As a fan of vampires I'm always on the lookout for new takes on the old myth. Theresa Meyers provides that new take in The Half-Breed Vampire and courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours you get to learn more about this book in an interview and have the chance to win 1 of 5 copies of it in a giveaway along with other goodies. So first up is my interview with Theresa..............
TSP: How did you get where you are today with your writing career and would you have done anything differently knowing what you know now?
TM: The short answer: A lot of hard work. It took 20 years for me to sell my first story to Harlequin. I actually started writing my first novel when I was 17 and spent part of Junior High and all of High School as a member of the school paper, so I’ve always been writing, just not books. Of course there are things I would have done differently. For one I wouldn’t have worried about trying to make sure I had a degree related to writing. I would have just written instead. Second, I would have kept to a schedule of writing pages. No matter what anyone says, the biggest secret to writing is to just sit down and do it, consistently. Even at a page a day, in a year you can have a complete book. A lot of people think they have to be “good” enough or somehow gain some special skills. This is a job where you learn as you go. I’m still constantly refining how I write, giving myself new techniques or looking for ways to push myself as a writer. It’s an ongoing process, so if I could go back, I’d tell myself, just write the stories. One other thing I would have done differently is been more proactive with my career. I signed with my first New York agent in 1996 and we didn’t sell anything for eight years. I should have been more active in looking for markets and writing books to sell during that time. Part of it was dealing with profound grief and depression after my mother passed away, but part of it was me relying too much on my agent to jumpstart my career and not taking it into my own hands. Remember that your career doesn’t matter to anyone else as much as it matters to you.
TSP: You mostly write in the paranormal genre. What draws you to it and why do you think it's popular with readers?
TM: Paranormal is just my kind of normal.” No I wasn’t raised by faeries and didn’t go to Hogwarts, but I did have a mother who really was extraordinary. She would do things like read the story of the Shoemaker and the Elves to me at bedtime and then, as she was kissing me, she’d perk up and say, “Listen. Do you hear that?” Outside my bedroom window I could hear teeny, tiny voices talking about cleaning my room. The next morning I woke to find my room had been cleaned. My mother assured me it was likely the elves living in the large stump in the backyard and proceeded to make cookies and little clothes with me for the elves. I didn’t find out until I was in my late 20’s that it had actually been a tape-recorder strategically placed beneath my bedroom window with a very large gap at the beginning of the tape. She taught us all the different herbs and wild things that grew around us. Which ones were edible, which ones would help an upset stomach. In short, she imbued us with a sense of the magical all around us in our everyday lives.
I think readers are drawn to paranormal for the same reason we love Harry Potter. We want to believe in something we can’t see, to feel like there’s a reason for things happening around us. Humanity from the very beginning has looked for ways to explain their world which has resulted in a fantastic diverse range of folklore, mythology and religions. Paranormal romance is simply an extension of that. We like “super heroes” who are created from being dipped in toxic waste, but are rather supernatural by design. Besides, it’s fun to push our limits and paranormal elements give a richness to the reading experience.
TSP: What can you tell us about the Sons of Midnight series of which this latest release is a part of? How are the books connected and must they be read in order?
TM: The Sons of Midnight series is all based in the world I’ve created. While the stories tend to center on one vampire clan located in Seattle, the world itself is much larger than that and involves werewolves, shapeshifters, ancient gods and goddesses. The stories are each complete in and of themselves, so they don’t have to be read in order, however like any series, readers do get more out of the stories by reading them in order simply because there are reoccurring characters they’ll be more familiar with and details that can be seen differently if a reader has grown along with the series.
TSP: The vampires in your new release and the SoM series, how do they differ from the usual vampire mythos?
TM: When I was creating “Theresa’s version of vampires” I tried to keep the myths that made biological sense to me and discard the others, making up some that were knew along the way. For instance, my vampires can certainly withstand sunlight, but it gives them one heck of a migraine, similar to what you might get if you left the eye doctor’s office after having your eyes dilated. This made biological sense to me. My vampires’ vision is sharper, so like other predators in nature, wouldn’t their eyes be more sensitive to light?
I also looked at garlic and stakes and thought, hey, really, I’m half Italian, is it fair to have to cut out garlic? No. So my vampires can eat it if they choose to, but they do have preternaturally sharp sense of smell, like other predators in nature, so it could be obnoxious to get close to a clove, but it allows them the ability to actually smell different emotions. As for stakes, they are going to sting, but if you’re talking about a creature with a fast healing ability and superior strength a little stick is going to be annoying but not take them down.
Sure there are a few things, however, that do impact my vampires. Silver acts as a disruptor to their nervous system’s electrical impulses. Dead man’s blood is a swift acting poison if it gets beneath their skin or is ingested (which makes sense if you consider there’s no life force left in it, so it’d be like snacking on out of date cheese which could make you sick.) My vampires are also impacted by a precious metal called orichalcum. We’ve forgotten how this alloy is produced, but it was originally mentioned by Plato in his writings about Atlantis. My vampires also possess a venom that can liquefy flesh like some species of spiders. And perhaps the biggest nod to biology of all was the fact that my vampires are created by means of a virus. In nature viruses can take down even a top predator. It made sense to me that they could change humans. I also gave my vampires the ability to change themselves to suit the most intimate fantasies of their prey. And why not? If you’ve got a superior predator, shouldn’t they have superior skills?
I also happen to be a bit of a history nut, so I took bits and pieces of mythology, Minoan, Etruscan, Greek and blended them together to form a history for my vampire culture, explaining how it all started and the involvement of the gods in the creation of vampires in the first place by means of the virus. And my vampire society has different facets that are somewhat medieval in nature. Most of the civilized vampires live in clans with a laird and a council that lead them. The laird and council answer to a knight which in turn answers to vampire royalty. But there are those outside these structured societies – reviers, who like the Scottish border reviers merely subsist on the fringes of good society by taking what they need and moving often. They operate with a hive mind and are able to read one another’s thoughts. These are the vampires you’ll see in The Half-Breed Vampire. You’ll also get to see the reviers’ version of human guards amped up on vampire ichor. For the Clan they are called Shyelds. For the reviers, they are called Thralls. Biggest difference? A Thrall is controlled by the hive mind, they are almost like a junkie when it comes to the ichor so while it gives them strengths and abilities, it’s also a horrific weakness for them.
TSP: What qualities make for an ideal hero and heroine and what makes Slade and Raina such a compelling couple? Which actors/actresses can you picture portraying these two?
TM: I don’t know that I have an ideal hero or heroine, because they are such individuals and are impacted by their past. Especially Slade and Rania. Each of them has a ton of emotional baggage coming into the story. Slade has lost part of his memory due to a tragedy when he was eight. He can’t remember what happened to him before he woke up homeless on the streets of Seattle, but as he works with Rania he encounters his past and in the process his world goes up in smoke faster than a big bad wolf lighting a match to the little pig’s house of straw. All her life Rania has had to deal with the expectations of her tribe. She was selected as the link between the people and their ancestors, the Wolf-Whisperer, and while she’s not one to believe in all the mystical stuff her tribal elders spout off, she’s intimately connected to her family and the tribe and trying desperately to bring them into the modern world. But by working with Slade, she uncovers hidden things about her world as well and suddenly what’s always seemed to safe and secure is anything but. As far as actors and actresses, I’d say I could see a younger Thandy Newton playing Rania and maybe Jake Gyllenhaal playing Slade. Whoever plays Slade would have to be able to carry off that scruffy look well.
TSP: What do you have coming up next with your writing and is there any top secret info you can share with us?
TM: LOL. I’ve always got something I’m working on. Currently I’m working on a novella for the Holiday with a Vampire anthology out late this year from Harlequin Nocturne. I’m also doing edits on HER BIG, BAD WOLF, which is the next story in the Sons of Midnight series focusing on what happens to the secondary character werewolf Tyee Grayson who’s in THE HALF-BREED VAMPIRE. It’ll be my first look at the world from a werewolf hero’s point of view, but there’s still plenty of vampire action in it too. I’m also writing on my final book in the Legend Chronicles steampunk romance trilogy. As far as top secret goes: It hasn’t been decided yet if HER BIG, BAD WOLF will be the last book in the Sons of Midnight series or not. Since the line focuses on many different types of paranormal romance, they like to keep us changing things up as we write. If the series is something you want to see more of, now’s the time to let Harlequin know otherwise Sons of Midnight might be wrapping up shortly.
TSP: How do you feel about the digital revolution and how has it affected your writing and the way you market yourself? Do you have an eReader yourself?
TM: In many ways I think we’re living through the same level of evolution in reading as society underwent when Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press in the 1440s. It forever changed how people received the written word. In many ways it hasn’t impacted my actual writing at all. I’m still writing stories the same way I always have, but it has greatly impacted the way in which readers can access those stories. Now they aren’t locked into a printed book. They can download it to their phone, to a digital device or an e-reader. I don’t think it’ll be the end of print books, just like the movie industry didn’t disappear just because people got televisions in their homes. Good stories will always be in demand as a source of entertainment. Yes, I have an eReader myself, but a very dated one, an earlier Sony reader. I’m looking at a new e-Reader, but right now I’m so busy writing, reading is more of a carrot to get me to finish my pages rather than something I have dedicated time to do.
TSP: My site is all about favorite things. What are some of your favorite things, the things you can't live without?
TM: Oh, tea, definitely! I’m a bit of a tea fanatic. I like all kinds of tea – green, black flavored teas, plain black teas. Most of the time I drink them sweet (usually with stevia) and half and half or milk. I don’t drink coffee. I just don’t like the taste (not even coffee-flavored ice cream or tiramisu – which is just a crime.) Some of my other favorite things include my garden. I plant one every year that usually includes things like tomatoes, strawberries, squash, carrots, potatoes, spinach, swiss chard, herbs and other things for the family table. I also couldn’t live without my kitchen. I do a lot of cooking and baking when I can, as well as canning. We’ve got fruit trees and berry bushes on our mini-farm, so summer and fall are busy times to make jams, make applesauce, or freeze berries for Blueberry Coffeecake in the winter months. My husband and I also make a batch of blackberry wine each year to give as gifts to family and friends for the holidays. Growing up with an Italian grandmother on one side and a German/Austrian grandmother on the other, I ended up spending a lot of time in the kitchen and gathered around the family table. I also wouldn’t want to have to give up my sewing machine. I really enjoy designing and sewing up my own steampunk costumes, costumes for the kids during Halloween, items for my house and gifts for friends.
TSP: Thanks for being on my site and taking the time to answer my questions!
TM: Thanks for inviting me! I’ve had so much fun visiting your site today!
Book Three in the Sons of Midnight mini-series
February 21, 2012
Ignorant of his true heritage, half-breed vampire Slade Donovan is fated to feel like an outsider among his clan. Until a mysterious woman arrives with the ability to unlock his secrets—and make him crave a future he never believed he could have….
As a Game Warden, Raina Ravenwing has only one mission in the Cascade Mountains: to track down a pack of rare wolves that is terrorizing her tribe. Her instant attraction to Slade is a distraction the beautiful wolf whisperer can't afford, unless she agrees to let him help her. Yet working so closely together only intensifies their passion…even as the unfolding truth of Slade's identity threatens everything Raina holds sacred and could potentially destroy both their worlds.
Total bliss only lasted four hours.
Hey, Donovan. You got a visitor. The sound of his commander, Achilles Stefano's voice echoed in his head, waking him from a dead sleep and leaving his ears ringing.
Slade grimaced, turned over in his tangled sheets. Talk about lousy timing. Can it wait?
No. Get your ass in here.
What vampire on earth would want to speak to him at this ungodly hour? Either something was wrong, or was going to be. Slade grumbled. He grappled the sides of his sleeping spot, a double-wide grave-sized hole carved out of the gray bedrock, the black satin sheets pooling around his hips as he sat up.
He phased himself a fresh-showered look and clean fatigues so he'd at least look presentable, then focused pulling his energy together at his core, visualizing the security room inside the clan headquarters, so he could transport.
An image of pale green smooth walls and military issue furniture circa 1950 filled his mind, accented by the musty smell that pervaded the room despite the heat thrown off by the banks of flat-screen computers. A pull, centered at his navel yanked him by the balls inside out as he transported from his position in the Cascade Mountains to the complex system of passages and rooms fifty feet below the asphalt streets and buildings of Seattle.
The minute his particles knit back together he could see exactly why the hour was so damn late, or rather so damn early. His visitor wasn't a vampire. It was the woman from the woods, only now she was in full uniform for a state police officer - a pair of olive green pants, a short-sleeved khaki shirt with matching olive green breast pocket flaps and epaulets, a standard issue gun belt, ugly black shoes, and her glorious ebony hair pulled back in a no-nonsense bun at her nape. Damn. Double Damn. The cop.
Before being brought into the clan, he'd had his share of run-ins with the law and still felt uncomfortable around cops. Even pretty, strawberry-scented ones. He glanced at Achilles. His commander was one-hundred-percent pure golden Spartan warrior, but his modern military-short hair cut was starting to grow out. His hard jaw didn't flex in a smile, but the wicked twinkle in his unnaturally green eyes said he knew something about this woman Slade didn't.
Slade shifted, crossing his arms over his chest, forcing himself not to wince at the sharp sting in his ribs that were still a little tender. "Can I help you?"
She extended a slender hand. Her nails were short and mostly clean, only a few had fine traces of dirt underneath.
"I'm Raina Ravenwing, Mr. Blackwolf." She said smoothly, extending her hand. There was no sign of recognition in her dark brown eyes. "Fish and Wildlife Officer with the state wildlife department." She clarified, just in case the emblem on her sleeve didn't do the job.
He stared at her hand but didn't take it, and she let it drop. "Sorry, wrong guy. Last name's Donovan. If that's it, I'm out of here." He turned on his heel, giving her his back as he headed for the door.
"So you go by your mother's maiden name?"
That stopped him cold. His mother's maiden name? He didn't know whose name it was, let alone why he'd used it for as long as he could remember. The only glimpse of his mother - at least he thought it was her - were distorted slow-motion images he saw in his daymares.
Dark hair, wide brown-sugar eyes. A wide-generous mouth, which smiled one moment and screamed the next. A wash of red blood and the howl of wolves.
To think Officer Raina Ravenwing knew something about him that he didn't even know about himself rankled. He turned slowly, facing her once more. "Couldn't tell you. Don't know."
The petite woman widened her stance, pulled her shoulders back and stiffened her spine. "Well, Mr. Donovan, I've been told you're a wolf expert of sorts." Her gaze flicked to Achilles briefly, disbelief evident in the firm set of her generous mouth.
The dark hairs prickled all along Slade's arm. Somehow, gut deep, he knew she wasn't here to talk about just wolves. "I guess."
"Don't let him fool you Officer Ravenwing. There's not another vampire who can track better than Donovan." It was true. Slade's senses were more finely tuned than most of the other vamps in the clan. That's why he'd been tapped to be in the security detail by the commander himself. While his technical specialty was explosives, tracking came in a close second. Very close.
She stuck her chin out a bit, almost daring him. "What do you know about unusually large wolves in our area?"
Slade brushed at the slowly healing cut at his scalp line. Good. She didn't remember a thing. Weres weren't something you talked about in polite vampire society, let alone with mortals. They were less than mortal. A cruel joke of the gods. A cross between an unpredictable animal and an unsympathetic mortal.
"There've been reports of some rather unusual wolves causing trouble in the edges of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. The people are getting lathered up about it and ready to go on a wolf hunt."
"So let them."
Her eyes narrowed. She crossed her arms over her chest, making her B-cup breasts jut out enticingly. At least he thought they were B-cups. They might be just a shade larger, but he wouldn't be able to tell unless he got his hands on them.
Whoa. Where had that come from? Slade flexed his fingers, reigning in his wayward thoughts. She wasn't even his type. Of course, who the hell did he think he was kidding? Female was his type. It was police officer that wasn't.
"My job as a Game Warden, Mr. Donovan, is to protect these animals and enforce the laws in this state. The fact that they've returned at all and may be migrants from the reestablished packs in Idaho or Montana is significant enough. They're an important part of our ecosystem and until I find out who or what is really behind these attacks, I'm doing my best not to let anyone near those wolves."
The scrape on his scalp was beginning to itch like holy hell and he wasn't really interested in her long-winded eco lecture. "Lady, the wolves aren't in any danger. If you want my advice, you'd do better to worry about keeping people away from them."
"It's Officer Ravenwing, Mr. Donovan, and that's about what I expected from a vampire." She said the last word with such distain that Slade could smell the sulfur of it like rotten eggs tainting the air.
Achilles stepped closer placing a huge hand on her delicate shoulder. "Officer Ravenwing, Donovan will be happy to help you with whatever you need to bring your investigation to a close."
Slade glared at his commander. What the hell? I don't want to be anywhere near her.
Achilles glanced back at him, his words echoing loud and clear in Slade's head. She's part of the mortals' law enforcers, so we will cooperate fully. We don't need them digging up problems with the Wenatchee Were Pack to put at our door. You'll help her or you'll be pulling day shift for the next decade. Do I make myself clear?
Achilles gave the game warden a nod, and she relaxed. "If you'll excuse me, Officer Ravenwing, I have another pressing matter." He grasped her free hand and lightly brushed the back of it with a brief kiss. "I'll leave you to fill Donovan in on how you want this handled."
She gave Achilles a generous smile that pissed off Slade even more.
She blushed slightly. "Thanks for your help."
Achilles vanished in a swirl of dark particles as he transported from the room leaving Slade alone with the cop.
He glared at Officer nature girl. Just because he had to help her didn't mean he had to like it. "What do you need?"
"I need your help tracking one of them down so I can find out if they've established a new pack from the groups further east, or if they are a new breed or rare mutation. And find out what's really going on with this rash of incidents."
Damn. Double Damn. Sure, waltz in on the Were territory and give them a 'hey, whatz up?' Why didn't she just ask him to go stake his balls to the ground and sunbathe nude? That would be less painful. Well, maybe. "So you want me to go on a nature hike with you?"
Raina restrained herself from making a smart-ass comeback. If nothing else she was a professional. She would have preferred to have Achilles go with her. At least he could be trusted and had some respect for her badge. With Donovan it was a whole other matter.
Everything about him shouted 'danger', from the rumble of his deep voice and dark good looks to his tiger-like topaz eyes. But it was his broad shoulders encased in black tight black t-shirt and military cut camo fatigues and wide jaw bisected by a devil-may-care dent in his chin that made him appear intriguing, which were an even greater danger to any female in sight. That was, if he'd been her type. Which he wasn't.
Something at the edge of her mind nagged her. She'd seen him before. He'd done something horrible. But no matter how hard she concentrated it floated in her memory just out of reach.
"It's a bit more complicated than that. There's an investigation currently underway. I need to track one down and put a locator on it."
He glanced away, sending not so subtle uninterested signals her way. "I'm sorry am I boring you, Mr. Donovan?"
He shook his head. "Locator. Please continue."
Raina was slightly surprised he had actually been listening. "I need to know if there's only one, or if there are more and if so, what the pack's territory is so I can advise the state game department of potential impact on the local farmers and the game in the area."
She didn't like the way he narrowed his eyes. The air around him swirled with a potent mixture of testosterone and wild side that were too intense to be comfortable. While his commander was at least polite, Slade Blackwolf, or Donovan, or whatever he wanted to call himself, was barely civilized.
He reeked of bad boy, something she'd tried scrupulously to avoid since graduating the police academy. If she got close enough she could probably smell motorcycle fumes and leather on him if she tried. But she had no intention of getting that close, now or ever. Getting mixed up with a bad boy was career suicide for a cop, especially a young female cop, no matter what department she worked in.
This was business, plain and simple. Being a game warden offered her an opportunity to help out her tribe in a practical way instead of all the hocus-pocus they kept insisting she was somehow tied to as part of their hopelessly outdated beliefs.
From what she'd been able to discover he was her best chance at finding the elusive wolves. So far everything else she'd tried had gotten her squat. And if things went on much longer it wouldn't be just the state she'd have to deal with, the Feds would get involved since her investigation was criss-crossing areas of the Wenatchee National Forest. She needed to find those wolves. Now.
"Sounds like a lost cause. Can't prove something's perfectly harmless when it's not."
Raina didn't like his belligerent attitude any more than his bad-boy demeanor. "Look, if you aren't capable of helping me-"
Between one breath and the next she found herself wedged up against the wall. A hard male body too dangerously close to her own in front and the rough edges of a cold brick wall digging into her back. Power, like smoke billowing from a forest fire, rolled off of him in waves. He pinned her, his arms on either side, a lethal look in his golden eyes that was mesmerizing like a wild animal's. She'd never been this close to an actual vampire before and it scared the hell out of her.
With an audible flick his sharp fangs appeared out of the gums just above his very normal looking teeth. His voice came out low, almost a growl. "I'm perfectly capable of doing anything you could possibly need done, Officer Ravenwing. But let's get one thing straight. You came to me. You need me. So if I tell you to jump when we're out there bushwhacking, you don't ask why, you just jump. I don't want have to explain to my commander why I came back with a dead game warden. Are we clear?"
Rania managed to gather enough moisture in her dry mouth to swallow, but words were beyond her. All she could manage was a nod, her heart pounding so hard her pulse throbbed in her fingers and toes.
All the resolve she'd made to keep good and gone from bad boys of any kind began to dissolve, running like heated honey through her veins. He was too close and it was too confining. She tried to push against him, her hands on his broad chest, and found herself falling forward and stumbling.
He'd dissolved beneath her touch into nothing but smoke, then reappeared on the other side of the room, in less time than it had taken her to blink. His large hand was where hers had been a moment before, his eyes darker than before.
His voice came out almost a growl. "Next time you touch me, it had better be because you want to."
Raised by a bibliophile who made the dining room into a library, Theresa has always been a lover of books and stories. First a writer for newspapers, then for national magazines, she started her first novel in high school, eventually enrolling in a Writer's Digest course and putting the book under the bed until she joined Romance Writers of America in 1993.
In 2005 she was selected as one of eleven finalists for the American Title II contest, the American Idol of books. She is married to the first man she ever went on a real date with (to their high school prom), who she knew was hero material when he suffered through having to let her parents drive, and her brother sit between them in the backseat of the car. They currently live in a Victorian house on a mini farm in the Pacific Northwest with their two children, three cats, an old chestnut Arabian gelding, an energetic mini-Aussie shepherd puppy, several rabbits, a dozen chickens and an out-of-control herb garden.
You can find her online on Twitter, Facebook, at her Web site or blogging with the other Lolitas of STEAMED!
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