Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?
I am a mom and a substitute teacher. I wrote my first series, “The Easter’s Lilly Series,” when I went back to school to get my bachelor’s. I was suddenly inspired by all the writing classes I was taking, to write a novel. My first series was a gangster novel about the Mexican Mafia. So, when I started writing “Linked,” I thought I would do another gangster book. Then suddenly, the book took on a life of its own and BAM! Vampires.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
Vampires are mysterious and sexy, almost tortured souls. I love how many vampire love stories portray vamps as generally good people.
Please tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is called “Linked.” It features a substitute teacher who falls in love with a married man who happens to be involved in organized crime. He also happens to be a vampire, both facts she is not aware of at first.
After a series of unfortunate events, she meets Heathcliff Vanderpool, who falls madly in love with her. This book is about soul mates. Literally. When a vampire links to a human, they become soul mates in the truest sense, and there is no turning back.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? 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?
Actually, so far all of my main characters have a first name that links to a flower. Not sure why I started it out that way, but it has just cascaded from there. I also try to pick names that match the time period and the culture.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Yes. Charlie Cross was probably my biggest challenge. He was so very likable in the beginning. In an attempt to make Heathcliff the more likable character, Charlie had to become slightly unfavorable. It was a challenge to turn his personality towards a darker direction.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
That’s an easy one. I love Dante. Charlie’s brother, Dante, stole my heart. I don’t plan out my books; my characters sort of take me on a journey. Dante came out of nowhere and stole the show. He will be featured in book two of “The Linked Series.”
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?
I do not plan one thing out in my books. I sit down at my MacBook with a basic idea and my characters create themselves. Sometimes they even surprise me.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
My main characters always have a little something that is taken from me. Lilly in “Easter’s Lilly” is a singer, as I used to be when I was young(er). She is also blond, Irish, and a waitress. I waited tables when I was young as well. Daphne is a substitute teacher, which is my current profession aside from all my writing. The similarities end there, but I do tend to carry something of my own into my characters.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I’m almost afraid to jinx myself, but no I have never suffered from writer’s block. I have so many story ideas that I have to write them down so I won’t forget about them. I often wake up in the middle of the night when I am actively writing a new novel. Sometimes I think my publisher thinks I’m crazy because of all the ideas I have. I hope it continues this way for as long as I am able to write.
Do you write in different genres?
Yes, I write in different genres. I certainly have a recognizable style that carries over from series to series, but I have three different genres right now. “Easter’s Lilly” is romantic suspense, “Linked” is paranormal romance, and the book I’m working on now is a combination of thriller/urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I love to write about all kinds of different things. But like I said before. I usually start with a very basic idea and the voices in my head tend to speak for themselves.
What can readers expect next from you?
There will be a book 5 of Easter’s Lilly coming out September 19th, called “The Lost Years.” Book 6 will be out in 2014. Book 2 of “Linked” will be out sometime in 2014. I have a new series called “Ivy Vines, Visions.” I haven’t decided what to do with that one yet, but it is ready to go when I have a chance to release it.
Where can readers find you on the web?
My website is www.JudySerrano.com
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Here is a teaser from the book:
“Mr. Cross,” I started, leaning into him so that no one else could hear me. “What are you doing here?”
“It’s nice to see you too, Miss Foster.”
“I think we’re passed the formalities now, don’t you?” I asked.
“Daphne, then.” My name played so softly on his lips that I shuddered, and embarrassingly so. He smiled. “Then you must call me Charlie.” He kissed the backs of my hands. “I see I already have a positive effect on you.”
“Don’t read too much into it,” I told him. “It’s just a chill.”
“Or maybe a warm sensation,” he whispered, putting his finger on my face and tracing it down to my lips. I swallowed hard and I know my face was yet again bright red.
I looked over at Janice who was having a pleasant conversation with his brother. Then I looked back at him. “Does your wife know you frequent schools to pick up teachers?” I asked.
“You mean substitute teachers,” he answered. I stuck my tongue out at him. “I like when you do that.”
“Stop it,” I whispered harshly. “Look. I’m sure I’m not the type of woman that you’re used to. Especially since I know first hand that you’re married, and I think I already mentioned that I don’t date married men.”
The waitress showed up with four shots of tequila. I looked at him in amazement. “Really?” I asked.
“Come on, Daphne, let go a little,” Janice added, shining like a brand new diamond.
We downed the shots and Charlie got a little too close. “I find you irresistible, Daphne.” He leaned in so that he was almost whispering in my ear. “I don’t know what it is about you, but I must have you.” He took my hand and brought it to his cheek.
“What is it that you do, Mr. Cross?” I asked.
“I thought we were past formalities.”
“Charlie,” I corrected. “Sorry. What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a businessman,” he answered. “Acquisitions are my specialty.”
“And what exactly do you acquire?” I asked. “And please do not say women.”
“I do not buy and sell women,” he answered, his voice getting suddenly harsh. “But when I see something I want, I go after it until it yields to me.”
I pulled my hand away from his face and looked at him. He was most unsettling. “You think I’m just going to fall right into your arms, don’t you, Charlie.”
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Linked Series Book One
Linked Series Book One
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: July 18th, 2013
Number of pages: 263
Word Count: 81,403
Cover Artist: Danielle Barnard
Daphne Foster is a substitute teacher stuck in an English class, waiting for that dreaded parent-teacher conference. With much preparation and anxiety, she encounters the unforgettable Charlie Cross. His charm and good looks, win her over but rumors of his involvement with organized crime make his continued disappearances disturbing.
In walks Heathcliff Vanderpool, creating a love triangle of unusual sorts. Unknown to Daphne, Heathcliff and Charlie are old friends: Older than she could have imagined. With Charlie away on business, Daphne and Heathcliff discover a passion between them lying beneath the surface. As their souls link, pulling away from Charlie becomes next to impossible. Will his involvement in organized crime consume them both before she’s able to get free? When you become “linked,” the choice may not be your own.
About the Author:
Judy Serrano graduated from Texas A&M University, Commerce with a BA in English. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Dallas Area Romance Authors.
She is a substitute teacher at the local school district and writes for various on-line publications. She is the author of Easter's Lilly, Brother Number Three, Relatively Close and Memoirs of a Mobster, which are romantic thrillers and part of The Easter’s Lilly Series.
Judy currently resides in Texas with her husband, four children (all boys) and five dogs. She is also a singer/songwriter in her spare time.