Cate Tiernan is one of my favorite authors. I’ve been trying to get an interview with her for a while. She graciously answered our questions.

Immortal Beloved Questions:

1. What was your inspiration for writing about immortals?

I love paranormal/fantasy, but didn’t want to do vampires, and I’d already written about witches. My last series, Balefire, dealt with immortals, and I wanted to explore that world more fully.

I appreciated that you didn’t sugar coat the Immortals past actions. I also enjoyed how much I knew about each character, as if they were family.

2. How do you develop the individual characters in your books?

Mostly I sit around and think about them! A lot of their character is revealed through their dialogue, and more through their actions. As I think about a character, he/she becomes more and more real to me, and soon it’s as if I’m watching them and just reporting what happened.

3. What involvement do you have with fans, and how important is that to your career? You have mentioned being agoraphobic. Is it easier for you to keep in contact with fans with our current technology through twitter, facebook, etc.. than doing appearances and such?

I do joke about being agoraphobic, and it’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I am shy, and it’s really really hard for me to talk in front of strangers. I’m much better one on one. So I do try to keep in touch through Twitter and my website. I wish I could answer every letter or note I get, but it builds up so quickly. I always resolve to do better, update my website more often, but my life is really busy, and I get swamped easily. I’ll probably have a couple of appearances for Immortal Beloved in the coming year–I’ll post the info on my website if it happens.

4. You mentioned that Immortal Beloved has been your biggest challenge, how so?

In some ways the plot is more ambitious, because I have to build characters over hundreds of years, and there’s also a ton of research involved. The books are the longest books I’ve written, and I’ve tried to make them the best that I can do.

5. Will (or can) you tell us about the continuation of Immortal Beloved?

The second book, Darkness Falls, will come out in September, 2011. In it Nastasya has a shattering fall with shocking consequences, and Incy makes an appearance, and things with Reyn heat up. And the third book has even more drama and more Reyn. So that will be fun.

I have read the Sweep and Balefire series, as well as Immortal Beloved. All of your series have some type of magick/witches.

6. Why the fascination with witches? And how did you go about researching Wicca practices?

The immortals in Immortal Beloved aren’t described as witches, and the magick they practice isn’t Wicca, though there are some parallels. But I write about magick because I love it, and I love exploring a world that has magick in it. I write about the world I want to live in. For Sweep, I did a lot of research about Wicca, both in books and online, and treated it with respect and accuracy as much as I could while still serving the plot.

All your series deal with very adult issues. Yet they can be read and enjoyed by young adults too.

7. Do you try to write for a specific genre (like young adult) or is that just the way it ends up?

I do write specifically for the young adult market, which is a genre all its own. It has certain conventions of what kinds of situations and language can be described or used. I feel my book aren’t appropriate for readers below the age of 12 or 13, because of the subject matter.

Other questions:

I really enjoy your style of writing. I loved that the Sweep series allowed us to be with Morgan and see how her life turned out. On the other hand, I feel like the Balefire series left me hanging.

8. Is it important to you to tie things up at the end of a series?

To me it is, yes. At the same time, it’s sort of impossible to completely tie up every loose end, answer every question, and describe the outcome so satisfyingly that no one needs it to continue. I can always imagine a series going on and on–not just my own, but things like Harry Potter. I would love to see Harry Potter get older and live his life. And from letters I get, I think readers will always want more from a series–they love the characters and simply want more.

In Balefire, you describe New Orleans (a place I have never visited.) in a way that makes me feel like I’m there. I can almost smell the flowers…

9. Was it important to you to write a series set in the place of your birth?

Yes. New Orleans was so influential for me–growing up there shaped my sensibilities and attitudes. I wanted to describe it the way I remembered it–I haven’t lived there in 11 years now. I’d like to write more books set there.

10. If you could dream cast (for the big screen) Sweep, Balefire and Immortal Beloved, who would you have play:

The truth is that I’m just not familiar enough with today’s teen actors to really say. I’ve read fan lists on fan sites where they cast the movie, and it’s interesting because sometimes people will all choose the same actor for one role, and then choose a bunch of different people to play another role. Sometimes their choices seem very accurate (at least in looks) and sometimes I think, Oh geez, really? That person looks nothing like him/her! When I wrote Sweep, I had pictures of the characters that I’d cut out of magazines. They were all models and I didn’t know their names. And that was almost ten years ago, so now all those people would be too old.

11. If you could spend time with any author (alive or dead) who would it be and why? What would you expect to gain from that experience?

Oh, gosh. I don’t know. I know a lot of other writers, and we all kind of seem like regular people. I met one of my most influential writers, years ago, and she was nothing like what I expected. None of us can fly or glow in the dark or anything. So I just don’t have an answer here. I’m happy talking to almost anybody.

12. What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you and your books?

That I write sincerely, from my heart, about things that matter to me. And that I feel responsible for what I put out in the world, and I make sure that I feel what I put out in the world is positive, and not negative.

Thanks for asking me!

All best,

Also on Twitter: catetiernan

Thank you Cate!