Q&A with Ilona Andrews

Posted by Goodreads on May 15, 2017
Do you like your men tall, deadly, and slightly insane? What if the man in question also has billions of dollars and the ability to move objects with his mind?

If he sounds like a handful, that's because he is. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, allow us to introduce you to Connor "Mad" Rogan, the powerful hero/antihero of Ilona Andrews' Hidden Legacy paranormal romance series. First introduced in Burn for Me, he's back—along with Nevada Baylor, the one woman who can possibly control him—in White Hot. With Houston, Texas, on the brink of destruction, Nevada must again team up with Rogan…and this time around there's no hiding the sizzling chemistry between them.

Ilona and Gordon are the husband-and-wife writing team behind the Ilona Andrews pseudonym and the popular Kate Daniels urban fantasy books. They answer your questions about what magical abilities they wish they had, where they look for unique character names, and what they would be doing if they weren't authors.

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Kelly: I absolutely love the worlds you build, and I will always be a fan! It must be quite interesting to have two points of view for your stories. Do you both write the story together, or do you take turns?

Ilona: We sit in the same room, plot together, and write dialogue together. I write the bulk of the first draft, Gordon edits it, and then we pass the manuscript back and forth. If it's a male POV, the process is usually reversed.

Carol: I'm pretty jealous Nevada can tell when people are lying. What magic ability do you wish you had?

Ilona: I wish I could rewind time. Even if it's only for a few seconds.

Gordon: Line-of-sight teleportation. Like Nightcrawler from the X-men or Jumper.

Holly: If you could only read three books for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Ilona: Oh, that's rough. It changes so much depending on the mood. Leigh Brackett's The Book of Skaith, Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, and…I don't know.

Gordon: A Catskill Eagle by Robert B. Parker, Dune, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Solipsophisticate: Hi Ilona and Gordon! You write some of the most relatable and intelligent urban fantasy and romantic fiction I've ever read. How do you keep track of all the history and lore in the worlds you create?

Ilona: We cheat and take notes as we go along.

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Currin: I have always wanted to ask how you chose the name Curran for the beast lord in your Kate Daniels series. I am a bit biased to the name because my name is Currin. But I've almost never heard the name anywhere else!

Ilona: We wanted a Gaelic name because we wanted it to stand out. This was one of the names we found in a historic name registry. We try for either unique names or for very simple ones like Rose and Grace.

Alex: You are my favorite authors right now! Ilona, your upbringing in Russia is reflected in many of your books. Who were your favorite Russian authors when you were a child? And for Gordon, who were your favorite authors growing up?

Ilona: That's easy: Gogol, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Bazhov.

Gordon: Choices were limited—anything with magic was verboten—but detective stories were allowed, so Robert B. Parker was a high school favorite of mine. I still read his books. Also, John Irving. I started with The Hotel New Hampshire and have since read all of his books at least once. Did you know that almost all of them involve Austria, bears, or both?

Keren: Do your secondary characters emerge and/or grow as you write the story, or are they usually part of your initial plan?

Ilona: Characters do grow. It would be almost impossible for them not to grow and mature, especially during a series as long as Kate Daniels, for example. We are not the same people we were when we started it ten years ago. But even in Hidden Legacy there is a lot of character progression. Stories with static characters tend to be boring.

Gordon: I agree. The characters experience things in each book that have an effect on who they are in later installments of the series. As Ilona said, Kate from Magic Bites is not the same person in Magic Binds. It wouldn't make sense for an individual to go through all those things and stay the same. In the beginning of the series, for example, Roland was more of an idea than an actual character.

Nycbookworm247: If you weren't a writer of amazing stories, what do you think you would be doing for a living instead?

Ilona: I suck at everything else. I guess I would be a business woman of some sort.

Gordon: She's right. The only other thing I was good at was being a sailor or a soldier, and I'm too old for that now. So I would be a retired gentleman of leisure and adventure…which sounds so much nicer than hobo.

Sheila: Do you ever adjust your paranormal worlds and characters based on events in the "real" world?

Ilona: Yes. We once had an email from a reader who asked if there were Muslim people in the Kate Daniels universe—she couldn't find people like her in urban fantasy. We realized that a book based on Islamic mythology was badly overdue.

Li-Ming: Budding writers are always told to "write what you know." How do you think this translates to a genre like fantasy romance?

Ilona: I think a better phrase would be "do your research." If you only write what you know, the scope of the book would be very narrow. We do a great deal of research for each book, and we do our best to forget all of it by the next one. We need the space for new research. If you are asking people to accept magic and mythology, you have to get the mundane details right.

Gordon: I get it, but I think a better tip might be to write what you love. If you love westerns or romance books or police procedurals, chances are you've read good and bad ones. You know the genre, and you know what you like about it. Do that: Write the book that you want to read.

Want more? Discover all the hot romance books from Ilona Andrews here!

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Pageant I have been trying to build up a decent list for this genre. I have only one AMAZING author of the Fantasy, and Romance combined with the right amount of humor, and drama. I have to have some mystery, and of course action.
I thought I would NEVER find anything like what I get from Karen Marie Moning. I have to read this book!

message 2: by Midu (new)

Midu Hadi My question didn't make it! :-(

message 3: by Judith (new)

Judith Post Sorry, Midu! Thanks for tweeting this, though. I really enjoyed it.

message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura Tiffany, you won't be sorry to read Gordon and Ilona's work. Enjoy!

message 5: by Corrinne (new)

Corrinne Chieng Tiffany wrote: "I have been trying to build up a decent list for this genre. I have only one AMAZING author of the Fantasy, and Romance combined with the right amount of humor, and drama. I have to have some myste..."

Another great author to try is Patricia Briggs. She, along with Ilona Andrews, are my faves for this genre.

message 6: by Gina (new)

Gina Briganti Tiffany wrote: "I have been trying to build up a decent list for this genre. I have only one AMAZING author of the Fantasy, and Romance combined with the right amount of humor, and drama. I have to have some myste..."

Ilona Andrews will keep you busy for a while. I also recommend C.L. Wilson, Carolyn Crane and Marjorie M. Liu!

message 7: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I love this genre too and have read all the Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs books. I'm looking for more authors like this as well. I just discovered CL Wilson and LOVE her books. I will check out Carolyn Crane and Marjorie Liu. Any other recommendations? :-)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* I can't wait for this book. Burn for Me was my favorite read of last year. I love the Kate Daniels series as well but Burn for Me floored me as a first novel in a series.

message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole Faul Hi, have any of you tried Shelly Laurenston? This is shapeshifter & human urban fantasy. It's funny, outrageous, dangerous, romantic and the plots are really good!

message 10: by Mehjabin (new)

Mehjabin hey @ilona will you continue the Hidden Legacy series as a novella?

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