Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interview with Nicole Kimberling

Today we have the lovely Nicole Kimberling up on the blog getting interviewed via the ROMANCEBOT2000. Not sure I am ready for round two as I nearly broke myself laughing yesterday!! Thank you Nikki!

I’m Nicole Kimberling. Romancebot 2000 has demanded that I submit to an interview and I have complied with her fascist evil dictatorial arrogations.
I’ve also included an excerpt of Ghost Star Night, which will be coming from Samhain Publishing in August. I’ve included an excerpt below.

Questions for Nikki:

Nicole Kimberling
Turnskin (Blind Eye Books, 2008)Hell Cop: Red Sands (Loose Id, 2008)Primal Red (Loose Id, 2008)Hell Cop 2: Dark Waters (Loose Id, TBR June 2009)Ghost Star Night (Samhain, TBR August 2009)
My books are mostly quirky fantasy with a romantic edge. Except Primal Red—that one is a quirky mystery with a romantic edge.
No, it’s about a reporter falling in love with an artist while trying to solve a murder.
Because fascist robot overlords are not inherently sexy, in my opinion. No matter how many cool “attachments” they have, they are still just big metal bullies.
My stories arise from thoughts about the relatedness of people. In the case of Primal Red, I wanted to write about how artists sharing the same space influence each other.
I would not only be an overlord, I would be YOUR overlord, ROMANCEBOT2000. I’m just the overlord type. (Hey, if it’s true, I might as well own it, right?)
Are you sure…
I haven’t actually written much speculum fiction. I find hard, cold metal and plastic items hard to sympathize with—no offense to robots. You can’t help being made out of that stuff. It’s just not that attractive to me personally.
Now, I do write speculative fiction, which is fiction that has a fantastical element of some kind. I write it because being able to introduce magicians and aliens really expands my options for exploring the vast rainbow of human existence.
Turnskin is the title of one of my novels. It’s about shapeshifters (creatively called “shifters”) who can change their appearance to look like other people. Before you ask, yes, contains intercourse.
Sadly, no. But I’m sure at least one of them can do the robot—the dance I mean.
Ghost Star Night is a fantasy novel set in a contemporary royal court. Grand Magician Zachary Drake discovers a magical plot that threatens to destroy his beloved city. He and Lord Adam Wexley must take action to save the city or die trying.
(Ghost Star Night also has lots of cool stuff like people having their souls transferred into the bodies of animals and magical rings and sacred pacts and books written on human skin… And there’s also sex.)
Yes, I just said that.
Yes, in fact, they can. They don’t in the course of the story, since it’s not actually a story about robots. But Grand Magician Zachary Drake does, in fact, put the soul of a guy into a ring, which is like a less complex sort of robot.
Only if you like hanging around in flooded trailer parks more than you like sexy guys who can’t stop being on fire.
Probably hers… But mine would get the promotion, cause he’s just so damn camera-friendly.
Between our Hell Cops? No, I can’t imagine Dion Argent doing it with Jay Yervant. Ever. But my Hell Cop gets down with his steady beau, Professor Michael Gold.
Always a pleasure, ROMANCEBOT2000.


Three Books Nicole Kimberling Likes A Lot

1.Collected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca, bilingual edition
(I’m not bilingual, but I’d have a lot of time to teach myself Catalan on the island probably.)

2.The Fiction Editor, the Novel and the Novelist by Thomas McCormack
(A book so deep it verges on philosophy.)

3.The SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman.
(Those lizards aren’t going to trap, skin and cook themselves.)


Prizes!To celebrate the fact that Astrid, Ginn and myself are writing a sequel to Hell Cop, we’ve decided to have a contest. What publication, apart from Hell Cop and Hell Cop 2, have we all three (Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling, and Ginn Hale) collaborated on? The first TWO to e-mail Astrid with the correct answer will get a free copy of Hell Cop!


Adam loved the music. And the red and amber lights flashing up from the luminous floor. And the crush of dancing bodies. And the strong, sophisticated cocktails. In short, he loved this club.

Pulsing electronic beats throbbed through the smoky air so loud and so low that he felt it deep in his chest. The scenery wasn’t bad either. Although the club was mixed, both gay and straight, noble and common, the dark-haired man eyeing him from the neon-lit bar had to be a courtier. Not from Adam’s own West Court, but maybe from the North Court. He had that academic look that men from the North Court had. Adam smiled, his signature move. Normally, smiling could not be called a signature move, but Adam fully understood the power of his full lips and straight, white teeth. Smiling elevated him from good-looking blond to sexy hunk.

The lord from North Court, sitting at the bar, sat up straight and motioned Adam closer.

From deep within his pocket, Adam’s phone vibrated. He decided to ignore it, then it pulsed again, in that special rhythm. Lady Langdon, his godmother, needed him. With regret he shook his head at Lord North Court and bounded up the staircase that led to street level. He rushed up to the big gorilla doorman who controlled the line of well-dressed hopefuls waiting to get inside. The gorilla bared his teeth and his black fur bristled as Adam jostled past him and out into the humid summer night.

“How may I serve you, my lady?” he answered, slightly out of breath.

“You need to get Drake now!” Lady Langdon shouted so loudly that Adam had to pull the phone from his ear.

“Drake?” Adam squinted down the dark street, feeling too dazed with nightlife to immediately understand what she wanted from him at this hour. “The Magician of the Black Tower?”

“Is there another?” Lady Langdon snapped. “Go and bring him! Promise him whatever is necessary, with the exception of your soul. You’ll need that later.”

“I would think that mere cash would be enough to encourage him.” As far as Adam knew, Drake was among the last of the freelancers. A gun for hire in a city where almost every other magician was allied to one of the four courts.

“That’s why thinking is not one of the attributes for which you are best known,” Lady Langdon said. “Don’t fail me.”

Adam rounded the corner and found his car and driver waiting. His driver, an elderly orangutan called Karl, had been lightly dozing in the front seat, and started awake when Adam rapped on the hood. He straightened his hat and scrambled out to open the door for Adam, who tumbled into the car’s backseat with the lax grace of the practically unconscious. He waited for his driver to resettle himself behind the wheel and said, “To the Black Tower.”

Karl nodded and signed, “Did you have a good night, boss?”

“Not as good as I’d hoped.”

Karl pulled onto the downtown street and started for Tower Heights. Adam stared out the window at the sidewalk, still vibrant with life, even though sunrise was quickly approaching.

Their route took them right alongside the heavily mosaicked walls of royal palace.

At this time of morning the figure of King Simon Columbain slaying the great serpent-demon seemed like it might almost spring to life. Soon the first morning rays would fall across the gilded tiles that comprised King Simon’s sorcerous sword, Demonslayer. Adam admired the strength and courage of his forbearers in their historic deeds, but tried not to think about them too long. Ruminations of that sort would only lead him to fret over his own lack of heroic achievement. Better to admire King Simon and leave it at that.

As an attendant to his godmother, Lady Langdon, Adam’s importance barely surpassed that of furniture. He looked good dressed in the West Court gold. He had a nice voice. He could hold Lady Langdon’s fur coat, handbag and hat simultaneously. He could play guitar and piano, but wouldn’t unless asked. Other attendants had skills. Bankers. Accountants. Armies of lawyers to oversee the formal transfer of souls. Lady Langdon called upon them constantly. Him, she never needed for anything but to fetch and carry. This time, Grand Magician Drake of the Black Tower. Next time, maybe her umbrella.

Outside the downtown core, few cars moved, mostly delivery trucks entering the palace grounds, their square, dirty forms shabby against the polished rose marble walls.

Three soulless custodians, a thin, gray-haired man and two doughy women, finished polishing their section of wall and plodded across the entryway in a slow, silent procession. A truck driver didn’t brake as he entered the palace gates, barely missing the last man. The soulless resumed polishing the wall, carefully scratching grime from the grout, sweeping the sidewalk and picking up cigarette butts from the gutter.

He saw Karl glance over at the soulless in the same searching way that inhabited animals seemed to.

“Looking for your old body out there?” Adam asked.

Karl shook his shaggy head and expelled a snort that Adam thought was much like laughter, then lifted one long-fingered hand and signed, “My body’s dead, boss. Why do you think I’m inside of this monkey?”

“You could be a convict,” Adam pointed out.

“Not with a palace chauffeur’s license.” Karl made a left up the hill toward the Tower Heights neighborhood, and then eased to a stop in the loading zone in front of a dark monolith of a building. He turned and pulled a huge orangutan grin. “Here you go, boss, good luck in there.”

It was not Drake’s custom to be awake for any part of the morning, but on this occasion he happened to be observing the flowering of a new star low on the western horizon, and he was in a foul temper because of it. New stars, though rare, were a bother to the astrologically inclined, changing the whole meaning of the sky. They were also known to be harbingers of disaster so Drake examined it closely, speaking spells and taking measurements. He’d neither showered nor shaved for three days when his doorbell rang. His hair hung over his shoulders in greasy black strings. He stank.

Drake’s servant, Nancy, appeared in his study doorway, dressed in her bathrobe and slippers. Her normally neat brown page-cut hair was so knotted and askew that it resembled a poorly kept and inexpensive wig.

“You have a gentleman caller from the West Court, sir. Lord—” She broke off, stifling a yawn. “Lord Adam Wexley.”

“I’m not at home to guests,” Drake snapped, then, turning away, murmured, “Nobles…they think they can ring your bell at any time of day they like.”

“He says it an emergency.”

“Everything is an emergency for them. Send him away.”

“He’s got a nice smile,” Nancy said. “And nice legs.”

Drake left his telescope and crossed to the fishbowl that he used as a scrying device. On the water’s surface, he conjured the image of his gentleman caller.

Lord Wexley was a tall rectangular man with very square shoulders and a casual looseness of his limbs that lent him a marionette-like appearance. He wore tight yellow and black club wear that looked tawdry in normal light. Drake could see Adam’s small nipples through the sheer fabric. His eyes were blue.

“You say he said his business was of the utmost urgency?”

“No, I said he said he was here because of an emergency,” Nancy corrected.

Drake waved the difference aside with an impatient hand.

“Bring our guest coffee. Tell him I will be with him as soon as I am able.”

Drake showered and shaved and found a clean black shirt and a pair of jeans and put on his rings, malingering in the bath for as long as he could before joining his guest in the living room approximately an hour later.

Adam hadn’t touched the coffee tray, apparently because he had fallen asleep.

He lay sprawled across Drake’s bone-colored sofa like he owned it, smelling of whiskey, sweat and cigarettes. His short blond hair looked sticky with spent product. Drake sat in his armchair and poured himself some coffee. Drake expected Adam to wake, but he didn’t. So Drake set the coffee pot down on its silver tray with an unnecessary clang. Nothing. Not even a snore. The grand magician leaned close to his ear.

“Lord Wexley, do you intend to spend the whole day asleep on my couch? I will expect you to pay me rent for it, I promise you.”

Adam’s bloodshot eyes popped open and he sat up, confused.


“Yes, Lord Wexley?”

“Please call me Adam.”

Drake nodded and Adam continued, “Grand Magician Zachary Drake, I wish to—”

“You wish to summon me to attend Lady Langdon, Minister of the West Court?”

“Yes, Lady Langdon—” he began, but Drake cut him off again.

“Certainly she must have told you that I prefer not to work for the Courts of the Four Directions,” Drake said. Adam looked like a confused little boy who had just been told that the world is not flat after all, but can’t quite grasp the information. His eyes roamed over Drake, as if he’d just noticed Drake had a physical presence.

Drake caught Adam’s eyes lingering on his ostentatious and obviously magical rings. Drake sensed that he was rating them, deciding which ring looked most evil. Was it the blood diamond? The talon? The fat silver spider?

Drake wanted to reach out and smooth Adam’s hair and straighten his collar. He restrained himself. He suspected that days spent doing nothing but mathematics had rendered him impulsive and delirious.

“But the astrologers have decreed that Lady Langdon’s daughter Carolyn will be in labor before noon,” Adam said as if this explained everything.

“I don’t see how I could be of any use. I’m not well practiced in midwifery.” Drake dropped a cube of cinnamon-sugar into his coffee.

“The Medallion of Rayner has been stolen. You must help get it back. Now do you understand?”

Drake understood immediately. Without Lady Langdon’s holy medallion, the protective barrier surrounding her daughter would be incomplete, leaving mother and child vulnerable to curses and possession.

“That is unfortunate, but I must regretfully decline. Because of the appearance of a strange new star, I am currently engaged with remapping the night sky. It’s a big project involving tricky mathematics that only I understand. I have no time to spare for finding Lady Langdon’s lost jewelry.” As Drake stood to leave, Adam caught him by the arm. Adam’s hand felt warm from sleep.

“She knows where the medallion is, she just can’t get it.” Adam’s cell phone rang again. He glanced at the display and looked pained. “Lady Langdon said that I must return with you at any cost, so name your price.”

Drake considered asking Adam for either a kiss or his immortal soul but decided that the former gave his hand away and the latter… He had no use for a soul as pure as Adam’s. But his earnest, guileless expression moved Drake. He thought that it was no wonder Lady Langdon had sent him. Adam fell well within Drake’s tastes and usual strike range.

Crafty old biddy knows me too well, he thought. Aloud, he said, “Is that any way to beg my favor?”

Adam flushed deep red then bowed his deepest and most formal bow.

“I, Adam Wexley of the West Court, humbly request the honor of your presence in the court this morning, Grand Magician Drake. Would you please accompany me on this matter of great urgency?”

Drake smiled. “It would be my singular pleasure.”

More information coming soon at: http://www.nicolekimberling.com/


Sarah said...

I think you've almost got ROMANCEBOT2000 tamed Nicole! Thank you so much and I cannot wait till Ghost Star Night comes out. It sounds wicked!

Josh Lanyon said...

And the best part is I can SO hear ROMANCEBOT2000's voice. Sort of deep and mechanical and...robotic. Laughed my way through the entire interview.

But I am waiting and waiting for SOMEONE to say THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE. Yes, it's a cliche, yes, it's expected, but it's What the Reader Wants.

Oh, speaking of what readers want, Ghost Star Night sounds most intriguing. Really like that snippet and the magician and the lord and the...by, the way, do you get the sense that ROMANCEBOT2000 will shortly be taking over DIY Island?

Josh Lanyon said...

ROMANCEBOT2000 will shortly be taking over DIY Island?Sorry. DIK Island.

I always get those two islands mixed up.

Val said...


Too funny! Also, woo-hoo, I know the answer to the contest question! But since I already have copies of all of these books, I'll keep myself out of the running, ha, ha!

Val said...

Hey, I want to visit the DIY Island! I'm all about those home improvement projects. :)

Tracy said...

Great interview - once again. Hilarious!

Josh - it may be DIY although with all the menz around us ladies won't have to much ourselves! :)

omg a throw down? Here on the island? Wait, let me get the popcorn!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, and I noticed that the Romancebot2000 didn't have it all his/her way, congratulations, Nicole. That overlord thing, I expect?

Loved the malingering Grand Magician, and I'm sure a Lord capable of holding a fur coat, handbag and hat all at the same time will be very useful when saving the city.*G*

Sadly I am another one of the I-know-the answer-to-the-question-but-I-already-have-the-book crowd :(

Anonymous said...

I think RomanceBot2000 was created on a DIY Island. Either that or a DUI Island.

Love the excerpt, Nicole!

Josh Lanyon said...

Him, she never needed for anything but to fetch and carry. This time, Grand Magician Drake of the Black Tower. Next time, maybe her umbrella. Particularly loved that line.

Anonymous said...

Sarah: I cannot wait till Ghost Star Night comes out. It sounds wicked!

Nikki: And thank you for your kind compliment. I think Ghost Star Night is a pretty cool book. I really went deep into the fantasy aspect with it, making it exactly what I wanted it to be.

Anonymous said...

JL: But I am waiting and waiting for SOMEONE to say THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE.

NK: Oh, just wait till tomorrow.

(Not that I'm promising those particular words--just a...lack of computation.)

JL: do you get the sense that ROMANCEBOT2000 will shortly be taking over DIK Island?

NK: No, I get the sense that R-Bot was built on DIK Island out of grass and bamboo, just like one of those cheesy machines on Gilligan's Island. (But it may soon rampage.)

Anonymous said...

Obsidian Bookshelf and liade:

I know you guys already know the answer, but you probably already have the prize too so I suppose your only consolation in not getting to win this easily winnable contest is that you ladies are tragically one minute ahead of fashion. Trendsetters even. It's the burden you must bear for being in the know. :)

Anonymous said...

Tracy: omg a throw down? Here on the island? Wait, let me get the popcorn!

Nikki: Don't bother to pop the popcorn. It won't be a prolonged fight since Det. D. Argent would just wait till Det. J. Yervant was, like taking off his shirt (in order to facilitate the full-on "Fight Club" feeling of the throwdown) and run away and hide in the split second that Jay had his shirt over his head. Because honestly, the only way they'd be in a throwdown at all is if both of them were really, really drunk.

Argent would think that he'd hidden in order to ambush Yervant, but he's a good hider and by the time Yervant found him they'd have both already forgotten what they were doing. Then they'd probably both decide to drink more and then fall asleep playing Super Mario Cart on the Wii.

(Ginn's Hell Cop, Det. Ben Moran would be at the station, covering their shifts during this drinkfest.)

Anonymous said...

Astrid: Either that or a DUI Island.

Nikki: There's a DUI Island? Is it where Hell Cops gather to play Super Mario Cart?

Anonymous said...

liade: Great interview, and I noticed that the Romancebot2000 didn't have it all his/her way, congratulations, Nicole. That overlord thing, I expect?

Nikki: Thank you. And yes, you've hit the nail on the head. Since I am sadly afflicted with an overlord personality I just can't stand being lorded over.

Anonymous said...

JL: Him, she never needed for anything but to fetch and carry. This time, Grand Magician Drake of the Black Tower. Next time, maybe her umbrella.

Particularly loved that line.

Nikki: Thanks! I worked hard on it. (I really did.)

Anonymous said...

Ghost Star Night sounds cool!

I really like the idea of animals as staff... It reminded me a little of the strange menagerie quality of the Oz books, but obviously much more grown up.

It also makes me wish I could convince my cats to do some work around the house... Honestly, I've caught more mice than they have!

Anonymous said...

Nikki: There's a DUI Island? Is it where Hell Cops gather to play Super Mario Cart?

Astrid: DUI Island is where all the drunk authors are at. They're trying to toss coins into plastic beer cups and failing. They're flinging bamboo effigies of their characters into the frothy sea and giggling. They're coming up with ridiculous plots, set in a world where you can stop a bullet with your hand, or you can whisper words to make a person vomit, or... wait a minute. Shit! I'M ON DUI ISLAND! Help!

Anonymous said...

Astrid: Shit! I'M ON DUI ISLAND! Help!

Nikki: Just relax. Have a mai tai. You'll be okay.

Anonymous said...

I know you guys already know the answer, but you probably already have the prize tooYes, in fact I'm reading about Mssrs Gold and Silver right this moment (open in another window on my laptop). Great book - hot, you might say

Carolyn Crane said...

Great interview, Nicole, and I love what you say about your story ideas coming from the way people interact and influence each other!

Hopefully romancebot won't influence you too much.

And thanks so much for the lovely excerpt.

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