Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Author Take Over: Interview with Lisa Shearin, author of Raine Benares Series & The SPI Files

Hi Guys!!
Today I have the great pleasure of introducing the awesome and amazing Lisa Shearin, author of one of my all time favorite series; Raine Benares. Lisa was actually the reason I stumbled into blogging, and the very first author I EVER interviewed (I was SOOOO nervous!!). Today Lisa is here on my weekly Author Take Over, and we're talking about her new book and series. 

Hi Lisa, and welcome to my new blog. Sit down, make yourself comfortable. I’ve got tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some homemade Christmas cookies, if you like?

Earl Grey with a teaspoon of honey would be wonderful, thank you! And most definitely pass the cookies.

*takes a sip from cup* Last we talked was when you were releasing All Spell Breaks Loose, the last book in your Raine Benares series. I loved that book. To me as a longtime fan, it was a wonderful and perfect ending to an amazing adventure.

Thank you so much! I felt that in All Spell Breaks Loose, I needed to provide a satisfying ending to the Saghred story arc, as well as give the characters the closure they deserved – be it a HEA or the horrific yet ironic death they’d deserved (and readers had been rooting for) since the second book. (cough) Carnades (cough)  

You’ve been QUITE busy since. You have a new book coming out December 31, The Grendel Affair, which also is the first book in your brand new series; SPI Files. Can you tell us a little about your new series?

The SPI Files centers around the premise that creatures from myth and legend are real. But I’ll let my main character, Makenna Fraser, tell you herself. She does a much better job.


That really ugly guy you flipped off on the Queensboro Bridge this morning? Icelandic troll. And for a troll, a middle finger is a lot more insulting than you ever thought it was.  It was nothing short of a miracle he didn’t get out of his truck and flip you and your Beemer into the East River.

Convinced that politicians can’t possibly come from the same world as the rest of us?  Quite often, you’d be right. 

That red-haired vice president in corporate who looks too good to be true?  Irish sidhe.    

Such creatures have always lived among us, but only in the last few decades have humans become irresistibly interesting to them—and beings previously known only in the fantasy section of a bookstore have become a very real problem for us.

Most of them come here wanting the same things as the rest of us: a good job, nice house, 2.5 kids, and a dog.  The others?  Well, their powers are stronger here, their greed is bigger, and any treaties or bindings that might have made them behave back home don’t mean squat here. They don’t just want their slice of the American Dream; they want the whole freaking pie, and they don’t care what they have to do, who they have to kill, or how many city blocks they have to level to get what they want.

That’s why we’re here.

Someone has to even the odds.

We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations, also known as SPI. We battle the supernatural bad guys of myth and legend. We’re recruited from various alphabet agencies, top police forces, and military special ops, and are supported by the sharpest scientific and academic minds.

My partner is Ian Byrne, who came to the SPI by way of the NYPD. His partner was gutted by a ghoul during a robbery gone wrong. Ian wanted to get the thing that killed his partner. That’s next to impossible to do if the people you work for don’t officially acknowledge that said perp even exists.  

Working for SPI, our jobs really haven’t changed all that much.  We still dig up the dirt so we can go after criminals, only now they’re the supernatural variety. Sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong used to get me the news story; now it gets me the magical mobsters and sicko sorcerers. Ian still protects the citizens, and brings SPI’s special brand of justice to those who deserve it.  

In The City That Never Sleeps, there’s plenty of weirdness for everyone.

For SPI, business has never been better. 


You have three books planned so far, the first book (The Grendel Affair) releasing December 31, the second (The Dragon Conspiracy) and the third (The Brimstone Deception) already in the making. I would love to know more about the books! Can you share?

I’d love to! Here are the basic synopses for the first three books (hopefully you all will love them and there’ll be many more).

The Grendel Affair:

A killer is loose in New York. The police think it’s a sickle-wielding serial killer. We know that it’s something far worse.   


Prowling beneath the city’s subway tunnels is a descendant of Grendel. Yeah, that Grendel. We don’t know who smuggled the thing into the country or why, but it’s a short list of supernatural sickos.


We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI).  We battle the very real monsters of myth and legend—and those who would unleash them. We take down the monsters and we cover up the truth.  Because when it comes to monsters, the truth won’t set anyone free—it’ll incite a global panic attack.


This thing’s ancestor was, shall we say, notorious for its intolerance of drunken revelry in King Hrothgar’s mead hall. Carnage is the nicest way to describe how it would stop loud parties. Unfortunately, its descendant is a chip off the old claw.      


The timing of the modern Grendel’s release is no accident. In less than 48 hours, New York plays host to the world’s largest party—New Year’s Eve in Times Square. A million people there, and billions more watching. Unless we find Grendel before midnight, when the ball drops, the secret’s out and time’s up.


The Dragon Conspiracy

It’s Halloween in New York. A chance for people to pretend they’re monsters. And time for the real monsters to raise a little hell.


Hundreds of society’s upper-crust are attending a gala masquerade ball at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibit: “The Art of Myth and Mythology.”  Gods and goddesses, beasties and monsters are all safely represented in painting or sculpture—all of the thrills with none of the danger.


Until one of the guests works some magical mojo on a statue, bringing a trio of harpies to life.


The target of these winged and clawed monsters—besides terrorizing the other guests—is a massive ruby cut in the shape of a coiled dragon.  Surrounding it are egg-shaped diamonds of various colors, all contained in an intricately woven solid-gold nest.  The harpies and the mastermind mystery guest escape into the night, taking their ill-gotten booty with them.


The treasure was on loan from a Russian mafia boss trying to generate a little positive PR, and he’s not happy that his family jewels have been snatched, especially when he finds out the thief is the head of a rival Russian crime family. The Feds think they’re dealing with a pair of mafia out-of-towners about to start a mob war.


We at SPI know that both Russians are dragons disguised in human form, and that when one dragon steals another dragon’s hoard . . . well, there’s going to be hell to pay.


We’re looking for the dragon mobster and the hoard he stole. The harpies are still on the loose and looking for a party to crash and slash. Free for the first time in millennia, the girls are looking for a wild night on the town. Girls just wanna have fun.


Three harpies. Two dragons. One hoard.


Happy Halloween, folks.


The Brimstone Deception

Someone is killing New York’s drug lords. Think that’s good news? It’s not.  Trust us.  


There’s a new drug on the streets, and a new cartel is moving in to take care of business in more ways than one.  Normally untouchable drug lords are being hunted down and murdered.  Doors are locked, their security is tight, yet drug lords are still ending up dead. The cause of death is obvious—their hearts have been removed. No cuts. No blood. The only mark on the bodies is a single brand of a cloven hoof over where their hearts used to be.     


And that’s not all that’s missing; the killer also took their souls.  Drug lords with no hearts or souls—kind of ironic when you think about it. Neither the NYPD nor the Feds know about the missing souls, but then they don’t have a full-time necromancer on staff.  We do.


We’re Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI). We battle the very real monsters of myth and legend—and those who would unleash them. We take down the monsters and we cover up the truth.  Because when it comes to monsters, people can’t handle the truth. 


The new drug is being called Brimstone. The first few hits will let you see every supernatural beastie sharing the sidewalk, train, or your office with you. After that, you’ll start seeing the really scary stuff. It can only be produced with magic and Hellfire. That means a rift to Hell is open somewhere in the city. Our supernatural drug pushers only need the rift open a little to get what they need, but when—not if—they lose control of it, well . . .   


Welcome to Hell on Earth.


The Grendel Affair takes place around New Year Eve, and Makenna Fraser is one of the main characters. Who is she? How did she end up with the SPI?

Makenna is what is called a Seer. She and most of the members of her family can see through any veil, shield, or spell any supernatural could come up with as a disguise. Such disguises are a survival mechanism, much like how a chameleon changes its colors to blend in with its surroundings to protect itself from predators. Or how predators look perfectly harmless until something—or someone—they want to eat wanders by.


Down through the years, Mac’s family took it on themselves to protect the prey from the predators. Since the town’s founding in 1786, there’s been a Fraser as marshal, then sheriff, and now police chief. Mac chose her own way to expose the truth. Supernaturals didn’t have the market cornered on predatory behavior. As a little girl, she dreamed of becoming an investigative reporter.


She came to New York with the dream of running with the big dogs at the New York Times, or even sticking close to her hometown roots and writing for the Weird News section at the Huffington Post. But all she could get was a job at a seedy tabloid called the Informer, where only stories like “Donald Trump Is a Werewolf Love Child” had any hope of making it to the front page. As luck would have it, that same story had also put her squarely in her new employer’s sights. By that point, any job that’d let her regain my self-respect was a job that she’d gladly take—even if it took her back into family business. When SPI recognized her for what she was and made her an offer, she’d literally skipped to her editor’s office to resign.


Ian Byrne is Makenna’s partner in the SPI. What is his reaction towards Makenna? She isn’t exactly military or police material.

Mac thinks that Ian sees his assignment as her partner as babysitting duty. She’s new and she’s a Seer. Lately, SPI’s seers have met with accidents that might not be so accidental. The powers that be in SPI’s executive suite have taken steps to protect their new personnel investment—whether she likes it or not. 

The Grendel Affair is (funny enough) about Grendel. There might be someone out there who doesn’t know what a Grendel is. Could you enlighten them?

Grendel is the adversary in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf.  In the poem, after Beowulf killed Grendel by tearing off his arm, Grendel’s mother attacked Heorot Hall to retrieve her dead son’s arm and exact vengeance. Beowulf tracked Grendel’s mother to her lair, killed her, retrieved the arm, and decapitated the dead Grendel. The murders in New York bear a disturbing similarity. The bodies have been found without their heads and right arms. Coincidence? Vengeance of an eye-foraneye variety? That’s what Mac and Ian have to find out.


What was your inspiration for the SPI Files?

I love movies like Men in Black, Ghostbusters, and The Mummy—when the supernatural world runs smack dab into our own world. The real fun starts when people have to deal with the results.


You have been hinting on your website that you’re working on something top secret. I know I’m not the only one dying to find out what your project is. *making puppy eyes* Can you lift the lid, and share ANYTHING at all?

I wish I could! But I’ve been told “not yet.” Sorry!


I want to thank you so much for coming by Lisa! I hope you enjoyed my new place, and I wish you all the luck with your new book.

Thank you so much, Sabina!

Contrary to popular belief, most authors do have day jobs just like everyone else. Lisa’s happily freelancing for an advertising agency as an editor and proofreader. In her previous corporate life, she’s been a magazine editor, advertising copywriter, and writer of corporate marketing materials of every description.

Lisa is the national bestselling author of The Raine Benares novels, a series of six comedic fantasy adventures. Her next series—The SPI Files—is an urban fantasy that’s been described as Stephanie Plum meets Men in Black. It will debut on December 31, 2013.

Lisa is a voracious collector of fountain pens both vintage and modern. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two spoiled-rotten retired racing greyhounds, and a Jack Russell Terrier who rules them all.



  1. Thank you so much for inviting me, Sabina! I'll be popping in today to answer commenter questions. : )


  2. Great interview! So looking forward to this book. :)

    1. It is always so much fun to interview Lisa, she's such a sweetheart! I'm really looking forward to The Grendel Affair too!