Dec 2, 2008

Lina Gardiner Interview

Lina Gardiner has been writing for many years, but it wasn't until her son and daughter left for college and university that she began to write in ernest. It was her way of coping with empty nest syndrome.
Says Lina, "When I wrote 'Grave Illusions,' my first paranormal, it felt like my writing came alive. I loved my characters and the story exploded onto the pages." Since then she has published a sequel Beyond the Grave.

At the end of this interview look for contest information. Lina is offering a copy of both books to one lucky commenter. She will also be checking from throughout today and tomorrow to respond to questions of comments.

Lina, welcome to Patricia's Vampire Notes!

Describe the vampire world that you have created.

Lina: My vampire world is set in today’s New York City. In my world, Vampires are still unknown to most humans although there is a contingent of vampire hunters within the New York City Police Department – two vampire police officers and the rest are human. Select police officers are privy to the volatile knowledge that vampires hunt and kill in New York City and it is their job to take out these deadly night stalkers whose strength is much greater than humans. In order to keep people safe and to stop panic, the NYPD has very secret black ops unit that fights vampires in New York, they’re trained by Jess and James so that they have a chance to win against these inhuman monsters. Besides the legitimate police officers on the team, they hire disgraced ex-cops, criminals and the dregs of society who agree to fight vampires because they have to be tough and they have to be expendable.

PVN: Would you explain the complex relationship of Britt and Jess?

Lina: Tortured. ☺ Britt’s career, his marriage and his life up until he met Jess had been ruined by vampires. And even before he knew vampires existed he seemed to be drawn into their dark world. When he met Jess there was an instant connection between them, maybe because both their lives had been forever altered by vampirism (in different ways). They love each other desperately, but they have to be self-sacrificing because every time they get close horrible things happen. That doesn’t mean they’re going to give up trying…

PVN: As you know I was very intrigued by Regent, the brother of Jess who is a priest. Where did this unusual character come from?

Lina: I want to say he’s totally fictional, but I do have a younger brother and when I was in high school my best friend was Catholic. I went to church with her often and so liked the religion, I studied Catechism with the local priest. He was a priest in his sixties and we got along very well. I think I went to Catechism longer than most because we enjoyed many a philosophical chat. We even talked about exorcisms. He was a very nice man. Also, one of my very best friends from high school is a priest.

PVN: How many books do you plan for your series? When will we see the next one?

Lina: I’m not sure how many books there’ll be, but definitely more than three. Book three will be written by next spring (hopefully) and if all goes well, it’ll be out in 2009 as well.

PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?

Lina: I’ve always been interested in the unknown. My family is very open minded, for the most part. Even my daughter, who has a science degree, is on the cusp of believing in things beyond her scientific explanation. Even though she might deny it. I had an aunt who was extremely psychic and she had a spirit guide name “Big Chief”. When she died her abilities passed on to my cousin. I guess my interest probably developed early from hearing stories about strange events within the family – psychic abilities and ghosts, mostly. But once your mind is opened to the possibilities and you have an imagination like mine, the paranormal world becomes a new horizon.

PVN: What is your writing environment like? Describe the ambience.

Lina: I have a lovely 11 ft x 11 ft. office in our home. My husband is in the process of building me beautiful floor to ceiling bookcases around the window. I like to write in my office in complete quiet, because I’m one of those writers who sees the story taking place like a movie running in my head. I don’t need music to soothe me or to take me into the writing. If things are going well, I’m already too deep into my world to hear it anyway. If I’m not writing in m
y office, I write on my deck overlooking our flower garden, or at the local Starbucks. I love the atmosphere there. The smell of coffee the scent of thousands of books nearby -- Very energizing.

PVN: Do you have any other writing projects planned?

Lina: Yes, I’m working on another series right now. Not vampires. (that’s all I’ll say about it at the moment) Grin.

PVN: What type of books do you like to read? or TV or Movies that you like to watch?

Lina: I love Mystery: Peter James, Harlen Coben, Tess Gerritsen; Romantic Suspense: Carla Neggers, Christina Dodd, Jayne Ann Krentz, Brenda Novak; etc. Paranormal, Cherry Adair, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lyndsay Sands, Christopher Moore, etc. Young Adult, Scientific books, Stephen Hawking, String Theory, you name it.

When it comes to paranormal books, until my first book was published I hadn’t rea
d any vampire books for years. I didn’t want to read other vampire books and influence my own writing. Now that my vampire world is clearly developed, and it’s all my own, I’m playing catchup -- I’m reading lots of paranormal, and thoroughly enjoying them.

Movies: I like action, mystery, suspense and paranormal and Young Adult.
TV: I’m a huge fan of British mysteries and police procedurals. I like Discovery channel, and Sci Fi, PBS, Nova, as well as Medium, Survivor, Fringe, Eli Stone. (Apparently, I’m watching too much television).

PVN: Do you have any comments you would like to address to readers?

I’d like to thank those of you who have read my first book and have taken the time to email me. It really means a lot. I especially like the emails that tell me not to dare kill Regent. He’s a very popular character and his popularity seems to be growing. He’s a dear, old priest, to be sure.

PVN: Lina, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!


Contest information:
One lucky commenter will win a copy of Grave Illusions as well as Beyond the Grave.

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 Lina 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 your email information so that I will be able to contact you.

This contest ends at 11:59 pm December 3, 2008.

Winners will be announced later in the week.


Anne MacFarlane said...

Hi Line,

The whole concept for your series is very original. Where did the inspiration for your series come from?

Stella MacLean said...

Hi Lina,
And good morning. I see in your interview you're thinking about another series...and it's a secret.
That must be fun. Can you give us a tiny hint?

Kathryn Kelly said...

Hey Lina,
I really enjoyed your interview. Here's a question for you. Before you start writing a book, what is the most important thing you need to know? Your characters? The world you'll create for them? The plot?

Love your stories!

Ruth Schaller said...

Hi Lina~~

I just wanted to say that I read your books out of order. I read Beyond the Grave first. Strange huh? LOL But I loved it!!!!

My question for you is how did you come up with such vivid characters? I loved them all!

Rachel said...

Hi Lina!

Great interview. It is always so fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of an author. :) Thanks for being here today.

What's your favorite type of food? And do you have a favorite beverage?

Kathleen said...

Great interview as usual :)

I have a question for Lina. You say you're playing catch-up with paranormal books. What's the last book/series you read?

blackroze37 said...

wow i really waant to win, i would LOVE to read these books! where have you been hiding, im done behind on your books!

Jackie M (Literary Escapism) said...

Great Interview! I always find such new and exciting authors here at PVN!

Here's a play on the question before me: Which paranormal authors/series have stood out for you? Have you found a favorite?

Your books have 2 vampires in the NYPD, so I'm assuming the other PDs know that are vampires; how can 2 vampires be police officers if vampires hunt and kill in NYC? I guess what I'm asking is, do the vampires have a choice in how they act or is it kind of like the Buffyverse vampires, as in they no longer have their souls, so they are automatically evil? What makes these two vampires different from the rest of their brethren?

Oh, and I mentioned your interview over at LE and on Facebook.

MsValerie said...

Wonderful interview! Thank you.

The premise is very interesting...I love urban fantasy and you certainly can't get more urban than NYC.

I haven't read any of your work yet, but I certainly will now.

xtraliciousssx or stephanie :) said...

OMG. I <3 mysteries too! your book looks a-mazing, can't wait to read it :)


Anonymous said...

I love mystery books, too. Tess Gerritsen is one of my favourites and I see she is one of yours, as well.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Anne; Thanks for dropping in.
Re: Inspiration for my series: I'd been noticing the TV market was moving heavily into vampires and thought it was a good time to jump on the vampire band wagon. I had been trying to write romance before that, but when I wrote my first paranormal the story came alive and I knew I'd found my genre.

Lina Gardiner said...

Dear Stella,
Sorry to be so long in replying, I didn't see these messages until now. Isn't that weird.
All I can say is that my next series is also a paranormal, but not about vampires. Grin.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi there Kate,

The most important thing for me to know is what the conflict is between my characters. Before my world can develop to a point where I'm comfortable writing, that conflict has to be rock solid.

Lina Gardiner said...

Dear Ruth,
You sweetie! You've made my day.
I don't really know how my characters became so fully rounded, but they are in my head as well. I really enjoy writing about them.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Rachel,
My favorite type of food? Home cooked food would be my favorite. Lean meats, and potatoes and veggies, I guess. Aren't I boring? LOL
My favorite beverage is definitely tea.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Kathleen,

The last book I read was a Kinley MacGregor - Lords of Avalon. Right now I'm reading, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young and Night Keepers by Jessica Anderson, I'm looking forward to reading more of Keri Arthur's books, too.

Lina Gardiner said...

Blush! You've made my day, hon.
Thank you so much.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Jackie,
I haven't read enough paranormal books to be very inclusive, but I really enjoyed Cherry Adair's Edge series. It's not often I read one book and run right out and buy the rest. That's what I did with the Edge boys. LOL
Re; your question about the other pds knowing about vampires. No they don't know about them. There's only one undercover black ops team in the city. My two vampires on the team have souls that were partially saved by Regent, Jess's brother, and a priest who my fans have come to adore. protector.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi msValerie!
I'm thrilled to hear you want to read my books. Thanks!!

Lina Gardiner said...

I've always been a huge mystery fan and it shows in my writing. Glad to hear you're looking forward to reading them!

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Wanda,
You are so right about Tess Gerritsen. She's an amazing writer and a lovely person, too.
I'm a huge fan.

Lina Gardiner said...


PS Thanks for spreading the word, hon!

Wanda Maynard said...

I love reading books about and watching vampire movies! Grave Illusions sounds very intriguing. I also love a good crime thriller novel. My question to Mrs. Gardiner is: Would a crime thriller be in your plans in the near or not so near future? :)

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Wanda M.

Oh yes, I have three full-length thriller/Mystery novels written and another one with a teensy paranormal element that is vying to be written. I haven't been sending them off to publishers lately because I've been so busy with paranormal, but I LOVE writing them, too. Some day...sigh

donnas said...

Great interview.

The world you have created sounds fascinating. I cant wait to get my hands on copies of your books.

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lyndsay Sands, Christopher Moore are some of my favorite writers. I am going to have to look up Cherry Adair now too.

With your prior interest in the unknown what made you choose to write about vampires versus all the other paranormal creatures out there? (Not that this is a bad thing, vampires are my favorite, just wondering.) Cant we have just a small hint about the new series? Is it paranormal in basis too?

Cathy said...

Love paranormal romance stories and enjoy movies and tv shows that have a paranormal theme. I've been watching Fringe this season too and looking forward to more Medium.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hello Donna,

Thanks very much! I hope you enjoy the books. I'm sure you'll enjoy Cherry Adair, too.
Why vampires? Okay, I have to tell the truth, I was a huge fan of Christopher Lee's vampire films in the 70s. As well I read most of of Dan Ross, who wrote the Dark Shadows books.

My new series is hush hush right now. LOL

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Cathy,
I like Fringe and Medium as well. I'm glad paranormal programming is still so hot. The only downside for me is I'm watcing too much television because of it. LOL

Carmen R said...

I was wonder how people respond to you mixing in religion ( a priest) and anything paranormal together. Most of the people I have met who are religious tend to not believe in anything paranormal. I have not read your book yet so maybe I'm asking something that is explained in there.


hdtermite (at) yahoo (dot) com

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Carmen,
Good question.
You are actually the first person to mention the aspect of religion in the story. But I think you're right the story evolves in such a way that the religious element just seems natural to the story. In fact it's crucial to the plot.

Misty Evans said...

Hey Lina! Great interview. You know I'm a fan. Since I love mystery and thrillers and paranormal, I hope your new series includes some of each. You do a great job developing characters and keeping the suspense up. I highly recommend your books to everyone!

Misty Evans

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Misty!! Nice to see you here.

I'm a fan of yours, too. You're such a sweetie.
My new series is a sort of a paranormal thriller that will evolve into paranormal mysteries as the books progress.
Hey, you're good. You got more out of me than anyone else. LOL

darbyscloset said...

I thought I had asked you this question yet I cannot find it people get you confused with the author "Lisa Gardner"? You are both excellent suspense writers!!
Thanks so much for your time,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

SciFiGuy said...

Hi Lina I am so glad that Patricia has brought us your interview. I love a good vampire tale and may not have come across your books otherwise.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Darby, there's another row of comments further down the page. There are 11 comments there and that's where you question came up. Here's what I said...

Darby, Sometimes at conferences people get our names mixed up. We write different genres, so it's not a big problem. I've met Lisa a couple of times, at a conference as recently as October. I love her books, too. She's a very nice person.

Lina Gardiner said...

I'm very grateful Patricia offered to do an interview, as well. She's got a fabulous site.

I hope you enjoy my books!!

PatriciaAltner said...

Posted for makrandbron:


A vampire story set in New York! This will be a nice change! As much as I love reading about the South, it is nice to visit somewhere else!

My email:

PatriciaAltner said...

Posted for markandbron:


I always love to hear about a writer’s personal space. When you fall in love with a series it is fun to picture the writer in their space, diligently plugging away at their next great novel!

My email:

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. We watch some of the same tv shows: Fringe and Medium.

Lina Gardiner said...

I love to see the settings in stories evolve, too. I love it when the book plays out like a movie in your head.

In Lillith Saintcrow's Working For The Devil, Dante Valentine series her Urban Paranormal streets are vaguely familar in an alternate reality kind of way.

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Crystal GB. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lina Gardiner said...

PS... Ruth Schaller left a really great review and it can be seen on my webpage at

Thanks so much for the great review Ruth! Much appreciated!!!

Tanya said...

Hello Lina,

My question is when you're having a case of writers block, what do you do to get out of it?

Thanks Patricia for the Interview :)

Lina Gardiner said...

Hi Tanya,
I don't really get writer's block per se, but I do get writers' anxiety. I get partway through the book and I start to panic. I do this every book I write. What I do is force myself to write at least 2 pages every day to get myself past the horrors. LOL I'm at that stage in the book I'm writing right now.

Lina Gardiner said...

I just want to thank you for inviting me as a guest on your blog!
And thank you to everyone who took the time to stop by and chat. It's been nice talking to all of you.
Merry Christmas everyone!