Kristen Painter on BLOOD RIGHTS

Have you always been a writer?

I’ve dabbled in art, advertising, the food industry, modeling, teaching, you name it, I probably did it as a summer job. Despite those other jobs, I have always been a writer. Maybe not with the same proliferance that I have now, but I’ve never been far from pen and paper, keyboard and printer. It’s just part of who I am, a storyteller. Of course, I’ve gone from telling stories about my cats and pinecones that come to life and moved on to characters I hope people find a little more interesting.

How did you come up for the idea of the comarrés?

Years ago – like college years ago – I had this idea about a mysterious girl with a gold butterfly tattoo that marked her as an assassin. But it was just an idea, strong enough to stick with me, but not enough to turn into a book. It wasn’t until the rest of the story hit me many years later that I could truly see who she was and what her world was like. Chrysabelle and Mal grew out of those first tendrils of thought, eventually taking over in a way that surprised even me. And now, to see Chrysabelle realized on the cover in such a stunning way…I have to say that’s like the realization of a dream.

Why Paradise City?

I knew I wanted to set the book in Florida since I live here and I love the area, but I didn’t want to set it in an existing city. I decided to reimagine Miami, a Miami of the future where things weren’t as bright as they were once upon a time. Paradise City seems like a place that is trying very hard to be something more that it is, trying to live up to its name and struggling with that just a little. The perfect place to loose the kind of chaos that makes urban fantasy such a fun read.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

This is that “free time” thing people are always talking about, isn’t it? Besides struggling to get some kind of regular exercise, I do a few other things that aren’t writing. It probably goes without saying that I love to read, but I also love to cook. I make jewelry too – I find it’s really nice to do something different with my hands than rap on a keyboard all day. I’ve been known to spend entire days watching movies too. As a writer, I think it’s really important to refill the creative well through a variety of sources, whether that be walking on the beach, playing with my cats or challenging my husband to some Wii. Or shopping. Retail therapy can be very good for the writer’s soul.

How much of you is in your characters?

That’s an interesting question. Is there anyone who doesn’t know the pain of loss? The shiver of fear? The joy of victory? I like to think my characters draw on all human experiences, not just my own, but of course, my experiences are going to shape them to some extent. Not entirely, though. I mean, I’ve never killed someone but that hasn’t stopped me from offing people in my books. Is it wrong to say I find that rather enjoyable?

Have you ever wanted to be a vampire?

On one hand, it would be ridiculously cool to be able to scatter, to have some kind of inherent power and be basically invincible. On the other, in real life the sight of blood makes my eyes roll back into my head, so no. (My husband has several stories about how ineffectual a paramedic I am in the face of gushing wounds, something he seems capable of producing on a regular basis.) I do think it would awesome to have an actual gold tattoo, though. So long as getting it was fairly painless.

Which of your characters would you most like to hang out with?

Doc. In leopard form. I’ve always wanted to be on a first name basis with a big cat. At least until he got hungry, then maybe I’d go over to Chrysabelle’s. Mal scares me a little. Mostly because like Doc, there’s a good chance he’d bite me.

What’s next for Mal and Chrysabelle?

I don’t want to give anything away, but their lives won’t be getting any easier for some time…