Today, we’re visiting with Cree Walker. She’s here to talk to us about her new novel, Maple Lane Manor…
A lighthearted Paranormal Romantic Comedy…
Maple has spent the last decade, switching from one college major to another. She’s so scared to make a mistake in life, that she’s having a little trouble getting it started. Never quite knowing her purpose, the decision is suddenly made for her when her vampire, grandmother mysteriously passes away and leaves Maple Lane Manor, and it’s four elderly supernatural residents in her care.
Upon arriving home for the first time in ten years, Maple is stunned to see that the Manor isn’t the pristine, stoic, hill-top wonder, it once was. She soon finds out that the condition of the house isn’t the worst of her problems. Money issues caused by a decade of Maple’s lengthy, “college experience” have put them deep in debt and now it’s up to Maple to save her namesake and the only family she’s ever known, from being taken away.
To help her Derek Holt, the dashing and mysterious handyman, a drunk witch, a grumpy werewolf, a semi-lucid wizard, a former starlet/part vampire and a little parrot named, Batman, will do everything in their power to support Maple in her impossible battle to save the Manor from debt, decay and her high school arch nemesis, over zealous real-estate agent, Stacy Three Names.
Will Maple be able to save her home and her family in time, or is will she let them down, yet again?
Tricia: Hi, Cree. Your new novel sounds fabulous! Give us some insight into your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
Cree: I write by the seat of my pants. Sometimes it gets me into trouble when I’ve realized too late, that I’ve written myself into a corner and have to go back twenty or thirty pages but some of my best ideas and plot twists have come about because of this method.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Cree: Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals came to me in a dream, literally. That morning I’d gone on a walk through of the house that inspired this book. At the time I was writing another book with this house in mind but as soon as I saw what it really looked like inside I told myself that I was going to own this house one day. So, later that morning before going to bed, (I work nights) I was laying there thinking of ways in which I could possibly afford to own this house and I fell asleep. I woke up with the title bouncing around inside my head and I thought to myself, I have to write this down before I forget. Four hours later I had the first chapter and the premise for the novel.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the characters in this book?
Cree: I got the idea for Maple Lane aka Laney, using myself as an example. I went to college but I had a hard time deciding on a major. I just didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I grew up…Maple, not so much. As for the rest of the crew, since Maple was raised in such an odd environment, I needed people who fit family roles in her life. I needed a mother figure, someone who was feminine and a strong female role model for Maple, so I chose Vie the part vampire, former starlet. For the male role model in Maple’s life I went with a grumpy, yet loving old werewolf, Walter. He’s tough on Maple but it’s because he loves and believes in her. He just wants her to believe in herself, too. And then I went with a crazy ant and uncle type who brought comic relief and a little magic to the story, Willow and Alex the retired witch and wizard of Maple Lane Manor. Then, since I believe a house is not a home without a pet or two I created Batman. Batman is a small green parrot who’s been abandoned by his childhood friend. He’s taken to plucking his feathers as a coping skill. In the beginning they think they are doing the little bird a favor but before too long they all realize they need him, just as much as he needs them. The love interest is Derek. He’s the only guy who showed up for the job interviews when they needed a supernatural/live in handyman. They don’t exactly know what kind of supernatural he is. He’s super mysterious and doesn’t have a lot of experience as a handyman but he has other expertise that he’s willing to share with Maple, if she’ll let him.
Tricia: Of all your main characters, in all of your books, which one is your favorite? Why?
Cree: All of my characters are very different and I love them each for different reasons. I love Sugar, from my Sugar and Spice werewolf series, because she is strong, protective and loyal. I love Ceres, from the Reaper series because she has a well of power that she would never use, but I love Maple for her quirks, her humanity. She’s more touchable than some of my other characters.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Cree: I’m impatient. Sometimes I would like to write a book in a month but I can’t do that. When I start to force my writing it starts to show. So, my biggest challenge is slowing down, letting the ideas flow at a more natural pace.
Tricia: What is your primary goal as an author?
Cree: I want to be an author for a living. I work full time and sometimes time management can be a problem as well as the fact that I don’t see writing as a job, it is a love.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Cree: Right now I’m working on a book titled; My Ex-Boyfriend is a Werewolf. I was thinking about how most paranormal romances you read are about the characters meeting, falling in lust and working out their differences as human and creature of the night, in the name of true love. I wondered what would happen if they found themselves five years down the road, after the novelty of the relationship has worn off and things aren’t working out as well as they thought they would.
Another that is still untitled is about a woman who’s won the largest lottery winnings in history. She’s trying not to get killed by jealous crazy people who want her money, she lives and takes care of her super genius, super crazy father and a homicidal hairless cat that came with the new house she just moved into. I don’t know if it’s going to be paranormal yet but I’m loving it so far.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Cree: You need to write more than one book for people to find you. Chances are your first book isn’t going to be a huge success and readers aren’t going to be able to find you amongst the horde unless you have more than one book.
Tricia: Excellent advice, Cree. It was great talking with you!
Cree Walker lives in Northern Maine with her very patient debate partner and their furry love child, mini rat terrier, Titan. When Cree isn’t plugging away at her computer she can most likely be found at the hospital where she works as an advanced psychiatric technician for both children and adults.
To date, Cree has four novel length publications with Naughty Nights Press. Paranormal werewolf romance, Whisper on a Scream, and it’s sequel, Urban Fantasy nominated book for 2012, Willing Sacrifice. She also has paranormal romantic comedy, A Winter’s Grave, book one to the Reaper series and her most recent publication, Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals. So far, Maple Lane Manor has been a finalist in the 2013 UpAuthor’s Fiction Challenge and all have received the coveted 5 star review rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.
Derek had gone straight to his room, so I didn’t expect to see him again that night, but he was standing in his doorway as I tried sneaking passed.
“Is everyone tucked in?”
I clutched my chest with one hand and covered a scream with the other.
He gave me one of his crooked grins and gently pulled me into his room, closing the door quietly behind me. “You didn’t think I was going to let you off that easy, did you?”
“I was hoping.”
He cocked his head. “Were you, now?”
Sort of. I nodded emphatically.
He shook his head slowly as he closed the distance between us. “I’d have to be a dead man to allow you to get out of that dress without at least offering my assistance.” He leaned down and kissed me lightly.
“You’re gonna be a dead man if Walter finds out,” I said.
He grinned and slid a hand up my bare back beneath the silver chains. “I’m just helping you out.”
Of the dress, or other things?
“I have to go take a shower,” I said breathlessly.
“It’s the dry season, and your shower today must have taken close to an hour.” He leaned in again, and I felt him grin against my throat before he kissed me just above my collarbone.
He was an incubus. Of course he’d know about my special alone time in the shower. And as of late, that time was becoming embarrassingly frequent.
“I’m afraid if I don’t help you out tonight, we’ll run out of water by tomorrow.”
“Just to be clear, you’re not talking about the dress anymore, are you?”
“That’s part of it, yeah.”
“Are you sure? Maybe you just need a cookie or something.”
In response he put his forehead against mine and gripped my ass, pressing me against the door with his body. “I don’t think that’s going to cover it anymore.”
His voice came out all husky and wanting, the way I’d always imagined it.
“I don’t think a shower’s going to do me much good, either.”
He chuckled. “I was hoping you’d say that.”