This is a guest blog I did that used to be on the RomCon website. I thought I'd repost it here for those of you who missed it the first time.
I write paranormal romance. Even before I started writing it, I devoured the genre. My bookcases are filled with PNR and urban fantasy and I have watched more Buffy the Vampire Slayer than any sane person would be comfortable admitting to. Over the years I have come to believe that this has skewed my perception of the world a bit.
The first time I realized that I was reading entirely too many vampire books was when my friend Jamie went out of town and I agreed to stop by her house on my way home from work every night to feed her kitties. So here I am, walking up to a secluded cabin on top of a mountain in Middle-of-Nowhere, Georgia, my path lit only by the headlights of my car, and do you think I was worried about getting attacked by a man-eating bear or slaughtered by some redneck serial-killer rapist? Nope. What was going through my head was, “Geez, I wish I had a stake. Why the heck isn’t there anything wooden and pointy in this yard?”
The second time was a year or so later when I made a trip out to Seattle to visit Jamie after her move to the west coast. After having spent several enjoyable hours walking through Pike Place Market, we decided to take a few pictures of the sunset and then have dinner. In a stroke of “genius” that nowhere near reflected our combined IQs, we ducked out a back door, thinking that we’d get to the pier quicker by walking around the building instead of navigating the throngs of people that filled the market. As the door closed behind us it was like stepping into another world— gone were the shouting vendors and screaming children and suddenly Jamie and I found ourselves alone in a dark, eerily quiet cobblestone alley sandwiched between two tall buildings. After we’d passed the third shadowy doorway the folly of our grand plan suddenly struck me, but not in the way you might think. No, being mugged never entered my head. Instead, I stopped short, grabbed Jamie’s arm, and said, “Holy crap! We’re vampire food! We’re those stupid girls who take a shortcut through the dark alley and get eaten by vampires!” See, I’m telling you, way too much Buffy.
This whole topic came up during a recent discussion on my Facebook page when I was relating the story of how one night I’d nearly been eaten by a werewolf in my own front yard. Well, ok, it turned out not to be a werewolf after all. It was actually two baby deer happily cavorting in the tall grass of our front pasture. In my own defense, though, it was so dark I couldn’t see anything and upon hearing something thundering in my direction through the underbrush werewolf somehow seemed more reasonable to me than deer or coyote. Now, maybe this problem is just in my own warped brain, but maybe there are others like me out there. So I’d love to open the discussion up for anyone who’s brave enough to join in with their own version of “You Know You Read Too Much PNR/UF (or watch too much Buffy) When…”
Monday, August 8, 2011
This interview was once posted at Rebecca Baumann's dirtysexybooks.com. Unfortunately, Rebecca has closed down her blog (we'll miss you!) to pursue other projects, so I've reposted the interview here.
Greetings Jenna! Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to pick your brain here on Dirty Sexy Books.
Thank you for asking me, Rebecca! It’s a pleasure to be able to come talk to you and your readers about the series.
I've read a lot of vampires stories, but the Cin Craven series is one of the very few that skips forward a significant amount of time with each installment. How did you come up with this concept? Will there be a point where a Cin Craven book catches up to the present?
When I started writing I’d read a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy series set in the present day. There were all these wonderful modern-day vampires that had centuries of stories behind them and I thought it was a shame that we never got to hear those stories, except perhaps in flashbacks. I really wanted to read a series that started at the beginning of a vampire’s “afterlife” and worked its way up to the present day, but I couldn’t find one. So I wrote one. Eventually Cin will catch up to the present day, but I think there are a lot of fun and interesting time periods for her to go through first.
While I enjoy the novelty of Cin's dual nature, being both a witch and a vampire, I sometimes wonder if it makes her too powerful. I naturally want to root for the underdog in a story, but I automatically think anyone going up against Cin is toast. Is there a villain out there that can best her?
Oh, definitely. She’s going to meet someone in book four who will knock her down a peg or two. After the events in Bound by Sin she’s very confident in her power and her ability to be the baddest thing out there. As a writer, well, when that happens to your character you’ve got to pull the rug out from under them a bit. Looking back, the twentieth century is probably not going to be counted among Cin’s favorites. She’s going to have some major problems with Michael and with her magic, but eventually she’ll be the baddest thing out there again… just with a lot better understanding and respect for herself, her power, and her love for Michael.
I've always admired Michael's skill with a sword, and his reputation as 'The Archangel of the Righteous,' but as the series keeps creeping forward, will his skill become too antiquated? Will Michael lose his edge in another 50 years?
No, I think my vampires are pretty much going to keep their swords. Guns don’t kill my vampires, but a sharp sword will decapitate one, so it’s still the most effective weapon they can carry. I have a line in my novella in the Huntress anthology where Cin says: “As a rule, vampires, especially the older ones, don’t like guns. They seem to view them as cheating. If you can’t win a fight by your own physical strength and skill with a sword, then you deserve to lose.” Of course, she says this as she’s strapping on a Smith & Wesson. Cin seems to insist on being a gun-girl, which irritates me to no end because I am most definitely not and firearms aren’t really something I’m intimately familiar with. However, I’m sure some of my younger vampires will, at times, carry guns. I can imagine Justine and Michael in shoulder holsters, but I don’t think we’ll ever see Devlin packin’ heat. The big fights are probably always going to come down to swords and magic, but a well-placed bullet is certainly a good way to piss off your enemy.
Not many paranormal romance authors keep the focus on the same couple over multiple books. Is it getting harder or easier to write about Cin and Michael's relationship?
I know Cin and Michael well enough to not have a problem writing their relationship. Where it gets sticky is walking that fine line between creating enough conflict to keep their relationship real and interesting, and not creating so much that they’re constantly fighting, breaking up, and getting back together. I think a lot of people have enough of that in their real lives and they don’t want to read about it in their fiction as well. However, Cin and Michael have been together for decades and will be together for centuries to come and their relationship isn’t always going to be roses and puppy dogs. I think that having the two of them constantly at odds isn’t any more realistic than having them eternally happy and I hope I can do justice to their story. They’re going to have conflict and they’re going to fight, I just don’t want it to be so frequent that readers think, “Why are these two together at all?” Sometimes I just want Michael to be supportive-husband-guy while Cin learns what she needs to learn from a certain period in her life.
I noticed that Justine and Devlin didn't appear very much in this installment. I enjoyed the novella that told their story (in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance), but will they ever get their 'own' book?
Yes, Devlin and Justine took a bit of a powder in this book. I ended up with so many characters once Cin and Michael got to Georgia that I really didn’t have anything for them to do. I hadn’t intended for Cin and Justine to have that spat at the beginning of the book, but once I started writing the scene that was really the only way it could go. Add to that the trouble getting in and out of Savannah’s harbor and the only logical way to get everyone out of America once the story had run its course was to have Devlin and Justine leave Cin and Michael there and come back for them later. So that all worked out well, even though it wasn’t exactly what I intended from the outset. They’ll all be back together in the next book, though.
I’m glad you enjoyed Devlin and Justine’s story. The Mammoth books are intended to give readers a small taste of different authors’ styles and it’s not easy to fit a satisfactory story into 8,000-10,000 words. I’m not sure if they’ll ever have their own full-length novel. There are so many characters that I could spin off into another series and I’ll just have to see which one screams at me the loudest when this one is finished!
Okay, I can't resist asking if Cin and Michael will stay in America for the next book, or if they'll go back to Europe? Are there any teasers you can share?
They will be in America for the next book. Book four finds The Righteous in the Roaring 20s where they attempt to run a vampire speakeasy during Prohibition, deal with the Mafia, and bring the American vampires together under the rule of the High King. I’m having a lot of fun with gangsters, Tommy Guns, and (finally) cars!