Kraken Collective: A Q&A with RoAnna Sylver, author of Stake Sauce (Arc 1: The Secret Ingredient is Love. No, Really)

Hey gentlefolk! Today starts a week-long deal organized by the Kraken Collective. If you haven’t heard of the Kraken Collective, allow me to introduce you to the awesomeness: The Kraken Collective is an alliance of indie authors of LGBTQIAP+ speculative fiction,  committed to building a publishing space that is inclusive, positive, and brings fascinating stories to readers.

And this is the anniversary of said awesome collective, and so a gathering of nineteen awesome LGBTQIAP+ spec-fic titles are dropped to the $0.99 price-point for the next week, from today, January 26th, until February 1st.

Which titles? Take a peek at this:

An image of the nineteen participating books that are on sale for $0.99 each.

Click the image to go to the Kraken Collective’s post and all the purchase links for the individual titles. You may notice my wee time-travel romance novella there, too.

But wait, there’s more! As part of this awesome deal, I got the chance to sit down and chat with RoAnna Sylver, who was kind enough to answer a few questions. RoAnna’s book, Stake Sauce (Arc 1: The Secret Ingredient Is Love. No, Really) is part of the deal and I read it and loved the sauce out of it.

So, without further ado, may I introduce you to RoAnna Sylver, and the awesome cast of Stake Sauce.


RoAnna Sylver

NB: The combination of fun and serious you juggle with Stake Sauce really struck me. Pink-haired wee bat vampires and PTSD isn’t a combo I expected. I’d love to know where the ideas came from—will you share the inspiration?

RS: It is weird! And honestly, I just tried to write a book that I wanted to read. Like – Chameleon Moon is kind of my Magnum Opus Thing, and I think that’s what most people recognize it as. So, much as I love it, I really just wanted something to… play in, and try new things, palate cleanse and have fun.

So if I think it’s cool, it’s going in Stake Sauce/Death Masquerade.

Vampires? Check.

Soft punk boys? Check.

Teenage vampire girls on skateboards and heelys? Check.

Tarot cards? Check.

Tons of PTSD/trauma/chronic pain/grief processing? Check.

Ace and aro and polyamorous and queerplatonic characters/multi-dynamic relationships? Check.

The weirdness of Portland, OR? Very much check.

And Death Masquerade (Stake Sauce’s companion series) gets the opera singer vampire/witch hunter lesbians, nonbinary fire witches who walk around in plague doctor masks and ride bears, and the Venetian mask Aesthetic I’m just… so very always here for.

Also, there was this weird thing where… I had a dream, ok, about being in a mall, and being really happy and excited about something, and looking down this long bright hallway with skylights and sun coming in. That was it for the dream, but the next day, I did actually go to the mall, and as I was walking around, I had this idea about a cute punk vampire, and the pun/title, Stake Sauce.

I sat down to write it down, and when I looked up… I was in the exact spot in the mall I’d seen in my dream the previous night. Bright long hallway, sun coming in through the skylights.

So that made me think… ‘okay. I’ll pay attention to this.’

A pink haired vampire sits on the ceiling, looking eye-to-eye with a fellow holding a bottle of "stake sauce."

These characters. Seriously.

NB: That’s brilliant. I’m such a believer in noting the little nudges the world offers up. And speaking of little… For a short piece, Stake Sauce is packed to the gills with rep I don’t often encounter. Exploring identities we don’t often see in contemporary urban fantasy seems to be something your readers can count on, and I know it’s not a fair question, but: do you have a favourite among the gang here?

RS: Ohhhh wow.

I probably… get Jude the most, his thought processes (which is good because he’s my main POV character, ha!) and relationship with PTSD – the “oh shit, not this again” feeling is such a real one. I understand his… brittle rigidity, if that makes sense, even if I like to think I’m not quite where he is anymore.

But I also just really like how people can have very different reactions to the same trauma, and that’s what I tried to explore with Jasper and Eva, and both of them are really cathartic in different ways. Pixie has his own, and yet another way of dealing with pain and grief. I think they’re all different pieces of how I try to put myself back together. And am still trying.

The Cover of Stake Sauce, by RoAnna Sylver, shows a leather bracelet bearing hand reaching out of a box labeled "This Machine Kills Fascists." The box also has a rainbow pride sticker on it, an anarchy symbol, and a little skull and crossbones.

NB: I really loved that about the characters, frankly: that there’s “better” but there’s no falsely simple “all done/fixed” moment (which is so much more true to life). Okay. Speaking of done, I’m done Stake Sauce, and I know readers will do the same pretty dark quickly once they pick it up. Once they’re done Stake Sauce (and the rest of the series) what can your readers look forward to next? What are you working on at the moment?

RS: …A lot. Like always, ha.

Starting with Death Masquerade! This is a companion series to Stake Sauce, taking place in the same universe, but around 150 years earlier, and in Venice, Italy, and centering Letizia, a badass witch/vampire hunter, and MonaLisa, her adorable squishy opera singer girlfriend. Who is also a vampire. 😀 (Letizia knows and is very cool with it.)

Both stories are very much connected, and I just kind of can’t wait to reveal how more, in both series. There are already tons of clues in Stake Sauce, and DM will have Stake Sauce foreshadowing/references… I’m just such a nerd for this kind of storytelling!

Death Masquerade is Patreon-only so far, but I’m going to publish the whole book (6 parts, like Stake Sauce) when it’s done. You can also grab a metric crapton of Stake Sauce bonus stories and sneak things there!

I’m also doing regular art and writing on my personal/Chameleon Moon’s Patreon, if that series is more your thing.

Oh!! I also just released Moon-Bright Tides, a sweet f/f novella (witch/mermaid goodness!), the first in a series, Lunar Requiem, a loosely-connected stories in a shared universe, where the moon is mysteriously missing, and everyone is left to deal with its absence. (There will be lots of fantasy people, all of them queer in some way… and I think it’s going to be fun.) It has a Goodreads page, and is now up on Amazon!

And finally, my biggest new project…

Is a dimension-hopping fantasy romance, Dawnfall, which is not a book, but a game/interactive fiction story, published by Choice Of Games! I’m so ridiculously excited for this one; it’s my first game, and the learning curve is steep (my brain is not Code Oriented normally) but I’m having a ton of fun and just can’t wait to share.

Dawnfall involves a magic world and a cyberpunk world and the portals between them, harpy-like bird people, glowy moth-elf people, pirate queens, and the same amount of queer/trans/ace/aro/polaymorous characters I think people expect from me now. 😀 I think it’s going to be really fun.

NB: I’m dizzy just reading this, but all of that is freaking awesome, and I can’t wait to dive in. Thank you!

RS: Thank you so much!


One thought on “Kraken Collective: A Q&A with RoAnna Sylver, author of Stake Sauce (Arc 1: The Secret Ingredient is Love. No, Really)

  1. Pingback: Sunday Shorts — “Stake Sauce” by RoAnna Sylver, a #KrakenFriends2018 title! | 'Nathan Burgoine

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