Forget rainy days -- Roxanne Dent's The Janus Demon is the perfect read for any day or night, regardless of the weather. The author’s paranormal dark fantasy, which travels a gritty roadmap from New York City all the way to Fey-ville and back, tells the tale of detective Mick Grimaldi, a private eye dogged by more than one dark secret. Grimaldi’s world is populated by demons and a vengeful vampire crime boss, Kryak, responsible for murdering Mick’s parents. From the moment readers enter the detective’s office – finding it overturned by a third-rate demon thug in search of information – they are treated to a nonstop thrill ride. Soon on, Grimaldi crosses paths with his first love, Jasmine, who leads him deeper into a myriad of dangers. Gorgeously written, even at its bloodiest (ie, the roasted white elves and theater scene battle between shape shifters), Dent's latest novel, released by the fine folks at Great Old Ones Publishing, is a must-have for any bookshelf!
I first met Roxanne seven summers ago, almost to the day, and was instantly smitten with both the author and her flare for telling stories. It was my pleasure to sit down with the brilliant scribe and genuinely lovely lady to discuss Mick Grimaldi, his world, and hers.
Mick Grimaldi and his world are spectacular! Take us into the genesis of your novel, The Janus Demon.
I have a great many favorite authors in different genres, but the ones who influenced me to write The Janus Demon, are Jim Butcher, George Martin, Charlene Harris, Ann Rice, Robert Jordan, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ann McCaffrey. As a child and teen, I also read fairy tales. Once I started reading adult paranormal novels, I couldn’t stop, often reading until the wee hours of the morning I liked them so much, I decided to write one myself, and began collecting information on myths and legends of ancient Ireland, Celtic names (I’m a quarter Irish), elves, the Fey, demons, witches, Griffins, shape shifters and all things magical.
You’re what I’d call a born writer. Share with us the Roxanne Dent story.
Although English was always my favorite subject in school, I didn’t start writing creatively until I was in my teens. Instead, I created stories in my head. When I’d see a movie or television show I loved, I’d act out the different parts with me in the starring role. If I didn’t like the ending, I’d change it. This might have something to do with my early upbringing by two actors. My mother would act out dramatic roles, usually Shakespearian tragedies in order to entertain me. As a child, I loved adventure stories, which included westerns, pirate movies and mysteries, although Peter Pan left an indelible impression on me that lasted for years. Later on, I became addicted to shows like Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, Star Trek and Outer Limits. Growing up, I avidly read National Geographic magazines and watched shows dealing with foreign cultures or ancient civilizations. They fascinated me. When I began writing, my love of foreign and dead cultures led me to place many of my stories in other time periods.
In High School, I began writing poetry. For the most part it was sad, tragic and full of teenage angst. However, I wrote a poem “The Devil’s Disciple,” which tackled racism in and around New York City. I entered it in a statewide competition. When it was accepted, I began to think for the first time about the possibility of becoming an author. I wrote my first story, “Karine”, a Regency novella for my sister Karen who was a teen and addicted to Georgette Heyer Regencies. A year later, I sold my first two novels, Island of Fear, a Gothic mystery and The White Fog, a Gothic paranormal to Avon Paperbacks.
What’s your process? How do you work?
Since I’m an early riser, I get up every day by 6 or 7 a.m., make a pot of French Roast, check out my e-mails and Facebook for about forty-five minutes, walk with my sister for about three miles before I start writing. I always have several projects in the works or a new idea to work on. I never lack for ideas. If I don’t have one, don’t wake up with one and am not inspired by something on the news, I will troll the internet to see what contests are out there and appeal to me. I keep a deck of playing cards by my side to shuffle when I’m stuck or just looking for the right word. If my sister, Karen, also a very talented writer, who has recently completed her first novel, A Case to Kill For, a paranormal Noire, is not on her way to work in Boston, we head out to Panera’s or Starbucks to write. I love this as I often get a lot more accomplished than at home. There’s something about smelling the food and coffee, the murmuring of the people around us, while free of guilt over chores not done that spurs me on to write. If Karen’s at work, I’ll sometimes grab my laptop and walk around the corner to the awesome café, “Wicked Big,” and write there.
You are prolific and juggle multiple projects, in multiple lengths and genres. How do you manage to maintain your consistent level of quality?
Perhaps it’s because I’m a Gemini, but ever since I first started writing and selling, I’ve always written in different genres, including Regencies, mysteries, westerns, fantasies, sci-fi, horror and YA, short stories and novels. I’ve also written screenplays, one of which The Pied Piper, won first prize in Fade-in Magazine. Karen and I also collaborated on plays together, which were put on at the Firehouse Theater in Newburyport, Massachusetts and collaborated on short stories. When we lived in NYC, we belonged to “The Sunday Club,” a group of independent filmmakers who gathered together to write and direct short movies made in one day. Out of this came Valentine’s Day, a three-minute thriller which won the Audience Choice Awards at the Bare Bones International Film Festival. Whenever I begin to write in a new genre or form, I find it exciting and inspiring and sometimes nerve wracking but always interesting and a great learning experience. My father once said if you’re a writer – write. I’ve taken classes, workshops, attended conferences and belonged to critique groups and support groups. They are all helpful and enriching, but I also believe if you keep writing, you will get better and better. It’s the nature of the beast.
Is there a sequel to the novel in the works?
Beyond the Iberian Sea, Book Two of The Janus Demon, is in the works. It shifts between Mick Grimaldi, the lonely, sardonic, shape shifting NYC detective and Bronagh, the bitter, vengeful daughter of a Volk King. In addition to Beyond the Iberian Sea, I’m nearing the end of a Steampunk novella. My short horror, “The Haunting of Jemima Nash,” based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, was accepted into an anthology for the Whittier Museum. It’s debut is September 26th at the Whittier Museum. I’m proud to say my story “Heart of Stone,” was in the fabulous horror anthology, Enter At Your Own Risk: Dreamscapes Into Darkness by Firblog Publishing, which was recently released.