Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview Underworld Queen by Sharon Hamilton

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I live in a fantasy world all the time, it seems. Raised 4 kids (and a husband), and I prefer my world sometimes to the real one. LOL. I’m 25 years old and gorgeous. Men falling at my feet, lol. Writing guardian angels was more appealing to me, but now I’ve gone to the dark side too, writing about dark angels and vampires. Good vampires (and some bad ones), but even the dark vampires can be redeemed.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

I like their brooding, misunderstood nature. I love their tracing, the way they can listen to certain thoughts. They can enhance the sexual experience with another vamp, but more fun with an unsuspecting human. In my vampire world, children are highly coveted because they are rare (true mate issues of blood), which is one of the mottos: Blood Never Lies. I love the contrast of my Goldens to the dark vampires who have to go to ground and avoid the sun.

What inspired you to write this book?

The vampire series happened because one of my good friends, Tina Folsom was writing her Scanguards series, just getting them out there. When she hit it so big, I was impressed and decided to try my hand at it and found that yes, I could write about blood suckers. They don’t always have to take it from the neck, you know!

Please tell us about your latest release.

Underworld Queen is about the bad girl in Books 1 and 2, who finally gets her happily ever after. Newpaper headline would be something like this:
Bad girl gets knocked up, in danger of losing the Directorship (of the Underworld).

What has happened by accident to Audray turns out to be the best part of her coming through, that her higher calling and true self is not as a dark angel, but as a mother and lover of one of the hunkiest, dark angels in the universe. She has a shot at redemption, and with the help of her true love, is able to be saved.

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?

I do try to match their names with their personality, where they grew up (some cases nationality). I wouldn’t, for instance, call a really bad girl dark angel Barbie. The madame in the Underworld is named Helena. The cab driver-guardian angel is Doris, who is a tough cookie and a delight to write. The hero, Jonas Starling is a name I got from a history book, as part of his past is historical, although I took liberties…

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

One time the bad boy took over the book, and I had to have a date with my hero to fall back in love with him. That was Heavenly Lover, and I created a “Date With Daniel” fantasy, where we danced (he’s Brazilian, think Rodrigo Santoro) all night and eventually wound up in a huge bed with jungle vine canopy down by the beach at moonlight.

It’s fun when you character says things to you like, “No, thank you, Sharon. You bring me to life like no other has before, or will ever do again.” And it’s true!
The bad boy, Joshua Brandon, was really getting to me when I wrote Heavenly Lover. So he got Book 2, Underworld Lover. His stunning bad girl accomplice is the heroine of this new book, Underworld Queen. She was too “big” as a personality, a character to leave in the dust. And she demanded her own book.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I’ve been asked that many times and the answer is always the same. I fall in love with the hero in every book. Full on lusty-leave-my-husband love, otherwise I cannot write him. For some characters, they have to simmer awhile before I can write them. Others, like Joshua, try to take over. I do like it when that happens, but it’s inconvenient. Like having sex with your lover when you’re already late somewhere. Messes up my schedule.

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?

Writing is a lot of work. I try not to pile it on. But I do have a general idea of where I’m going. I write organically the first 8-10 chapters and then start storyboarding where I’ve been to see where I can go. I make choices and mentally think about it before I put it to paper. But, in the end, the story comes out a little differently than what I’d imagined. It would be hard to do a blurb and then write the story later. No. Can. Do.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Audray goes back to her past, to find her human mother, who is just barely alive. She moved from the trailer park in Bakersfield to Los Angeles and became a success and never looked back. This is looking back, and it’s painful.

The seedy outskirts of her birthplace announced the town as surely as any billboard. Recalling how close the trailer park was to the freeway, she had no trouble locating Riverbend Estates, though the sign was still unrepaired from the rifle shots fired at it some twenty years ago.

Bet that would be a story.

She entered the potholed drive, avoiding two white chickens as they scurried past. There certainly wasn’t a river in sight, and these trailer homes were not estates—they were dumps on wheels. A small band of bedraggled children were playing with sticks at the side of the road. Girls in dirty rags and bare feet carried naked dolls by the hair.

Nobody was smiling, but they looked at the car.

Slowly, Audray pulled up to a concrete parking pad near the trailer with a torn front door screen. The door was open.

Is she home?

At that moment, a thin older woman with graying blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail stepped onto the front stoop and dumped an ashtray full of cigarette butts onto the ground. Tapping the plastic bowl on the metal railing twice, she turned and just as she reached for the door handle, saw Audray’s car. She stopped, frozen in place.

Audray turned off the motor, opened the driver’s side door and stepped out into the dusty air. She removed her sunglasses and stared into the lined and tormented face of her mother.

“It’s me,” Audray said, just loud enough to carry above the noises of the freeway nearby.
Her mother set down the ashtray as if it were a piece of crystal and shuffled with a limp across the metal porch to the top of the steps. Her cheeks were sunken and her face had a definite green pallor to it. When she smiled, Audray could see half her teeth were missing.
She could have been beautiful at one time. Audray glimpsed a flicker of recognition, but suspected it was through an alcohol-induced haze. Her mother’s eyes appeared to have trouble catching up to her head movements.

“Auddie? That you?” The woman hesitated as if confused what to do, but all of a sudden, her legs seemed to propel her on their own, as the older woman hobbled down the stairs. She stopped at the bottom, hanging on to the railing for balance, breathing with difficulty.
Audray crossed the yard and stood in front of the woman who gave birth to her. As much as she had tried over the years to tear her own heart out, she could not find it in herself to hate the disheveled sack of bones before her. The unhealthy woman was obviously close to the end of her human life. For her mother’s sake, as well as for her own, Audray hoped this would silence the pain forever. Audray was surprised to find that she didn’t want her mother to suffer.

“You came back. I always thought you’d come back.” The woman weaved. Her right hand clutched the handrail, but her left arm shot out, fingers splayed.

“Yes, Mama.” Audrey grabbed the woman and hugged her carefully, as if too much pressure would shatter her brittle bones. The woman began to shake, and Audray thought she was crying, but soon realized they were tremors. She looked at the grey-green closed eyelids and wondered if her mother was dead.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

For my vampire series, I walked the cobblestoned alleys and streets in Genoa, and found a chapel that became the scene in my first vampire book, Honeymoon Bite. Every time I go back to Italy, I go there, and light a red candle just like Anne, my mortal heroine, did when she asked for blessings for the rest of her life, and didn’t realize her fated mate, a 300 year old vampire named Marcus Monteleone, was standing nearby and felt her for the very first time.
For my Cruisin’ For a SEAL I took a cruise from Italy to Brazil, which is exactly the itinerary the cruise ship took in the story. I found the lifeboat where the H/H had their sex scene, viewed the kitchen and the engine room and saw part of the crew quarters. I met staff and wrote nearly 60% of the book while on board.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

Heaven isn’t 100% perfect by design. The Underworld isn’t 100% evil by accident. I leave it that Father allows diversity, and a certain amount of free will. Guardians can become tempted, and if they can’t handle it, they can go for the wash, which is like a reset button for them. Dark angels, the heroic ones worthy of redemption, have a little curiosity in the light side, have a subconscious desire to do something important and lasting, to redeem themselves, although sometimes it takes awhile for them to experience this. Each side plays this internal struggle inside them while they battle the forces of good and evil on the outside.

I think a reader would enjoy my books if they just trust me and go with the story, instead of seeing formulas and judging the arc or how it compares with other Guardian Angel books, or any angel books for that matter (this series is unlike any I’ve ever read or heard of). Suspending disbelief can make it more fun. If a reader enjoys other books I’ve written, they’ll love this one too, no matter the genre.

Sometimes the things that go on with the paranormal world are similar to the normal world (honor, duty, loyalty, temptation, lust and destiny), but the way it’s played out is of course different.

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?

These can be read as stand alones. Probably makes sense to read them in order, but you don’t have to. I say pick up one when it is on special and then save it until you’re ready, go to Book l and right up the line.

As I said before, with free will being part of my world, not just in the human world or the Underworld, but in Heaven as well, characters can sometimes do things that violate certain “rules” of that world. That’s where the fun comes in. So an overall story arc is that Guardian Angels are ruined by Dark Angels through having sex, and Father wants them back. He can’t or won’t go get them. They have to want to come home, like the prodigal son, because free will is more important than control. Control and domination are virtues of the Underworld (and then those characters discover that’s not what they truly want). So this good vs. evil, free will vs. domination and dominion, design vs. accident, are all themes throughout the series. It can literally go on forever.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?

I don’t see myself very much. I see my fantasy self there. You’d have to ask my narrator about that. He does, he says.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Writers’ block happens when you doubt yourself. It usually occurs when you take your foot off the pedal of writing. I used to coach Realtors in my past life, and I found everyone wants to become an overnight success. I’d use the illustration of driving a locomotive. You start off with your foot on the pedal. It doesn’t matter how hard you smash your foot on that pedal, that train is only going to go so fast so fast. Pushing down hard won’t make it go quicker. But, once it’s going, if you take your foot off, it doesn’t just stop. You can coast a bit. So I guess I’d say for writer’s block, to focus on building the momentum of your career by keeping a steady and relentless foot on the pedal, your habits and routines. You must be easy to start and hard to stop. I could talk about that all day.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

I do write to music and often will play the same track over and over again all day, or until I finish the chapter. When on deadline, I write until I begin to feel tired, then go to bed for a couple of hours, then get up and write until I’m tired, then go back to bed. I can squeeze 3 or 4 good writing mornings out of a single day that way.

I can’t write to music that has words in it.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes, I write in paranormal as well as Romantic Suspense. I plan to write in futuristic/time travel – IN THE FUTURE!!

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

Only when one sells the other a boatload. I like writing them equally, the characters and the worlds.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

I love the movies. Love to garden. Like my hot tub necked! I love going wine tasting, and quilting. Taking bubble baths. I have a hard time staying away from chocolate. Love coffee (cappuccinos, can’t you tell). Love interacting with positive people and get all evil with dark lords and ladies (not sexy dark lords and ladies but the evil time-sucking ones).

I suppose I’d have to say the thing I love to do best, other than writing, is to daydream. I’ve always been a dreamer.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I enjoy my freedom and I try not to take for granted those who paid a heavy price for that. I like true friends, a good laugh. I enjoy quilting and I think up great stories while I quilt. I’ve been an organic gardener my whole life. I enjoy my grandkids, but I really enjoyed raising their parents too. The newer generation takes me back there in ways I never could go before. I’m passionate about becoming a bestseller with every book I write.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

I have a reading corner, upstairs next to my writing desk. I can overlook the green hills, and my vegetable garden, can see sunsets from there and lights after dark. I used to look down and watch my chickens when I had them.

What can readers expect next from you?

New SEAL release 3/31/15 and another 6/30/15. A hybrid vampire/angel book in the summer/fall, a couple of new novellas in the SEALs, and a fun project I’m playing with in my mind I can’t talk about!

Where can readers find you on the web?

Stay tuned because in about 2 weeks I should have a brand new website. I went all out.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Since I left one already, can I leave one from the book coming 3/31/15? Just a little tease. I squealed when I wrote this.

For those of you who’ve read my SEAL Brotherhood series, I have one SEAL who is Hispanic, short, with big wavy hair and a unibrow with a pockmarked face. Not one of the handsome guys. But a heart the size of the ocean and it took awhile, but he got the girl, in the end. He’s going to have a novella this summer because I have so many fans out there who love him. His name is Fredo, and he has a very dry Spanglish sense of humor. Here’s a very short quote from him, a Fredoism, if you will:

              Tyler ran to the window ledge, searching outside and examining the glass at the floor. “Blood all over here. She’s probably out there.” He pointed to the graveyard of broken things. “Judging from the amount of blood, she won’t get far.”
               Rory whipped past Tyler, nearly toppling the man, struggling to get his frame through the window opening. He heard someone chuckling behind him, but he was far from caring. He heard Fredo make a comment he didn’t have time to stop and appreciate fully.
               “Man. Those two get married? Remind me not to get that bitch knives for a wedding present. She’ gonna go all Bobbitt on him if she gets pissed.”

Thanks for having me.

Underworld Queen
The Guardians
Book 3
Sharon Hamilton

Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, 
Mystery and Suspense Romance, 
Romance – Angels, Romance - Fantasy

Publisher:  AL Publication

Date of Publication:  December 30, 2014


Number of pages:  285
Word Count:  80,000

Book Description: 

Audray has just assumed the title as first-ever Queen of the Underworld.

As she attempts to consolidate her rule, characters from the past threaten to destroy her and the love she shares with Jonas Starling, a 300-year old dark angel. When she discovers she has been the recipient of a miracle, suddenly their whole immortal lives are changed forever. 

Will they survive the coming war or get snagged in the power struggle over not only the underworld, but the human world as well?

Book Trailer:

Available at   

Amazon         Amazon UK        Amazon Canada

iBooks         Barnes and Noble 

Excerpt Jonas Starling, Hero:

The charred remains of the executed dark angel smelled like the soil at a slaughterhouse Jonas had seen as a child. It was disgusting then, and it was even more disgusting now, as his black boots trudged through the crispy black flakes, kicking up a fine dark-grey dust that got lodged in his nostrils. He forced a sneeze to clear himself out, but was rewarded with a whirlwind of fine particles—the remains of the dark angel who had come to meet him. Jonas had not told Audray everything about his past and this now festered like a splinter under the nail of  his moral code. He might have to reveal things he’d hoped he could bury forever, along with the story of his youthful love and her family who had died, partially because of who he’d become.
He had to see for himself what was left of the fellow. He found a melted silver medallion, like a large dollop of shiny wax, still attached to the grape wreath silver chain some of his ancestors wore when Jonas was a boy. He couldn’t make out any indentation or markings as he cleaned the smooth surface from the black grit of death. It reflected back his distorted face.
Although already dead, Jonas had begun to cherish his afterlife as an immortal dark angel. His relationship with the new Director made him feel strangely alive for the first time since becoming immortal some three hundred years ago.  After his disastrous years at Court, where he’d been conscripted into doing despicable things, he’d slipped aboard a vessel bound for the Caribbean, and set up a new life on several of the islands there, until he’d been discovered and then took the only option available to him as a last resort: join the Underworld as a dark angel. 

It had been a long three hundred years, and he’d considered ending himself in a true death. Until recently, he’d wondered if he could tolerate living forever. But finding Audray had changed everything and opened up a brand new bright future for Jonas. She was every bit his equal, in intelligence and strength of character. Her desires in the bedroom also matched his perfectly. If he could have a thousand nights with different women or one night with her, he would take her anytime. He’d thought of himself as completely dark and brooding. But these past few weeks he was beginning to feel the warm afterglow of—could it be—love?

About the Author:

Sharon’s NYT and USA Today bestselling novels are almost-erotic Navy SEAL stories of the SEAL Brotherhood. Her characters follow a spicy road to redemption through passion and true love. This series continues with book 8, SEAL's Promise, which will release November 11, 2014. All of her SEAL Brotherhood Series are available in audio book. She has maintained an Amazon top 100 author status in Romantic Suspense for since the end of 2012.

Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany are not like any vamps you’ve read before, since they don’t have to go to ground, and can walk around in the full light of the sun. Honeymoon Bite, Book 1 of the Golden Vampires of Tuscany Series, has earned the Amazon designation of #1 Gothic Romance. It and Book 2 in the series, Mortal Bite are both available on audio as well.

Her Guardian Angels struggle with the human charges they are sent to save, often escaping their vanilla world of Heaven for the brief human one. You won’t find any of these beings in any Sunday school class.

Sharon lives in Sonoma County, California, with her husband and two Dobermans. A lifelong organic gardener, when she’s not writing, she’s getting verra verra dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.

"True Love Heals in the Gardens of the Heart"


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