For anyone who hasn't seen it, my review of Raphael, the first in the Vampire in America series can be found here.
Without further ado, the interview.
1 - For anyone who hasn't heard of the Vampires of America series can you tell us a little bit about it, where the idea came from...
Hmm. Well, the first idea was for the first book, RAPHAEL. And when I started thinking about the scene where we first see the character of Raphael, I pictured this big, brightly lit room, with the vamps all wearing sunglasses and sitting around this huge table, but there's only a few of them. And why only a few? Because these are the guys who rule every vampire in the country. And the concept of Vampire Lords and their territories flowed from that. Also, I figured if the series really took off, I could move on to Vampires in Europe, which would be a great reason to take a tax deductible trip to Europe, right? Research, people, research!
2 - I reviewed Raphael a few days ago - loved it - Jabril will be coming out in July, followed by Rajmund. Are there any hints that you are willing to drop about books 2 and 3? Okay - just book 2.
Hints. Hmm. Well, I'll tell you that the title character JABRIL--his full name is Jabril Karim--is the Southern Vampire Lord and a really bad guy. Also, I've heard from a lot of readers hoping Cyn and Raphael will get back together, and I think those readers will be happy with this book. Let's face it, those two are meant for each other, they're just too stubborn to do it the easy way. And believe me, they definitely don't have it easy in JABRIL. Book 3 actually introduces a whole new set of characters. Raphael and Cyn have cameos at the beginning and end, but the book itself is about a new Vampire Lord named RAJMUND. He's totally different from Raphael, in that he's younger, still new to his power, although he's definitely very powerful.
3 - Apart from the ViA do you have anything else on the horizon?
3 - Apart from the ViA do you have anything else on the horizon?
I'm writing a Science Fiction Shapeshifter story, with a strong relationship at the center, just like in Raphael. I'm hoping to find a home for that one in the next few months, and I have notes for a second book in that universe, as well. Also, I've written a Werewolf novella that could easily become the first tale in a much larger story. I love the characters from that one and would really like to write more about them.
4 - Every few months or so they'll be a blog post or an article somewhere saying the vampire genre is dead. Does that make you think Pffftt, No way or do you think there's something in it? (Hoping you'll go for option 1 or 2)
I don't pay any attention to those articles. I think the people who write them just don't understand the appeal of vampires and so can't imagine it being as popular as it is. The vampire genre is definitely NOT dead. There are a lot of us out here who LOVE to read good vampire tales and have been doing it for decades. We're not going to stop no matter how many articles tell us we are.
5 - Leading on from that, what is it about vampires that made you want to write about them? Personally I love reading about vampires.
For female readers,I think it goes back to the whole "why do we love bad boys" question. Vampires, and maybe werewolves too, are the ultimate bad boys,aren't they? Incredibly strong, powerful, don't play by the rules because they don't have to, immortal--which means always young and good looking. I personally love the idea of bringing that much testosterone to heel, having that much muscle wanting only ME. Yum. But male readers like vampire stories too. I've heard from plenty of male readers saying they were surprised at how much they liked RAPHAEL, and lots of female readers who've reported their husbands and sons loving the book. I suspect they're drawn more to the action, conflict and more violent aspect of vampires, but not being of the male persuasion, I can't really speak for them.
6 - Apart from vampires are there any other supernatural creatures you'd like to write about? Zombies, werewolves, fairies...ghosts?
I mentioned my werewolves earlier. I'd really like to write more about them and shapeshifters in general. The shifters in my Science Fiction manuscript are big hunting cats, by the way. Big, beautiful, sleek and very dangerous hunting cats. Zombies don't interest me as a writer--you can't really do much with them if you stick to the true Zombie myth. I mean, they're literally the walking dead, so I would think the whole relationship angle is pretty much out. I I don't think I've ever written anything with fairies or ghosts, but I do love epic sword and sorcery tales and, like so many others, I have a fantasy manuscript of my very own sitting on the back burner.
7 - You've blogged about Cyn's sexuality elsewhere (Bad Boys/ Good Girls blog by D.B.Reynolds at The Romance Book Club) do you think there is still this negative perception about female protagonists who are sexually active before meeting the hero - a kind of virgin or whore attitude, with no middle ground. Offhand I think the only other heroine I can think of who slept/lived with someone (in the same book) before meeting the hero is Elena from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series.
Yeah, that's kind of a pet peeve of mine. I think it's unrealistic and unreal to have a contemporary, professional woman, in her late twenties or even thirties and pretend she's never had sex before. It depends on the story, of course, but especially for the character Cyn, it just didn't fit. Cyn's a very sensuous woman, very sure of her own femininity and aware of her sexual appeal. She doesn't flaunt it, but it's there and it's part of what draws Raphael to her.
8 - The other thing I liked about Cyn was that she changes out of her 4-inch heels before going into a bad situation - she has common sense. I was curious about your writing of this scene - if you can remember - did you 'see' her going into the party and think "hang on a minute this isn't going to work?"
Not consciously. When I'm writing, I'm totally inside my character's head and that's just what Cyn would have done. She's a very confident person and doesn't worry too much about what other people might think. In JABRIL she puts on some very sexy shoes for a purpose, but at heart Cyn's a very practical woman. In the scene you mention, she's walking into a situation that suddenly doesn't feel right, so she grabs her gun and changes her shoes into something she can fight in, just in case. She couldn't care less if the boots don't match the dress, it's all about surviving.
9 - Do you have a favourite line from any of your books? Lol, yep still angling for a tidbit.
My favorite line from RAPHAEL is still the one where Cyn is asking Lonnie about vampires getting married and when Lonnie says they don't usually, Cyn says, "Not up to eternal fidelity?" And Lonnie shakes his head and says, "No nutritional value." From JABRIL, let me think ... okay, there's a line where Cyn gets exasperated with Duncan and says, "Will you answer the [effing] question or not? There's more at stake here than Raphael's dick!" I'll leave you to figure out the context. (Just wanted to add here that Duncan is one of my favourite characters, LesleyW:) )
10 - If you still have time to read, what are you reading at the moment? And what releases are you looking forward to in the latter half of 2009, going into 2010?
I do have some time to read, although not much right now, because I'm racing to finish the third Vampires in America book, which is RAJMUND. I just finished a new Urban Fantasy by Mark del Franco called "Unshapely Things." It's the first book in his Connor Grey series and I thought it was great. Books 2 and 3 are both out already, so they're definitely on my TBR list. And right now I'm reading the latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book by J. R. Ward. This one's really big, so it might take me awhile to get through it in the little time I have to read.
11 - Where can readers contact you, find out more about your upcoming releases?
I have a blog at http://dbreynolds.wordpress.com that includes all the latest release info, as well as weird things I discover on the Internet, and what's going on in my life, especially with writing. I also have contests with book giveaways and other stuff. Right now, I'm running a trivia contest for those who've read RAPHAEL, with a $25 Amazon gift certificate as the prize. And I'm always happy to hear from readers. There's an email contact where anyone can reach me to ask questions or just let me know how much they LOVED the books! LOL