The Bookish Dame is proud to bring you this Book Tour in association with The Book Snob Tours~
Please go to Regan Black's website to win a copy of "Tracking Shadows" and other gifts...including a guest appearance in her next 2096 novel!
The latest installment from 2096!
In 2096, the American government has gone above and beyond to ‘protect its citizens’, even regulating sugar and coffee. Every new legislative measure opens up a black market for an enterprising person willing to seize the opportunity.
In Chicago, Slick Micky is the king of smuggling. Known to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere, he specializes in caffeine and sugar and works in the anonymity of shadows. But recently an old enemy is tired of waiting for Micky’s empire to crumble and has called in the best assassin in the business to take him out.
Trina Durham is an assassin with a sterling reputation, thanks to her unique ability to induce deadly hallucinations. When Slick Micky killed her best friend, she left Chicago – forever. She’s back now, unable to resist the perfect opportunity for vengeance. But no one warned her Slick Micky might as well be a shadow. Or that shedding light on the man and his secrets would put both her heart and reputation at risk.
About the Author:
Regan Black writes action packed paranormal and urban fantasy novels so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind. Raised in the Midwest and California, she now lives with her family in the South Carolina Lowcountry where the abundance of history and legend fuels her imagination. Experience a Regan Black adventure at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords. You can keep up with Regan at ReganBlack.com, twitter @ReganBlack and Facebook.
An Interview with Regan Black:
We are so delighted to welcome Ms Black to The Bookish Libraria, and she's agreed to answer some questions that will help us get to know her personally. So, let's begin:
1) Please give us a description of your writing area. If you don't mind, we'd love you to be as specific as possible...what's on your desk, what do you see in front of you right now, do you have any "good luck" things, etc.?
What a great question! I use an alphasmart NEO when I'm drafting my books so I can write anywhere. My most effective 'stationary' place to write is at my grandmother's antique secretary desk, but right this minute I'm at my office desktop computer. My desk is an armoire style piece, so I could close the doors on the clutter, but that's never actually been accomplished.
As usual, there's way too much on my desk, but it's a semi-controlled state of chaos. (If you ignore the many post-it notes featuring things like the progress on my blog scheduling, radio interview reminders, little motivators, etc. I try to keep the writing surface relatively controlled, with a notebook, and a spiral bound pocket folder for immediate, task related things.
The desk 'walls' and doors are another story. I keep a Walt Disney World lanyard with my favorite pins looped over one door and I installed some cork board tiles on the inside of the doors to pin things like cartoon strips that tickle me (currently there's a Pearls Before Swine that makes everyone laugh). Along with cards and memos, there's also a Captain Underpants coloring page my son gave to me years ago to make me take a laugh break when I'm working. One of my favorite pictures of my husband and kids and our first greyhound has a permanent place here too, as well as several candid shots of close friends.
The shelves above my monitor are a hodgepodge of things to make me smile, spark creativity or encouragement, and otherwise distract me when editing or marketing gets hairy. There's an Orange m&m screen cleaner, a small Figment plush from WDW, a Snoopy at a typewriter keeping my alphie USB cable safe, and the Pixies at play and Writer at work signs are always within easy reach. Of course my desk wouldn't be complete when school's out without the "Do Not Disturb until:" sign. I used to have to put up a post-it note with a time so the kids wouldn't interrupt me. (No, a closed door with basic first aid instructions and the typical "don't tell me unless you're on fire or suffering arterial bleeding" didn't work when they were younger) I guess seeing the end-time gave my kids hope that I would indeed return to the real world. Now, it's nostalgic.
2) When and where were you when the idea for "Tracking Shadows" first came to you? What inspired you?
Tracking Shadows came to me while I was in the kitchen brainstorming with my daughter. I'd just spoken with my agent about possible ways to launch a Regan Black Facebook fanpage. We'd decided an original novel, posted in daily segments was possible, but we hadn't decided who it should feature. My daughter and I agreed that Slick Micky had a lot of potential as a lead character, so I mulled it over and when that opening scene came to me, I knew I had the project in hand.
I suppose it's a theme of my writing, but I always get inspiration from where we've been, both in my research and in my character development. Sometimes the past can stay there, but often it reaches up and interferes or influences the present.
3) What did you want to grow up to be when you were a little girl? Did you ever see yourself as a writer?I was groomed from a very early age to be an independent entrepreneur. What I wanted to be ranged from a special ed teacher to dolphin trainer to veterinarian, but it looks like independent entrepreneur won out (after wife and mom). I can't say I ever specifically dreamed of being a writer, though many a scrapbook holds proof I've been writing since I learned to hold a pencil.
4) Did any of your teachers ever identify you as a "good writer?" Or, was there someone else who gave you the support to know you could write a novel?
In sixth grade, a teacher told me my poetry was worthless. In high school, my literature teachers thought I would go into journalism. Turns out my first publications were poetry and I prefer making stuff up rather than reporting on the real world.
I'd never believed I could write a novel, I was focused solely on the poetry and essay side, until my husband's office got remodeled. He came home to work for a few months and it really interrupted my daily writing rhythm. One day the poetry was rainbows and sunshine, then next it read like I was ready to toss myself out the nearest window.
The remedy? I fictionalized our romance, trying to remember what I'd found so appealing about him. Turns out that book is the worst romance novel ever, but it was a full length novel, and a turning point.
Encouragement to pursue a career as a novelist came from my husband, my grandmother (of the antique desk) and my closest friends who laughed with me then, and keep laughing with me over the professional and personal ups and downs today.
5) Who are your favorite authors?
Oh, that's a loaded question. I read as much as possible! Kresley Cole, Sabrina Jeffries, Nora Roberts, Clive Cussler, Holly Jacobs, J.K. Rowling, Karen Hawkins, Jayne Ann Krentz are just the tip of the iceberg. And I've met so many talented authors since venturing into publishing and many of them have been kind enough to offer advice, inspiration, and encouragement. I always learn so much from reading books as well as from authors who invest their time to help other writers.
6) What are you reading right now?
Debra Webb's new book, "Dirty," and I'm loving it!
7) Tell us something you want to share with us, please.
I'd like to encourage people to invest the time and energy to discover their inherent talents and strengths. I can whip up a brand new world for a novel, but I can't bake a cake from scratch. It is such a blessing to be able to create stories that entertain readers. It wasn't a straight or smooth road that got me to this point, but I've learned the journey's where the real fun is anyway (although there's not much fun in a journey that requires you to eat anything I try to bake from scratch).
Many people I talk with online or in person resist following what they love and what they're good at, afraid that what comes easy to them isn't a valuable commodity. But we all have something we excel at, something we can share with others to better ourselves and our world, and it fosters contentment and true happiness when we uncover it. Debra Webb's new book, "Dirty," and I'm loving it!
Thanks for talking with us, Regan!
Thanks so much for hosting this stop on the Tracking Shadows blog tour. Your interview questions were delightful and it's a pleasure to be here with you and your readers.
The Dame's Review:
First, let me say that I wasn't able to put down "Tracking Shadows" once I started reading it. It is a book that immediately interested me because I had to get my head around the film noir atmosphere with the tinge of a science fiction addition. I loved it from the first paragraph.
Regan Black has the mind and hand of a Mickey Spillane on steroids. I couldn't stop reading her sassy lines from characters that grabbed me like a steel wrench. Her anti heroine, Trina, is the alpha woman we dream of being...smart, beautiful and strong in a man's world, but sensitive, and carrying around that emptiness that the love of life can only fill. She's scarred by the loss of her childhood sweetheart, the only person who made her feel safe from a family who mistreated and beat her down emotionally. As and adult, she finds the physical and intellectual outlet for her emptiness and her psychic gifts by becoming an A+ assassin bent on revenge for those who killed Joel, that childhood friend.
Joel has become Slick Mickey, the biggest gangster smuggler in Chicago, with a staff of "mules" who distribute contriband to those who pay for it in secret. The title of Slick Mickey is coveted by gangster rivals, and assassins are recruited to knock Mickey out of his seat of power. With technologies and gifts of his own culled from the 2096 futuristic discoveries, Slick Mickey is able to maintain a fortress of security, and a family loyal to his secure and family-like ways. There appears to be a soft center at the heart of this mobster boss who only deals in sugar, coffee and cigarettes, and not drugs and dangerous contraband unlawful to the futuristic government.
It is through the impact of Trina and Slick Mickey's ill-fated reunion that we experience the tension of love and hate on the characters. They are wonderfully and richly developed. Each of them are characters who seem alive and emotive people; they kept me in mind of a younger Russell Crowe, and a Scarlet Johansen couple. Tough and tender...
The technological components of this book are subtle and don't overtake the story which was refreshing for one who isn't quite capable of understanding all the nuances of that sort of thing. There was just enough to keep a novice interested, maybe a little more than that, but not enough to make one set aside the book in frustration.
Ms Black has written quite a few books in the 2096 timeframe, which is of great interest to me now that she's gotten me started! I'm going to be looking for her books and reading them in sequence. I like her writing style.
Regan Black has a certain edgy quality to her writing. She writes like an old "beat" reporter in a way. It's just awesome to read. If you're a fan of old 1940's detective novels, or if you like film noir..."The Postman Always Rings Twice" or "The Black Dahlia," I believe you'll like "Tracking Shadows." It's not that the book is so much like those I mention above in full...it's just that flavor kick that's so unusual, I predict you'll want to come back for more.
5 stars for "Tracking Shadows"
*Please follow the next Tour of Regan Black's book on http://deeas-journal.blogspot.com/ She will have a different view, no doubt! Have fun with Regan's tours!
If you've made it this far, you're a true reader and follower of The Bookish Dame Reviews and we sincerely thank you! Happy reading this weekend! Deborah/TheBookishDame