




And finally, do you have an excerpt from your next book that you can share with us? I hear that it’s going to be fabulous!!


You totally know how to butter me up! :) Okay, here’s a brief excerpt from PASSION UNLEASHED, which is Wraith’s book, and the third in the Demonica series:


As Wraith watched Serena flee down the hall, his body buzzed like he'd eaten a junkie, only this was way better. This was the really good shit running through a Wall Street executive or Hollywood star's veins. So, yeah, better...and worse. Because he wasn't going to be able to satisfy his body's needs. Not yet. What he'd assumed would be a smash and grab with Serena was turning out to be anything but. Although she sure as hell seemed to be affected by the incubus fuck-me pheromones that came standard-issue in his species, he had a feeling the poison was affecting their potency. Which sucked.


On the other hand, the toxin was also allowing him to get turned on without feeling the irreversible, driving need to have sex or suffer, which was always a concern for his breed. Seminus demons couldn't relieve their lust by their own hand, and once they were aroused, their lust must be slaked, or they'd suffer intense agony or even death.


Gods, she had fire. Fire and fight and she might very well be his match in every way. But his life was on the line, and he was going to fight until he won. Her resolve was strong, but with the Grim Reaper -- or one of his griminions -- on his heels, Wraith's resolve was just as strong. And right now, he had to make sure she believed he could be with her because he wanted to be with her, not because he wanted to pop her cherry.


Still, it was becoming clear that being sweet and charming wasn't going to work, not only because it just wasn't him, but because she didn't believe he was a choir boy. He'd have to be himself as much as possible if this had a shot in hell of working.


He just had to get through this without letting himself get attached, which shouldn't be a problem. The ability to care about anyone or anything had been tortured out of him long ago.


Sure, he'd reluctantly admit to caring for his brothers, and his mates-in-law weren't total wenches. And then there was Gem, who was pretty cool for being half human, but to say he actually cared about her...that would be an exaggeration. He continued to watch Serena as she let herself into her room. Wraith had no idea what was going through her head, but he knew what was pinging around in his. He'd enjoyed that kiss, and he wanted to kiss her again. He tried to tell himself the desire to do so came from necessity, the need to seduce her, but if that was true, why did his breath come a little faster and hotter in his throat when she turned to glare at him one last time?


He held her gaze, and even across the distance she got the message, the flare of her eyes giving her away as she caught his silent declaration of intent. Tomorrow, she was his.




I’ve read the Wraith excerpts you dole out and can hardly wait to sink into the book.

DESIRE UNCHAINED rocked the sales, and I’ll cross my fingers for PASSION UNLEASHED to do the same. I know that I’ll be doing my part to contribute to the sales. As a tip for our readers wanting to know how an author hits a bestselling list and what they can do to help, here is information on how USA Today compiles their best seller list.


From their website: "
USA Today calculates a list of 300 best-selling books each week. The first 50 are published in the newspaper, and the top 150 are available online. USA TODAY's list is based on a computer analysis of retail sales nationwide last week. Included are more than 1.5 million volumes from about 4,700 independent, chain, discount and online booksellers.


Reporting stores include: Amazon.com, B. Dalton Bookseller, Barnes & Noble.com, Barnes & Noble Inc., Books-A-Million.com, Books-A-Million and Bookland, Borders Books & Music, Bookstar, Bookstop, Brentano's, Davis Kidd Booksellers (Nashville, Jackson, Memphis in Tenn.), Doubleday Book Shops, Hudson Booksellers, Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington, Ky.; Cincinnati, Cleveland), Powell's Books (Portland, Ore.), Powells.com, R.J. Julia Booksellers (Madison, Conn.), Schuler Books & Music (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Target, Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver), Waldenbooks."

Note: USA Today ranks books in order of sales regardless of whether they are fiction or non-fiction, hardcover or paperback. If you can wait to buy a new book after its official release date then it does help that author’s chances of making the list.


So with that in mind, mark you calendars for TUESDAY, MARCH 31ST as the day to hit your local bookstores for Larissa’s latest book PASSION UNLEASHED!


For some fun, we’re doing a contest! The prize will be an autographed, winner’s choice of any Larissa Ione or Sydney Croft back listed book. The winner will be announced here on tomorrow’s blog (and yes, I’ll even notify them by email.)


To be entered in the contest, email the answer to this question to me at nikki@nikkiduncan.com. “What names did Larissa want her dogs to have?” I’ll give you a hint: www.LarissaIone.com.


In the meantime, Larissa will be with us throughout the day so chat it up! Pick her brain if you dare, but beware that she could go places others may not. I mean come on, you read her nail polish color. LOL


Larissa, thanks again for being here! I can’t begin to say how much fun it’s been getting to know you.

Naughty Nikki

Comments (25)

On March 12, 2009 at 10:41 AM , Rhonda said...

Hi! Great interview and excerpt - I can't wait for 3/31 and they better have Wraith on the shelves on time! I just finished Desire Unchained. It'll knock your socks off!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 11:05 AM , Jax Cassidy said...

Love love the nail polish color! And I love love your writing Larissa! Thanks for letting us interview you. I'm so thrilled that you hit the list and with your wonderful worldbuilding, I can't wait to get all your Demonica series books!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM , Billi Jean said...

Love the world building too! What a unique and believable hospital you've got rocking on your books! Just love the way I can sink in the book and feel what's up with everything! Can't wait for the next fix on 3/31!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM , lillie_80 said...

Great interview! And thanks for another excerpt. I can't wait for Wraith! 19 more days!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM , Larissa Ione said...

Thanks, everyone! Sorry so late getting here -- I had to run to PO this morning, and then go shopping. Man, I HATE grocery shopping!!!!

HoR ladies, thank you so much for having me, and Nikki, that was the most WONDERFUL post. Thank you!

Now I need to go post this on my blog! :)

 
On March 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM , Bonnie H. said...

Thank you for sharing with us!! I'm uber anxious to read your books because, no kidding, everyone I know who is a fan of paranormals is oohing and aahing over them!! I can't wait.

 
On March 12, 2009 at 2:22 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Larissa, it's great to have you here. And in case anyone here doesn't already know, you can chat with Larissa regularly at the writeminded yahoo group. Go here to join: http://groups.yahoo.com/adultconf?dest=%2Fgroup%2Fwriteminded_readers%2F.

 
On March 12, 2009 at 2:24 PM , Jamie Leigh Hansen said...

Hi Larissa,
It was great meeting you at National. Since then, I've bought read the first book and am looking forward to the second. I wish I could've gotten a signed copy when I had a chance. :) Your nail polish sounds perfect for me! lol Congratulations on the USA Today list. That's a wonderful accomplishment.

 
On March 12, 2009 at 3:25 PM , Joy said...

PASSION UNLEASHED!

There will be rage unleashed if I dont get this book on 3/31. It is rare that a book will not only pull me in immediately BUT keep me engrossed all the way through.

This series has me crazed for the next installment

 
On March 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Wow! Such high praise, Joy!

Hi, Jamie!

Hey everyone, I've gotten a few emails for Larissa's contest! Be sure to play along because you don't want to miss out on these books!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 3:38 PM , Willa said...

*waving to Larissa*


I was wondering (as you do!) what method do you use to keep the worldbuilding/rules straight as you carry on with the series and especially as you write other books too?

And . . and did you have to tweek Wraith's book when you got the go-ahead for 2 more books in the series?

 
On March 12, 2009 at 5:05 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Hey guys! I wanted to let you know that in April, Larissa will be releasing a Sydney Croft book. It's Taming The Fire, and it has a super hot cover. Be sure to check that one out too.

The direct link to the book is http://www.sydneycroft.com/books/index.php#next

 
On March 12, 2009 at 5:13 PM , Larissa Ione said...

Okay, now that I have a few minutes, I can actually sit down and say hi to everyone!

Rhonda, you crack me up! And I'm glad you liked DU!!!

*waving to Jax* Hey, girl!!! You going to be at RT this year? I need a wine drinking buddy! *g*

Thank you, Billi Jean! Hope you like Wraith's story!

Nikki, thank you again for everything. You totally rock.

Lillie, I'm counting down the days too! LOL

Bonnie, you just gave me the biggest smile of the day!

Hi Jamie! Good to see you! LOVE your books! I know I gushed all over you at RWA, but there's no such thing as too much gushing. *g*

Joy!!!!! Am laughing! I think your unleashed rage might scare me, though!

Hi Willa!!!! Always love seeing you! Let's see..keeping things straight...well, a lot of it is in my head, but I do keep notes, which are what turned into the Demonica Compendium that will be in the back of Wraith's book. Double-edged sword, that, because now readers will be able to catch all my goofs!

And yes, I did have to do some tweakage when I sold books 4 and 5. I had completely finished book 3 and had handed it in when my editor approached me with an opportunity for more books. Fortunately, I had done a teeny bit of secret planning in anticipation of being able to write more, so although the main and subplots were to entwined to change, I was able to rework one of the other subplots to allow for book 4. It was kind of fun, actually!

 
On March 12, 2009 at 5:20 PM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

So, Larissa are you saying there will be more Demonica books?

 
On March 12, 2009 at 7:11 PM , Jane said...

Congrats on the upcoming release, Larissa. Hard to believe "Passion Unleashed" is releasing in a couple weeks.

 
On March 12, 2009 at 7:48 PM , Melissa said...

Great interview...and now I'm going to have to read your Sydney Croft books. I just discovered the Demons, which I love....where to start w/ the Croft books? Are they connected?

 
On March 12, 2009 at 7:51 PM , Lisa F. said...

Great interview! Thanks for the excerpt, can't wait to read more.

I'm so excited that Wraith's book is coming out in a couple of weeks. I know I'll be at the bookstore as soon as it opens to get my copy.

 
On March 12, 2009 at 7:53 PM , Bonnie Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
On March 12, 2009 at 7:58 PM , Bonnie Ferguson said...

Thanks for the fabulous interview!

Larissa,
Are there any hints you can give us about upcoming plotlines in the Demonica series? }:)

 
On March 13, 2009 at 1:52 AM , Anonymous said...

nice entered wow that was tought fining taht answer

congrats on the books

 
On March 13, 2009 at 9:16 AM , Brandy W said...

Larissa you've been on the brain today that's for sure. I'm waiting for the last book before I start the Demonica books. That way I don't have to wait and I'll be a happy reader. I hope no one needs anything from me during that time.

 
On March 13, 2009 at 11:28 AM , Melissa said...

Ordered the first Sydney Croft book from Amazon last night. I can't wait to read it, you've whetted my appetite.

 
On March 13, 2009 at 11:40 AM , Naughty Nikki Duncan said...

Melissa, what can I say? You have flawlessly fallen prey to our plan. LOL I hope you enjoy the book.

I'm glad everyone enjoyed the interview with Larissa. She's a lot of fun to get to know, and I can hardly wait to meet her in person.

Now, what you've all been waiting for, the winner of the contest is...
RENA! Congratulations!


Thank you to everyone who took the time to play the game of going to Larissa's website to dig up the fact that she wanted to name her dogs something like White Fang of Cujo. It's been a blast!

Don't forget to show Larissa some love when her next book releases on March 31st!

 
On March 13, 2009 at 6:01 PM , Larissa Ione said...

OMG, you ladies have been busy since I last popped in! And I have to apologize for that -- I'm finding myself in a serious crunch and had to unplug from the internet for a while in order to get caught up on some things and get my head on straight.

Nikki, yes, more Demonica books! Yay! *g* And thank you again for everything!

Jane, I know! Wow--It felt like it was such a long wait, and now it's just days away. I'm so excited!

Melissa, thanks for ordering Riding! Hope you like! They are VERY erotic -- the first one especially so!

Thanks, Lisa! Can't wait to hear what you think!

Bonnie...hints, huh? You're bad! *g* But let's see...book 4's plot involves a hero introduced in book 3, and in book 4, a plague is threatening a large underworld population. Should be fun! :)

 
On March 13, 2009 at 6:49 PM , LKap said...

Great Interview!
I have both of these books sitting in my TBR - I can't wait to finally have time to delve into them.