Today please welcome the talented Andrea Speed to the Hot Seat.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am either an author who leads an exciting double life as a secret spy for gay Venusians, or a collective figment of our imaginations. I like to let people make up their own minds about such things.
The Josh of the Damned series has been very successful. What made you write Infected: Shift?
Well, the entire Infected series was spurred by my love of science and science fiction, as well as my love of the noir detective archetype. The Josh of the Damned series is simply inspired by my love of horror comedy, and the natural conflict between the extremely bizarre and the terribly mundane.
As for my latest book, Infected: Shift, part of the motivation for the story was introducing new allies for Roan. He has a lot of forces aligned against him, so why not get a few more friends on his side? They also add humor to the story, which is welcome since this story gets so dark.
HC: Sounds wonderful. This series is going on my TBR list :-)
Describe a typical day’s writing for us.
To be fair, there's not too many typical days, but there will probably be a lot of procrastinating and interruptions.
What inspires you to write?
I wish I knew. I could make it perform like a trained monkey if I knew.
HC. I blame fairy dust.
What could not do without when you’re writing?
Music to listen to! I need it to help put me in a writing zone. I can write without it, but it helps immensely. Specific music can help me get into a certain scene or a certain character as well.
What words of wisdom do you have for the aspiring authors out there?
Always write, and always read. Reading is an important part of the writing process. I'm not sure how or why, it just is. Also, persistence is important. You need to keep at it. Luck is also a part of this process.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Many. Really you could just read A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy or Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, and just pick a page. They're both insanely quotable and well written enough to make a grown editor cry. But I suppose most, if not all of my writing could be traced back to Jean-Paul Satre's famous assertion “Hell is other people”. (It's also true, too.)
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
To a certain degree, I think everyone does. You just have to write your way out of that corner.
What other books can your readers look forward to?
Well, I'm still working on that fantasy novel for Riptide, although they may be ready to throw me overboard because I'm so behind on it. Infected: Lesser Evils is coming out in October, and I'm working on new Josh of the Damned stories, and a Paris prequel in the Infected universe.
Can you share an excerpt of Infected: Shift with us?
(Warning – Bad language follows)
As Roan walked the lot, he saw a bald guy (a white guy who shaved his
head) in a denim jacket giving him the stink eye, like he recognized him as
the guy who ran over his dog several times with a combine harvester.
into a cell phone. Roan mimed a kiss, and the guy turned away. Yep,
blowing a kiss at them usually did it.
There was a guy in a nylon jacket standing at the rear entrance of the
rink, arms folded in the traditional security guard posture. But he was
more lumpy than muscular, like the Falcons sweatshirt and the slacks he
was wearing were full of mashed potatoes instead of prime beef. Not only
was Roan sure he could take him, but that anyone over the age of thirteen
had a fair shot at taking him. He was bald, but unlike the guy giving him
the stink eye, it wasn’t by choice. “Help you?” he muttered, making it one
“I’m Roan McKichan. I’m here to see Grey Williams.” Roan tried
not to stare, but the guard’s head was almost perfectly egg shaped. He
wanted to ask him if he’d ever had a hen sit on him by mistake.
“Ask him. He knows who I am.”
With great reluctance, the man lifted a walkie-talkie to his mouth
and said, “Ryan, there’s a guy named McKeen out here, says Grey knows
“McKichan,” Roan corrected, but figured Grey would know who
was meant. If he was lucky.
There was a burst of static over the walkie-talkie, Ryan saying
something, but it was impossible to make out what he said. Even the
Eggman scowled at his unit, like if he frowned hard enough he could have
made sense of it.
After almost a minute, the door behind the Eggman cracked open,
and he stepped aside as Grey stuck his head out. “Oh, hey, man. Thought
that might be you.” He came out dressed in dark sweatpants and a
sweatshirt, none of which had a Falcons logo. His hair was damp, and his
skin was slightly flushed.
“I didn’t pull you off the ice, did I?”
“Oh, hell no. There was some kinda scheduling snafu, so we had to
do our skate early. We’re packin’ up. In fact, I thought I was gonna hafta
call you and reschedule.”
“They got something else going in here? It explains why the parking
lot is so full.”
Grey looked around, as if noticing it for the first time, and shook his
head. “Yeah, it’s some ice skating thing. There’s a buncha MILFs in the
Ah, straight people. As he was wondering what he should say to
that, the door opened again, and a tall, slender guy came out. “Hey, Grey,
this the detective?”
“Oh, yeah. Roan, this is Scott Murray, our team captain. Scottie,
Scott held out his hand, and his handshake was dry and firm but not
over-the-top bone breaking. “Hi. Really wanted to meet you. You were
really impressive taking on those Nazi fucks.”
“Thanks.” How many people had Grey shown the video to? Well, it
probably wasn’t his fault—it was shown ad nauseum on television for
about twenty-four hours, until a more interesting story hit the news cycle.
And considering this was a nice distraction from the fact that Scott was
He had a round face that ended in a squared-off jaw that wasn’t
heavy, with sleepy blue eyes that softened his rugged looks and short
black hair that was actually reasonably stylish, not harsh. He could have
been his ex-lover Connor’s half brother, that’s how handsome he was, and
Roan wanted to slap himself but didn’t dare. This wasn’t at all fair. The
stereotype was hockey players had the best bodies—lean, hard—but the
homeliest faces. Hadn’t Scott been given the memo? He was even better
looking than Argent.
“Vancouver, right?” he asked.
Scott nodded. “Burnaby originally, but close enough. Accent gives it
“I’m very familiar with it.” How old was he? He looked barely
twenty, but he had a bit of stubble suggesting that at least he was shaving
Now it seemed to be a “meet the team” party, as several other
players dribbled out. In order: a tall, blond Russian called Sandy (who
could have been a body double for Dolph Lundgren in that Rocky film),
“Tank” Beauvais (who seemed oddly placid and yet gave off the vibe that
he was a grenade waiting for his pin to be pulled), a guy named Richie
whose nose had been broken so often it was now permanently crooked,
and a guy with an astonishingly stereotypical New York accent named
Jeff. (He’d learned from the Falcons own web page that there were only
three American-born players on the team: Grey, Jeff, and somebody
named Rozanski. Nearly all the rest of the team was from Canada, save for
Sandy and a Finn named Henrik.) Roan felt like a trained monkey—were
they expecting him to dance?
Another guy came out, but he was talking to the Eggman, and he
was too old to be a player, deep in his mid-thirties. Also, he wasn’t
wearing anything approximating workout gear, and Roan caught a glimpse
of a silver watch that was reasonably expensive.
Not sure there was a subtle way to do this that Grey would catch, he
told him bluntly, “I’m here to talk to you about the case. Should we go
He shrugged. “No need. The guys know.”
“Okay.” Did they know he was looking into the murder of Grey’s
best friend’s transsexual sister/brother? Maybe they honestly didn’t care.
Most of the younger generation wasn’t as hung up on sexual roles as the
older generation. “I need to know if you ever met Jamie’s roommate,
“Know anything about him at all?”
He considered that, grimacing slightly. “Not really. Jamie hardly
mentioned him in his letters.”
Roan stared at him blankly. “Letters? Jamie wrote you letters?”
“Yeah. For a while there I didn’t have an Internet connection, so that
“Why didn’t you tell me that before? Can I see the letters?” He was
trying very hard not to get mad at Grey, not in front of so many big
teammates (only Tank was about his size—short, his ass!) but it was
difficult. Did he really want to sabotage his own case? It was hard to
believe anyone could be this dumb.
“I didn’t save ’em.” He scratched his head, then added, “There might
be one or two, though. I packed up a whole buncha stuff. I’m not sure
about everything I packed.”
“If you could check, I’d really appreciate it.”
Roan had no idea why, but his personal alarm bells started going off
as soon as he heard the rumble of a truck engine. Or maybe it was just he
was being stared at, and usually he knew when eyes were on him. He
looked over his shoulder to see a flatbed white Ford pulling to a stop in a
parking lane almost twenty feet away (well, there weren’t a lot of places
left to park), and the engine was left running as eight men of various sizes
and ages—mostly older teens, most burly—hopped out onto the pavement,
some carrying pipes or bats. Roan instantly recognized the skinhead who’d
been giving him the stink eye earlier.
I hope, if you pick up my books, you enjoy them. That's ultimately what I'm aiming for.
HC: Thanks for dropping by today:-)