1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I had a long career doing overseas aid work - microcredit, specifically. And it sent me to a lot of out of the way, weird places. It was an interesting career, and I'm glad I did it, but after over a decade of it I decided I wanted a more normal life and came home to California. Unable to figure out what else to do (how does one transition to an office from aid work?) I fell back on my childhood ambition: writing mystery novels.
2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started writing when I was just a kid. Later, in my twenties, I tried my hand at mystery writing - great plotless sprawls which did not deserve to be published. I gave up for a time, then came back to it, a bit older and wiser, and hopefully a better writer.
3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I love mystery and adventure and humor and romance, and I try to combine them all in my books. But what really gives my books their "seasoning" are the paranormal elements I bring to them. I'm writing books that I want to read, which makes writing a pleasure. But of course, ultimately I want other people to read and enjoy them, too.
4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My latest book is The Infernal Detective, book four in the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mystery novels. It's an urban fantasy, set in Lake Tahoe. The heroine, metaphysical detective Riga Hayworth, is on the verge of getting married, but obstacles - living and dead - are getting in the way. And right now I'm working on book five in the series, tentatively titled The Elemental Detective.
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
The Riga Hayworth series are urban fantasies, so they're set in the real world with paranormal sort of hidden in the shadows. Without giving too much away, Riga loses her grasp of magic at the end of the first book, and throughout the next three books she's trying to figure out how to - or even if she should - get it back. But I discovered that it's a lot more fun and suspenseful reading about someone's magic going haywire, or occasionally failing, than reading about Riga as a superhero. She's fallible. She doesn't win every fight. And I think that makes her more likable.
6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Riga Hayworth is a no-nonsense metaphysical detective, who's actually a skeptic about magic even though she uses it. Basically, just because she believes in some things, doesn't mean she believes in everything. What I love about her is she doesn't care what people think about her, and she's very confident. I'd like some more of that myself.
Her sidekick/familiar is a stone gargoyle, Brigitte, carved centuries ago in a French ghetto. She is also very "tell-it-like-it-is." Sometimes a bit too much for even Riga's comfort. Brigitte is the comic relief.
Riga is romantically involved with Donovan Mosse, a casino owner and self-made man. He can be a hedonist, and I use a lot of very primal imagery around him to express that sensual side. He's tough, but he's also an honorable, responsible person who cares about those around him.
7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
Each of the books in the Riga Hayworth series explores a different type of magic practiced today. The first focuses on the archetypes, the second on alchemy, the third shamanism, and the fourth necromancy. And yes, necromancy is practiced today! Originally - i.e. in ancient Greek times - necromancy simply meant communing with the dead in order to ask them about the future. That's still done today, with some modern day necromancers (or witches) using spirits of the dead to help fuel their magic spells. There are some darker aspects as well - sacrificing small animals or using one's own blood to fuel magic. Book five features Hawaiian magic, which I'm still in the process of researching.
You can find me at http://kirstenweiss.com and I also have a Tumblr at http://kweiss01.tumblr.com/. The Infernal Detective is exclusive to Amazon through August 15th, after which you'll also be able to find it on B&N and Kobo. The other three books are already available on all three platforms.
Book trailer for The Infernal Detective: http://youtu.be/kRNYxh2Pf44