What would we find under your bed?
Fluff. Shoes. (Boots, mostly) A suitcase or two. I think. No books. Honest. That’s an illusion to trick you. There are no books there. None. They are not holding up the bed. It’s a lie.
Well. According to my critique group, I keep the heroes from all my books under there. And stashed in closets and whatnot. Allegedly I don’t share, which is so not true. I uh...
I don’t. *coughs*
But I release the occasional one into the wild, with an ISBN number attached (for tracking purposes)! All you gotta do is catch ‘em!
New York or LA? Why?
New York. I loooove New York. I’ve never been to Los Angeles, and I have no desire to go, either. The West Coast doesn’t grab me. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. I’m pretty sure it’s a great place, but then again, I don’t do well anywhere hot.
If it’s cold, I can layer on clothes and stay warm. If it’s hot, I can only take off so much before I’m down to skin... then what?
I also like the South and I really want to go back to New Orleans some time.
What books have most influenced your life?
I would have to say, the books by an author named Karl May (1842-1912). I would hazard a guess that most people (outside Germany) have never heard of him. He was a prolific writer who created some awesome stories. I grew up reading things like Winnetou and he transported me into the desert to meet Kara Ben Nemsi, his horse Rih and many other great characters. These are mostly adult books, but I read them voraciously from the age of about seven or eight. Thanks Dad, for letting me read your precious Karl May collection.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
No, I use my real name. (Yes, that really is my real name.) I thought long and hard about a pen name, mostly because people tend to get scared when they see my surname. “How on Earth do you pronounce that?”
It’s not that hard, actually. It just looks scary. Yoo Pen Laa ts. That’s how.
The thing is, after thinking I needed a pen name, I realized how unique my name is. And when I say unique, I really mean it.
1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics
I am the only person in the world with that name combination. Seriously.
My surname is extremely rare. We’re not even talking thousands, but about a hundred, at most. Among those, there isn’t another Silke.
J So there, that’s my claim to fame. I’m U. Neek! See, there’s a pen name I could have used.
Do you play games? What kind?
I used to be addicted to Everquest. (An MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) I played for some 9 years, battled it out every night, in one of the top guilds back then. We were top of the pile, endgame, hardcore raiders. In the end it was no longer fun and I quit.
I played Horizons, another MMO for a while, which was fun. I was a dragon and I built stuff.
These days, I bum around on World of Warcraft sometimes. No longer raiding, just having fun, collecting mounts and pets and taming just about everything that moves, with my hunter. It’s fun and I can picture people’s faces on the mobs I kill. Ha! (I’m really very bloodthirsty, don’t be fooled by the “I don’t raid.” thing.)
And does it really surprise anyone that I play on a Role Play server? ;)
Tell us about your current release.
My current release is Smitten. It’s a story about an angel who lost his wings because he truly sucks at this angel thing. Worse, the reason for his wingless state comes to him for help, and he’d really rather not get involved. Until he realizes he’s partly to blame for all the things people say about Jo, and her actions start to worry him. Then he figures if he saves her, he might get his wings back. Yeah, Ash is a bit selfish at first.
Jo has a bad reputation and can’t seem to get out of town. She’s not thrilled when she has to seek out Ash. Not because he’s been nasty to her—he pretty much ignored her—but he’s the only guy who’s never hit on her and she’d like to know him a little more than is advisable, considering her history. But when he suddenly tries to be nice, her self-preservation instinct kicks in and she wonders what he really wants from her.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Oh cripes, finishing them. I don’t mean writing them to the end, I mean... well. I have trouble stopping at the right point. I don’t normally write short. My books tend to be 80-110k, not 20 or 30. So knowing when to stop is really hard for me.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I grew up in a very old house in Germany. As in, 17th Century old. It was pretty normal. Things always went bump in the night (and day, for that matter), and we all just rolled with it. It was normal. Aside from my aunt visiting me—the night after she died—when I was eight years old, nothing particularly spooky happened there.
The barn is a slightly different affair. It’s a house now.
I “met” that particular uh... ghost... when the house still was a barn. He’s incredibly angry and doesn’t want anyone in the upstairs room. Or maybe it’s just me, because he doesn’t bother my brother. After having things thrown at me when I lived there, and being frozen out of the room when I tried to make it my study, I just don’t go up there anymore.
I’ve had my share of encounters, and my partner grew up in a house that needed to be exorcised, because whatever was in it, had become rather violent. (Throwing people out of bed and whatnot.) I don’t think those presences are there to hurt us, but rather souls looking for closure of some kind. Echoes. Occasionally those echoes are visible, and because people can’t explain it, they get scared.
Saying that...I still won’t sleep in the upstairs bedroom in my parent’s house.
Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
My favorite character...is always the hero of the book I’m currently writing. I fall in love with them. Occasionally, I fall in love with them before I ever write their book. Occasionally, a secondary character is so alive, they need their own book. J Kaiden is one of the latter.
He’s a shady guy with a scary past, rough and jaded, with enough baggage to require a freight train. He gets thrown in with his best friend’s sister, who is not only less than half his age, but also drives him absolutely insane. He was a science experiment, and things went a little ka-ka. So now he doesn’t age like regular people, he has a microprocessor in his head, his bones are metal. As Tara puts it, “a man who looks so hot, he should sizzle, and he doesn’t have any emotions.” She refers to him as “Tin Man”. Oh yeah, he’s a regular bundle of fun, that one. Playing with him is like tap dancing on a landmine. (And she’s wrong about the emotions...)
Tell us about your next release.
My next release is called “Howl” and is currently in edits. It’s a werewolf story.
Lucia, a rancher’s daughter, saves a wolf—and that’s where the trouble starts. Because Zalin is no ordinary wolf, and his Alpha isn’t exactly Lucia’s best friend.
So when Lucia ends up at their compound, it falls to Zalin to protect her. Both from his Alpha, and apparently from her own past.
Well, I won’t tell you any more, you’ll just have to read it when it’s released in June!