Jennifer Starks - Messy Death
• Pub Date: October 31, 2013
• Publisher: Jennifer Starks
• Format: Paperback/Ebook, 307 pages
• Age Range: Adult
As lead of the city’s top paranormal Crime Scene Clean-Up crew, human Vira Silk has seen death, death, and more death. When she finds her unique bottle of perfume at two murder scenes, Vira begins to wonder if this potential serial killer might be someone she knows and loves. Now, her investigative abilities are put to the test as she must accept the help of a sexy Fae detective and his Blood Witch friend to uncover the mystery behind these messy deaths without becoming one of them.
Messy Death takes place three centuries into the future. Here humans can barely remember a time when creepy crawlies lived in the closet instead of next door.
Mickey: Hey, Jennifer Starks! Welcome to the blog! Please introduce yourself.
Jennifer: Hello there! My full name is Jennifer Minshall-Starks. (Yes, I’m “one of those” women who hyphenated her last name after marriage. LOL.) I have many titles/jobs, but mommy, wife, and writer are the three I like best.
Mickey: Messy Death is out today! Tell us about your novel.
Jennifer: Messy Death is (deep breath) a paranormal romance, urban fantasy mystery. My main character, Vira Silk, deals with death every day because she works for the CSCU department. (Crime Scene Clean-up.) The position didn’t make Vira anymore jaded or anti-social then she already was, but it gave her a reason to avoid connection. Until one day she meets a Paranormal man who refuses to leave her bedroom or her hears. Some of you might be thinking this is where the romance comes in, but you would be wrong. Vira Silk is a private person. As such, we only glimpse the time spent in this accidental relationship. Vira’s story begins five months after the boyfriend she didn’t want gives her a one-of-a-kind perfume, hinted at an even deeper commitment then left her high and dry. To avoid heartache, Vira throws herself into work and winds up earning a promotion. Sadly, her first day as boss doesn’t go well. The ones following are even worse because poor Vira stumbles across that one-of-a-kind bottle at two different murder scenes. She doesn’t want to believe there’s a connection between her and these women, but all too quickly we learn there most definitely is.
Mickey: I absolutely loved Vira's snark! Was any of her character inspired by your own personality?
Jennifer: I think writers put a little bit of themselves into each character they write. In some ways Vira was very easy to write. I can be a snarky person and I most certainly have the ability to put people in their place. However, Vira is jaded, anti-social and emotionally closed off. She avoids connection whereas I love getting to know people and developing new friendships. I have bouts of anti-social behavior, but nothing like her. Also, I could never, ever be a Crime Scene Clean-up member. It would haunt me. She doesn’t have a problem with it. In many ways, Vira finds it easier to relate to people after their dead. Morbid? Yes. But also very her. LOL.
Mickey: All of the names in this book are so awesome. Where do you come up with them?
Jennifer: I love this question because I love all the names too! Vira was actually supposed to be VI-ra, as in Elvira from The Adam’s family. I saw Vira as this big chested, black haired beauty that didn’t really participate in life. Elvira was more on the social side, but she encompassed the rest. Sadly, whenever I would write/read Vira’s name my brain always pronounced it Veer-ra. As for her last name, I thought it was ironic because she’s not a ‘soft as silk’ person. She’s dark and bristly. In general, I pick my names based on irony or something that coincides with their character. Lentle Maste was named for various reasons. Lent, as you may know, is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. During this time, Christians observe forty days of fasting/repentance. I found that amusing as Lentle Maste doesn’t repent for (using his words here) shit. I added the LE at the end because I thought to myself, self? What the hell is a Lentle? I realize it’s a bean, but it’s always baffled me. Lent’s character was the same way. I didn’t know what the hell he was until (literally) the very end of the book. His last name, Maste, came from my perception of him. I’ve always seen Lentle as the captain of a ship. He stands at the vessel’s mast, holding strong no matter what fate throws their way. I can’t talk about Rally’s name because more will be revealed about that later. As for Shepard, well his name was originally Leander because I thought it was fairy-ish without being sparkly. It became Shepard when I realized how many L names I had in Messy Death. (Mattock was originally, Latimer. This made it Leander, Latimer and Lentle. It got confusing. LOL.) I went with Shepard because I thought of him in terms of a police dog with a bone. He wants to solve cases. He wants to help Vira, but the red tape and PPD hoops prevent him from doing the kind of job he wants to do.
Mickey: What was your favorite part of the self-publishing process?
Jennifer: Honestly? There are only two things I’ve liked about it thus far. Meeting new people and the excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen next. In regards to self-pubbing, I sort of relate to Shepard. I feel like there’s a lot of hoops and red tape that prevent it from being super easy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not oh-so hard, but there are a lot of things to learn. Things I didn’t expect.
Mickey: I'm a huge fan of audio books. If you could pick anyone, who would you choose to narrate Messy Death?
Jennifer: Oh my gosh. I would absolutely love for Selma Blair to do the audio book. As an actress, I know she has the ability to harness Vira’s jaded tone without losing those precious, and far between, moments of honest vulnerability.
Mickey: You are currently writing the sequel, Messy Life, right? Any other writing projects in the plans?
Jennifer: I do. I have Dead Luck in the works. It’s a stand-alone YA about a Wraith who wants to change her luck. I’m especially excited to start this project as I have never written a stand-alone before. I’m in the middle of Messy Victory, Emon Nowl’s short story and have plans for two other short stories involving some characters we meet in Messy Death. I have a YA book started called Prowling for Demons, but I’m reluctant to talk about that novel right now as it may undergo some drastic plot changes. I’m not sure yet.
Mickey: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
Jennifer: Spend time with my family. Read. Hang out with friends. Occasionally, (very occasionally) I make it to the movies. The rest of the time, I play catch up with all the shows hanging out in my DVR.
Mickey: The question I ask everyone - What's your favorite fruit?
Jennifer: Hmm. That’s a hard one. The fruit I eat most would be bananas. I’m not sure that’s my favorite, but I for sure eat them on a regular basis.
Mickey: Thanks so much for being on the blog today! Any parting words?
Jennifer: Live on your own terms. Write how you want. Read what you like.
Jennifer Starks has been writing since the tender, but still wise beyond her years, age of eight. She gets giddy at the thought of visiting a bookstore, loves that good ole Library smell, is most at home on the couch reading or at her desk writing. She adores her children (though they make it entirely difficult to keep any kind of writing schedule) and is grateful her mother fostered a love of the arts. She adores her husband who supports the lifestyle even when that means listening to her write at 5 AM. Messy Death is Jennifer’s debut novel.