LINDA POITEVIN, Sins of the Son - Author Interview

This week I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for Linda Poitevin’s SINS OF THE SON, the second book in her series The Grigori Legacy.  And don’t forget, after the interview, to check down below for a chance to win TWO different giveaways!

Sins of the Son Blog Tour

Sins of the Son Blog Tour

Linda Poitevin was born and raised in B.C., Canada’s western most province. Growing up in an era when writing was “a nice hobby, dear, but what are you going to do for a living?”, Linda worked at a variety of secretarial jobs before applying to be a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Due to an error in measurement, however, she was turned down when she didn’t meet the height requirement of that time. Undeterred, Linda became a civilian member in the force and was a dispatcher for two and a half years, during which time she met her husband, a police officer.

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin

Following their transfer to Ottawa, Linda went on to become a real estate agent and then a human resources consultant before starting a family. She has been a stay-at-home mom ever since and has homeschooled her youngest daughter for the last nine years. Now that she has realized writing can be more than a nice hobby, she continues to live her dream of being a cop vicariously through her characters.

Linda currently lives near Ottawa with her husband, three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

In addition to her books, Linda also does freelance writing and editing. Information about her services can be found at Linda is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Quebec Writers’ Federation, Romance Writers of America, RWA Futuristic Fantasy Paranormal Chapter, and Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association.

ANTHONY: Welcome back, Linda! It’s always great to have people come back for a second interview.

LINDA: Thanks so much for having me back, Anthony! I’ve really been looking forward to this. 

ANTHONY: So let’s start out with a little recap: what is The Grigori Legacy series all about, and who are Alexandra Jarvis, Aramael and Seth?

LINDA: The Grigori Legacy series melds angel mythology with suspense, thriller, and police procedural aspects to create a world where God is a woman, Heaven and Hell are real, and homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis has been thrown into the struggle between them…with humanity’s very survival hanging in the balance. Aramael is–or was, in book 1–an angel who hunts Fallen Ones and the soulmate Alex was never supposed to have; and Seth is both the son of the One (God) and Lucifer and a pawn in their ongoing cosmic game.

ANTHONY: The first book, SINS OF THE ANGELS, was very clearly focused on Alex and Aramael: their relationship and their struggle with serial killer / fallen angel Caim. Some of Alex’s fellow cops  and Aramael’s fellow angels play strong supporting roles, and of course there’s a major subplot involving Seth, but mostly it’s Alex and Aramael’s story. The focus shifts for SINS OF THE SON. Not unexpectedly,  because the book is about him, Seth joins Alex at center stage. How hard of a decision was it to make Aramael slightly less of a presence?

LINDA: The series really is about Alex as a main character, so lessening Aramael’s presence wasn’t really a decision, per se, it was more just a natural progression in Alex’s story.

ANTHONY: You expand Heaven’s ranks a bit by bringing in perhaps the most well-known arch-angel ever, Michael. I believe you hinted at the reason for his absence in book one, and we get closer to the full story in book two. Do you have detailed histories written out for each of the major angelic characters (Michael, Raphael, Aramael, Verchiel, Mittron, etc), keeping track of where and when they’ve crossed paths in the past?

LINDA: Wow, the more questions like this that get thrown at me, the more I realize how much of a pantser I really am, lol. Perhaps my subconscious has already worked out these details, but they only surface as I’m doing the actual writing…so no, no written histories as yet. I am, however, working on writing them down as I uncover the details, and I plan to put them up as a series of short backstories on my website…eventually. 

ANTHONY: You also introduce two more main human characters, Detective Hugh Henderson and Doctor Elizabeth Riley, who play much larger roles than any of Alex’s fellow cops or family did in book one. Was your plan always to expand the human cast in book two to give Alex a bigger support network, or did you find that the story as it developed necessitated letting Alex share the spotlight with other humans?

LINDA: It was definitely something that developed with the story…poor Alex really needed some kind of human sidekick. 

Sins of the Son

Sins of the Son

ANTHONY: Good point. Although I have to admit: at one point I thought there was a very real possibility that you’d pull a George RR Martin and kill off your main viewpoint character. Was there ever any thought to killing off Alex and turning the series over to Henderson and Riley? (Hey, even JK Rowling considered killing off Ron Weasley at one point!)

LINDA: Really? You thought I might kill off Alex? For real, I mean? That possibility honestly never even crossed my mind! I cannot guarantee the safety of all my characters, however. (Mwahahaha!)

ANTHONY: Yes, really. And I adore that evil laugh. Now, you gave us  a very well-developed, if non-conventional, look at the hierarchy of Heaven in book one, so it makes sense that you’d give us a glimpse of Hell in book two. It’s a small glimpse, most scenes featuring only Lucifer and Sammael. Do you have maps of Heaven and Hell in your head, and how completely does Hell mirror Heaven?

LINDA: I have a clear vision of Heaven, but not necessarily a map of it, no. Hell itself mirrors Heaven very closely, but in an anti-Heaven kind of way. You’ll see more of that in books 3 & 4.

ANTHONY: Taking yourself out of creator/author role for just a moment: as a reader, would you be #TeamAramael or #TeamSeth? (Please don’t say #TeamHenderson….!)

LINDA: #TeamHenderson was never even a possibility, so you’re safe there! And I remain firmly on the side of #TeamI’mStillNotTellingYou, lol!

ANTHONY: Curses, foiled again! You can’t blame a boy for trying, though! On a more craft-oriented note: did your writing process change at all from book one to book two?

LINDA: Hugely! The Grigori Legacy is my first attempt at a series, and while I’ve never been a plotter, book 2 forced me to take a more long-range view of the series…and to start keeping at least a few notes about backstories (just so I didn’t get myself too lost!). I was also writing under contract for the first time and so there was an element of expectation I’ve never had before. For the most part that worked in my favor, keeping my butt in the chair and on schedule, but every once in a while it resulted in some serious performance anxiety, too. Book 2 taught me how to work through roadblocks created by my own insecurities.

ANTHONY: Okay, so you know I have to ask: when’s book three coming out? Can you at least tell us the title and tease us a little of the plot?

LINDA: In book 3, Sins of the Righteous, Seth’s decision in book 2 creates unforeseen complications for the entire universe, Alex is stretched to her limits with trying to keep both her relationship and humanity glued together, and more impossible choices will have to be made. No pub date has been set yet, but you can be assured I’ll let everyone know when I do (most likely by yelling it from the rooftop!). 

ANTHONY: You’ve got a plan for the end of the series, right? Have you known it all along, or did it evolve from what you’ve written in the first two books? Does the ultimate series-ending allow for other books/characters in the same world at some time in the future?

LINDA: I do have an end in mind, yes. It evolved through the first two books and cemented itself at about the 3/4 mark of Sins of the Son. I think there would be room for other books/characters in the future, but I’m not sure I’d want to go there. I like the idea of ending this series as planned and moving onto a fresh idea (and yes, I already have one in mind). 

ANTHONY: My usual closing question is about favorite books, but you fielded that one last time. So, let’s change it up: what’s your favorite movie and what would you say to someone who has never seen it to convince them that they should?

LINDA: My favorite of all time isn’t actually a movie, but a mini series: the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. If someone has never seen it, I’d tell tell them that it is head and shoulders above the Hollywood version, with brilliant acting (Colin Firth is just sooooo good in it!), and a script that stays unbelievably true to the story itself. I love the series for the snapshot it provides into another era…and for its historical accuracy.

ANTHONY: Thanks again, Linda!

LINDA: Thank you, Anthony, for another wonderful invitation to visit!


Now, on to news about those giveaways:

GIVEAWAY #1: You can win a copy of SINS OF THE SON, just by commenting on this post! It’s easy. Just  choose who you think Alex Jarvis should end up with when the series concludes. Are you #TeamAramael? #TeamSeth? #TeamHenderson? Or #TeamSomeoneElse? Have fun with it, and add your reasoning if you feel like it!  A winner will be chosen by random, by me, on the last day of the SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour, which is APRIL 26th, 2012. Chosen winner will be notified by email to arrange delivery, so please provide good contact information!


GIVEAWAY #2: All of the book winners from all the stops on the SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour will be entered into a Grand Prize drawing for this beautiful necklace/earring set designed by Cemetary Cat, aka @psynde on Twitter:  Winner will be chosen by Linda herself, who will then contact the winner to arrange delivery.

Remember, you can find Linda on Twitter as @LindaPoitevin, you can find her author page on Facebook, and of course you can go right to her own webpage for even more information and goodies.  And here’s a link to my original interview with Linda when SINS OF THE ANGELS was released.

And you can see the full list of SINS OF THE SON blog tour stops (with lots of other interviews, guest posts by Linda, and chances to win) RIGHT HERE.

LINDA POITEVIN, Author - Interview

Today we ramble on a bit with author Linda Poitevin.

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin

Linda Poitevin currently lives near Ottawa with her husband, three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, three rabbits, and a bearded dragon lizard. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods.

In addition to her books, Linda also does freelance writing and editing. Information about her services can be found at Linda is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Quebec Writers’ Federation, Romance Writers of America, RWA Futuristic Fantasy Paranormal Chapter, and Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association.

ANTHONY: Hi, Linda! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

LINDA: Thank you for inviting me, Anthony! It’s a pleasure. 

ANTHONY: Let’s start with the basic premise of SINS OF THE ANGELS. What made you decide to write an urban fantasy about angels rather than, say, wizards or zombies or vampires?

Sins of the Angels, Linda Poitevin

Sins of the Angels, Linda Poitevin

LINDA: That wasn’t actually my decision, I’m afraid — at least, not a conscious one. Aramael just kind of turned up in my head, already an angel. 

ANTHONY: What kind of research did you do into the hierarchy of angels and the legend of the Grigori? What sources did you pull from to craft your version?

LINDA: I did a tremendous amount of reading — there are huge numbers of angel books available, and fabulous sources on the Internet. I drew mainly from the Catholic descriptions of the hierarchy, but did a lot of literal interpretation of the descriptions to arrive at my own version.

ANTHONY: Talk to me about your writing process. Are you more of a detailed outliner, or a “see where it goes as I go along” type of writer?

LINDA: For the most part, I’m a “see where it goes” type. I like being surprised by my characters and twists that I didn’t see coming. I’ve found that writing a series has required a certain amount of planning ahead, however, so that I can be sure that something I write in book 1 or 2 won’t become a problem later on in the story arc. I also do a lot of mental scene-building (yes, I’m a daydreamer!), so I tend to have a lot of a story “written” before it ever makes it onto actual paper.

ANTHONY: Were there any moments in the writing of the book where a character’s actions took you by surprise?

LINDA: Many, many moments, to be honest. The biggest surprise to me was Seth’s appearance in the book. When he knocked on Alex’s door in the first draft, he very nearly took over the entire story. That’s when I realized that this would be a series…I had to promise him his own story to get him to cooperate! 

ANTHONY: How long did it take to go from initial concept to final publication?

LINDA: Are you ready for this? Ten years. Of course, most of that was spent doing stuff other than writing, lol, but that is the actual time it took to write Sins of the Angels.

ANTHONY: I’m not surprised. It gives me hope. My mystery novel AMBERGRIN HALL is going on year eleven right now… Tell us a little about Alexandra Jarvis and the joys or challenges of writing such a very strong, but emotionally conflicted, lead female character.

LINDA: Alex was actually really easy to write. I’m a very strong-minded person myself, and most of my friends are as well, so it was almost like creating a character I would like to know as a real person.

ANTHONY: SINS is obviously not meant to be a stand-alone book. Is this the first in a trilogy or the first in an on-going, open-ended series?

LINDA: What, you didn’t think things were wrapped up at the end?  You’re right, of course. This is the first in a series of four books.

ANTHONY: There is a dense history not only to the character of Alexandra Jarvis but also to the world in which she exists. “Real” Toronto is as much a character in the book as the angelic world you’ve built around it. How hard was it to balance the two?

LINDA: I’m honestly surprised to hear you say that…one of the reasons my editor was comfortable leaving the novel in Toronto was that she felt the setting was not a “character.” I chose Toronto simply for its familiarity and my knowledge of Canadian police procedure, but otherwise I think the story could have been set in any major city. Heaven, of course, is an entirely different matter… 

ANTHONY: Have you had any feedback, positive or negative, about the representation of God as Female and Lucifer as her male counterpart?

LINDA: Feedback on a female God has been very positive, with some readers saying that alone was enough to make them pick up the book. So far no one has commented negatively on the idea, and no one at all has commented on the Lucifer issue. These are early days, however. 

ANTHONY: It’s a trueism that names have power. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the names Caim and Aramael are to Cain and Abel. Was that on purpose, and if so, how?

LINDA: It wasn’t a conscious thing, no…and it wasn’t until a beta reader asked me the same thing that I even realized I’d done it. Apparently my subconscious has a strong hand in my writing!

ANTHONY: In some Judeo-Christian myths, Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, and you have a Seth who comes into the story and has a mysterious destiny. Is there any deeper connection between Seth, Caim and Aramael?

LINDA: None at all.

ANTHONY: How soon can we expect the next book to come out? And what else are you working on other than the Angels books?

Sins of the Son, Linda Poitevin

Sins of the Son, Linda Poitevin

LINDA: Book 2 of the Grigori Legacy, Sins of the Son, will be released on March 27, 2012. I can foresee the series keeping me busy for the next year or so, after which I do have another series idea I’d like to pitch to my editor. No angels in that one!

ANTHONY: And my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

LINDA: I think my all-time favorite is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. For anyone who hasn’t read it, I consider it an absolute masterpiece of plot. The way Dumas pulls all the threads together at the end is nothing short of brilliant. It’s the kind of book you can read over and over again, and never grow tired with it.

ANTHONY: Thank you, Linda!

LINDA: You’re very welcome, Anthony! Your questions were great and I really enjoyed answering them!

You can find more about Linda’s work on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter as @lindapoitevin and friend her on Facebook.