Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Have Questions!!!

Katalina Leon’s Sugar Roux Voodoo released April 22nd. This historical/paranormal romance will keep you riveted from beginning to end (and beyond)! Kat has graciously agreed to join us today to answer a few questions!

Tessie: This story is so unique, Kat. Where did the inspiration come from?

Kat: I wanted to write my version of a dark American fairytale with a paranormal twist. I was drawn to the New Orleans setting because its history is soaked in moodiness, joy and mystery. I wanted to write a tale where good clearly triumphed over evil, and I wanted Lark and Valcour to face big physical and emotion challenges. This setting did all that for me.
Be warned there are some dark elements in this story, including very manipulative sexuality and talk of abuse, but as we all know there is some dark stuff at the bottom our favorite fairytales. Facing the darkness and being victorious over it, is the heart of the story.

Tessie: I can’t even imagine the research involved in writing historical novels! When I read this book, I was literally swept away to New Orleans in the 1830’s. Tell us about the process.

Kat: It was exhausting bedding dashing pirates and freeing zombies! Never again, never again! Lol When I read for pleasure, I often pick up some sort of history book. I’ll read books of old letters, diary entries, maps, ship manifests—anything useful. As I read I try to “read” between the lines and look for what’s missing from the historical account. I go searching for the human being at the heart of the matter. I’ll ask myself who were they? Were they lonely? Why did they take this risk? Etc…
I love to put myself in that place and fully imagine what it would feel like to live in that time period under those limitations. For me writing historical fiction is like the ultimate game of make-believe.

Tessie: I absolutely love the ‘eerie’ qualities of SRV; dark magic, zombies…how was it to craft those elements into the story?

Kat: Fun! I think I’d like to try writing horror. I deliberately held back and made the story moody not horrific because “Sugar Roux Voodoo” is a romance, but maybe someday…

For this story I wanted to create an evil twist on a shape-shifter. The Amé Enchanger or soul-swapper is a manipulative man with supernatural powers. He gains control of men during their darkest hour or most guilty thoughts and uses those negative emotions to enslave his victims as zombies. Then he takes on their likeness and goes into the world exploiting the men’s personality and doing bad things. I couldn’t think of a more frightening violation than to have someone borrow your soul and do things to others that you would never do.

I wrote a lot of the eerie Broken Oak Plantation to entertain my husband. He’s was raised in New Orleans on pirate tales and he loves this stuff! He contributed quite a bit to the atmosphere of “Sugar Roux Voodoo”. The oak tree, the Spanish fort and the enchanted moss were his ideas.

Tessie: I’ve tried very hard to keep my questions broad enough not give away any of this fantastic story, but I have to ask about the card reading in the first chapter. I was on the edge of my seat right along with Miss Marietta. What’s real and what’s not??

Kat: First, it’s my job as a writer of fiction to make things up that feel real. I take my make-believe very seriously! Most scenes are a 50/50 mix of real historical elements blended with stuff I just made-up for fun. I’m no authority. I’m just curious about this beautiful world. Always take my writing with a grain of salt—it’s only meant as entertainment.

However, the card deck is a real deck, the Tarot de Marseilles is notable because it was the first tarot deck to be commercially printed and distributed. Here’s a weird bit of American history—the British stamp act, which placed a tax on every scrap of paper-product imported into the colonies would have included such diverse items as books, maps, ledgers, parchments, playing cards and the Tarot de Marseilles. The British wanted to collect a tax on everything that could be used for financial gain, including gambling and tarot cards though I suspect there wasn’t a huge demand for tarot cards in the original thirteen!

Beyond that I mapped out Miss Marietta’s character arch and compared it to the journey my heroine Lark needed to take. I scribbled a brief psychological profile on a post-it-pad of both ladies, and designed a card reading especially for them based on the traditional symbolism behind the cards. Once I understood that the cards were actually playing a third character in that scene, it clicked for me. I found it a pleasure to write the tarot scene because it flowed off the keyboard almost as fast as I could type.

Tessie: One of the many reasons that I’m such a fan of your stories, Kat, is your gift for seamlessly blending fiction and reality! Thank you so much for giving us a glimpse into how this book came about.

Kat: I want to thank you Tessie for taking the time to interview me and for all your love and encouragement during the writing of this book. It’s much appreciated.

“Sugar Roux Voodoo” Available now from Ellora’s Cave Legend Line.

Big hugs to you, Kat!

Wishing every one a marvelous weekend~



  1. I just love the New Orleans setting. I have never been but in my mind's eye, it has a mystique and erotic vibe. Great book and interview.

  2. You truly amaze me, Kat. I've just started the book, but I know I'm going to be blown away by the time I'm done. :)
    Congrats on the new release.

  3. Marie, New Orleans is worth the trip for the FOOD & MUSIC alone, enjoy the people, the rich cultural history and the architecture if you must! lol There's no place like it.
    Thank you Amber, I hope "Sugar" casts the right kind of spell on you!
    Big thank you Tessie, and by the way, I need to see some new pages from you this weekend. (Psssst she's working on something really gooood!)
    XXOO Kat

  4. Marie, I've been to New Orleans once, many years ago, and it remains one of my favorite places. When I read SRV, I could so picture the area in the 1830's!

    Amber, Just wait, the intensity of SRV keeps building!!

    Kat, you're welcome! I so appreciate your support regarding my WIPs, I'll do my very best to send something your way soon! Hugs

  5. Great interview ladies. All the creepiest stories happen in New Orleans, though I've never been there, there is something mystical about the city.

    Love the excerpt below. I'll definitely be checking this one out Kat!

  6. Thank you for dropping by Nina. New Orleans is certainly a place of strong contrasts. It's one of North America's oldest cities and was once held by several nations, and that adds a lot to the mix. It truly is it's own separate thing.
    XXOO Kat

  7. Going to New Orleans has always been a dream of mine. I had the opportunity to go on business about seven years ago (I am one of those immoral teachers who writes erotica, shhhhh...) but my MIL passed away right before the conference. Someday I will get there. The place just pulls at something inside of me.

  8. Marie, I hope you do get the chance some day soon to enjoy New Orleans. More power to you as an immoral erotic authoring teacher! lol I'm from a family of teachers and my MIL taught school in New Orleans as well. With a name like "Dufour" you must visit NOLA at least once in this life! lol
    XXOO Kat

  9. Oh, Kat, honey, you sooooo need to write horror!

  10. Muaahhhhh! Perhaps I will my pretty...
    XXOO Kat


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