Why New Orleans?
When it comes to building the world of a book series, the city is as much a character as the cast. Throughout the eight books in my Secret McQueen series, the characters travelled to rural Manitoba, LA, San Francisco, Paris and Louisiana. Their home base, and the main star of most of the books, was New York City. New York is a great town to write about. It’s eclectic and crazy, soulful and cold. Anything can happened there, and in the Secret books, just about everything did. I explored museums and subway lines, the top of the Empire State Building was attacked by a demon, and our heroine battled the forces of evil in Central Park several times over.
I love New York. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I’ve spent hours walking around, stumbling across random locations, breathing in the city. Yet, as much as I love it, I knew I couldn’t tell Genie McQueen’s story there.
After introducing Genie in Keeping Secret, I knew I wanted to go back to her home for her series. The rich environment and cast of characters I’d established in Keeping Secret was too enticing to ignore, so I knew I’d be taking the books to Louisiana. Luckily, I’d had more time to explore New Orleans between writing Keeping Secret and starting Bayou Blues. The feel of the city was all fresh when I tackled Genie’s first adventure.
While most of Bayou Blues takes place in rural towns (highly fictionalized versions of real places), I had the most fun establishing a new normal for New Orleans. In Genie’s world, vampires and werewolves have now been exposed to the world as being real. Tourism is booming in NOLA, and it has been so much fun to mix the real dynamic of the town with the world as it exists for Genie.
Mixed in with the realities of Bourbon Street are new 24-7 cemetery tours, and vampire sightseeing that can promise real vampires. The swamps of rural Louisiana are home to more than just alligators, now.
Being able to play with the real history of New Orleans voodoo, ghosts and the rich stories of the town is a great jumping off point for an urban fantasy story. I can’t wait to build more, especially if it means regular “research” trips to Louisiana to eat beignets and drink iced chicory coffee.
I am, by no means, an expert on Southern living. There are other authors who live in the South and know it like the back of their hands. But I hope throughout this series to do justice to the cities and towns, and the absolutely wonderful people I’ve met there. More than once a total stranger offered to help me, or let me stay with them. People I’d never met, who were willing to open their homes to me at the drop of a hat.
That wouldn’t happen in New York.
I think that marks part of the fundamental differences between the Secret books and the Genie books, too. Secret belonged to New York, she and the city were a perfect match. So, too, I think Genie belongs to New Orleans. I can’t imagine her story unfolding anywhere else.
When your sister has saved the world, you have a lot to live up to.
Genie McQueen thought she’d seen it all after helping her big sister Secret stop the Apocalypse. The dead walked, New York City burned, and things nearly went to hell in a hand basket. After it was all over, the world knew about vampires and werewolves, and Genie’s life would never be the same.
But now, three years later, someone doesn’t want werewolves or any supernatural creatures to live alongside humans. A new anti-werewolf church with a charismatic leader and a cult-like following has declared open season on Genie’s whole species. When a member of her pack is kidnapped, she decides it’s time to stop going with the flow and to step up and fight for her people.
Tagging along for the ride is a handsome troublemaker, Wilder Shaw, a pack outsider who just wants to save his brother, but will leave Genie’s head spinning in the process.
Equally troubling are the ghosts of her past she can’t quite shake, the nightmarish figures who haunt her even when she’s wide awake, and a dark magic inside her she hasn’t yet learned to tame.
Things are about to get messy in the bayou.
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Sierra Dean is giving away an e-book from her backlist. Choose from any book published in 2014 or prior. (See the list on her Goodreads page.) This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
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Sierra Dean is a reformed historian. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies and is allowed annual exit visas in order to continue her quest of steadily conquering the world one city at a time. Making the best of the cold Canadian winters, Sierra indulges in her less global interests: drinking too much tea and writing urban fantasy.
Ever since she was a young girl she has loved the idea of the supernatural coexisting with the mundane. As an adult, however, the idea evolved from the notion of fairies in flower beds, to imagining that the rugged-looking guy at the garage might secretly be a werewolf. She has used her overactive imagination to create her own version of the world, where vampire, werewolves, fairies, gods and monsters all walk among us, and she’ll continue to travel as much as possible until she finds it for real.
She’s also a book lover (of course!), obsessive collector of OPI nail polish and the owner of way too many pairs of shoes.