We are delighted to be here today on The Snarkology interviewing Caliente D. Cooper, the co-author of the Books of the Kindling series, the first of which, More Than Magic, is being released by Samhain Publishing on February 4th.
|Caliente D. Cooper, co-author of MORE THAN MAGIC|
Melissa: Donna shared just a little bit of your background with me. You're a Jack Russell Terrier, correct?
Cali: You bet. *tosses head* Purebred. Of the Terrier-ific JRTs.
Melissa: Absolutely. And how did you meet Donna?
Cali: Well, I met Donna in 2008 and we bonded almost immediately. She was visiting the kennel where I was employed – I produced some gorgeous work there, but I was ready to retire from the dog-hump-dog business world and when Donna made her offer... I just couldn't refuse! I mean, what a life, producing words about dogs instead of producing, well...dogs. It's a dream come true for me.
Melissa: I bet. So, do you participate in writing the entire books, or just the portions with the dogs?
Cali: I co-author every word. If it weren't for me, Donna wouldn't even get up in the morning...or remember to eat or even go to the bathroom. I mean, how can you forget about that? *wiggles*
Melissa: She forgets to go to the bathroom?
Cali: Well, yes, when she's really into the actual writing – not the plotting. When she's plotting, she's up and around and wants to go walk outside and fidgeting and drinking coffee and going to the bathroom a lot. But when we are into actually writing the rough draft, she forgets sometimes. I remind her. I'm right there in the office with her and if she really gets forgetful, I stand behind her chair and tell her so. I never bark in the house – that's reserved for when I go to the bathroom myself – but I talk to her. I use the same voice I use when I wake her up in the morning...only I'm not standing on top of her in the office.
Melissa: That's...interesting. So Donna is a plotter then?
Melissa: I’m sorry! Of course, Donna and you are plotters not pantsers?
Cali: Well, I don’t wear pants, so it’s a good thing we're plotters. Donna is so left-brained that she does a log line for every scene. *wags tail* See, I know the lingo, even though we're really new to this. She tends to plot while I am walking her. She carries this little recorder thing and talks out loud a lot. The neighbors’ dogs have asked me repeatedly if she is on medication. One little Rat Terrier got horribly insistent and nosey. I mean, really! Mostly they are mutts, but there’s this purebred Belgian Malinois and this Rottie, and then there’s this Norwich Terrier who is built...
Melissa: *clears throat*
Cali: Hey, you have your cover models, I have my neighborhood hunks. Sadly, no JRTs. Anyway, if it weren’t for me, these books would not exist at all.
Melissa: I’m beginning to get that idea.
Cali: Exactly. And you know... *jumps into Melissa’s lap* ...I helped her deal with losing her sweetheart. She had this big hole in her heart where her husband had been and I filled a little bit of it for her. A lot actually. There’s still a hole, but I’m here to remind her that real love stories never end. The hole isn’t really empty. Not when you can remember love and write about it.
Melissa: *sniffs* Can I pet you?
Cali: Absolutely. The ears need lots of attention and I have this itch...
Melissa: *laughs* So...*clears throat*...does Donna...Do you and Donna include dogs in your books?
Cali: Are you kidding? I mean, seriously? With the kind of relationship we have, and all the ups and downs we’ve been through together, Donna would never write a love story without one of us in it somewhere. And the dogs play key roles too, although her editor is always telling her to watch overdoing it with the dog scenes. I like him, but he’s clearly not a dog person. *growls*
Melissa: Uh huh. So, are these Jack Russells?
Cali: Not in this book or the next. But there is this fabulous JRT in Book 3 that she modeled after the father of my beautiful pups. He plays a key role. *grins* And I actually gave her the idea for one of her best scenes, in my opinion. It’s in Book 3 and involves a rescue. She’s still working on that one, or I would read it to you.
Melissa: So, can you tell us about the dog in More Than Magic, the current book?
Cali: Oh yes! He’s a Plott Hound named Pooka. He is very important to the plot. That was a pun! Anyway, you might say that bumper sticker about “Who Rescued Who?” was written about him.
Melissa: So, what do you two do for fun?
Cali: Oh, well, when I can drag her away from the computer screen, we go visit my cousin Rocky – he’s a Boxer, we go to the park and feed the ducks, and we watch movies.
Melissa: Movies. So, do you have favorites?
Cali: You bet. Homemade Parmesan popcorn and “The Artist”. I mean, Uggie cannot make a bad movie. Seriously. And “Water for Elephants” is a brilliant piece of work. Then there’s Cosmo. Be still my heart. Wasn’t he the best in “Hotel for Dogs”? And “Beginners”? I have to admit, I’m partial to JRTs, but I enjoy watching other terriers too. Like the one in “Best in Show”. That one makes Donna laugh, a lot.
Melissa: What about “Marley and Me” or “Hachi”?
Cali: Oh, we don’t ever watch movies with sad endings. Happy ever after, that’s us. Just like our books!
Melissa: Well, it seems you two are a real team.
Cali: *grins* It’s kind of a love story. And real love stories...
Melissa: ...never end.
Melissa: Thanks for your time, Cali.
Cali: No problem. Now, could you let me out? It’s time for me to check out the back yard and talk to that Pittie across the fence. He’s got it bad for this Mastiff up the street, but she won’t have anything to do with him. I’m coaching him on how to talk to bitches.
Melissa: *laughs* Right. Certainly. Thank you again!
Title: More Than Magic, Book 1, Books of the Kindling
Date Published: February 4, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 96,671
Books of the Kindling
A malignant secret could turn her mountain sanctuary into their tomb.
DEA agent Nick McKenzie is sure magic exists—a dangerous drug called Smoky Mountain Magic that’s wreaking havoc in Atlanta. He’s also sure that locating and eliminating the source will kill him.
When he arrives undercover on Woodruff Mountain, the beautiful owner’s awkward attempts to scare him off tell him something’s afoot, and it’s not her secret patch of ginseng.
As her dream of seeking medicinal plants in the Amazon fades away, Grace Woodruff struggles to come to terms with a magical gift she didn’t want, and searches desperately for the meaning behind her late grandfather’s final, cryptic message.
The last thing she needs underfoot is a handsome enigmatic writer recovering from a recent illness. Until an accidental touch unleashes a stunning mystical force and Grace senses the wrath of a malicious blight at the heart of the mountain. Now Grace must choose between her need to hide her gift from the world…and her desire to save Nick’s life.
Warning: This book contains a fiery redhead whose magic cannot be contained and a handsome DEA agent whose final case might give him a second chance at life.
"Don't worry," she cut in. "The gun's for other dangerous critters that might wander in, not you. Can't be too careful up here."He looked around and lowered his hands. "I see. Well, sorry for the late hour. The trip up here took a bit longer than I expected."His smile broadened as he spied Pooka. The hound looked up at Grace for permission, and she nodded. She watched Pooka advance, tail wagging slowly. Instead of sticking his hand into Pooka's face as most people would, their guest stood still, inviting Pooka to approach. Well, he got some points for knowing how to greet a strange dog, anyway."What breed's this fellow?" he asked as he stooped to greet the dog."Plott hound.""Plott hound?""The state dog of North Carolina. Bred to hunt bear and wild boar," she replied. "Which still wander by now and again.""Bear and wild boar, huh boy?"Pooka grinned as only Pooka could and nearly wagged off his tail as Mr. City Man ruffled first the fur on his shoulder and then his back.Mr. City Man's smile was bright and genuine. And there was at least one dimple too, hidden in a slight shadow of stubble. Coal black hair, now that she saw him a bit closer."And what do they call you, boy?"It was a nice voice, Midwestern, or perhaps further north than that. Cultured and metropolitan, for all that he was trying not to sound citified. But a nice voice nonetheless. Pooka liked him too, butting his head against the man's hand for more stroking."Oh, he gets called all kinds of names, some of them not repeatable in decent company, but he goes by Pooka most of the time," she said. "Although some of our youngest guests insist on calling him Poo."There was a stifled snort of a laugh and she realized she was failing miserably at scaring him off.
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When she’s not being dragged down the sidewalk by her Jack Russell (if you know Jacks, you understand), Donna June Cooper is belly dancing (shiny!), reading (three books at once), writing (of course!) or complaining about the heat (no matter the temperature). A child of the Appalachians who was transplanted to Texas by her Italian husband, Donna returns to her mountain roots as often as possible, and takes us with her in her debut novel More Than Magic.