Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview with Jennifer Blackstream Author of Before Midnight: Blood Prince Series Book One

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 write paranormals, so I think of the country (or in some cases, one of the countries) where that creature originated from. Then I go online and find a name from that culture that has a meaning appropriate to the character (yes, I realize that online sources can’t be trusted so some of those names don’t mean what they say they do, but that’s okay). I do try to make sure to pick a name that I think readers will either have a good guess on how to pronounce or that can be pronounced phonetically and still sound all right. I know it can be hard for readers when authors use names that they can’t say, especially if there are a ton of characters, because it makes it harder for readers to keep track of who’s who.

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

Etienne was a little tricky. At first he was supposed to be cursed too, and he was going to be searching for a way to become human. But he didn’t like that idea. That’s actually why it’s a series instead of a stand alone, he decided to be a Blood Prince and if I have a Blood Prince werewolf, then naturally I need a vampire, a demon, an angel, and a god…

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

I almost always enjoy the pixie the most. Pixies are snarky little know it alls with kind hearts, and I adore them.

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

            She walked out of the kitchen door into the garden. A few yards away, a pumpkin rose out of the pumpkin patch and floated in the air to land on the other side of the fence. Loupe’s breath caught in her throat as the vines and leaves curled into large circles, turning white as they spun. The pumpkin itself lightened until it was the palest orange she’d ever seen. It grew and grew until it was as large as the royal carriage. Small windows appeared in either side so Loupe could look right through it to the other side.
            “Oh, Loeg,” she said softly. “It’s beautiful.”
            “It is, isn’t it?”
            She turned to see Loeg eyeing the wand like he’d never used it before. She opened her mouth to ask him why he was looking at it like that, but he jerked his head up and the question died on her tongue.
            “Oh! One more thing.”
            He whistled and a second later a tiny horse flew up from the leaves of the raspberry bush in the corner of the garden. Loupe gasped. It looked like a floating star in the shape of a horse and its whinny brought a smile to her face.
            “He’ll pull your new carriage. You don’t need to harness him, the pumpkin will hold on by itself.”
            Loupe raised her eyebrows at the tiny horse, then glanced over at the large carriage. “He must be much stronger than he looks.”
            She tentatively reached out a hand to pet the small creature and squealed as it abruptly grew in size. It continued to grow until it stood before her—a full man-sized horse.
            “Amazing,” she breathed. She gently stroked the silky fur of the horse’s nose. It whinnied and nudged harder into her hand, apparently eager to be petted. A thrill went through Loupe. It had been a long time since a horse had not shied away from her.
            “What a good boy you are,” Loupe cooed. “Yes, you are. You are such a good boy.”
            “It is shameful the way he’s throwing himself at you,” Loeg groused. “That miserable glue pot would as soon swallow me as give me the time of day!”
            Loupe’s eyebrows shot up as the horse whipped its head around and bared its teeth at Loeg. Its eyes rolled until they were white orbs without pupils, glowing with a faint red light. Loeg growled back and it swung its head back to her, its eyes once again a watery blue. Loupe patted its nose. A fairy horse.
            “You can keep the beast,” Loeg snapped. “I’ll be stomped if I’m going to keep the ungrateful creature around me.”
            “Oh,” Loupe breathed, eyeing the horse again. It nudged her with its huge head, almost knocking her off her feet. “I couldn’t take your horse from you.”
            “What do I need a horse for?” Loeg asked. “I’ve got wings, remember?”
            “But…then why do you have a horse?”
            His eyes narrowed. “What, I’m not allowed to have a horse?”
            One could make a study out of how to avoid arguing with a fey, Loupe decided. She glanced down at her dress and then back to the horse. But dealing with them is still incredibly worth it.

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

I chose mythological places as the names of the kingdoms in my Blood Prince series (Sanguenay, Dacia, Nysa, Meropis, and Mu). If you’ve ever seen the show Merlin (the one where Anthony Stewart Head is the King), then it’s sort of like the “five kingdoms” he’s always mentioning. The kingdoms are the major players of the world, though there are a few outlying countries (i.e. Midguard, the country the evil stepmother and stepsisters hail from).
The humans in my world are aware that fantastical creatures exist, but they don’t necessarily know who is a fantastical creature. It’s a superstitious world, much like our own world was at one time. For instance, the people of Sanguenay don’t know that the royal family are lycanthropes, but the people of Dacia know that the royals are vampires. The reason the people of Dacia are so enlightened, is because the royal family was slaughtered in a coup and then rose again as vampires. It’s a rather famous historical “oops.”

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?

There is an overarching story that goes through the series (it deals with the five Blood Princes and the World Tree prophecy). This is mostly dealt with in the prologues and epilogues. If you read one of the books individually, it may ruin some of the series’ story arc, but the individual story would work fine as a stand-alone for the most part. A few cameos may be less meaningful, but it won’t ruin the book.

Do you write in different genres?

I write paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and sci fi romance. Some people consider those all separate genres, but I tend to look at them as different flavors of the same genre.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Swerving while driving to splash through large puddles, bubble wrap, and buying gargoyle and dragon statues.

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

I’m a huge Alice Cooper fan, I love to cook, and I’m a D&D geek.

What can readers expect next from you?

Book two in the Blood Prince series will be One Bite, a snow white fairy tale infused with vampires.

Where can readers find you on the web?

You can find me at If you join my mailing list, you will receive an alert when a new title becomes available. You will also be automatically entered to win a free copy any time I have a new release.

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

            “Ah, it seems that my mother had the servants prepare a bath,” he observed.
            “Oh thank goodness!” Loupe trudged over and dunked the muddy wolf pup into the large tub, holding him with one hand while she used the other to scrub his fur. The wolf yipped and struggled, but she held him firmly. Etienne stood in the doorway, staring in frank amusement.
            When he didn’t speak for a minute, Loupe looked up.
            “You look like you’re trying not to laugh.” She furrowed her eyebrows and briefly halted her scrubbing. “What’s so funny?”
            Etienne cleared his throat. “Ah, I believe the bath was meant for you.” He gestured to the clean nightgown lying folded on a chair.
            Loupe turned red from her neck to the tips of her ears. “Oh. I see.”
            Etienne couldn’t help it. He laughed, a booming sound that set the pups in his arms to barking. Loupe frowned.
            “No, it’s all right, Loupe, truly,” Etienne assured her, reining in his amusement. “I’ll have the servants bring up another bath.”
            “No, don’t be silly, I don’t need another bath.” She pulled the pup out of the tub and wrapped him in the large towel that had been provided. The pup’s growls were muffled as she vigorously rubbed him dry. Amusement tugged up the corner of Etienne’s mouth as the pup staggered out from under the towel and across the floor. She grabbed the sponge that had also been by the tub and dipped it in the bathwater.
            Loupe looked down at her dress. The bodice wasn’t terribly low-cut, but it did give a hint of cleavage. Loupe scrubbed the mud from her skin. The smile died on his face. Etienne’s blood heated as her motions drew his attention to the smooth mounds of her breasts. Every vigorous scrub made the tempting globes of flesh bounce in the most mouthwatering display. He took a step forward.
            “There,” Loupe announced. “My dress is a bit damp, but I’m sure it will be dry by morning…” she trailed off as she turned to find him staring. He took another step and her eyes widened.
            Something of his less than pure thoughts must have shown on his face because her blush returned with reinforcements and her gaze bounced around the room like a bee in a field of tempting flowers.
            The wolf pups hopped around on the floor, tumbling around Loupe’s skirts. An image hit Etienne so hard he swayed on his feet. Loupe sitting in a chair in his bedroom, wolf pups playing on the rug at her feet and a baby in her arms…
            He shook his head, struggling to gather his thoughts. No one in his family had the gift of future-sight. The image wasn’t a premonition, it couldn’t have been. He was just tired, under too much stress from the witch’s blessing.
            Without meaning to, he’d crossed the room and now stood only an inch or so away. Despite his brain’s ramblings, his body seemed to be perfectly clear in its goals. Loupe titled her face up, her wide green eyes locked on his like a frightened deer watching a predator.
            And he did feel like a predator. For the first time since the witch’s blessing had cursed him, Etienne felt primal, animalistic. His body moved on instinct instead of rational thought as he raised his hands, slowly sliding them around Loupe’s waist. The desire to grab her and throw her down on the floor filled him with tension and he had just enough sense to grit his teeth against the urge. He didn’t want to scare her. He just had to taste her.

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Before Midnight
Blood Prince Series
Book One
Jennifer Blackstream

Genre: Fantasy Romance/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing


Number of pages: 180
Word Count: 45k

Cover Artist: Elaina of For the Muse Designs

Book Description:

Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

 About the Author:

Jennifer Blackstream is a psychology enthusiast with both a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. Her fascination with the human mind is most appeased through the study of mythology and folklore as well as all of Terry Pratchett’s novels.

Jennifer enjoys listening to Alice Cooper, trying new recipes (to which she will add garlic whether it calls for it or not), watching television with her family, and playing with her woefully intelligent four year old son. 

Jennifer spends most of her time drinking coffee from her X-Men mug and desperately trying to get all her ideas written down before her toddler can find that all magical button on her laptop to make all her work vanish.

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