Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Break out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Lexi George's Debut Novel DEMON HUNTING IN IN DIXIE

Please join me in welcoming my fellow Southern Magic and Heart of Dixie friend, Lexi George, to the veranda as we celebrate her amazing first year in publication. Lexi's book DEMON HUNTING IN DIXIE is available and I can't wait to read her book. So *pop* and pour, sizzle and sip with me as we toast another fabulous writer and learn about Lexi's journey to publication.

You weren't always writing about demon hunting pixies. How did you end up becoming a writer? 

I started writing in the third grade—bad poetry about hydrangea bushes and Erik the Red. I wrote poetry all through high school and college. And then I decided to go to law school and the words dried up. Law school does that to you. Sucks all the goody out of you. I started writing again when my oldest child was a toddler. This time I decided to try my hand at a novel, a romantic fantasy. I knew nothing about fiction writing. Never took a class or read a book on writing, just started writing and loved it. So, I’m self-taught. I joined a writer’s group about five years ago and that was a tremendous help. Getting feed-back and constructive criticism is essential, in my opinion. You can’t write in a vacuum, not if you want to get published. There are rules and you have to learn about them before you can break them. 

About five years ago, I started the querying rounds with my first book, trying to get an agent. I got rejected. Big time. Something like a hundred ‘no thanks.’ Discouraged, I decided to try my hand at writing a romance. The book took a year to write and the result was Demon Hunting in Dixie, a paranormal romance about a feisty small-town florist who meets an ancient, inter-dimensional demon hunter in pursuit of a rogue demon. The book was a total surprise. When I started writing it, I thought it was going to be dark and angsty. But it quickly morphed into something else. This snarky voice came out of me that I never knew existed. It was amazing and liberating.

Probably all that pent up repression from law school. The book is way more funny than serious. Who knew? Certainly not I.

I love how your voice morphed into a funny, snarky writer. Is this how you write as well? Are you a muse at heart or a plotter? 

I am a pantser with plotter envy. Wish I could plot the whole thing out before hand, but that’s not the way I roll. I start with the hero and heroine and the basic premise of the story—small town girl meets sexy demon hunter in pursuit of a rogue demon, chaos to follow. I usually knock out 50 or so pages to get a feel for my characters and then I get nervous and sit down and come up with a list of plot points. After that, I wing it for a while and try to connect the dots. About three-fourths of the way through, I sit down and sketch out the remaining chapters to make sure I get everything in, and so I know how it’s going to end.

Oh, that sounds familiar. And it's hard work. So how do you relax after a writing day? 

Truthfully, I haven’t relaxed since I sold the book last year. I work full time and now I’m trying to write full time as well, so it has been hectic, but wonderful!

You've been on a wild ride, but a fun one, too. Do you have time to read and what do you enjoy reading? 
I fell in love with romance at the age of 13, when I discovered Georgette Heyer. She is a definite influence, even though I don’t write regency. Love her sly humor and quirky characters. I also love Jayne Ann Krentz in all of her various manifestations. Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels had a huge impact on me. She makes me sigh. I also love the Carpathians in Christine Feehan’s books; fell in love with the concept that they can’t see colors until they meet their lifemate. I loosely patterned the Dalvahni after them, in the sense that they are humorless and emotionless . . . until they meet the right gal.

I’m also a big fan of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. Love her zaniness. She makes me laugh out loud. Charlaine Harris is another favorite. The Sookie Stackhouse novels—genius!

Lexi'e beautiful novella cover.
And I am something of a fantasy geek. Lord of the Rings is high on my list, as well as The Belgariad by David Eddings. Those books definitely influenced my tendency to write about an ensemble of characters. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books multiple times. I’m a huge HP nerd.

Your bookshelf almost matches mine! What is your current project? 

I am finishing up book two in the demon hunter series. It’s called Demon Hunting in the Deep South, and it’s the story of Evie and Ansgar, who are secondary characters in the first book. It has been a challenge to write, because Evie is the polar opposite of the heroine in the first book. Evie is shy and self conscious. She thinks she’s fat. I finally had to tap into my inner teenager, the girl who HATED her body and oversized feet in middle school, to get inside Evie’s head.

I'm glad you're exploring body images with your new book. There are lots of women who will completely relate to your heroine! Any new releases? (For later) 
Yes! I have a novella coming out in August in the Kensington anthology So I Married A Demon Slayer. The novella tells the story of Bunny Raines, the Hannah librarian, and Rafe, the hunky demon hunter who falls for her. Book two of the demon hunter series will be out next year!

Where do you get your ideas for your stories? 

The idea for the demon hunter series came about quite by accident. I was in a bad place with the fantasy romance I had written and looking for a change and a challenge. There was a writing prompt on a romance site: write the first chapter of a paranormal romance and get feedback. I decided to give it a whirl and came up with the idea of demon hunters in a small South Alabama town. It kind of grew from there.

How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”

I have been writing for 16 years and actively seeking publication for five! It’s been a long, bumpy road, but well worth it.

How did you celebrate the new book contract? 

Called all my friends and family, and squealed. Put it on the Southern Magic loop and squealed some more. Walked around in shock for days!

I love squeal days!! I remember the day you announced your "call" on the loop. I was so happy for you. How did you celebrate the “call?” 

I got The Call on March 11, 2010. I was on my way to the doctor for a recheck because I had broken by foot in two places in February. I fell off my shoe. It’s a talent, I know. Anyway, a friend was driving me and my sad, casted foot to the doctor when my cell phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, because it was an out-of-state call. I figured it was a wrong number or one of those Nigerian bank schemes. I answered the phone and, boy, am I ever glad I did! It was Megan Records with Kensington calling to offer me a three-book deal! Good thing I wasn’t driving. I would have wrecked the car! I called my husband first and then everybody else I knew. I was a nervous wreck

Do you have an agent? 
Yes! I did it backwards: sold the book and then got an agent. My agent is the fabulous Jill Marr with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in California. It is a gi-normous relief to know I’m in such good hands. Having an agent frees me up to worry about writing and the things that go hand in hand with it, like doing this blog!
What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

Read, read, read, and WRITE! Writing is a craft and it’s a muscle that gets stronger with exercise. Try to write something every day, whether it’s a blog, a short story, an essay, poetry—whatever. Check out some of the wonderful craft books on writing out there. Stephen King’s On Writing is an excellent one. Take advantage of the Internet. There is a wealth of knowledge available at your fingertips on everything from structure and plot to POV and dialogue tags. Join a writer’s group or start one of your own. Even if you don’t all write the same thing, it will jazz you to be around other writers, and you will learn from one another. Brain storming with other writers is great. A writer’s group will also teach you to give and accept constructive criticism.

I'm a firm believer in joining writing groups. We're so lucky to have Southern Magic and Heart of Dixie here in Alabama. We build each other up during the darker days. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection? 
Rejection sucks, no two ways about it. I’ve received over 145 rejections, so I am familiar with the feeling. It stings. It hurts. It knocks your feet out from under you and throws you into a spiral of self doubt. Give yourself a day to pout and sing the “I Suck” song, then shake it off and get back on the horse. Remember that writing is subjective. You cannot write a book that will please everyone. Write the book you want to read. Name an author, classic or otherwise, that everybody loves universally. You can’t, because people have different tastes. You are going to be rejected on the road to being published. After you get published, guess what? You face rejection again! There will be reviewers that love you and those that hate you. You will work with editors who want you to revise your manuscript. You may submit a proposal on your next fabulous series idea and get rejected on that too. But, don’t give up. If you give up, you will lose. Believe in yourself and persevere. Writing is not for wimps.

"Write the book you want to read." I have that as a quote in my office. Great words to live by. What is the most difficult part about writing for you? 

Finding the time! I work full time and I have a very active teenage daughter. Also, I have the concentration span of a gnat, so I need quiet to work. Writing at work is a no-go for obvious reasons. Writing at home is difficult because I am constantly interrupted by the telephone, the family, and the dogs wanting in or out of the house. Arggh! Still, I manage to carve out a chunk of time to write on most days. Have to, because a deadline loometh!

As for the actual mechanics of writing, I find beginnings to be the most challenging, trying to decide where and how to start the story without boring the reader with an info dump or confusing the heck out of them.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received The Call? 

It was all pretty surprising, truth be told. I walked around like someone had dropped a safe on my head for three weeks after I got The Call. I’d been striving toward that goal for so long, and had decided it wasn’t going to happen for me . . . and then it did.

My editor also surprised me by asking me to write a novella right off the bat. I was given three months to write a 30,000 word novella. I’d never written a novella and I was pretty nervous, but I plunged right in and made that first deadline. That was a huge relief!

I'm so impressed by your work ethic, Lexi. I'm glad you are focused on writing your wonderful books because they are fun to read. Thanks so much for dropping in and visiting me on the Veranda. And today one lucky commentator will win a copy of Demon Hunting In Dixie. Thanks Lexi!!!

Lexi George is an appellate lawyer by day and a romance writer by night. Her debut book, Demon Hunting in Dixie, a paranormal romance about a feisty small-town florist who meets an ancient, inter-dimensional demon hunter in pursuit of a rogue demon, is available now from Brava Books. Her novella, The Bride Wore Demon Dust, will be part of the Halloween anthology So I Married A Demon Slayer available from Kensington in August, 2011.

Visit Lexi’s website at

Demon Hunting Dixie is available from:,,,,, or your favorite retailer. 


Anne Gallagher said...

Lexi, I remember reading about these books before and they sound fabulous. Congratulations and much continued success.

Christine, thanks for another great interview. I just stopping by. You have such fantastic guests.

Tami Brothers said...

Wow! Can't wait to read these stories. Love the IDEA! I'm a huge Christine Feehan fan so I love that you incorporated something similiar to the lifemate/feelings thing.

Thanks for posting this interview, Christine!


Lexi said...

Thanks, Anne, for stopping by and for your kind words and good wishes! Shoot me an email after you read the book. I love to hear from folks!

Lexi said...

Tami, can't wait to hear back from you after you read the book! I LOVE me some Carpathians, too. Like I said, Ms. Feehan inspired me to write the Dalvahni. Thanks for stopping by!

Johanna R Jochum said...

This book Rocked! LOVED it! Its on my favorites list! I'm chomping at the bit to read Evie and Angsar's story! I think I'm a little in love with Angsar. LOL! Thanks for sharing with us today. Great interview!
~Please don't enter me I own this book already.

Lexi said...

Johanna, you have TOTALLY made my day! So glad you liked the book and that you are excited about Evie and Ansgar's story! Working on it right now! I'm on your favorite list? Grinning right now as I type this! Squeeeee!!!

Christine said...

Hi Everybody! I'm so excited that Lexi's here. I can't wait to read her book. And the pictures stayed on the blog!! I'm so pleased.


Lexi said...

Thrilled to be here, Christine! Thanks for having me and the blog looks great!

Sandy Elzie said...

Great interview and your books sound fantastic. Must reads.

Best of luck in the future.


Lexi said...

Thanks, Sandy! Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Katherine Bone said...

Hi Lexi! Waving down at you from up north! ;)

Major congrats on your first release! This has been a great interview and a wonderful look into your process as well as who and what has inspired you. I always love to hear how writers take an idea and run with it to the finish line. Can't wait to read your book!

I also can't wait to see you in a little over a week! ;)

Lexi said...

Hi right back atcha, Kathy! Thanks for the well wishes and for your kind remarks about the interview! I can't wait to get to know you better at HOD! Looking forward to seeing you and your friend. Major congrats on your own writing success!!!

Jolene and Family said...

Great interview, these books sound fantastic. Would love to get my hands on one. I love to come across new to me authors and books, this is why I am blog obsessed :)


Gwen Hernandez said...

Lexi: It's funny that you mention Janet Evanovich because I was planning to tell you (even before I read the interview) that your book seemed like what Janet would write if she wrote about a southern woman surrounded by demon hunters instead of a Jersey girl surrounded by bounty hunters! ;-) Fun.

Great interview, Christine!

Lexi said...

Thanks, Jolene! Thanks for being the kind of reader who's eager to try new authors. Otherwise, newbies like me would be up a creek!

Lexi said...

Gwen, you have made my day! I'm a HUGE JE fan and nothing could thrill me more than to be likened to her! Whoo hoo!

Christine said...

Congratulations Tami! Your name was drawn as the winner of Lexi's book!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great insights into the struggling and then successful writers life. You book sounds like something that would make the reader smile. I look forward to reading it.

Tami Brothers said...

Woohoo! I won the book!!!!!

So can't wait to read it. I will definitely let you know what I think.


Tami :-)