Friday, February 17, 2012

Good Morning everyone!! Laura Bickle is here to tell us about some of her awesome books and the characters she has in them. While living in the Midwest she has worked in library science, criminology, and technology. Oh yes,.... and she is an avid cat lover. LOL!! Laura is also sponsoring a giveaway today, a copy of ROGUE ORACLE. Just be a follower of this blog and leave a comment or questions with your email address. A random winner will be drawn from the comments. Now let’s talk with Laura!!!!

1. First let’s talk about the two series you have. First is the DELPHIC ORACLE series written under Alayna Williams. The other under Laura Bickle, is the ANYA KALINCZYK novels. Tell us about these books and why you decided to use different names with each series.

Thanks very much for chatting with me today!

Writing as Alayna Williams, I'm the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE for Pocket Books. The ORACLE books are about a criminal profiler, Tara Sheridan, who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. Her foil and sometime-lover is skeptical federal agent Harry Li. Tara is a member of a secret order of oracles who trace their lineage back to the Oracle of Delphi. The series mixes magic and science in a way that appeals to fans of The X-Files and Fringe. I get to do a lot of exciting stuff with artificial black holes, pyromancy, the legacy of Chernobyl, and conspiracies.
My Laura Bickle books, EMBERS and SPARKS, are probably best described as "Ghostbusters in Detroit with arson and dragons." The Lantern series follows the adventures of Anya Kalinczyk. By day, Anya investigates suspicious fires as a Detroit arson investigator. By night, she works as part of an eccentric group of ghost hunters. Anya's the rarest type of spiritual medium - a Lantern, who incinerates malicious ghosts. With the help of her cranky fire salamander familiar, Sparky, Anya chases supernatural and human threats to her city.
My editor recommended that I use a pseudonym for the ORACLE books. My first book, EMBERS, came out in April, 2010. DARK ORACLE was scheduled for June of that year. We thought it would be confusing for readers to have two UF series going on under the same name, with alternating release dates. For that purpose, it made sense to create "Alayna." 

2. In the future do you intend (and want) to continue with two pen names or identities?
Having a not-so-secret identity is a lot of fun, but it's also a lot to keep track of. For the foreseeable future, I think I'm going to stick with "Laura Bickle."

3. Anya Kalinczyk has a charming invisible fire salamander familiar named Sparky. How did this inspiration develop and become a creation on the page?
Sparky, Anya Kalinczyk's fire salamander in EMBERS and SPARKS, is a lot of fun to write. Sparky is a composite of all the pets I've had. He's snuggly, petulant, protective, and snarky. As a fire salamander, he can affect electrical fields and fire...he's been known to chew on cell phones, blow up microwaves, and set of sprinkler systems in the crime lab. He doesn't speak, but he gets to unleash all of his destructive urges and snack on ghosts. 
He has a favorite toy that he cuddles with at night...a Glow-Worm. I had a Glow-Worm toy as a child. I was terribly afraid of the dark, and it really helped. I still give them as gifts for baby showers.

4. There is still a lot about Sparky that hasn’t been told yet. Could you share something that isn’t in your books about this special creature? We promise not to tell **wink, wink**.
LOL. Well, Sparky's had quite a long life. He spent some time gadding about Europe with Van Helsing. He was Joan of Arc's familiar, and also had his sticky fingers involved in the Hindenburg disaster. He's a bit sensitive about the Hindenburg issue.

5. In the ORACLE series, Tara Sheridan looks to Tarot cards reading for some of her guidance. Do tarot cards play a role in your personal or working life?
I've been puttering around with Tarot cards since I was a teenager. I've never read cards professionally, but they make wonderful story prompts. I wrote the ORACLE books with a deck of cards at hand. Whenever I got stuck on a plot point or character, I'd draw a card at random. Many of the spreads I came up with actually appear in the book.

6. When Anya 'devours' the spirits ( or ghosts ) where do they go? What exactly takes place?
Ah, this is a price of power question. I think that human protagonists must  make a trade-off for using magic; there’s no free lunch in the universe. Even if a magical heritage is forced on them, and not something sought out willingly.
With that in mind, I created my heroines with an ambivalent relationship toward their magical powers. In EMBERS, Anya Kalinczyk is the rarest kind of psychic medium, a Lantern. Where other mediums allow spirits to use their hands and voices to communicate, Anya devours ghosts. It’s a talent she had no choice in - she’s always been a Lantern. And it comes in handy in her nocturnal work as a ghost hunter. But she wrestles with the costs.
The first cost is physical. Devouring a spirit leaves a burn, a scar, on her body. The second is psychological - Anya feels apart from ordinary humans, and can’t make a connection with her fellow ghost hunters. And the last one is spiritual. Anya wrestles with the idea of what happens to a ghost after she incinerates it. Does it go forward into an Afterworld? Or has she killed it entirely?
These are questions that Anya hasn't yet answered, but they keep her awake at night.

7. Intertwining realm's (reality and fantasy) is a strong point that seems to flow and come alive in your writing. Is this something that you have to work at or does it come easily?
One of the tricky issues in writing urban fantasy is finding the appropriate balance between fantasy and reality. Urban fantasy, by definition, includes fantastical elements (including paranormal ideas or magic) in a mundane setting. Fantastic elements make a story interesting, and realistic elements make a story believable. Too much fantasy makes the magic less special, drowns it in a sea of fantastic characters and places. Too much realism makes the world too gritty or dull. 
The solution to that balance for me is research, whether I'm researching particle accelerators, arson investigation, astrology, or spontaneous human combustion. I think that the devil's in the details, and it's important to get those correct.
8. Do you find that any one of your characters reflects characteristics that you find in yourself?
I think that all of my characters have some element of myself in them. The character who's most like me is probably Tara Sheridan. She's not a character who kicks in doors with guns blazing - she tends to be more self-contained and cerebral. She's more of a strategist - she tries to plan several steps ahead of her opponents. Tara was inspired by the Queen of Swords Tarot card, which is one that I used to represent myself in many card readings over the years

9. Is writing something that keeps you busy full-time or do you still juggle your writing time with another day job?
Like many writers, I do have a day job. I worked in and around criminal justice for more than ten years, and now have the pleasure of working in a library. It's wonderful imagination food, being surrounded by all those research materials!

10. Sitting in your work area, with all possibilities in front of you, what  direction would you like to explore for a future project?
Ah, I have far too many ideas and not enough time for them. But my newest project is called THE HALLOWED ONES, which will be coming out in September from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Graphia line. It's YA thriller about an Amish girl who must confront not only a massive disaster unfolding in the world outside her community, but also the threat of darkness in her own increasingly fragile society.

The latest info on THE HALLOWED ONES and my other books can be found on my website, at
Thanks so much for chatting with me today!


  1. Thanks so much for the interview and for hosting me today! :-)

  2. Hi Laura.. Sparky, the snarky salamander, oh he sounds like so much fun to write. Can't wait to read these books. Thank you for stopping by

    1. Thank you! Sparky is a composite of all the pets I've had...and they've been ornery. ;-)

  3. first, let me say I LOVE THIS WEBSITE... and even cooler, I LOVE Laura Bickle!!! I have all of her books (so far) except Rogue Oracle :) so it would be awesome to win hahaha I love me some Sparky and I hope you keep this series going, as I just love it ;)

    I follow via network blogs & email with Maghon Thomas as my name and my e-mail is

  4. First off lwt me say---What a wonderful job you have done with your blog :)

    *Next I just have to ask the author---If she could have one type of man--what would he be? Alpha or beta personality?

    I am a follower :)


    1. Hi, Kristina! I 'fess up that I like beta males, the Fox Mulders of the world. :-)

  5. Laura, I enjoyed the interview and now have a new author to add to my TBR pile.

  6. These are so going on my To Read pile right now.. was a great interview and i look forward to much more

  7. Laura I have another question and it is usually one I ask most authors- Cover art- how much of a say do you have in any of your covers?

    1. Hi, Wendy! My covers have all been happy surprises. I get an e-mail from the publisher it is!

  8. Laura, When writing do you stick to a schedule or is it different everyday with what is going on, and your mood?

    1. Hi, Shonna!

      I try to stick to a schedule, especially if I'm on a deadline. I'm a big believer in the National Novel Writing Month method - actually, both DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE are NaNo books. Sometimes, you've just got to get the idea down before it runs away.

  9. Do you listen to music while you write?

    1. Sometimes - but it has to be something not too terribly distracting. Mostly, I like ambient music for that. But I can't write with the television on - waaaay too distracting, and my word count plummets!

  10. Hi Everyone! I finally made it here on time (well almost, haha)

    Loved reading about Laura Bickle and here books! Let me say I can't wait to read your books!!