New York Times Bestselling Author, Lisa Shearin has been dishing out novels since her first, MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, in 2007. Three years ago, she introduced us to a new series, THE SPI FILES, and the third book, THE BRIMSTONE DECEPTION releases January 26th from Ace. Lisa was kind enough to appear as a pillar of fire to discuss the book. True, email works just as well, but is not nearly as cool.
SG - The SPI series has been called Men in Black with supernaturals instead of aliens. What else makes this series different?
LS - I’ve always loved the idea of mages, magic, and fantastical creatures existing alongside the world we know and live in. There’s just so much potential for fun and adventure-filled stories. I love movies like Men in Black, Big Trouble in Little China, and Ghostbusters. Nothing’s more fun to me than watching or reading about the chaos—and comedy—that ensues when people are faced with the reality that the creatures and things they didn’t believe existed are all too real. They’re sitting next to you on the subway, they’re driving the cab you just got into, and you found out this morning that your boss really is a troll. The story possibilities are endless—and so much fun.
SG - What inspired you to write the SPI Files?
LS - I mainly read paranormal thrillers or thrillers with an unknown element that could be supernatural. I absolutely adore James Rollins, David Golemon, Greig Beck, and Jeremy Robinson. And I’m a huge fan of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Agent Pendergast series. And I love the idea of a secret organization that knows that supernatural beings exist, and their job is to protect us from them—and them from us.
SG - How has Makenna evolved over the series?
LS - Aside from the ability to see through the spells, wards, or veils that supernatural creatures use to blend in with human society, Mac is a normal person. Other SPI agents come from military, espionage, or law enforcement backgrounds, Mac’s degree is in journalism. She came to New York to run with the big dogs at the New York Times or get a job with a web news site like the Huffington Post. But all she could get was a reporter job with a tabloid that ran headlines like “Donald Trump is a werewolf love child.” I wanted to make sure that she didn’t come across as the stereotypical “kick-ass heroine.” I think it makes her more relatable that she has to struggle on the job to learn the things that her fellow agents can do in their sleep and take for granted.
SG - This third book deals with a hellishly addictive drug, Brimstone. What research did you do in exploring controlled substances, cartels, dealers, and users?
LS - Actually, I didn’t have to do any research at all. When reading for fun, I gravitate toward police procedurals, and mysteries and thrillers involving some branch of law enforcement. All of that reading has soaked in over the years, and what I needed for The Brimstone Deception was already in my head for the harvesting.
SG - Favorite type of supernatural?
LS – The goblins in my SPI Files series and my Raine Benares series. Most people think of goblins as short, gnarled, with a bad case of post-nasal drip. My goblins are tall, sleek, and sexy. Their hair is dark and often worn long, their skin is pale gray with a silvery sheen, and their human-sized ears are pointed at the top. But their most distinguishing physical characteristic is a pair of fangs that aren’t for decorative use only. Goblin politics is a full-contact and often fatal sport chock-full of seduction, deception, and betrayal. Their motives are next to impossible to figure out, and whether engaged in politics, business, or interpersonal relations, goblins make Machiavelli look like an intrigue dilettante.
SG – David Bowie would be proud.
From the cover –
It’s called Brimstone. And after the first few hits, you’ll see every supernatural beast sharing the sidewalk, train, or office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff.
I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for the SPI. And the collateral damage caused by Brimstone is something I’d like to unsee: dead drug dealers missing their hearts—and souls. Because your local pusher doesn’t stand a chance against the new cartel muscling its way into New York. And since the drug can only be produced with magic and molten brimstone fresh from Hell, that means a rift to the underworld is open somewhere in the city.
And when—not if—the cartel loses control of it, well...
It’s going to be Hell on earth.