This past Thursday, author Christine Rains released the first in a new series of novellas. The series is called The 13th Floor, and its first installment is “1301: The Marquis.” Christine was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for me about her series and this first story.
MPL: The idea for this series is there is a building with no 13th floor—like in the old-fashioned buildings where they used to skip number 13 out of superstitious tradition—and yet this “missing” floor is . . . What? In another dimension?
CR: Interesting theory. The 13th floor is a mystery even to its residents. No one the floor doesn’t want to find it will ever step onto it. It’s there in the physical world and yet it isn’t. It’s magical and perhaps on a plane very close to our own. The tenants believe it might be sentient which leads to another round of questions.
MPL: Tell me more about the town the building is in. Is the building old, or is the series set in another time? Are all the stories set in the same time period?
CR: I created a fictional city in Indiana called Carmine. The city named herself. I had a different name planned, she was insistent and has definite personality. Carmine is located along I-65 north of Indianapolis and south of Chicago. The series is set in 2012, but the building is over 100 years old. Carmine was once a beautiful and growing city between the 1930s and 1950s. She’s been on the decline in the past couple of decades, though. All the stories will be set in the same time period. Many of them overlap, but each story does stand on its own.
MPL: What made you choose “The Marquis” as the introductory story for this series? Or are you going in the order you wrote them?
CR: I came up with the concept of the 13th floor before I came up with the characters. When I came up with some character ideas, I put them into their apartments before I started writing. The Marquis is first only because he lives in apartment 1301. He’s been living there the longest of all the tenants and works as a handyman in the building. He also sees himself as a sort of landlord for the tenants on his floor, or that could be his territorial nature!
MPL: When you conceived of this series, did it start with one story, or did the idea for the series come first and then create stories for it?
CR: The idea came first and then the stories evolved from it. So far, the stories are flowing naturally and connect to one another with little effort on my part.
MPL: In “The Marquis,” a demon named Marc is living on this 13th floor. Or ex-demon. Has he been kicked out of Hell, or is he in hiding? (Or is that giving too much away?)
CR: Marc still has a bit of demon in him, but he has slowly started to become mortal. He was once a great fighter, The Grand Marquis, and served his Master with the hope of absolution. He never truly enjoyed the violence, but he gained a fearsome reputation. When he did not receive the absolution he’d hoped for, he retired from the ranks of Hell. Marc isn’t the type to hide, but that’s what he’s been doing for several years and his ego is sore because of it. He struggles with the demon inside of him, and even more so, with the man he’s becoming.
MPL: Marc has developed an affection for a waitress named Mae. Can a demon feel love? Do you believe it reduces the evil in a being if they are capable of love?
CR: The demons in my world are capable of as many emotions as humans. Yet love isn’t something that’s usually of value to them. Marc has become more human than demon, and the emotions are sometimes difficult to handle. I’d like to believe that love can reduce the evil in a being, but some horrific things have been done in the name of love throughout history.
MPL: How do the inhabitants of the 13th floor in your series live on a non-existent floor but also interact with the physical world?
CR: The 13th floor does exist for them, but not for anyone else. The tenants do have lives apart from the place they live. Let’s say the floor has the best in supernatural security.
MPL: What’s next for you? Or are you taking a break after all this?
CR: I’d love to say I’m taking a break, and I might for a month or two. This series will occupy me for the majority of 2013. I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again come November, but I’d also like to revise one of my other manuscripts and query it to publishers.
There will be six total stories in the series, one per month through May 2013. Visit her site for more about each coming installment.
About “1301: The Marquis”
Life after Hell isn’t more exciting than watching football and fixing a busted pipe. Once a powerful demon, Marc enjoys his quiet existence and a good cup of coffee. With big ambitions to gain his master’s favor, a trickster demon named Vetis shatters Marc’s peace and vows to deliver Marc’s head to the fires of Hell. Not before he destroys everything Marc cares about, of course.
Marc’s power has diminished over the years. Heaven will never grant him absolution, and he refuses to return to Hell. Running isn’t an option. The city of Carmine is his territory. It’s also home to his favorite cafe owner, Mae Hopkins. The dame has a lovely smile, but it’s her heart and soul that shine bright.
While his city burns and his love is captured, Marc must decide to surrender or let hate and anger fuel him to become the fearsome beast he so loathes: The Marquis. If the Marquis rises, Vetis can be defeated and Mae saved, but Marc would be lost to his demon forever.
About Christine Rains:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She’s a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has two novellas and sixteen short stories published.