Tuesday, July 31, 2018

New interview with author Cristelle Comby

Author Cristelle Comby is back for a visit. We’re chatting about her new urban fantasy mystery, Hostile Takeover (Vale Investigation, book 1).

During her virtual book tour, Cristelle will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.

Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Cristelle.

Please tell us about your newest release.
Hostile Takeover is the first book in a new series of Urban Fantasy mysteries I’m working on. It’s set in the fictitious metropolis of Cold City, USA. The main character, Bellamy Vale, is a former US Marine turned Private Investigator. A couple years ago, desperate and at an all-time low, Vale signed a compact with Death in exchange for a favor. Now he’s on Her payroll and acts as Her envoy on Earth… and the only reason he’s employee of the month is that no-one else was foolish enough to take the job.

What inspired you to write this book?
The main idea was to set the story in a world where every mythology you’ve ever heard of exists. Not everyone knows it, but there are hundreds of different mythologies on our planet. Sure, we all know the big ones like Roman, Norse and Celtic, but there are so many more. And each one’s filled with its own monsters and legends. It’s a fascinating subject.

Excerpt from Hostile Takeover:
I ripped the yellow tape away and entered the arcade. My nose was assaulted by a mixture of bleach and cleaning products. The cleaning team must have worked through the night. It wouldn’t do for the neighbors to wake up to someone lying dead on their sidewalk. No amount of bleach was going to get rid of those bloodstains, though. And it was going to take a lot more than soap to repair the cuts in the carpet and the claw marks on the concrete walls.

My stomach churned at the sight. Either that or it was protesting against all the painkillers I’d popped down. I heaved a sigh, knowing the next step was going to make that feel like a paper cut in comparison. Closing my eyes, I forced my breathing to slow down and emptied my mind of everything superficial. I counted down from five to one, opened my eyes, and looked at the scene in front of me again.

The world had narrowed down, dimmed to a tunnel of sharp, laser-like focus, allowing me to make out the individual fibers of carpet even. The smells had multiplied into a rich palette of chemical compounds that I could separate and identify. Knowing I couldn’t keep my concentration up like this for too long, I hastened to get to work, taking in all the tiniest details of the crime scene.

From the intensity of the claw marks and the pattern left by the blood splatter, I could map out the attack to the point of being able to discern the moves of the victim from those of the beast. Whatever it was that had made the attack, it had a cruel streak that would have done credit to Jack the Ripper. It had trapped the victim in a corner, pushed him further and further inside as it kept moving forward, claws digging into the carpet like some low-rent Hellraiser knock-off, ready to strike when the fear hit fever pitch.

Sweat and fear permeated the air around the place where the old man had stood, trembling and facing a voracious, tall monster. In one giant leap, the beast was on him, claws fully extended and shredding flesh into beef strips.

I recoiled at the thought then shook myself out of it. Despite the cold air, I’d broken into an even colder sweat. The world was spinning around me. I walked back to the street, desperate to get fresh air that didn’t reek of death. I was shaking as I fought to suppress the dry heaving of my stomach. There would be no need to revisit the scene. Everything I’d seen of that massacre was deeply etched into my mind.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m almost done with the second book in the series, and percolating ideas for the third.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I tried to stay true to the legends, while making it work in a contemporary setting. So I had to update some of the Gods and monsters. I asked myself what they would they be like today; how they would behave. It was challenging and fun at the same time.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
For this book, a lot of the research was mythology-related. Seeing as it’s a subject I’m passionate about, it was no chore for me.

I do all the research beforehand, while I write the book’s outline. Outlining is a pivotal part of my method that takes me several months. I sketch out all the major plot points up to and including the ending.

I only start writing when I have everything figured out; it allows me to avoid things like writer’s block, and unfinished manuscript.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I write on a laptop so I’m flexible with locations. I usually write from home, but I don’t have a fixed spot. What matters the most is that the room is quiet, so I can loose myself within my thoughts.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
My all-time favorite is Jim Butcher. Other than that, it’s a mix of crimes, fantasy and science-fiction. At the moment, I’m reading the second Repairman Jack novel, by F. Paul Wilson.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I have some free prequel novellas that you can get on my website. There’s one for Vale Investigation that showcases Vale and Death’s first encounter. And another one for my Neve & Egan Cases series (cozy mysteries set in modern-day London).


Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thanks for having me.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Cristelle Comby said...

Thanks for having me. Always a pleasure to drop by :)

Wish you a lovely day!


Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing!

Bernie Wallace said...

What was your favorite book growing up? Congrats on your release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com