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Cat and Muse

Sex, Blood, and Rock ‘N’ Roll

Heya, avid fans! Welcome once again to Cat and Muse. I’m your host, the former demon Jezebel. With me, as always, is the lovely, lamentable Muse of Tragedy…forced to speak in clichés and pop-culture references, the producer of Cat and Muse…Melpomene!


Hi, Mel!



Our guest tonight is someone who knows that “con” is the most important part of “confidante.” Says Publishers Weekly: “Smith-Ready’s musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio’s creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock.” Bestselling author Rachel Caine calls WICKED GAME “Strikingly original, fascinating characters, rich with as much style and rhythm as the music her vampires love.” And bestseller Kresley Cole says the book is “An addictive page-turner revving with red hot sex, truly cool vampires, and rock ’n’ roll soul.”

Boys and girls, give a musical welcome to the star of Jeri Smith-Ready’s latest novel, WICKED GAME…Ciara* Griffin!

* Transcript note: That’s Keer-ah. Not See-air-ah. Say it with me: Keer-ah. Keer-ah. Ciara. Good! Read on…



Heya, Ciara!

Hey Jez, thanks so much for having me! Don’t you just love these secret passages between fictional universes?

Hey, Creators have to be creative, I suppose…


I just hope I don’t have wormhole hair.

Nope, you’re good. So, a former con artist decides to get a legit job and winds up working with a bunch of vampires. My my. What made you decide to go the straight and narrow?

A sad story involving a sucker, a suitcase of cash, and lots of sweaty bed sheets.


When I say, “sad,” I mean for him, not me. Mostly. [VOICE FADES] Mostly.

Aw, we’re here for you, sweetie. Tell all. And speak clearly into the microphone.

[CLEARS THROAT] Con artistry is a tough habit to break, so instead of going cold turkey and getting a job as a dogcatcher or an actuary, I’m making a gradual transition through sales and marketing, where I can use all my old skills.

Uh huh. I notice you haven’t mentioned the vampires. I assume they’re more than just corporate leeches, right?

At WVMP—by the way, that’s 94.3 WVMP-FM, The Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Come visit us at www.WVMPradio.com, where you can hang out with the DJs on their blogs, hear our playlists, and most important, buy our merchandise.


Um, what was the question?


Oh, yeah. Sorry, sometimes I get caught up in hype for hype’s sake.

Yeah, that’s terrible. Mel, take a note: see about merchandising for Cat and Muse.


Spoilsport. So, Ciara, what’s different about the vampires at WVMP than, say, in Dracula?

The WVMP vampires are stuck psychologically and culturally in the time they were turned. They still speak the slang and wear the fashions of their Life Time. Which makes them weird conversationalists, but fabulous DJs! No one understands an era’s pop culture better than those who lived through it, right?

[CHUCKLES] I love that.

Being vampires also makes them phenomenally hot, unlike most human DJs.

Phenomenally how?

You wouldn’t believe the way people drool over them in public. One time at a club in South Baltimore, a guy took a straight razor to his arm and offered Regina a midnight snack. Our insurance rates skyrocketed, but so did our ratings.


Also, the vampires each have an obsessive-compulsive behavior that helps them cope in a world that sometimes freaks them out. Shane says these routines give them something to control—something to make them to feel sane. So I let him alphabetize my CDs and books. And my spice rack. And my nail polish. And my jewelry box. And my living room furniture.

Um…did you say “living room furniture”?

Yeah. Don’t ask.


As a rule, WVMP doesn’t discuss that aspect of the DJs vamp-itude with the public. Sex sells, and OCD is not sexay….

Hey, in the right lighting, anything can be sexy. Next question: Hard rock from the 1980s: corporate rock, bubblegum music, or something else?

I can bang my head to Quiet Riot or Def Leppard as well as the next person. But in a post-grunge era, it’s hard to look at them with a straight face.


Will mullets ever come back in style? I think not.

Ah, the mullet! I had a soft spot for that.


Ciara, you’re the expert. How many plays before a song is officially overplayed? Why do radio stations do this? Is there some vast right-wing conspiracy out there to turn everything into ARGH-NOT-ANOTHER-POP-HIT so that impressionable youth will turn off the rock ‘n’ roll finally? Or is it really just about the money? And which is more evil?

Huh. I wasn’t aware there was anything evil about money.


I’m not a conspiracy theorist—my boss David is our resident tinfoil hat-wearer—but I do believe that our dumbass pop culture sedates us and distracts us from what our so-called leaders are doing. How does that bumper sticker go? “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” So without American Idol, most of our heads would explode.

Actually, I think watching it makes us prime candidates for a sequel to Scanners. I mean, what’s with Paula judging a performance before the singer, you know, sings? Sorry, getting off track. [SCANS CUE CARDS] What’s the worst part of your job as a marketing intern at a radio station with vampire DJs?


Definitely the hours.

Not the answer I thought you’d say.

I work all day, plus unpaid overtime, to bring in new ad clients and come up with new promo schemes. Then there are the all-night poker games—not mandatory, but highly recommended for getting inside the vampire mind. One has to know one’s product, right?


Then of course, there’s Shane Time, which is definitely not part of the job. More of a fringe benefit. In fact, David isn’t too thrilled about it, but he’s in no position to judge, what with his own sordid, pathetic vampire love affair.

So is your benefits plan the best part of working with vampire DJs? Or something else?

It’s the coolest job in the world. Rock ‘n’ roll, vampires, playing mind games with the general public. What’s not to love? Other than the whole working part, I mean.

Hah! Which is scarier: a former con working a legit job, or having a vampire take a chunk out of your neck?

Ouch! Definitely the latter. I have a very low pain threshold, so the biting thing is a definite yuck. Other people seem to get off on it, but to me it’s like being stabbed with a pair of ice picks. Not my bag, as Jim would say.

Forget Jim. Let’s talk Shane. Yummmmm. Tell me true: you knew he was a vampire all along, didn’t you?


Well, no, because I was damn sure there was no such thing. His mesmer-eyes snagged me pretty hard before the fangs came out, but I figured it was just Lust at First Sight. And Second Sight.

Admit it: you sort of want him to turn you into a vampire, don’t you?

As Regina would say, GAG ME! No way, not in a million years. I like food. I love sunshine. I tan really well for an Irish girl. I could never give that up.


The Muse is wise. Living forever can be pretty sweet, no?

[SHAKES HEAD] I’d be forever stuck in 2008. Sure, this hair looks stylish now, but in twenty years? I’d still think I looked cool, while everyone else would be laughing at me. I’d be walking around the year 2030 saying, “I can haz fill-in-the-blank?” and believing Gnarls Barkley is the pinnacle of musical achievement.

Major protesting going on here. Red flag, methinks…

[SIGHS] Ask me again when I turn forty and my boobs start heading south.

Points for being honest! Give me four words that describe sex. Specifically, sex with vampires.


Dangerous, exhausting, soul-quaking, tidy.

[BLINKS] Tidy?

[NODS] When a vampire guy has an orgasm, he doesn’t, you know, produce anything. And they can’t carry disease or get a woman pregnant. So no condoms needed, which is awesome, because I hate the smell of latex.

Tidy. Huh. All righty then…describe your romantic fantasy. Don’t worry, it’s just us girls. You can be explicit. In fact, I insist.

Take Chapter 15. Subtract mosquitoes. Add sex. Voila!


Heh. Ever the marketer. You want to know about Ciara’s sex life? Read the book! Okay, new topic. Doing cons is in your blood. So, are you a Daddy’s Girl? Or are you looking to prove that you’re not like him at all, nope, not at all?

There’s no point in discussing my father. You’d have to bleep out all my words.

Fair enough. Given that you’re surrounded by monsters, do you believe in the boogeyman? If so, what’s his theme music?

I only believe in what I can see. But if there were a boogeyman, he’d slither around to Leonard Cohen’s later works, when the dude’s voice got three-pack-a-day deep and rough. Cohen’s music has this weirdly seductive sense of doom. He’s the Barry White of the Apocalypse.

Love that. What’s your favorite outfit?

The smaller, the better.

Hah! What’s better: sex or chocolate?

Lately? Sex.


Who’re better kissers, humans or vampires?

I’ve only kissed one vampire, so my sample size is small. But Shane is the best kisser ever. I’m not just saying that because I taught him how to surf the web and he might be listening to this.


Heh. Of course not. Sawyer on LOST: lightweight wannabe con artist, or Ponzi-level brilliant?

Sawyer, wow. I bet we could teach each other a few tricks. Wait—did you say he was a con artist?

Yeah, up until he got all big brothery for Claire.


Huh. I was too busy checking out his, uh, hair to notice he had a storyline.

Heh. “Hair.” Is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?

Anyway, I dropped that show after they killed the hobbit.

So, in WICKED GAME, were there any parts of the story where you were like, Jeri, sweetie, what the Hell are you making me do? Or were you and your Creator in sync the entire time?

I have this vague memory of getting drunk with David, then ending up on my couch with his hand up my skirt. Jeri says it happened in something called a “first draft” and not to think about it anymore.

If you had your way, what would you change about WICKED GAME?

I’d give me and Jim one more minute alone in that room, just to see what he’d do. Of course, I could’ve ended up dead or even undead, so it’s probably best I leave the writing to Jeri.


If WICKED GAME went the way of Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

Scarlett Johansson. Did you know she just recorded an album of Tom Waits covers? I can’t wait to hear it—I bet it’s either the most delicious thing ever or a complete train wreck.

Heh. What about Shane?

Cillian Murphy all the way. Those haunting pale blue eyes are just like Shane’s. And those cheekbones—my God, I could do pull-ups off them. Maybe they could rewrite Shane’s part to make him Irish instead of just Irish-American. Then Murphy wouldn’t have to mask his sweet accent.

Finally, if you could be evil for one day—and, you know, not worry about the state of your immortal soul—what would you use your powers for?

Look, I know you’re an ex-demon and all, and you’ve been really nice to me, so I hope you don’t take offense at what I’m about to say.

Sweetie, it would take a lot to offend me. Go ahead: spill.

I’m not convinced there’s such a thing as good and evil, or that my soul is going anywhere after I bite the dust.

[SMILES] You are just the cutest thing.

As for your actual question, there’s no ‘if.’ I’ve already *been* selfish and manipulative and dishonest and generally a horrible person, for a lot longer than a day. I might not have magical powers…


There’s a lot of stuff Jeri and I are trying to figure out together.

Ah. Okay. Pray continue.


Anyway, I’ve used my natural gifts to hurt people. Some of them deserved it for being greedy, but most of them were just stupid, which last time I looked wasn’t a crime.

It’s also not a sin, even though I think it should be.

Boys and girls, give it up once more for the star of Jeri Smith-Ready’s fabulous urban fantasy novel WICKED GAME…Ciara Griffin!

Thanks so much for having me, Jez!

[No, this isn’t Ciara. But it is her Dear Creator, Jeri Smith-Ready.]


WICKED GAME is on sale now, at Barnes and Noble, Mysterious Galaxy, Amazon, and other fine bookstores near you! While you’re at it, check out Ciara’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/ciarawvmp and WVMPradio.com, and read more about her story at Jeri’s website.

That’s it for this episode of Cat and Muse! Until next time, remember: love your inner demon.

6 Responses to “Sex, Blood, and Rock ‘N’ Roll”

  1. […] on over to Cat and Muse and meet Ciara Griffin, the protagonist of Jeri Smith-Ready’s fabulous new novel, WICKED […]

    by Jackie Kessler - Insert Witty Title Here on May 12th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

  2. Great interview, girls. I’m always interested in what you have to say. Ciara, best wishes for your success. Jez, this is waaay so much better than People Magazine or EW. You, Mel, and your guests are really the celebrities we should keep our eyes on. Thanks!

    by Joyce Ann on May 13th, 2008 at 9:29 am

  3. Loved the interview ladies! Where else can I find my favorite ex-demon interviewing a really cool ex-con artist?

    by Kelley on May 13th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

  4. […] Jackie Kessler – Cat and Muse – I loved this one. Jackie Kessler’s Jezebel interviews Ciara Griffin! […]

    by Wicked Game « The Book Girl on May 15th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

  5. Great interview ladies! It is always interesting to get a little insight into the thinking of our favorites.

    by Lori T on May 18th, 2008 at 4:18 pm

  6. […] Ciara answered that one when you interviewed her. I bow to her wisdom. And like she said, they can make me from Belfast instead of Youngstown if […]

    by Jackie Kessler - Cat and Muse on June 17th, 2009 at 8:43 am

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  • About

    So, A Demon Walks Into A Radio Studio

    The thing is, Jezebel is an active sort of former demon. She hates staying still for too long. And she loves people. (Just no longer in the “to death” sort of way.) So when she met Melpomene at the Voodoo Café one evening, it was probably inevitable that Jezzie would decide to be an Internet talk-radio host in her spare time.

    Now Cat and Muse has a dedicated audience (so Jezebel claims, loudly), and Jezzie has interviewed darlings of the print world, including MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy Taylor, Rachel Caine’s Joanne Baldwin, and T.A. Pratt’s Marla Manson.

    Jezzie loves playing radio host. Mel laments being the producer. And Jackie? She just works here.

    The Staff


    Jezebel is a former succubus. Quick with a joke, and to light up your smoke, there’s no place that she’d rather be than behind the microphone and interviewing other fictional characters. Okay, so maybe she’d rather be boinking the New York Giants. But that was a previous life (she swears), and she’s fully dedicated to being the best Internet talk-radio host she can be. (At least, until something else catches her eye.)


    Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, has nothing better to do than lament her fate—all but forgotten, the Muse has a tendency to sigh and fret and use her power to wreak havoc. At least, she used to do all that, before she got whammied but good and now is stuck speaking in clichés and pop-culture references, sans magic power. At least now that Mel is the producer of Cat and Muse, she gets airtime while she mopes.


    Jackie insists that she runs the joint. She’s just a slave monkey who does Jezebel’s bidding, but don’t tell her that.


    Contacting Cat and Muse

    We love hearing from our fans! Email Jackie at with the subject “CAT AND MUSE” and rave about how much you adore Jezebel and feel for Melpomene. And let her know which characters you’d like to see on Cat and Muse. Who knows? Maybe we can oblige.

    If you’re an author and you’d like to set up an interview for your characters, email Jackie at with the subject “INTERVIEW ME.” Jackie would be happy to explain the process.

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