Aug 26, 2008

Interview with Jeanne C. Stein



Jeanne C. Stein is the author of the bestselling series the Anna Strong Chronicles.

Despite a brutal introduction to the vampire world Anna relies on her inner strength and unflinching morality to pull her through. She is a character I like and admire. Book 4, Legacy, comes out today.

After you read the interview check the contest notes that follow.

PVN: Jeanne, it's a pleasure to welcome you to Patricia's Vampire Notes.

JS: Thanks, Patricia. It's a pleasure to be here.

PVN: How did you come up with the character of Anna? She is quite an amazing gal!

JS: Anna Strong is a character I’d carried around in my head for a long time. She’s the ultimate powerful female, confident, loyal, committed to protecting the ones she loves. She’s a little bit Buffy, a little bit everywoman. She’d make a damned good friend even if she is a vampire!

PVN: How did you decide on the characteristics of your vampires?

JS: I knew from the start that I wanted to set my books in my hometown of San Diego and that I wanted Anna to live at Mission Beach. I just couldn’t bring myself to relegating her to the dark. So I decided early on that my vampires would have adapted to sunlight. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Vampires have been around forever. Like man emerging from the primordial ooze, vampires emerged from the dark. Some things, though, had to remain the same. She had to subsist on human blood and have superhuman strength and be immortal. The one bit of lore I wish I hadn’t subscribed to, though, was the “casting no reflection” bit. It’s silly and since my vampires do retain their souls, I could easily have skipped that one. I just realized it too late! As a result, Anna has to be constantly aware of mirrors when she’s interacting with humans. It’s a pain for both of us.

PVN: Would you tell us a bit about Legacy and where Anna may be headed next?

JS: In Legacy, Anna is confronted by a woman who claims to be the widow of Avery—the vampire in book one who seduced Anna only to betray her in the worst way. The woman wants Avery’s estate and no matter how Anna tries to make it clear she’s happy to relinquish it, it soon becomes evident that there’s more than money at stake. The woman is out for Anna’s blood.

PVN: In the anthology Many Bloody Returns you write about a witch named Sophie. The story The Witch and the Wicked is very clever and funny. Would you tell us a bit about Sophie? Will we be seeing her with Anna?

JS: Sophie, the witch with a split personality, makes an appearance in book five—Retribution. She and her alter ego, Jonathan Deveraux, help Anna save Culebra’s life when he comes under the spell of Belinda Burke—the evil witch from the Watcher. I like Sophie and hope to bring her back again…maybe even in a book of her own.

PVN: Please describe your writing day and writing environment.

JS: I’m an early riser and try to be at my computer by 6 AM. My office is an alcove off my bedroom and I love it—I have my desktop MAC and reference books and a comfortable chair and when I’m there, I’m ready to work. Of course, there’s email to check and promo to work and the business stuff to take care of first so it’s about 8:30 or 9 before I’m actually writing. I work until 11, take a break for lunch and some kind of work-out (the gym or a walk) and then back at 1. I generally write until about 5 in the afternoon, later if it’s going really well. I aim for at least 5 pages a day. I’m generally done by 6, though, after that, my brain slows to a crawl. I spend the rest of the evening in “research” mode—with TV and books!

PVN: What are your favorite books and authors in the paranormal genre?

JS: I read so many different authors, it’s hard to list favorites. Charlaine Harris with her Sookie books was probably the first author after Anne Rice to capture my imagination with her original take on the vampire mythos. Then there’s LKH, of course, followed by anything Joss Whedon. More recently, I’ve added Richelle Mead, Jackie Kessler, Mark Henry, Mario Acevedo, Anthony Strout…I could go on and on. There are so many new and outstanding writers, there’s hardly enough time to read everyone I’d like to. That’s the one drawback of writing for a living—it cuts into your reading time!

PVN: And are there any paranormal favorites on TV or in the movies?

JS: Of course—I enjoyed the Sarah Connor Chronicles so I’m glad it’s coming back for a second season. I love Dexter. Lost. Heroes. Smallville. And I'm sure you know Charlaine’s Southern Vampire series is premiering on HBO this fall. I can hardly wait.

As for movies, just saw Dark Knight—I didn’t expect to like it so much. My favorite vampire movie, though, has to be Near Dark. I’m not picky when it comes to movies—if the story is good and the characters well defined, I usually enjoy them.

PVN: Jeanne, thanks once again!

JS: You're very welcome. It's always fun for me to connect with readers. I appreciate all the support Anna and I have been shown. And I'm very happy to announce I've accepted a contract for two more books-- that means Anna will be around to recount even more adventures. In fact, the next, tentatively titled Retribution, is scheduled for a spring 2009 release date.

PVN: Great news! Congratulations!!

____________________________________________________________

Now for the contest information.
Jeanne is offering a copy of Legacy (with a set of four book cover magnets) to two lucky readers.

For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:

*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.

*Ask Jeanne a question. Each question counts as an entry.

*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.

Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at midnight August 27, 2008.

Winners will be announced on Thursday August 28, 2008.

56 comments:

Patricia said...

Jeanne a few early birds sent comments so I will post them here. The first is from Storeetllr

From: Storeetllr said...

I read your reviews, and this series sounds good! Sign me up to win Legacy, please. Of course, if I win, that means I have to go out and buy the first three. There's method to the madness of giving away free copies! :)

Patricia said...

Here is the next comment from Kate

Kate said...

I'm intrigued by this character and would like to add this series to my readings in this genre.

I'm also intrigued by the mix of vulnerability (the psychological scars) and the invincibility. This seems to be a more prevalent theme in recent vampire literature and vampire television shows (Angel, Mick St. John).

Or has this always been the case...has there always been a vulnerability in vampire characters? And if not, why do you think we have been seeing more of that recently?

Jeanne Stein said...

Storeetllr said: Of course, if I win, that means I have to go out and buy the first three. There's method to the madness of giving away free copies! :)

You guessed it-- I just hope if you read Legacy, you like it enough to WANT to buy the other three!!

thanks for playing--

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

Kate said: has there always been a vulnerability in vampire characters? And if not, why do you think we have been seeing more of that recently?

Hi Kate-- I think the recent popularity of vamps on TV being shown as more than predators has a lot to do with it. I know Joss Whedon is one of my influences. Buffy and Angel opened up a whole new contemporary vampire world.

Thanks for the question--

jeanne

tetewa said...

Paranormal is my favorite genre to read (I love reading about vamps). Glad to see you here today, your a new author for me and looks like I have another new series to check out. A couple of questions, first do you listen to any music while writing and if so what? I also noticed that you watch some of the same shows that I do. Have you checked out Supernatural yet? This is my favorite guilty pleasure right now and I'm looking forward to the new season starting in a couple of weeks. Enjoyed your interview today!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Jeanne. Great interview. Good to see you here. Your books sound great. It sounds like you have created some fantastic heroines. I am a big paranormal fan and your books sound like my kind of read. :)

Diana Dang said...

Great interview! I like to make my vampire characters adapt to things too. Like sunlight and crucifixes. Sometimes it does become a little clique so you have to change some things around.

faked_sugartone at hotmail.com

RachaelfromNJ said...

Great interview! I love to hear what an author enjoys reading and watching on TV. I love the show Dexter too and it's returning at the end of September for it's 3rd season, YAYY!!

I have books 1 and 2 but tragically havent read them yet. I would love to win book 4, and I'd run out and buy book 3 so I could read all 4 books at once. This series sounds awesome and like something I'd love. I remember originally picking up the books because of the word bounty hunter in the description and I was sold. LOL :)

I don't know how you write for so many hours a day! So long! I would be exhausted.

I love all of your answers and I'm very intrigued to read your books now.

My question for you is: If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be and why that power?

One more question: If you could collaborate a book with any one author, who would it be and why them?

RachaelfromNJ said...

I just blogged about this interview and contest AND linked to it too on my blog at http://booklover07202.blogspot.com

ReadingIsSoMuchFun said...

Hi Jeanne.

I enjoy learning more about an author and their writing. Loved the interview.

Thank you to my friend RachaelfromNJ for telling me about this contest. She's the one who hooked me onto Dexter and I can't wait for it to come back in September!

If you could date any male character from any book, who would it be and why?

Do you have a journal or a note book with a story you first wrote in it but have yet released?

Is there any other genres that you would like to explore in your writing?

readingissomuchfun at yahoo dot com

Hugssss
LindaH

I posted about the interview and contest on my blog at http://readingissomuchfun.blogspot.com/2008/08/interview-and-contest-on-patricias.html

Jeanne Stein said...

Tetewa wrote: A couple of questions, first do you listen to any music while writing and if so what? I also noticed that you watch some of the same shows that I do. Have you checked out Supernatural yet?

I don't listen to music when I write-- I find it too distracting. The kine of music I like makes me want to sing along and then I lose my train of thought!! I'm not very good at multi-tasking.

You know, I haven't watched Supernatural. I think I'm afraid I'll like it and it will be another show I have to record to watch later. My time seems to be at a premium lately. I have heard good things about it, though.

J.

Lise said...

I love the details about the worldbuilding you've done for your vampires. It is always great when an author takes an old "truism" and creates an alternative, with a good explanation.

I'm also thrilled to see you have witches in your books, and while I have not read one yet, have been convinced that I need to seek you out, Jeanne!

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Crystal & Diana-- glad you enjoyed the interview. Making the vampires my own is part of the fun of writing an UF series like this. It allows a writer latitude to try new things.

thanks for stopping by today--

J.

Jeanne Stein said...

Rachel's questions: If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be and why that power?

One more question: If you could collaborate a book with any one author, who would it be and why them?

Hmmm--two good questions. If I could have a supernatural power, I think I'd like to be able to fly. Think of how much easier it would be to get from one place to the other. Even trying to drive into Denver is a challenge with the DNC going on. And since I'm doing so much traveling to promote Legacy, it would save me a lot of time in airports. Course, I'd have to figure out how to carry luggage. I never saw Superman have that problem, did you?

I am collaborating on a fantasy work now with a local author, Susan Smith. It take place during WWI and it's an angel/demon story. We're hoping my agent sells it so we can finish the book.

Thanks to you, too, by the way, for spreading the word on the interview.

Best, Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

From Linda:If you could date any male character from any book, who would it be and why?

Probably Anna's new boyfriend, Lance-- he's a model with a house in Malibu. Okay, I admit it. I'm shallow.

Do you have a journal or a note book with a story you first wrote in it but have yet released?

I don't have a journal--I have five completed manuscripts down in the basement. All straight mysteries. All written before I knew what I was doing. They will probably never see the light of day!! ;-) They did teach me a thing or two, though, about writing.

Is there any other genres that you would like to explore in your writing?

I'm not sure I have the time to do any exploring right now. But who knows when an idea will strike? If it does, I'd pursue it for sure.

Thanks for playing!

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

Thank you, Lise. Now the witch in my books up to now, Belinda Burke, practices black magic. And she comes back in the fifth book, Retribution--spring of 2009. But in that book there is also a good witch, Sophie. I introduced her in a story I wrote for an anthology--Many Bloody Returns. She's one of my favorite characters and someday, I'd like to write her story as well.

Good luck in the contest!

Jeanne

Patricia said...

Jeanne

Amber had problems commenting so I'm posting for her.

______________________

Hi Jeanne! Great to see you over here on Patricia's Blog!

I am on chapter 9 of Legacy and I am really enjoying it. I just wish I had more time to read right now.

I wanted to know how you came up with the name Anna Strong? I know she is aptly named...she is indeed strong...but I wondered why that particular name.

All the best from Vienna
Amber

--------------------------------

Great interview by the way! You beat me to it...I have my interview with Jeanne ready to post but I need to find a slot for her! Other authors got to me first :)

Amber

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Amber-- my friend from Vienna-- :-)

There is a funny story about the name-- I wanted my character's name to be Hannah Storm. I like the way it sounds--a force of nature. But here in the US, we have a newswoman with that name and she anchors a very popular morning show. So I played with the name until I came up with something similar--Anna Strong. Now I really like it and think it's just as powerful.

Names can be tricky!!!

Good to hear from you today!

J.

Patricia said...

RachaelfromNJ said...

I just blogged about this interview and contest AND linked to it too on my blog at http://booklover07202.blogspot.com

Hey Rachel,

Thanks so much for the link!

Patricia said...

Jeanne

I'm posting these questions from Carol.

I linked your website on my blog here:
http://carolsbloggys.blogspot.com/

And I have two questions for Jeanne Stein:
1) Have you read the Breaking Dawn series, and what do you think of it?
2) What got you interested in writing about vampires?

Wendy said...

Hi, Jeanne!

Great interview, I've read book 1 and 2 of the Anna Strong chronicles but haven't read book 3 - yet! :)

How many books do you plan to write for Anna?

Wendy said...

Oh! I have another question, heh - are you an outliner or do you let the characters and story lead you?

By the way, the Sookie series is probably one of my favorites ever, I can't wait for TrueBlood!

Jeanne Stein said...

Carol asked:
1) Have you read the Breaking Dawn series, and what do you think of it?
2) What got you interested in writing about vampires?

Hi Carol-- No, I haven't had a chance to read any of Stephenie Meyer's books yet. Hope to soon. Right now my reading plate is full. I'm assuming you are a fan. What is it that you find so appealing? As a writer, I'm very interested, of course.

2. I've loved vampires since I first read Bram Stoker. Then came Anne Rice and LKH and I was hooked.

thanks for stopping by.

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Wendy-- we are in agreement about Sookie and True Blood-- I can hardly wait.

How many books do you plan to write for Anna?
I hope to write as many as they'll (meaning the publisher) let me!! I have book five completed and am just starting on book six.

are you an outliner or do you let the characters and story lead you?

I was a "seat of the pantser" until the last book--book five. Then it didn't work for me so I had to do an outline. My first. It made writing that book so much easier, though, I think I'll probably do it that way from now on.

Jeanne

Katie said...

Jeanne-

Great interview! I can't wait to read Legacy! Thank goodness for the long weekend! I am going to get my read on!

I'm a little concerned about the direction of The Sarah Connor Chronicles for season 2. The previews all seem to show the female terminator is going to turn on John. I can't see that as a good direction.

Thanks again!
Katie

Night critter said...

Hi Jeanne,

I'm an early riser too. I'm up by 5 am to take the dogs for a walk before work. Do you have any pets?

ReadingIsSoMuchFun said...

Hi Jeanne, thank you for answering my questions :-)Nothing wrong with wanting a man that is a model who has a house in Malibu :)

I guess my next question got answer so the manuscripts you have won't be published *g* I am glad to hear it did teach you some things about writing.

If you decide to write another genre I would love to hear more about it :-)

You are welcome and thank you.

Hugssss
LindaH

Carmen R said...

Hi Jeanne, I just wanted to say I love your Anna Strong series and can't wait until I can get my hands on Legacy. I think the woman claiming to be avery's widow coming into the picture will be a interesting twist. it seem Anna never gets a break and that just seems like something that would happen to her. Thanks for writing such great books.

Pam P said...

Great interview Jeanne. A couple of people recently recommended the series to me, so I'd love to win one having just added them to my witchlist. Sophie sounds very intriguing with that alter-ego of hers.

Wendy said...

Thanks for answering my questions! I hope you get to write tons more too. :)

Pamk said...

okay you've hooked I agree that vamps should evolve just like all humans and animals. I have just added you to my tbb list.
scrtsbpal(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pamk said...

Sookie is one of my favorite characters. Love those books and am looking forwrad to see how they translate to the tv screen.

Caffey said...

Hi Jeanne! I got a post card of the new book LEGACY and so excited the new book is out! Huge congrats! They have given you awesome covers that so fit the books! I know the covers aren't everything but we do know that many pick up the cover to get a feel for the story!

Do you think MANY BLOODY RETURNS will go to paperback? I really don't want these books to end! But I do have to ask if you working on any other books or series in the meantime. What do we have to look forward to? So great to read your interview! I posted about it on my blog at:

http://caffeys-reads.blogspot.com/

Hope it brings more readers to you that are missing this series! Hi too Patricia!!

windycindy said...

Hi, I would like to know what made you want to write about the paranormal versus other genres?! Do you do any research before your write your books? I am not sure if this is the place where I am to add "A Soldier's Secret Child" due out in December. Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Jeanne Stein said...

Kate said:
I'm a little concerned about the direction of The Sarah Connor Chronicles for season 2. The previews all seem to show the female terminator is going to turn on John. I can't see that as a good direction.

I haven't seen any previews. I can't believe they'd follow that line. I hope not, anyway. Summer Glau's character is one of the best of the show. I think I read somewhere that John isn't going to be such a wuss this year and will start acting like a leader. THAT would be nice!

Jeanne Stein said...

Nitecritter asked: Do you have any pets?

No. I have enough trouble taking care of myself! My daughter (an adult) just got her first dog, though. She's always been a cat person--and I have to tell you, she and that dog have bonded like I can't believe. She was a rescue dog and in a very shot time, the two have become inseparable. It's amazing!

Maybe someday...

J.

Jeanne Stein said...

No. Thank YOU, Linda... :-)

J.

Jeanne Stein said...

To Carmen & Pam-- thanks so much for taking a chance on Anna. I hope you won't be disappointed!

Best, Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

To Pam & Wendy-- let me know what you think. I can be reached at my website. This really goes out to everyone-- I love hearing from readers so please do keep in touch!

J.

Jeanne Stein said...

Caffey said: Do you think MANY BLOODY RETURNS will go to paperback? I really don't want these books to end! But I do have to ask if you working on any other books or series in the meantime. What do we have to look forward to? So great to read your interview! I posted about it on my blog.

As a matter of fact, Many Bloody Returns will be released in Trade paper Feb 3rd-- so that's some news. Just got the date a month or so ago.

I'm working on the sixth Anna book--the fifth comes out next spring. I think I mentioned I'm also working on a WWI story with a co-author that involves a conflict between angels and demons that affects the war on Earth. My agent is shopping that around now so we'll have to see.

Thanks for spreading the word on your blog! I appreciate it!

J.

Jeanne Stein said...

Cindi asked:I would like to know what made you want to write about the paranormal versus other genres?! Do you do any research before your write your books?

I like the Urban Fantasy genre because it reflects what I most enjoy reading--contemporary, edgy, a mix of mystery, paranormal and thriller. It's very liberating for an author to have that kind of freedom. It's also FUN!! :-)

The only research I've done is on the myths surrounding the paranormal creatures I use in my books.Even then, I've tweaked them to fit my world. Like vampires adapting to sunlight.

Are you a writer? Is "A Soldier's Secret Child" your first book? If it is, congratulations and good luck!

Best, Jeanne

Anonymous said...

I usually have a problem leaving a comment with Blogger, but here goes.

Great Interview, Jeanne. This is the first time I'm visiting "Patricia Vampire Notes". I plan to do a little digging around in past blogs when I get a sec.

Just an idea for the reflection problem you mentioned with Anna. Isn't there any way that as Anna matures as a vampire, she begins to catch glimpses of herself? It might be an interesting progress.

Liz Kreger
www.lizkreger.com
"Forget About Tomorrow" - Samhain Publishing

Jeanne Stein said...

Liz says: Just an idea for the reflection problem you mentioned with Anna. Isn't there any way that as Anna matures as a vampire, she begins to catch glimpses of herself? It might be an interesting progress.

I actually did something like this in Watcher-- I had Anna captured on a digital camera and for the first time, she saw herself as a vampire. I will do this again as the stories progress.

Thanks for stopping by, Liz. And I often have trouble leaving comments, too-- I wondered if it was because I use a MAC--

Jeanne

ReadingIsSoMuchFun said...

You're welcome Jeanne :-)

Hugssss
LindaH

Renee said...

I love the Anna Strong books, an am looking forward to Legacy.
I also really enjoyed the short story in Many Bloody Returns, and hope that Sophie makes it into her own book soon!

Anonymous said...

I got here from Biting Edge and have read all of Mario's books. I'm always pleased when I find info on "new to me" authors who are recommended by favorite authors. It gives me stuff to look for in the book store :-)

Zita Hildebrandt
Halifax, NS

Jeanne Stein said...

Thank you, Renee. I hope Sophie gets a book of her own, too.

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Zita-- Thanks for stopping by. Hope you like Anna as much as Mario's Felix!

Jeanne

Lori T said...

Hi Jeanne~

Great interview!

How many books do you have planned for Anna?

Wow, some of your favorite authors are some of mine too!

I am definitely thinking of signing up for HBO just so that I can watch the series.

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi Jeanne!
Thanks for answering my questions! :) I'm enjoying reading everyone's questions and the answers. Very interesting. Can't wait to read your books.

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Lori-- I plan to keep writing Anna as long as she has stories to tell and the publisher will let me--that means, of course, readers have to keep reading. We all need each other!

Can't wait for Sookie on TV!!

Thanks for participating.

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

Thank you, Rachel, for asking--

Keep in touch--

Jeanne

Jeanne Stein said...

thank you everyone for playing-- and thank you, Pat, for inviting me. I hope I can make a return visit.

Good luck all, with the contest.

Best, Jeanne

Patricia said...

Jeanne

Having you here was such a pleasure!

The welcome mat is always out!

bbricke said...

I like some of the same sci fi stuff you like. I can'twait for the Sarah Conner Chronicles and True Blood. I also liked Near Dark.

Who was you favorite character in Near Dark? I liked Bill Paxton's vamp ( he was truly badass. I still haven't decided if it was ok that it was so easy to stop being a vampire in that movie)

Jeanne Stein said...

I think I like Lance Henriksen character best. It's been awhile since I saw the movie (I've got to get a copy for myself) but he had some really good smart-ass lines if I remember correctly.

And you're right, it's not supposed to be so easy to turn human again. That was the only stickler for me in the film. But all in all, I loved the humor.

Thanks for adding a comment. I just got back from DragonCon and I'm still in recovery mode!

Jeanne