Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A JACK of All Trades~Meet Calista Taylor and Win Copies of JACK, Plus Free Book Download!

We'll be giving away two copies of JACK in a really fun contest, plus
I'll link you to a free download with Calista's latest release!   Read on to find out the deets~
Her books are selling in three different genres.  She has designed the book covers for NYT bestsellers, and somewhere in her short life, has found the time to achieve an M.S. in wood technology/building materials, be a science teacher, earn a B.S. in animal science, and is now pursuing an additional degree in biotech.

Oh and did I forget, she's been a pastry chef, pottery teacher, and has fletched her own wooden arrows (take THAT Katniss!), created jewelry, engaged in stone sculpting and designing medieval outfits, and created silk paintings?

But if you take all of these diverse elements and mold them into one person, the end result is Calista Taylor, an amazing writer, and one I also call a friend.

Recently I asked her to stop by for a cup of tea, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and give away two copies of JACK.  Plus at the end of our interview, she'll give us a link so that you can download her latest work under her pen name of Cali MacKay!  After all, what's better after indulging in scrumptious holiday treats than settling in beside a roaring fire with a good book?

Joey:   Come on in Calista, I'm glad you stopped by for a visit.  Now I'm not sure if I already told you this, but a few weeks ago, I attended my son's football game, and the temperature was dropping rapidly. Two rows over,  a friend of mine was in the stands wearing a gorgeous cape with leather fasteners on it, and I wondered to myself, where I had seen that style before?  So I leaned over and asked her where she got her cape.  She told me where she bought it, and my eyes bugged out of my head when she said how expensive it was.  However, what actually stuck out in my mind at that moment, was the fact I'd seen an almost identical cape on the cover of your book, STEAMPUNK YOUR WARDROBE, where you teach how to re-purpose an old winter coat and create a new cape that will have fashionistas drooling and wishing they hadn't opened their wallets.

Calista:  Thank you!! I'd have to say that my favorite is probably the mini-top hat made from a cereal box. It was fun figuring out how to put it all together in a way that would not only work but look good.
Both cape and caplet on the cover caught my eye!  Want to make your own?
Joey:  I fell in love with the premise of your latest novel, JACK and it's unusual main character, who is a gorgeous grim reaper. It's a romance, but to me it also has elements of mystery as well.  Can you tell our readers a little more about the plot?

Calista:  JACK is a new twist on Jack the Ripper. Jack is a grim reaper whose suspected of going rogue and killing women before their time to die. Mason and Lilly are also reapers who are investigating the murders and trying to find Jack, though Lilly is also Jack's ex and involved with Mason, which puts them at odds during the investigation, especially when not everything is as it seems. 

Joey:  I've noticed many of your books are written during the Victorian era. It was such an elegant age. What draws you as a writer and as a designer to that time period?

Calista:  I've always been drawn to the past, but like the Victorian era, in part because of the aesthetics of the period. I also like setting novels in that time period because of the struggles and inequalities that were present. My writing tries to explore some of those darker aspects.

Joey:  What authors are your literary inspiration, and what fashion designers give you flights of fancy?

Calista:  My favorite authors are Diana Gabaldon, Anne Perry and Elizabeth Peters. As for fashion designers, I really like Alexander McQueen.

Joey: You are also a successful book cover designer, and have designed your own book covers, as well as those of some NYT bestsellers. What do you think is the secret to creating an eye-catching book cover?  You create amazing designs, and I know our readers, many of whom self-publish will love to know more.

Calista:  I think it's a combination of using eye-catching stock, and fonts that feel current, in addition to a composition that will stand out.

One of Calista's amazing book cover designs!
Need a custom cover?  Check out Covers by Cali
Joey:  Could you tell our readers a little more about yourself?  I'm sure after reading our interview they're very curious to get to know you.

Calista:  I'm a mom of two girls, have a crazy dog, and I'm married to an Irishman, accent and all. Which is kind of funny, since I usually write Scotsmen into my stories. 

Joey:  Speaking of Scotsmen and Irishmen, I'm going to tell our readers about your latest endeavor!  You've written two romance novels under the pen name of Cali MacKay, and I have to say that THE HIGHLANDER'S HOPE seems quite tantalizing.  Again, I love my thrillers, but beneath this romance novel, at least from the pages I've read, lies a thrilling adventure.  

But I'm even more excited to link our readers up to the free book giveaway you're doing for THE HIGHLANDER'S HOPE, and for the free e-book giveaway you're giving two lucky readers so they can enter the thrilling world of JACK and the grim reapers!  Thank you for doing this for the readers of Soul and Sweet Tea.

Calista:  Thank you.  

And now for our little contest.  This one's especially fun, and I hope it will heat up your Thanksgiving holidays.  All you have to do is answer the question below.  We'll open up the contest from today, November 18, 2012 until midnight on November 25th.

What movie do you think is the coolest steampunk-influenced movie ever and why (keep it short)?

Calista and I will pick two winners who will each receive the free e-book, JACK!  If you enter, make sure to include how to contact you via email.

Happy Thanksgiving to the greatest blog readers (and their families) in the world. Wishing you a holiday filled with both fun and fellowship as you gather together with those you love to give thanks for life's blessings.


Jean Oram said...

Hmmm... steampunk influenced movie? I'm thinking British... but I can't think of a specific title.

Anyway, Calista seriously is amazing with all that she does. And Jack is a great twist on the Jack the Ripper tale. And the ending--fabulous. :)

Her new books (Cali MacKay)--they are going to have a lot of women hankering to take a trip to Scotland! (Me included. I love the heroes! They rock.)

Great interview, Joey.

Happy Thanksgiving my American friends! (Us Canadians had ours last month.)

Vicki Weavil said...

Greatest Steampunk influenced film? Has to be Howl's Moving Castle, directed by the great Haya Miyazaki and based on the book of the same title by Diana Wynne Jones. It is brilliant animation combined with a thought-provoking story. Its use of steampunk elements is integral to the story and very inventive.

Vicki Weavil said...

Greatest use of steampunk in a film? That's easy -- Howl's Moving Castle, an animated film directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki (from the book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones). Brilliant, beautiful, and the steampunk elements are integral to the story.

Joey Francisco said...

Thank you Jean and Vicki!

Keep the comments coming! I know my favorite steampunk-influenced movie, but I'm not telling! Shhh! It's a secret.

But an ever deeper secret is the fact I had no idea what steampunk was until about a year ago, but I so loved this film.

I'll reveal my favorite film when we announce our winners next week.

Calista Taylor said...

Thanks for a great interview, Joey! Jean, thanks for all your kind words!! And thanks to everyone who stopped by. : )