"An ambiguously coded figure, a source of both erotic anxiety and corrupt desire, the literary vampire is one of the most powerful archetypes bequeathed to us from the imagination of the nineteenth century." ~ page 2 introduction to Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture
Intellectual Vampire Quote
"If the vampire is an other, he or she was always a figure in whom one could find one's self...the despicable as well as the defiant, the shameful as well as the unashamed, the loathing of oddness as well as pride in it." ~ Richard Dyer
Today we have the talented and busy author, Michelle Rowen,with us for an interview and a giveaway of her newest book Tall, Dark and Fangsome.
Hi Michelle, thanks for joining us at Fang-tastic Books today.
You are a busy writer, you've had a lot of new releases this year and more to come. Tell us a little about Tall, Dark and Fangsome the 5th and final book in your Immortality Bites series.
Tall, Dark & Fangsome pretty much takes everything that has come into play in the first four books of this series and brings it all to a fang-filled head. Sarah’s nightwalker curse, the one that has turned her into a sun-fearing evil-esque vamp, is dealt with (although I won’t say what the outcome is!); Gideon Chase, the leader of the vampire hunters, is blackmailing her to turn him into a super-vamp with her very special blood; the Red Devil, a vigilante vampire, has officially come out of retirement; and two characters from earlier books come out to lend a hand. And there is that pesky fact that the man Sarah’s in love with is in a 600-year-old marriage of convenience with a wife who refuses to sign the annulment papers. Of all the damn nerve!! Nothing is easy for Sarah, that’s for sure. It is amusing to me to torture her so. *evil laugh*
What was the inspiration for your fun characters in the Immortality Bites series? I loved that these characters were not the stereotypical vamps. Poor Sarah has just never had the greatest time being a vamp with everything going wrong all the time and it looks like the final book may have her dealing with more than ever.
My original inspiration for Sarah was Bridget Jones, back during the heyday of chick-lit. I loved that snarky girl-next-door character and thought how much fun it would be to turn her into a blood-drinking vampire. I was very influenced by Joss Whedon’s fine mix of comedy and drama as well. Sarah’s sense of humor comes from yours truly. Her looks come from Sandra Bullock, circa While You Were Sleeping. Thierry pretty much appeared out of nowhere, but started off as a bit of a parody of (or ode to) those angsty, guilt-ridden vampires that always seem to appear in vamp books and movies. Luckily, he did take on a life of his own and I was able to reach down into him and find his many layers. Not sure he appreciated that much, though. ;) I wanted to play with vampire myths, most of which aren’t even all that accurate -- Dracula was a daywalker. My vamps can go out during the day and they aren’t undead, since they still have heartbeats and normal body temperature. Later books made me want to mix it up even more, so I created “nightwalkers,” who are an ancient undead, sun-fearing vampire (now extinct) that gave modern-day vamps their bad and frequently unjustified reputation.
Are you going to miss writing about Sarah and Thierry?
I already do! They’ve been a huge part of my life for five plus years and I’m sorry to see the end of them. However, I am excited about my new projects and characters. It helps a little bit with the mourning.
I see you have a YA book coming out in October, Demon Princess: Reign or Shine. Can you tell us a little about this book?
It’s about a sixteen year old girl who is surprised to learn that her father (whom she’s never met) is a demon king in another dimension called the Shadowlands. This, of course, makes her a demon princess and heir to his throne who’s about to start manifesting some demonic powers she needs to keep secret as she deals with this life-changing news. Her father sends a super-cute messenger/bodyguard named Michael to help her out and he has some mighty big secrets of his own. It’s a whole lot of fun. :) The first book is out in October and the second book, Reign Check, is out next May!
Do you have to switch modes and watch yourself when you write YA so you don't put in too much adult humor or sexual scenes? Is it hard switching back and forth between genres?
I wrote the second book in my Demon Princess series right after I wrote my first Harlequin Blaze, and I have to say.... no, I had no problem whatsoever switching between the two. It all comes down to character for me. It’s not the writing that makes the book sexy or adult, it’s the characters and their decisions and, well, needs. So when I’m writing my teen characters, I’m not dealing with Blaze or adult paranormal situations. My voice trends tamer to start with so it’s all working out quite nicely so far (I think!)
Congrats on the newest of your book deals. I am looking forward to Nightshade, when is the expected release date for it?
Thank you! I’m very excited about it. Nightshade and its sequel will be a fast-paced supernatural vampire thriller, more in-tone with the novel, Countdown, I wrote as Michelle Maddox. I have no firm release dates for these, but they will likely be out in 2011.
So why the new name, Rachel Connor?
Because these books have a much different, edgier feel than my Michelle Rowen light paranormals and I use the F-word a lot. ;) I’m not using the Michelle Maddox name (it’s been retired) since it’s not sci-fi or futuristic. Rachel Connor will write edgy, sexy, dangerous urban fantasy. At least, that’s the goal!
I've always been curious as to why some authors add new pen names for new genres and/or publishers, does the publishing company own rights to your name so when you switch to a new publisher you have to switch names or is it just to keep your genres separate?
No, the publisher does not own the rights to my pen names. They are all mine. However, in book contracts there is sometimes something called a “non-compete” clause, which states you cannot publish a similar book with a different publisher usually within six months or so of each other. If a writer is particularly prolific, they will want to ax that clause (if they can) or take on a new pen name to help get their books out there a bit more often. It is also very useful if you’re writing strikingly different books or want to “start fresh” with a new audience.
I see that you have written under the names Michelle Maddox, Michelle Rowen and now Rachel Connor. Do you ever get confused when doing a signing or event and have to think about which name you are working under? Ever sign the wrong name in a book?
And none of them are even my real life name! Well, except for the Michelle part. Michelle Rowen is my most natural signature and only in the very beginning did I mistakenly sign my real name in a book because I was distracted. Now I sign Michelle Maddox and that M in the last name is not an easy thing to remember. There are a few books that end up signed as “Michelle Rowen aka: Michelle Maddox” because I wrote the wrong name. My pen automatically wants to go for that R. However, Michelle Maddox has been retired after one book so I only have to deal with two pen names. Rachel Connor will be a whole new ball of wax, but I won’t have to worry about that for a while, LOL. I am so used to being called Michelle Rowen that it has fully become my name in dealings with everything to do with writing. It helps that I have multiple personalities to deal with this issue. ;)
Thank you for joining us today. I look forward to reading Tall, Dark and Fangsome and all of your other upcoming releases. Thank you so much for having me, Roxanne!! I'd like to offer a copy of Tall, Dark and Fangsome to one commentor. This is open to everyone, Michelle is offering international shipping so all those in the UK and everywhere else that get left out of so many contests (sorry) here at FB this is your chance to win a fab book. Just leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.