Curbing curiosities, or an interview with V.S. McGrath author of The Devil’s Standoff (and a giveaway)


the devil's standoff

The Devil’s Standoff (The Devil’s Revolver #2)

By: V.S. McGrath

Publisher: Brain Mill Press

Publication Date: April 2nd, 2018

Welcome to the birthplace of the Devil’s Revolver, where untold danger lurks for Hettie Alabama and her companions…

The second book in the epic, magic-clad Devil’s Revolver series follows Hettie and her sister south of the Wall into Mexico, where they must unmake Hettie’s infernal mage gun while confronting a magic- and land-hungry army and a monster from hell drawn to the powers of the weapon. Hettie wants nothing more than to break her bond to the cursed Devil’s Revolver and find a way to keep her sister safe — but Abby’s indigo powers are growing stronger, and in the gated, walled village where they take refuge, nothing is exactly as it seems. Pursued by the Pinkertons, left without allies or guardians, Hettie has to rely on her own grit and determination to do the right thing, no matter the cost.

This second installment of V. S. McGrath’s sweeping and high-stakes saga draws its truly unforgettable gunslinger heroine to her limits and ends with a satisfying bang.

  1. What writing advice do people misunderstand the most?

“Write what you know.” If we all did this, we’d have a lot of really boring books about going to boring jobs and figuring out what to make for dinner. It’s more accurate to say “Know what you write”—which is to say, do your research. Learn everything you can about the subject matter you’re dealing with, even in fiction. With the internet, it’s super easy to fact-check all your details and get to know more about every subject you touch on.

  1. What’s your best celebrity author story?

I met author Neil Gaiman once while working at an event for the Toronto Public Library. I was a page at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which is a closed-stack collection in the Toronto Public Library system. He was doing his American Gods book tour—this was just before it hit #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Before the event, the librarians warned me, “Vicki, whatever you do, do not look into Neil Gaiman’s eyes.” I asked, “Why not?” assuming he had some aversion to eye contact. Very seriously, they replied, “Because if you do, your panties will slide down your legs and walk away on their own.” The night of the event, I was at the door, greeting guests, standing by and doing my page-ly duties. Neil Gaiman walks in with his entourage. As he’s shaking hands with the circle of librarians and hosts gathered around him, I stayed to the side, not thinking a revered author like him would need to shake the door-holder’s hand. But he came up to me, all grace, looked directly into my eyes and said, “Hi. I’m Neil,” in his British bitter-dark-chocolate voice. I still don’t know where my panties are.

  1. Diversity is a hot-button topic in the arts and publishing right now. As a woman of color, what are your hopes for writers like yourself?

I want every story to be told, and to have an equal opportunity to access the wider audience. It’s a little ironic I should say this because I’ve assumed a genderless white-presenting pen name. At the same time, I’d hope that one day, I could use my real name, and not have readers hesitate because they’re put off by an unfamiliar surname, or jump to conclusions about what I write or should write.

  1. Describe your ideal day:

A morning of writing, followed by lunch, shopping, sitting down for coffee at a café with a book, a movie or a visit to an art gallery, dinner, shower, bed.

  1. Cats or dogs?

Cats. My darling cat Smartikus passed last year, and I’m not yet ready to replace him. He was one-of-a-kind.

  1. What would your last meal be?

Medium rare prime rib; lobster tails in clarified garlic butter; a loaded baked potato with butter, sour cream, chives, cheese and bacon bits; a Caesar salad; a glass of dry merlot; crème brulee for dessert; and Cuban coffee with a shot of whiskey for an aperitif.

  1. Beatles or Stones?


  1. If you could commit one trivial, nonviolent crime, consequence-free for life, what would it be?

Park anywhere.

  1. How do you want your body to be handled after you die?

I’ve signed organ donor forms to ensure nothing goes to waste. Anything that’s left I want cremated and used as fertilizer for some pretty flowers. I don’t want any chance of being resurrected as a zombie or vampire. Like, zero. The thought of clawing my way out of a coffin terrifies me.

  1. Favorite sports team?

Toronto Blue Jays. I’ll root for the Leafs, too, though I don’t generally expect them to win.

  1. Favorite weekend activities?

Visiting farmers markets and antique shops. I don’t get to do that much now.

  1. Favorite meal as a child?

My mother’s beef satay with peanut sauce and cold noodles. This is strictly a summer barbecue thing.

Vicki So, writing as V. S. McGrath, is a published romance author (as Vicki Essex) and has six books with Harlequin Superromance: Her Son’s Hero (July 2011); Back to the Good Fortune Diner (January 2013), which was picked for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club; In Her Corner (March 2014); A Recipe for Reunion (March 2015); Red Carpet Arrangement (January 2016); and Matinees with Miriam (November 2016). She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.

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