Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10Q Tuesday with Silke Juppenlatz

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...

Oh, wait.

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!


Maureen said...

I like how you put it about ghosts. I like the word remnant as a description, too.

It's so nice being U.Nique! And that is a great pen name...if I need one, I may steal it!

Anonymous said...

Good 10Q, Silke! Love it. And, as someone who lives on the West Coast but not in LA, I will tell you not ALL of Cali is hot-hot. Where I live is quite temperate. :-)


Silke said...

Well, you know, I say I don't like hot... (Which, honestly, I don't) and then I do such perfectly reasonable things like... Go to New Orleans. In July. During a heatwave. It made perfect sense to me to go visit Metaire Cemetery at noon -- and I almost ended up with heat stroke. Since that wasn't enough, I went to Chicago... and it was so hot, you could fry eggs on the sidewalk (nearly said pavement, gosh, those Britishisms are biting again!). I remember being inside and they showed the outside temperature in the elevator. It read "108" and I had no clue how hot that is. (I'm used to Celsius.)
I only found out it was 42C in the shade, when I got home! Ammagawd, it wasn't even that hot in Egypt!

Maureen said...

True, Silke, I'd say it never gets hot where I live, up the coast from LA about 5 hours. And San Francisco? Seldom considered hot.

Come see us, we'll win you over... ;-)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I love that you didn't take a pen name and that your name combination is so rare!
HOWL sounds awesome too!

Nina Croft said...

Wow, Silke - I've been pronouncing your name wrong all this time (actually when I see it my brain sort of skips over it so I don't pronounce it at all!). Now I know - and it is a great name for a writer.
I've never been to NY but it sounds brilliant - one day.

Chelle Sandell said...

I was scared to try and pronounce it! I was hoping I wouldn't have to if we met in Dallas. Ha. Did I tell you we have a ghost up on our third floor? We call it our "smoking ghost" because all of a sudden we'll smell cigarette smoke and it'll just disappear. Can't wait to read Howl...and no...she really doesn't share! ;)

JoAnne Kenrick said...

Silke, is that a photo of the actual house you had all those experiences in? It's beautiful!

And I now have visions of your bed being held up by Manuscripts LOL

Cynthia Selwyn said...

Howl sounds awesome; Smitten was great!

I want to hear more about those haunted houses. :)

Clarissa Yip said...

Oh Silke, the new things I learn about you each time. LOL. You're awesome.

Congrats on Howl!

P.S. You don't share.

Bethanne said...

Yoo pen lats!! Well, I had it mostly right. :P Still stuck on the first name, though and I even asked my husband. How did she say it? I asked him. Like it's spelled, he says. ...um okay. soooo Silk-eh? Or just Silk[e], cuz we all know an e at the end of the word is silent! :P LOL

...You share, but then you take back!! Can't wait to read howl. :)

Gina Ardito said...

So *that's* how you pronounce your last name! LOL. Loved the novella, looking forward to Howl! Come to NY; we'll have a hoot.

Kathleen said...

Great post, Silke.

I like your ghost story, too. As for NY vs LA, I,m in Jersey and another snow storm is on it's way. LA sounds pretty good right now. lol

All joking aside, it was fun learning more about you.

Good luck with "Howl".

Silke said...

Thanks all!
Ammagosh no, that's not my house. :) I'd LOVE that house though and it looks a lot like the place I used to work at -- which was haunted.
I once did an overnighter, just me, no one else.(This was Y2K prep). The building was an old mansion which looked much like the one in the photo on the blog.
I walked past an office at 3am, and the computer turned on. Wake-on-LAN, I hear the computer buffs mutter.
Which yeah, would be a reasonable explanation -- if the computer had been plugged into a power socket at the time.
Unfortunately for the resident spooks, I was way too used to things going bump, I had a deadline, and I was too tired to do anything but mutter "Oh please. If you want to scare me, you're gonna have to throw it at me."
It didn't.
But a steel door way down in the basement slammed shut for no apparent reason.
Did I care? Nah.
And btw - I don't really mind how you pronounce my first name lol.
Most here in the UK go with "Silky", in Germany it's "Silk-eh" and I keep getting letters addressed to some obscure Mr. Silka
Last I looked I didn't have a dangly bit. Maybe I should take up one of those email offers I keep getting!

JM said...

Ha! That's funny! I thought I knew how your name sounded. As for NY or LA, I'd have to say NY, even though I've never been to either. I'm just afraid LA is going to fall into the ocean someday. Sorry West Coasters...
Great post!

Valerie Mann said...

Well, pooh, Silk-ee (because yes that's how I pronounced it all along, but massacred your last name). I guess this means you won't be having fun with us at RT in LA. I grew up in NY state, and the city is F-U-N. But I was born on the west coast, so I straddle the fence on which is better, LOL Fun Blog!!

Kit Donner said...

Hi Silke,
Really enjoyed your post. You have such an imagination! I envy your writing ability and talent to create other worlds and unworldy characters. I wouldn't have a clue how to do write paranormals. Looking forward to reading more of your stories.