What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
My introduction into the paranormal and the world of “what if” came at a very early age. I remember sitting on the floor by my mother’s feet as she folded laundry with the original soap opera, ‘Dark Shadows” on TV in the living room. I was both enraptured and frightened at the same time to say the least, but it formed a lifelong fascination with the paranormal.
Please tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is a departure from vampires and weres, plus it is also my debut novel in the Young Adult genre. The book is called Hollow’s End, and it is a YA horror with a splash of history, romance and the paranormal. Inspired by historical events that surround the town of Sleepy Hollow and the famous legend that shares its name, this Young Adult Horror takes you on a journey full of history and suspense with a splash of romance and the paranormal. In the story, Hollow’s End, two hundred years of secrets and lies are bleeding into the present, and high school seniors, Hunter Morrissey and Rowen Corbett, find themselves linked with unseen forces shrouded in mystery and violence. Truths, buried and long forgotten, have risen at a time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Only Hunter and Rowen hold the key to locking the past in the past, and setting old wrongs to right.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names?
People ask me this quite often, and it may sound crazy but my characters seem to name themselves. A name will come to me and if it resonates with the feel and personality of the character in my head, then it’s a done deal. I have recently started using my reader’s first names for characters in my books. I put it out to my Street Team and they loved the idea! I may even extend the offer to fans that follow me on my social media sites.
Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
If my character is ethnic, then I will find an ethnic name that resonates with me and the character’s personality. It’s fun…like naming one of my kids all over again!
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Yes. Some were easy and straightforward, but others were much more complex with emotional baggage that needed to be worked out both in the story line and in my head. The character of Lily Saburi was one of the hardest I had to write. Book three in the Cursed by Blood saga I will be concentrating on the character of Ryan Martinez, but the French vampire, Remy, will be featured prominently. I have a strong feeling he’s going to give me a hard run. It the tortured ones that are the hardest to write, but also the most satisfying when done.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
For the most part I have an idea of where I want the character to be in the story and where they are in their life that has led them there, but outlines and my original plans are never written in stone. The characters have a way of telling me what works for them and what doesn’t. When we have a standoff is when I get writer’s block. As for formulas…I have no use for them. Formulas tend to make the story rote and boring. Keeping character attributes straight in my head is sometimes a daunting task, so I enlist the help of my Street Team, and they maintain a bible of sorts which we call The Character Keeper. It’s a quick reference tool that not only keeps a character’s physical attributes current, but also notes their inner and outer motivations and my reader’s take on what makes the character tick.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
In Hollow’s End, my favorite scenes are the ones where main character Rowen Corbett has her visions. The images get more intense as the story progresses and they all tie into the climax at the end of the story. I had a lot of fun writing the horror aspects and linking them to the paranormal and helping the hero and the heroine come together as a couple.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
Absolutely! I learned so much about the lesser known urban legends surrounding the village of Sleepy Hollow, as well as truths that could have been the inspiration behind the writing of the original Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’m from the Hudson Valley and my husband’s family is originally from Sleepy Hollow. Our children were born there, so to learn about the histories that lie beneath what is commonly known was interesting to say the least!
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
Walked and studied the Old Dutch Burial Ground at the Old Dutch Church and looked at genealogies and historic accountings from over 200 years ago.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
The world building I created in my urban fantasies and paranormal romances differ from our normal world in only one way….vampires and other supernatural being exist and walk among us. What is different about my vampires lies in the way they are created. In my world, if a vampire is created with cruelty, selfish disregard and lust, those are the only emotions they retain in their new existence…BUT if a vampire is created with compassion and kindness, they retain the entire spectrum of human emotion and some of their humanity in that they can love and feel empathy for fellow beings. I wanted to show the dichotomy of the beings that inhabit my world, that vampires are predators despite their passionate allure, and for them to truly be the romantic figures we all love, they must work to earn that awe every day of their existence.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
I have endeavored to make each of my books a standalone, but as with most series, the characters overlap and for readers to get the full impact of the stories they should be read in order. Blood Legacy, my vampire paranormal romance, was originally going to be book one in a separate series from my Cursed by Blood Series, but now that I am bringing the characters together through cameo appearances and through dialogue mentions, my aim is to merge the books into one Saga.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
All my characters have me in them…especially the females. The men are always a compilation of the men in my life: what I love about them and what I don’t…plus there’s always that element of fantasy that is a must—the ideal that gets brought to life in my head and follows suit into the written word. Real is boring. The idealized is what makes the characters and the stories fun and escapist.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I step away from the story and just do other things. Sometimes I talk to my friends about where I’m stuck; sometimes I just wait for a dream to hit me with an Ah Ha moment. My writer’s block never lasts for long, thank God, and I work best under pressure. I once wrote 20,000 words in one week. When it flows, it flows…
Do you write in different genres?
Yes. I have Hollow’s End which is more YA horror, and I also have a mystery suspense outlined foe this winter as well as a contemporary romance alla Nicholas Sparks just itching to be written. When you’re a writer, you just write. I personally never want to become pigeon-holed.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
In the seventh grade I wrote a love letter to a boy in class, and true to form for a 13 year old boy, he showed it to all his friends. They were impressed. In fact I remember distinctly the words were, “Dang, that girl can write a good letter.” I knew then I had a way with words…especially romance…and I’ve been a scribbler ever since. J
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Oooh….ice cream! Though I have lactose sensitivity and pay dearly every time I eat it. And (hangs head in shame) I watch reality TV, especially the Real Housewives. I know, I know… it’s trash television, but it’s like road kill, you are horrified yet compelled to look.
What was the last amazing book you read?
I read Kim Harrison’s Everafter and I LOVED it! I am addicted to the Rachel Morgan Hollows series. I also reread Diana Gabeldon’s Outlander Series every chance I get, and I’m so psyched they are finally making the saga into a television series…fingers crossed it follows the book and does the author justice!
What can readers expect next from you?
I have a New Adult paranormal romance due out this fall called Secrets of the Moon. The characters are fresh out of college, so it is still a coming of age/coming into one’s own story. The great thing about the New Adult genre is that characters can experience adult situations and language while still trying to find out who they are and where they fit in this world…or in the worlds I create for them. It’s more freeing in terms of writing, because I don’t have the same restrictions as when writing Young Adult. I know that high school kids these days could probably show me a thing or two about sex and language, but I chose to follow the lead set by Kami Garcia (Beautifu; Creatures), Nancy Holder (The Evil Within) and Stephenie Meyers (Twilight) in that none of them included sex and language in their YA best sellers, so neither would I. Within the first six months of 2014 I hope to have sequels out to both Blood Legacy and Twice Cursed as well as finishing up a new contemporary romance.Intrepid? You bet. Do I love it? Absolutely.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Yes, of course. I’m always around on Facebook and absolutely LOVE to interact directly with readers. My author page is https://www.facebook.com/mariannemoreaauthor You can tweet me as well at @mariannemorea or contact me through my website at www.mariannemorea.com.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
“It’s just Halloween,” I mumbled flipping my covers back, but in our house it was never just Halloween, nor was it ever just about trick-or-treating. It was the Witch’s New Year and one of the biggest sabbats on the wheel of the year. Not that I believed in that sort of junk. That was my family’s thing, not mine, even though my mother and grandmother had been trying to make it mine since the day I was born.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed and sat for a moment. I’d heard it a thousand times, “We’re different, Rowen, embrace it. People would kill to be able to do what we can.” Like people needed more reasons to think I was half a freak. And as to wanting to be like me, uh… I didn’t think so.
“Rowen, hurry up! I need to talk to you before you leave,” Mom’s voice called again.
My room looked like a tornado hit. Clothes and shoes everywhere, and the books and math sheets I reviewed last night were still in a haphazard pile across my desk. Two empty Coke cans topped a pile of candy wrappers, and a large, half eaten bag of potato chips lay crumpled on the floor next to my backpack.
Oh God, I didn’t.
At the incriminating sight, my hand shifted to my stomach, and a familiar self-loathing settled onto my shoulders. I slumped a bit, cringing inwardly at what the scale would read this morning.
With a sigh I pushed myself to stand and slid my gaze to the clothes I somehow remembered to set out. My lateness was reaching epic proportions, yet school was only halfway through the first semester. Most of the student body had learned to get out of the way when I came barreling in for homeroom.
Mom seemed to think my tardy nature would improve once I earned my driver’s license, but of course, that didn’t happen. I was seventeen and already driving for the past year. We lived around the corner from the high school, and senior privilege or not, I didn’t relish the idea of taking my mother’s minivan.
Grabbing my outfit from the back of my desk chair, I walked into the bathroom and snapped on the light. I had no problem envisioning my mother, coffee cup in hand, impatiently waiting for me to come downstairs while she planned her latest concoction for the store.
When my mother says she needs to talk it usually means extra work for me, and considering how busy it’s been I’m surprised it took her this long to ask. Not that I mind helping out at the shop with all its curiosities, but I can’t seem to stomach the people who come in just to gawk. Of course, the townspeople wouldn’t dare insult my mother that way, but the tourists loved to look at the whole lot, including us.
I took inventory of my face in the mirror, running fingers over the puffy skin beneath my eyes, trying to ignore the glare from the bathroom’s overhead lights. Telltale dark smudges from my late date with calculus were evident beneath my lower lids, making my hazel eyes look a little muddy. “Now, that’s attractive,” I grumbled reaching for my makeup remover. Giving each eye a quick swipe, I checked my reflection for any marked improvement. No such luck.
Most of the time, I liked the way I looked. From the dark curls and high cheekbones I inherited from my dad, to winning the genetic lottery for great skin courtesy of mother’s side of the family. Most of my friends hated that I never got zits or blemishes, but Mother Nature evened the playing field, seeing to it I gained weight if I so much as looked at junk food.
I muttered an expletive thinking about the bag of chips I’d massacred and pushed the bathroom scale under the vanity with my foot. One of these days I’d learn not to let the number glaring up at me dictate the kind of day I would have, but today was not that day.
The Corbett’s tended to be on the fleshy side, or at least that’s what it looked like in all the family pictures. I wouldn’t know firsthand, though, my dad having died when I was little, and his parents before I was born. Then again, having a mother who leaned more toward the vegetarian line helped a lot in that department.
Gathering my hair, I twisted it into a loose bun at the top of my head. There was a peculiar tension building in my stomach, and I didn’t think it was the potato chips. I was out of sorts, restless for some reason, and a dull ache throbbed behind my eyes. I grabbed my toothbrush and turned on the tap, breaking one of the cardinal rules of my house by letting the water run while I brushed my teeth.
A calculus test was scheduled later this morning, but I was never one for being neurotic over grades. So why was I so edgy? I rinsed my mouth and stuck the toothbrush in its holder. The light pounding behind my eyes escalated and I winced, tilting my head down against the pain. That was when I saw it, or thought I saw it.
I stood motionless with my hand frozen in place as I stared at the water in the sink. The slow drain had allowed the flow to gather in the basin and ribbons of red curled and spread like blood streaming into the water. It didn’t look like rust or red clay or anything else. It looked like blood, swirling and coating the white porcelain with streaks and tiny clots. Worse yet, it smelled like blood, with a sharp, metallic tang that lingered in my nose and throat. I gagged, squeezing my eyes shut.
A wave of dizziness hit and I gripped the edge of the vanity, sucking in short shallow breaths trying to work up enough air to yell for my mother. I swallowed against the sour bile taste in my mouth and counted to ten, and when I opened my eyes, only clear water flowed in the sink.
My hand shot forward turning off the tap, and I pumped the water-stopper lever behind the faucet a bunch of times. I held my breath ‘til the last of the water ran down the drain. Did I say half a freak? How about a full-fledged weirdo, complete with psychotic visions? Backing up, I grabbed hold of the towel rack and sank to the floor, the cold tile adding to my already goose-pimpled flesh.
Minutes passed and though my heart rate slowed, my mind raced. Was this some leftover nightmare skewed from Chiller TV? Part of me wanted to yell for my mother, but the other part knew she’d make a huge deal about it, and I didn’t have time for a protection spell or whatever else she’d think to do.
The clock was ticking, and I needed to get myself together and out the door. Afraid to tempt fate and run the water in the sink again, I wet a washcloth under the bathtub tap. “No more sleep deprived delusions for me, thank you.”
The problem was this didn’t feel like a byproduct of too little sleep. Something happened, I sensed it. Gran told me the night of my birthday that my aura was bleeding. Happy birthday, darling, and by the way… Gee, thanks. Love you too, Gran.
That night my mother made light of it, telling me everyone’s aura bled from time to time, it’s part of coming into your own—yet I hadn’t missed the look she shot my grandmother. And what the hell did that mean? Was I coming into my own as a strong, independent woman, or did some weird, cosmic witchiness hit me square in the face courtesy of my messed up gene pool? Right now, I didn’t want to know. I wanted to go to school and take my exams like any other normal teenager. The question was could I?