Saturday, March 22, 2014

INTERVIEW: Julia Alaric and #Giveaway

Today we're talking to Julia Alaric, who is phenomenal, and who has now made me TERRIFIED of earwigs (BUTT PINCERS). She's offering up a copy of any title from her backlist to one lucky winner, so make sure you check out the end of her interview for details on how to enter her giveaway!

Hello Julia and welcome to The Hat Party! <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

Describe yourself in 4 ½ words.


Do you know any cool party tricks and are you brave enough to do them at parties?

Probably not to the first, and definitely not to the second! I'm barely brave enough to go to a party unless I know that it's going to be peopled exclusively by friends of mine. On the other hand, I have no shame at all in showing off my weird body tricks: I can wiggle my ears, my scalp, my lower eyelids, my eyeballs themselves, and the tip of my nose; I can tuck all of my fingers back behind my palm like a disturbing pie crust; I have a strange attachment between my thumb and index finger that keeps them from moving independently… I did miss out on the family ability to pop shoulders in and out of socket at will.

If you could go back and speak to your 13-year-old self, what would you say?

Hey self, you're pretty awesome. I know you're starting to figure that out, but you've got a ways to go before you really understand and own who you are, and plenty of peers and societal pressure that will tell you that you shouldn't think you're awesome. But you are.

I still don't know what you're going to be when you grow up, but that's okay—you'll really enjoy the things you do as you fumble your way along through life. (Don't be scared of teaching middle school; it's the best. I'm serious. You'll love it.)

These are not the worst years of your life, nor the best. People who tell you those sorts of clichés are full of shit. And it's okay to say shit once in a while, too.

Oh, and sorry—this is as tall as you're ever going to get. Quit hoping.

What is your super secret, wildest, most outlandish writing dream?

I want to write something that makes a difference. Something that changes somebody's life, that makes some of the authors I admire sit up and take notice, that affects the genre, even that just becomes somebody's favorite, well-worn, most (perhaps electronically) dog-eared comfort read.

If writing were poisonous to you, would you continue to do it?

Yes. Admittedly I'd scale back and add it back in slowly until I'd built up an immunity, but I wouldn't know how to stop writing altogether, at least inside my head. If just thinking the stories filled me with poison, I'd probably be a goner before I knew what was happening to me.  

Describe yourself using song lyrics.

Song lyrics? You know you've led me straight to a well I could easily fall into and drown, don't you? I'll try to contain myself to only four. 

An optimistic depiction of my appearance: Say Hi (Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh), "She's pushing 5'6" in her Saucony kicks/She's got lips like a sofa, and she's strawing down soda" [more likely tea or a latte in my case]. "If the devil was a girl, and she wore a yellow tee/It would be a spitting image, but that's okay with me."

From one of my favorites, Patrick Wolf, to whom you must listen if you haven't before (my perfect writing music): "Desire, deep down inside of me/ You are not the maker nor the master of me/ Help me to better support my family/ To better better of a brother be/ Desire, deep down inside of me/ You are not the wrecker nor the ruler of me."

Then Relient K: "[s]he tries to be a better someone that understands the difference and that [s]he can't show all the people all the things that really mean as much as [s]he could/ feel/s like I don't remember ever being this tired/ before/ now my eyes were closed to all of the beauty in this world" and "I'm telling you that I know some days I'm gonna stumble/ and I know the cookie's gonna crumble/ and I know that life is gonna suck some days/ but I can't complain."

Finally, an oldie but a goodie from The Four Tops: "Never you mind if I/ don't tell strangers passing by/ If I don't brag, if I don't brag or boast/ Click my glass and say a toast/ about my love for you/ how it runs so deep and true/ and yet it's so/ 'cause don't you know/ still waters run deep."

How long do you think you’ll survive the zombie apocalypse?

Oh, not long at all. I'm a total klutz. I'll probably fall right into a zombie and be brainless before I have a chance to notice that I tripped over nothing but air.

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

You'd think that, as a romance writer, this would be in my skill set. And yet, I don't think the quick swoon is one of my strengths. *sigh* But I offer this snippet from Dreamer:

The images in his mind shifted and shimmered like an oil slick on water, swirling with every shift of his gaze. Unseen fingers ghosted over the side of his neck, the inside of his elbow, the arch of one foot. Suddenly his vision went dark, as though his eyes had involuntarily closed and were now locked shut. He struggled in vain to open them, to see where he was and who was doing this to him, but the darkness only deepened. Warm breath touched the shell of his ear, stirred the hair at the back of his neck. Goosebumps shivered down the length of his spine. He arched back helplessly against solid warmth. A chuckle rippled through the darkness. "Good night, lovely dreamer. Welcome back."

What is your most irrational fear and what makes you inexplicably happy?

Irrational fear: Earwigs. They look like roach cousins with pincers on their butts. There's inevitably one day every spring when I open my mailbox, find it crawling with earwigs, and just close it right back up and walk away.

Inexplicably happy: Snow. Driving in it, to be specific. Driving around in a snowstorm makes me wildly, manically ecstatic.

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

The ones that are still wriggly puppies. J

~ ~ ~

Prince Erik's life is grand: his father has taken a new wife, a beautiful and sweet woman who charms all who meet her, the kingdom is prospering, and there is no shortage of men and women to keep his bed warm. If he wishes for the one person he cannot have, well, at least he's accepted it.

But then everything begins to change, a shroud falling slowly over the kingdom, darkness creeping in and leeching his father's life away. Strangest of all, the kingdom's artists all begin to create works along the same strange and frightening theme...

Concentrate," Armande snapped. "Clear your mind, take a cleansing breath, and feel. Listen for the life. Hear the blood calling to you. The heartbeat of every living creature is crying out like a lure."

Erik tried to do as instructed, but after a few minutes, he shook his head. "I am trying, Armande, but I cannot hear any pulse but my own."

"Apologies," Armande replied, sounding surprised. "I cannot believe I had forgotten. It has been so long since I had a pulse to ignore that I scarcely remember how it sounded." He studied Erik, head cocked to one side.

Erik returned his gaze incredulously. "What do you mean, 'had a pulse?'"

"The first life the Gift consumes is our own," Armande replied. "Not that we are dead, precisely, but we do sacrifice certain aspects of human life. Did you not read about any of this in the library?"

Erik snorted indelicately. "Most of what I read in the library has turned out to be false. You are not in control of multiple animal forms, you do not burn to death at the first hint of sunlight, you do not feed solely on the blood of virgins and leave only the shell of their empty bodies behind. To the best of my knowledge, garlic has no ill effects upon you, and I do not think burying you face down in a crossroads would do any good at all if someone were determined to see you stay in your grave."

Armande shook his head, a hint of a smile lurking about the corners of his mouth. "It amazes me what ignorance is published as fact. Does your library lack even a single volume from Elämä?"

Erik shrugged. "If such a thing were in the library, I certainly could not find it. But I have never been particularly good at navigating the contents of the library."

"The books, anyway." Armande glanced teasingly at him.

Erik grinned. "I don't care much for books, but I am very good at repurposing the library for things I enjoy more."

Armande rolled his eyes. "You are not quite as good as you think you are. I could show you how to be much more subtle without sacrificing any of the pleasure." To Erik's utter surprise, Armande immediately flushed and stammered, "Not that I would presume to demonstrate on you … with you … that is, I wouldn't …" He blew out a breath. "That did not come out as I intended."

For a few seconds, Erik managed to contain himself. Then the laughter bubbled over, earning him a glare that had probably been used to kill small animals on previous hunts. "Not that I'm not flattered," he said once he got himself under control, "but what exactly do you know about the matter? I have never once seen you even flirt with anyone, neither man nor woman."

"Precisely," Armande replied archly. "If you had seen it, I would have failed in being subtle. Your terrible skills of observation do not render true events false."

"Prove it."

An instant later, he was pinned on his back, Armande's weight on his legs, his wrists held to the ground. Wide eyed, he stared up into Armande's face. He did not think he was imagining the heat simmering in his gaze as it traveled the length of his body. "I am the best huntsman in at least three countries," Armande murmured, his voice low and smooth. "Do you think I cannot stalk my prey? That I do not study the way they move, what they enjoy, what they need?" His hands tightened on Erik's wrists. Erik could not seem to catch his breath or tear his eyes from Armande's.

"When I want someone," Armande continued, dipping his head until his nose brushed Erik's jaw, slowly gliding up until his lips whispered against the shell of Erik's ear, "I want a challenge. I am not after an easy tumble that will make its rounds in court gossip. I want a bear to test my skills, not a rabbit to bolt or yield at the first sign of pursuit." He moved to nuzzle Erik's neck, breath surprisingly cool against Erik's flushed skin, then released one wrist so that his free hand could slide up the inside of Erik's leg from calf to thigh. "I choose my prey wisely, but I am a consummate hunter. I always catch the one I want."

"Oh," Erik choked out, unable to formulate any other words. He wanted to whimper and beg Armande to continue his hand's movement upward, to stroke him or strip him or something, anything. But instead, Armande rolled off him and sat up.

"Trust me, Your Highness, I could teach you a few things. But that is not what you are here to learn, nor is it my place."

Available from Less Than Three Press and 

For the Sake of the Kingdom Goodreads

About the Author:

The discovery at age five of her mother’s typewriter lurking in the bowels of her basement inspired Julia’s first story, a moving, multi-chaptered, twelve-sentence masterpiece about a blood-thirsty blob. Since then, she’s gone on to write many vastly better spelled stories with much happier endings.

Julia finds absolutely everything completely fascinating, which is why she spends most of her time in a classroom. Her greatest loves, apart from her husband, are language, music, and history, and she makes her living via a slightly ridiculous passel of jobs centered around the three. There are rumors that, in a prior life, she even dabbled in teaching high school math and chemistry amidst her Latin, Greek, and music history classes. Her students joke that she would like to achieve a doctorate in Everything, and they’re not far wrong.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @julia_alaric
Poorly Tended Blog:
Decrepit livejournal, full of short free reads: 


Julia is giving away a copy of any title from her backlist (all of them can be found here: To enter, please comment on the post with your email address between now and March 24th @ 11:59 PM CDT. Good luck!


  1. I always wondered what the hell those things on earwigs were...yikes.

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. Oooh, this one sounds like such a good one. GREAT excerpt. I'm with you on the earwig thing too. They are nasty little things!

    1. Thanks! Aren't they horribly creepy little buggers?

  3. ears wear wigs??? I must get one for each then! Great interview, thanks Julia and Raine!

    1. I think ear wigs are called fuzzy ear muffs. :)

  4. those 200 words....swooning!! Julia your book sounds awesome! And JC don't be such a dope! (smh)