Eleven Questions for Courtney Milan!

I love having Courtney Milan on the blog. Seriously. She's so clever and funny, and I just knew that I had to convince her to hop into the hot seat for Eleven Questions...I was not disappointed--although I did spew tea over my keyboard at one point, which is no fun. Welcome Courtney!

1. Alpha or Beta? Hard choice. I personally like alphas with a beta core. Or betas with an alpha core. Basically, I like men who are strong, reliable, in charge, and deeply, deeply vulnerable. So whichever choice gets me that, that's what I want.

2. Virgin Widow or Secret Baby? I like secret widows and am deeply, deeply in favor of virgin babies, but I have to say that I do not want either virgin widows or secret babies. Can I do that?

3. Time Travel or Futuristic? Assuming I can't time travel to the future, futuristic. I'm reading Children of Scarabeus by Sara Creasy right now, and it reminds me why I love science fiction.

4. Hot as Sin or Cold as Ice? Cold as Ice, baby. I say that because I'm working on a Cold as Ice hero right now, and he is HOT. There is something about having a guy that needs to have his emotions cracked wide open that really does it for me. I don't think I've ever managed the Hot as Sin hero.

5. Spinster or First Season Out? Spinster. Very much spinster. But I have to point out that of the heroines that I've written (or am currently writing--I count one, two, three, four, five, six, seven possible heroines) only three have had a season--Lady Kate in Trial by Desire (and we don't see her season) and Lady Margaret in Unveiled (and we don't ever see her in a season, either). The other four did not come out.

Specifically: Lavinia Spencer was the daughter of a man who owned a lending library. She wasn't going to come out, ever. Jenny Keeble was a fortune-teller who lived on the fringes of society. Jessica Farleigh (from the upcoming Unclaimed) is a courtesan. Miranda Darling (from the slightly-less-upcoming Unraveled) is a wig-maker.

There's another heroine who isn't named here, and she's from my secret project--so secret that I'm barely mentioning it and you didn't hear it from me!--but she did have a First Season Out, and it was AWFUL. So bad that she is definitely in the spinster category.

I love playing with class differences, and it shows up in my writing all the time. (And the series I'm thinking about when I finish this one is fraught with class tension--but no more about that.)

6. England or Anywhere but? I love to read both England and anywhere but, and there's so little anywhere but that I go for anything set anywhere but; but I happen to be writing quite happily in England myself, at least for the moment. Although I've been much, much happier since I moved out of London. Right now I'm in Bristol. It's exciting!

7. Vampire or Shape Shifter? Well, it rather depends what shape we're shifting into, doesn't it? For instance, I have this idea for a series about Squid-Shifters. The tagline would be: "Sexy Cephalopods!" Strangely, my editor doesn't seem to think this is a good idea. There are tons of nonsexy shifters: worm-shifters, eel-shifters, lobster-shifters... you get the point. But wolf-shifters, leopard-shifters, tiger-shifters? Mrow. They could totally defeat a vampire.

I have this other idea for an urban fantasy about vampires. Vampires in my world would be strange, sickly creatures, 96% of whom die within days of creation. The 4% who survive would be the bad-ass masters of everything. I didn't make up that 4% figure, by the way--it's based on Actual Science. (Unlike vampires.) My hero is turned into a vampire who is supposed to die. He would be like Colin in the Secret Garden. My editor doesn't think that a book about a puny, sickly vampire is a good idea.

I also have this idea for a book about a cult of vampire ophthalmologists. I figure that anyone who needs to puff air in my eyes is quite possibly evil. In any event, they've been blowing air in people's eyes for decades now, and it's really a mechanism to implant tiny codes in our brains so that they can control us.... This would be an awesome book. It would be like THE MATRIX meets your eye appointment.

For some reason, people keep telling me I should stick to historicals.

8. Small Town or Big City? Big City. Totally Big City. It's so much easier to hide in big cities, and in big cities you can deal with poverty and violence and mechanization and child labor--not that you can't deal with these things in small towns, but I love that big cities make people impersonal strangers, and then having romance personalize the impersonalization.

9. Wallflower or Belle of the Ball? Wallflower. I was always with the nerds in the corner. The nerds in the corner had a lot of fun, you know. Don't discount them.

10. Unrequited love or love at first sight? BOTH. Unrequited love at first sight. That's Unveiled--he sees her, he wants her, she hates him. It has all the deliciousness of knowing that this person is The One combined with the angst of antagonism.

11. Courtney's choice! Answer her question in comments, and one lucky winner will receive a copy of Unveiled! So, I described one of my Brilliant Story Ideas (TM) about evil ophthalmologists as "The MATRIX meets your eye appointment." This is officially known as a "movie pitch": you take a concept that everyone knows and loves, and you give it a fresh, exciting twist. I have never been able to successfully pitch a book this way, mostly because when I manage to get something resembling a movie pitch out, it's always something like "the MATRIX meets your eye appointment." In other words, I take a concept that everyone knows and loves and make it sound totally unpalatable.

You can totally beat me, though. I want to hear your crazy ideas. I want you to mix peanut butter with chocolate. I want you to take TITANIC to the dentist, and see what happens when AVATAR meets THE CHIPMUNKS.

So tell me--what's the craziest book idea you never want to read?

For the record, vampire ophthalmologists is where I lost control over my tea. I told you you'd have fun! Leave your answer in comments below, and we'll choose a winner on Friday!