Thursday, August 29, 2013

Interview with Clovia Shaw, Author of Nogitsune!

Today, my lovelies, I have a VERY SPECIAL TREAT for you! Clovia Shaw, author of Nogitsune, agreed to answer my wonky questions for the blog! Nogitsune is one of the books I've enjoyed the most this year. It's an urban fantasy steeped in Japanese mythology instead of the usual fairies and vampires. It's clever and engaging and a ton of fun. Also it has a super cool cover, which is highly significant if you're shallow like me.

The Interview!

S: So first off, I loved the focus on Japanese mythology. They have such rich and varied lore... and also umbrella monsters. What made you pick Japanese mythology over any other?

C: Inspiration comes from so many different places during the day—a tree that seems to wave at you every time you go by, a bug that doesn’t look real, falling down a hole on the internet following links. I can’t remember why I was researching kitsune to begin with this time, but growing up nerd (as I did), East Asian art and themes were a strong thread through much of my entertainment, so it wasn’t the first time I’d looked into the lore behind the Japanese fox. This time, though, I found a caption or just a couple of lines about a practice I hadn’t heard about before, and it stuck in my head for a couple of years.

If I was going to write a story about the descendants of Japanese nature spirits, then the character had to be Asian American, which meant a foundation of Japanese folklore and legend for his UF subculture to grow out of. Because of the history I created, there’s some Chinese fox spirit imagery, too, but mostly Japanese.

S: What's your writing process like? Are you an "x number of words per day, come rain or sleet or kaiju", or do you write the entire thing in one night? (Or something in between.)

C: You’d think a kaiju day would make for a lot of words. Once the running and screaming stopped.

I’ve never been able to write on the same project every day, day in and day out. I write in spurts, with the greatest part of a novel taking me a couple or three months, usually, and then the next eighteen or so filled with paralyzing self-doubt and half-hearted jabs at editing the gelatinous monster I’ve created.

S: Okay, I read your about me, and it says, "A big fan of Kissing Books in which things blow up, Clovia lives in Annapolis, with her very patient husband and the ghost of a very good dog." I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE GHOST DOG. Does it look like Zero? Because I think it should look like Zero.

C: Hee. My dear, handsome doggy, a rescue we had for fourteen years, passed away last September. Sometimes when I’m asleep, the water heater will drip or the floor shifts, and it sounds like toenails tapping on the laminate, or I see that stout little shape out the corner of my eye, only to realize it’s a hoodie on the floor. When my husband cuts one on the couch, he still occasionally blames it on the dog. I let him.

S: What's your favorite book? Or at least give me a top 3.

C: Um. Do comic books count? Because right now I can’t stop shoving CHEW, by Layman and Guillory, in people’s faces. Top three, top three.

Lemme get back to you...never. On that.


S: Lastly but most importantly, what are you working on now? Is Nogitsune going to be part of a series?

C: I have plans to do at least two more. The next one, we find out more about Delia and where she came from. Then I think the three people who’ve read it will string me up by my toes if I don’t deal with what happens after The Kiss. So, yeah, haha. Probably three. I could write stories out of that world for years, but if there’s no audience for it, then it’s time to move on to another.

Currently I’m working on a portal fantasy very loosely inspired by a Danish folk creature called a valravn. Then there are the raccoons. All of these are supposed to be romances, but I’ve been trying to write a Romance for years, and it always turns into something else. I AM DETERMINED.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Selma!

Clovia has a website and also a Twitter where she occasionally chats with me about making robots out of vacuum cleaners.


Lincoln Black is nogitsune--a “field fox” cast aside by his family, an outsider among the hidden community of American kitsune descended from the shapeshifting fox-wives of Japanese folklore. When a curse pushes his harmless taste for his lovers' vital energy toward monstrous, uncontrollable hunger, Linc is forced back to the one place he’d—almost—rather die than go for help: home. 

The first night back in town, a cousin he doesn't know defies clan politics to enter his dreams. Wouldn't you know, he wants to strike a bargain: Find a stolen piece of a stranger’s soul, and he’ll help Linc break the curse. 

That help comes in the form of Delia, a geomancer who knows every inch of the city, and whose energy Linc finds dangerously tempting. It would be too easy to lose his head, and drain her life away with no more than a kiss. Armed with a key to the magical pathways hidden behind the mundane world, Linc's own sly magic, and a will o' wisp with an attitude problem, they search for the broken piece of soul.

Too bad they're not the only ones looking for it.

With his self-control slipping, Linc finds himself indebted to a cousin he can't trust, running afoul of more than one god, and putting Delia in danger just by wanting her. He's looking at a jacked-up choice: Die to keep the only person who cares for him safe, or risk becoming a monster straight out of Japanese fairytales.


  1. Very cool! I Love Japanese culture! I even tried to teach myself the language once. And I have every intention of trying again. Lol!

    Best of luck to Clovia!

  2. Wonderful interview!

    This book is FANTASTIC. And yes, there will be toe-stringing if I don't get to find out What Happens After The Kiss.