In anticipation of the release for book three of the Apollo Grant series –Grant No Quarter– I recently sat down with the author, Rey Nichols, and asked her some questions about the series, her protagonist, and her writing process.
Q: What inspired you to write the Apollo Grant series?
A: I had been struggling to write a series with me as a writer having a natural voice. It was during the Pandemic Times, and I was indulging myself in John Hartness’ Quincy Harker series, and I wanted to try my hand at writing urban fantasy. I discovered I really liked the genre, both as a reader and a writer.
Q: Why did you choose Mocha Memoirs Press to publish your book?
A: It’s actually a part of a story about rejection. The first book I sent to MMP, was turned down. I got a brilliant letter as to why, and the things I needed to do to improve the work. When I thanked the publisher Nicole directly, we engaged in a discussion that eventually segued into her interest in vampires. Now initially I wrote Apollo Grant out of Pandemic spite, and never intended to publish it, but I was like “Hey, I got this vampire hunter in a Vegas story if you want to take a look.” And she said “send it to me,” and six months later I had a contract.
Q: What makes Apollo fun to write as a character?
A: He’s the type of guy that makes bad decisions, and knows that he makes bad decisions. Not always on purpose, but he’s usually aware of his faults after the fact, and it makes for some really interesting comedy in the story. It’s entertaining to create a character who shines through their imperfections, and has zero f*cks to give.
Q: What is something that surprised you about Apollo or his character development?
A: Even though he does some really dumb things, there are times when his nobility shines through, and he becomes the moral compass of the book.
Q: Without giving any spoilers, what do you think the most surprising part of Book Three will be for your readers?
A: I think readers will be surprised to see that a character who is thought to be dead in Book One comes back in this book, and has been given a more prominent role than was previously established.
Q: What tools do you use as an author to help you build a successful series?
A: For stories I know that will have multiple volumes, I like to establish distinct and unique characters that will draw people into the book, I want to make sure they sound and look unique. In order to do this, some planning is required. Many authors do this differently, but for me, I want to make sure I have a schedule to write, to edit, and submit. I want to make sure I have something resembling an outline, even if its just a list of basic plot points. Also, I want to make sure I know how the story will end, so that everything I write before the ending can organically as possible reach the planned ending.
Q: Do you plan out the whole series at once or do you plan things one book at a time?
A: The answer to this overall would be “it depends”. With this series, I have two major arcs. The one readers currently find themselves in focus on establishing the world building, what exists supernaturally, and Apollo’s relationship with his father. I have a basic plot point of beats I want to hint in each book, and starting with this book, we start to get more of an idea that the relationship with his father is more important than previously thought. Since there are so a few plot threads that weave and cross each other, this series does have a bit of planning involved to make sure the story doesn’t derail. I know how the story will end, I just need to get us all there.
Q: If a coffee shop made an Apollo Grant themed drink, what do you think would be in it?
A: Apollo isn’t the biggest fan of coffee, but I could see him drinking a spinner (soda & ice cream blend).
If you haven’t read any of the Apollo Grant series yet, now is the perfect time to start with book one!