Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Ciara Griffin from Jeri Smith Ready's WVMP Radio Series!

Whew, that's a long-ass title for today's Women Who Rock Wednesday! I'll explain that in a minute, but first thing's first. Last week's winner and recipient of Danielle Joseph's Shrinking Violet is Angel from MySpace! Angel please send your address to stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com and I'll pass it along to Danielle and get you your book!

Now to explain this week's Women Who Rock Wednesday. Jeri Smith-Ready is one of my all-time favorite authors. I met her (in the online sense, though we are meeting at ALA this year and I'm sooooooo pumped!) last year. She emailed me and was like hey, we have the same editor and your book sounds cool and her book sounded cool too so we traded ARCs and that's when I read Wicked Game, the beginning of the best vampire series EVER. Seriously, I'm a former goth girl who has read a hell of a lot of vampire stories, so I think that qualifies me as an expert. For me this is up there with Dracula (can't beat a classic) and Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite (that book was like my security blanket when I was a goth girl. I vandalized my dorm room with quotes from it. "3 am knows all my secrets." *wrist to forehead*). The WVMP Radio series has vampires plus rock 'n' roll, so I don't know how you could get any better. Oh wait, yes, I do, add a truly, truly kick-ass heroine.

That heroine is Ciara Griffin and to celebrate the release of Bad to the Bone, the second installment in the WVMP Radio series, and one of my most highly anticipated books this year (It's soooooooo good. Add a vampire dog and more feminism to the mix of WG. So good.), I thought I'd ask Jeri if I could interview Ciara. She and Ciara were game, so I present one of the most unique and fun Women Who Rock Wednesday interviews so far. Enjoy and be sure to comment to be entered to win Bad to the Bone! Here's Ciara (and her dog, Dexter):

Q: Hi Ciara, let's start with the most important thing. People mispronounce my name all the time and I hate it, so tell the lovely people how you pronounce yours?

Ciara: Thanks so much for asking, and thanks for having me! I love your Wednesday feature, and I’m incredibly honored to be included among those who rock.

The name is pronounced KEER-ah. Lots of people pronounce it see-AIR-ah, like the mountains (or the pop star), which I totally understand. Gaelic is a really hard language to just guess at.

Q: As marketing manager for WVMP, I'm sure you know that it's important to get to the promotion first and foremost. There are two books so far about your adventures with the vampires at WVMP. The first book, Wicked Game, has recently been released in mass market paperback and the second book, Bad to the Bone, just came out. Can you tell us a little bit about these books?

Ciara: Sure! The WVMP Radio series is about moi, a former con artist, and a radio station that just happens to have vampire DJs. In the first book, I get the brilliant idea to bring them out into the light, so to speak, as a marketing gimmick. So they’re real vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires. As you might imagine, things get complicated with so many levels of truth and lies.

But I’m used to that, and I’m basically okay with deception if it’s for a good cause. In Wicked Game, I have to raise the ratings or a giant communications conglomerate will buy the station and fire the DJs. Since they need that tie to their original Life Times to retain their humanity, losing their jobs would drive them over the edge. Trust me, you don’t want to be around for that.

In the second book, Bad to the Bone, the station comes under attack by what appears to be a group of radio evangelists. They pirate WVMP’s signal, but only when women are on the air. This makes our punk/Goth DJ Regina, very, um, frustrated.

Q: I'm a music lovin' gal and so are you. Usually when I'm doing interviews about books, I ask for a list of songs that would be on the soundtrack, but Bad to the Bone already has a soundtrack, which I am pasting below, I want to play a different game with you. Your vampire boyfriend Shane plays the last song on his show each night for you and usually there is a message in that song. Please choose from your favorite songs and tell us what song you would use to send a message to the following people and what that message would be (if it's not totally obvious): Shane, your dad, the Family Action Network who are disrupting WVMP's signal, your best friend Lori, and then go ahead and pick another person from the other folks mentioned in BTTB.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Ciara: Ooh, good question, and a toughie.

For Shane: “Valentine’s Day” by Steve Earle. The song is about someone who isn’t very sentimental and sometimes forgets things like holidays and, um, birthdays (sorry!) and really sucks at talking about feelings, but…well, here are the lines:

I know that I swore that I wouldn't forget
I wrote it all down: I lost it I guess
There's so much I want to say
But all the words just slip away

The way you love me every day
Is Valentine's Day


For Dad: “Comfortable Liar” by Chevelle. The title says it all.

For FAN: “The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne and the Chieftains. It’s a Christmas song about hypocrisy, how sometimes the people who wear the biggest Jesus badges often forget what he really stood for.

For Lori: Liz Phair’s “Extraordinary,” because she is your “average every day sane psycho Supergoddess.” From the outside Lori can seem all meek and sweet, but she’s got a spine of steel, and she can be so much badder (in a good way) than she lets on. And I’m “extraordinarily” lucky she’s my friend.

For Franklin, because he doesn’t get enough attention and he’s secretly one of my favorite people but don’t tell him and anyway it’s okay because he won’t bother reading this: Beck’s “Modern Guilt.” The picture that song creates, of a man in a state of quiet desperation, fits Franklin in my mind. Even though his boyfriend is totally hot and way nice. Some people could have the world and still be cranky.

Q: I have to admit, you are one of my heroes, Ciara. I know your crazy upbringing as a child of con-artists shaped who you are in a lot of ways, but I bet there were some super cool women out there who inspired you. Can you tell us a bit about them?

Ciara: I’m one of your heroes?? *blinks back tears* Really? Wow. I’m speechless.

Let’s see, women who inspired me…probably my biggest influence at a crucial time was my foster mom. I was sixteen when my parents went, um, away (I believe the old-timey term is “up the river”). I was put into foster care with a wonderful couple. It was the only time in my life (until very recently) that I had any stability. I didn’t take to it at all, and was quite the wild child.

But my foster mom managed to show me by example that it was possible to live the straight life and still have a good time. She was strong and caring and didn’t take any crap. The best thing she ever did for me was put me in charge of our new puppy, who had contracted parvovirus (which of course we didn’t know when we got him). She taught me what to do, then let me take over. It was the first time I’d ever been responsible for another living creature, and it made me feel like I was worth something.

Oh, and Alanis Morrissette. I was a major fan when I was a teenager. She taught me it was okay for a woman to be angry.

Q: Rumor has it there are more installments of your adventures coming out soon. When's the next book and can you tell us even a tiny bit about the sorts of adventures you'll have?

Ciara: The next book comes out in 2010 and apparently takes place then as well. Which means I have no freaking clue what will happen in it, since it’s in the future. All I know is that the working title is BRING ON THE NIGHT, after the Police song. Jeri is being extremely tight-lipped about it, so that probably means very bad situations for me. But we’ve had a nice calm break since the end of BAD TO THE BONE. Shane and I are just living our lives, chatting on Twitter ( and, taking care of Dexter, and having a swell old time. I guess we have a year to enjoy it.

Q: Now for my standard questions for my women who rock. The first is a two-parter. What was the first album you bought (or maybe stole...) and what was the first concert you attended?

Ciara: I first heard Red Hot Chili Peppers’ "Give It Away" on the radio when I was 8 years old, and the sound totally changed my life. See, I wasn't allowed to listen to any kind of non-religious music growing up, but after I heard the Chilis, I realized there was another world out there waiting to be tasted. Started stealing tapes and listening to them late at night under the covers with my Walkman. Made friends who fed my habit & even took me to my first concert (Violent Femmes & Luka Bloom). I think music more than anything helped me break free of the brainwashing. And it all started with RHCP's Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

Now Ciara wasn't able to come up with her biggest rock star moment and that's not a surprise, she has lots of big rock star moments at WVMP parties, Rolling Stone interviews, and not to mention she has lots of superhero/bad guy fighting moments too in Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone so you should just get the books to find out about those! You have a chance to win Bad to the Bone if you leave a comment here. Either be sure to leave your email address or (preferably) check back next week to see if you won when I have Linda Gerber as a guest to talk about her latest book in the Death By series, Death By Denim!


Cat Queen Beanbaleen said...

Great interview, good questions. Allowed some insight into a wonderful character. Looking forward to reading more about her.

Carmen R said...

Great interview. I loved Wicked Game and can't wait to read Bad to the Bone

hdtermite (at) yahoo (dot) com

Diana Dang said...

Vampire dogs, that's a first!

Kay said...

I love character interviews. Hadn't heard of the series until I read this interview... But it sounds amazing, can't wait to read it!

Ciara Griffin said...

Hi everyone! Glad you enjoyed the interview. I'm available for follow-up questions at absolutely no charge. ;-)

Seriously, thanks so much to Stephanie for having me and for doing this series. She rocks.

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for coming Ciara. Wicked Game was great. I cant wait to see what you come up with in Bad to the Bone.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Jacqueline C. said...

I love when characters are interviewed! Loved Wicked Game and looking forward to Bad to the Bone.

ellie_enchanted said...

Character interviews are always fun! Haven't read the books, but they sound good.

Justine K said...

the series i definitely need to check out.
i love reading various vampire series. all of them are so different.

WriterWannaB_NY said...

awesome interview as always... looking forward to learning more about Ciara and the rest of the WVMP crew in b2tb... Thanks Ciara & Jeri!

Llehn said...

I've been wanting to read Bad to the Bone since I heard about it in In Bed With Books. I sure need to get my hands on a copy soon!