Friday, May 31, 2013

"Night Calls (Nyx Slaughter 1)" by Amber Lynn

Night Calls (Nyx Slaughter 1)
by Amber Lynn

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Amber Lynn, author of the Nyx Slaughter series. For further insights into her self-publishing journey, please visit Amber's blog and read her blog post: "Things I have learned since starting this journey".
Below you can read my review of Night Calls, the first book in the series, and you also have the chance to win a copy of your own in the giveaway below. Look out for my reviews of the other books in this series coming soon. There are six books so far (Night Calls, Night Marks, Night Bites, Night Howls, Night Lurks, and Night Finds), with the last book (Night Rises) due out in July. Beware ... once you start reading this series, you won't be able to stop.

At night is where I am at my best. I prowl the shadows looking for my targets. If you find yourself on my list, you are the scum of the earth and I am here to end your life. Don't worry, I will try to make it as quick as possible.
I work for the paranorm governing body, otherwise known as the Grand Collective. I have lived within their midst my entire life. I am not like them though, I am just human. It has made my life a little difficult, but I have made it to the top of their team of assassins.
My life is about to turn upside down. Do you want to join me for my new adventure? Who am I, you ask? That's simple, most people call me Slaughter, but you can call me Nyx.
This is the first installment in the Nyx Slaughter series.

I collect my chains and toss them in the back of my vehicle. They will be due for another hose down when I get home. You would have thought William would have noticed me throwing the silver chains at him. Obviously, if I can touch them, I cannot be a werewolf. Just goes to show his IQ.
I leave his remains to wash away with the next storm, and climb into my old, beat up Suburban. I know it’s a tank, but I need the room for all my supplies. I never know what I am going to run into on one of these assassin assignments, but I like to be prepared for anything.
For vampires, I have the UV headlights that help slow them down and an arsenal of cutting and burning devices. Staking them in the heart, like books suggest, will do you very little good when they can just regrow it. Chopping their heads off and burning the body is about the only thing that keeps them down permanently. As for werewolves, silver really is the key for them. I imagine, cutting their heads off and burning their bodies would work just as well, but why go through all the extra effort when a single bullet will do?
Most of my calls are for those two species and most of them are for execution purposes. I get occasional calls to help with other kinds of shifters, demons, witches, and general misbehaving paranorms, but they are rare. People have started to figure out if you want someone killed, you call Nyx.


By Lynda Dickson
Nyx Slaughter is an assassin, a killer for hire. Her targets - rogue vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings who break the code. Nyx is under the care and tutelage of the Collective, on whose doorstep she was left as a newborn. She is torn between her friendship with Ryan (a werewolf), Sebastian (head vampire), and later Alex (head werewolf). Nyx also has to contend with the unwanted attentions of Tommy, an old enemy who is obsessed with her.
Nyx always thought she was human, but she discovers her secret heritage, along with some amazing new powers she never knew she possessed. She learns to control them under the guidance of Sebastian and Alex, who also convince her to leave the Collective and join their Resistance movement. With Sebastian's help, Nyx sets up her own business as a private investigator, a plot device that should lead to some interesting storylines.
This book contains some fascinating twists on the traditional vampire and werewolf myths. It is humorous and sexy, but some of the dialogue is a bit stilted. The author does a great job of weaving the back-story into the elements of the story itself. This book ends on a cliff-hanger, leaving it open to the sequel, Night Marks, which I can't wait to read.

Interview with the Author
Hi Amber, thanks for joining me today to discuss Night Calls and the Nyx Slaughter series.

Which writers have influenced you the most? I have read a ton of paranormal books over the past couple years and the ones that I think about most are books written by Karen Marie Moning and Laurell K. Hamilton.

What age group do you recommend your book for? 17+ is probably best for the series in general. My main character can be a bit of a potty mouth and she hangs around a bunch of not exactly clean-minded guys.

What sparked the idea for this series? The first book came together when I was just sitting one day and all of a sudden thought of a tough female assassin who let one of her targets go because she found out they were related. From there ideas just kept coming.

Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? At least in this series, I thought of Nyx first, who she was and what fun twists can be thrown at her along the way. That isn't always the way of it, though. I have some other ideas floating around for a stand-alone novel once I finish up the seven Nyx books and my thoughts on that one were not character-driven.

What was the hardest part to write in this book? The first Nyx book is pretty much all backstory to set up the adventures to come. Trying to get all the information I wanted out there in a way that wasn't just shoving it down the reader's throat took some thought.

How do you hope this series affects its readers? I just hope they are able to pick up one of the books and enjoy a fun, fast-paced read. I try to insert a little comedy in places, so a few laughs along the way are what I aim for.

How long did it take you to write each book? These stories aren't extremely long. They do come in over 50,000 words, which does put them in the category of novel by most standards I find. That being said, the actual writing of them usually takes me about two weeks. I imagine most people would cringe about that short amount of time, but I have the ideas already worked out in my head, it is just getting them down on paper that takes time.

What is your writing routine? I start with figuring out my opening line. I go into each book with a general idea of where each book is going to end up, in fact, I tend to write the last chapter about a quarter of the way through. Once that opening line is down on paper, I just let the characters take me where they want to go. Sometimes those places really frighten me. I have many times been writing along and then suddenly just put my face in my hands to ask myself “Why do they do these things to me?” when my characters reveal or do something crazy. I try to get at least two chapters written a day, sometimes I am able to get five of them written if I don't have other responsibilities.

How did you get your books published? My books are currently just self-published via Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing. I like the freedom of being able to control everything about them.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? Do it. In this day and age, you don't have to wait to be picked up by a publishing house. If you believe in your work, and have received outside feedback that others enjoy it, there is nothing stopping you, except maybe reading oodles of articles about formatting. I started out posting unedited versions of stories on Wattpad to get feedback. Granted, I didn't advertise or really direct people to the stories, so feedback wasn't quickly forthcoming. The process did help me grow as a writer, though, and I like to think the books kept getting better as I went.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? I have very eclectic tastes in hobbies. I love to make things in the kitchen and dabble in a lot of arts and crafts, including, but not limited to: drawing, knitting, quilting, and painting. I like to watch hockey, football and motor sports, ride my motorcycle, read, camp, fish, and shoot my bow and arrow.

What does your family think of your writing? I think it amuses my husband. He hasn't read any of the books yet, but there have been a couple times when I wanted some technical advice and he talked through scenes with me.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood. Not a whole lot to tell on that front. It was pretty average and I have always been glad to put it behind me. I am an extremely shy person and making friends was never easy so I spent most of my time reading or studying for school.

Did you enjoy school? Yes, I was a really big teacher's pet and I was crazy about being the best at everything. I wasn't always, but I did strive to be.

Did you like reading? Yes, I did in general, but there were reading programs set up in school that if you read so many books you got a small free pizza from Pizza Hut. Let's just say I was really motivated.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I think I have always had stories rolling around in my head, but it wasn't until a year ago that I actually starting writing anything down. After that first book, I realized that getting the ideas out of my head was a good idea. I have written nine short novels since that time and more ideas keep coming.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing? I cannot say that they did.

What was your favorite book growing up? I probably had tons of “favorites”, but the one that comes to mind is She Died Too Young by Lurlene McDaniel. That series of books was horribly sad and I couldn't stop reading them as a preteen/teenager.

Who were your favorite authors? The ones that stick out in my mind are R. L. Stine and Lurlene McDaniel.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I have only been publishing since February, so I haven't heard a lot back so far. I did join a group on Goodreads (love that site) that is giving me some much-needed feedback on the stories that are out now. I love hearing what worked for them and the things that don't go over as well.

What can we look forward to from you in the future? The Nyx Slaughter series should be done by early summer (July). There will be seven total books for the arc that I am currently writing. There may be more that come later as I am leaving myself open at the end of the seventh, but I do have another stand-alone book that I want to take a crack at. It is more sci-fi based and will be a big full-length novel.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today, Amber. I look forward to reading what you come up with next. You certainly have a great imagination!

From the Author
I love books. Until recently, I kept to just reading them, but ideas for characters and scenes took control of my mind and made me have to get those ideas down. I started with a series I called Avery Clavens. I enjoyed the world I created there, but it was really still the world we all live in so I decided to move on to something just a little bit different.
In my Nyx Slaughter series, the real world is still out there, but my characters have their own little corner to call their own. I love that it is a bit more fantasy based and I am able to make more things up as I go. I can see at least three more books coming from that world with the possibility of having some different characters' points of view.
This whole writing thing is a hobby for me. I sit down on the weeknights and weekends and just float over to my other worlds for a while. Other hobbies of mine include: drawing, baking, arts and crafts, motorcycles, hockey, and archery. I like to think I have eclectic tastes where my hobbies are concerned. I love to laugh and try to make myself smile at least once a day. With the crazy thoughts going on in my head that usually isn't hard.

Enter the giveaway for your chance of winning one of two eBook copies of Night Calls. Thanks to Amber for donating these prizes.