I've picked the quiz winners, and if you won, you'll have received an e-mail from me. Y'all impressed me with your knowledge of the books. I might have had to look some of that stuff up, and I wrote the books! (Though, in my defense, my concern was whether something I was thinking about made it into the final book, since there's a lot I wrote that didn't, and now it's hard to remember what did and what didn't end up in the finished version.)
Now, for the curious, here are the answers, along with a little "story behind the story" stuff, just for fun.
Question one: The first guy Katie goes out with in the books is Pat. He's a blind date set up through her roommates. He's loosely inspired by a blind date I once went on, whose name happened to be Pat (I don't remember his last name), and it was my college roommate who set me up with him, though at the time we were co-workers instead of roommates (by sheer coincidence, I ended up working with my college roommate years later). In my case, the first date, the "blind" one, wasn't so bad, because it was a double date with my roommate/co-worker and her husband, and we all had a great time, so I agreed to go out with this guy when he called me for a real date. And that was the one where he Would. Not. Talk. I finally got tired of asking him questions and getting one-word answers and told him that I was the world's slowest eater in the best of circumstances, so if he didn't carry his share of the conversation and let me eat, we were never going to be able to leave the restaurant. He promptly got up and went to the restroom. At least that gave me a chance to finish my dinner. And so, he has been immortalized in print.
Question two: I was willing to take The Frog King (or Prince), Cinderella or The Red Shoes. I actually consciously used The Frog King and Cinderella (with the idea of getting the magical shoes that changed her life and the way others saw her), then later realized I'd done The Red Shoes as well (there may be something to that collective unconscious thing). In my case, the red shoes are literal. I own a pair, and they in part inspired the book. I bought them to celebrate when I got the book deal, and then I decided they were magical shoes. If a pair of purple shoes had caught my eye, it could have turned out to be a book about purple shoes. Or gold, or whatever. It is kind of cool that they were red so they fit with that fairy tale, as well. The Cinderella motif is pretty strong in Damsel Under Stress and continues into the fourth book. You haven't seen the last of those red shoes.
Question three: Ari was the one who broke the enchantment on Philip. That will turn out to be highly ironic, for reasons you will soon learn. Let's just say "Oops!"
Question four: Owen has a cat named Eluned, after a character in Welsh mythology (from the Mabinogion). Rod nicknamed her Loony. Loony was inspired by my next-door neighbor's cat, who kind of adopted me. If she got out of the house, she'd end up on my front porch, and when she was in the house, she sat in the window and watched my front door all day. She first appeared in a story that will not be made public. It was just something a little silly I wrote for my friend Rosa. She'd read the first book as I wrote it, and then when I was waiting to hear whether an agent would take it on, I was kind of stuck. I tried working on something else, but these characters wouldn't let me go, yet I didn't want to write the sequel without selling the first book. Meanwhile, Rosa was nagging me for more. So, one snowy Saturday, I wrote a little short story from Owen's point of view that picks up almost exactly after his part in Enchanted, Inc. ends. Rosa loved cats, so I threw my neighbor's cat in as his pet, and I liked her and his interactions with her so much that she made it into the next book. The story is very much fanfic, even if it is based on my own books, and is quite self-indulgent. It helped me get into Owen's head and figure out how his mind worked, as well as what his life is like, what his background was, how his friendship with Rod works, etc. It won't go public anytime soon, if at all, because it has a lot of spoilers for future books. And, besides, it was a special treat for a friend, and I kind of like the idea of keeping it so that she was the only one who ever read it.
Question five: Jake is Owen's assistant, and he likes punk music. This was one of those characters who just popped into my head. I think the punk thing started as a practical consideration. On my first research trip for the series, I ended up wandering some through the East Village, where there are some hole-in-the-wall music stores, and that area is/was one of the hotbeds of punk. Those hole-in-the-wall stores seemed like the kind of places where you might be able to buy bootleg black magic spells, and we needed someone to find them while doing his normal shopping there. I'd always pictured Jake wearing some kind of irreverent t-shirt, so I decided he was our resident punk. I have a friend who's an expert on that scene, so I asked for her input and got a complete history of the punk movement, as well as suggestions for t-shirts and group names that would say something about this character.
And, there we have it. Now, I've got another Out of the Blogosphere book to share, Parallel Seduction, the latest book in an alternate world series by Deidre Knight.
Warrior Jake Tierny travels back in time to stop a traitor in his beloved king's camp. But when a twist of fate proves the mission unnecessary, Jake is trapped in a time not his own, with friends who cannot learn his true identity.
Scott Dillon may be the king's trusted lieutenant, but he is also a man at war with himself, a human hybrid who refuses to succumb to the Antousian nature he abhors-and that Jake Tierny embodies.
FBI linguist Hope Harper refuses to let near-blindness keep her from joining the Refarians in their war to defend mankind. Yet her sizzling attraction to both Scott and Jake, and the strange memories they share, force all three to question the core of their beliefs. As their enemies surround them, Hope knows she must choose one man for all time.
For more info, excerpt, etc., visit Deidre's web site.