update: the contest portion is closed
Today please welcome Theresa Meyers author of Salvation of the Damned, part of the Silhouette Nocturne Bites line. Salvation is available at www.nocturnebites.com
At the end of the interview will be information about a very special contest.
Welcome Theresa, and thanks for taking the time for this interview.
PVN: What fascinates you about vampires? How did that fascination begin?
Theresa: I think everybody has a fascination with immortality. If people didn't, why would there be so many religions in the world? As characters, vampires interest me because you have someone who is the total embodiment of irony. The are afraid of death (hence why they want to be immortal), and yet they are in essence dead, and in most mythologies must cause death to "live". I also like the fact that they have perspective. Most vampire tales have vampire stories have characters that are hundreds of years old. You can't live that long without learning a thing or two! It makes them more interesting and galvanizes their character. My introduction to vampires began when I watched the movie Lost Boys as a tween in the early 80's. Loved it!
PVN: Tell us about the characteristics of your vampires?
Theresa: My vampires came about because I asked one simple question. Why is it you never hear of vampires that are thousands of years old? They are always hundreds of years old. If they are immortal, why is that?
The more I thought about it the more it became apparent to me that there had to be some biological reason. Bacteria and viruses can bring down even the most powerful predator. I've always had a bit of a fascination with Minoans, Crete, the Etruscans - basically the cultures in the Mediterranean that settled before the Greeks. Their worship of bulls, and the use of blood sacrifice to appease these gods, made me think of vampires.
My vampires are afflicted with a virus that only becomes activated and deadly to them once every thousand years. Without the sacrifice of the right mortal, they all risk turning their true chronological age in 48 hours. When somebody goes from looking 25 to looking 2,500 years old in 48 hours, it's not pretty! My vampires still need blood to survive (although a lot of them find alternative sources rather than fresh feed and they often do eat more than just the blood - see spider note below). All their senses are amped up beyond normal human capacity. Their senses, vision, hearing, taste and touch are far more sensitive than the average human, as is their strength, which has certain benefits as well as repercussions.
They can go into the sun, but choose not to, first because their pupils are so sensitive bright light gives them horrible headaches (ever had your eyes dilated at the eye doctor's?), and their skin is sensitive to light (can you say sunburn with spf 50)? Not fun. They also can crush things like cannon balls with their bare hands, so having a vampire handle a human in the midst of an intimate moment can get dicey, if you want the human to survive. My vamps also have venom (rather like snakes have in their hollow fangs), which has an almond flavor, and that's what's actually deadly to humans. It starts a kind of liquefaction process like spiders do to ingest insects. Again that biology thing.
PVN: What changes have you noticed about how vampires are portrayed over the last few years?
Theresa: There's been a trend recently to portray them as more humane, as real people vs. monsters within series like the Twilight books, the House of Night books, and the Sookie Stackhouse books that spawned the television series True Blood. They have wants and needs, thoughts and desires, loves and prejudices, and just happen to have a specific diet. I think it's interesting because as a society in the United States we are being forced to reevaluate our prejudices toward the "other" all the time and realize that there really isn't an us vs. them, but instead a we, as in We, the People. There's no doubt the mythos is changing and growing. Some work has even done away with the formal story constraints of sunlight, stakes, garlic, holy water, etc. as deadly or harmful weapons that used to be in the vampire mythos.
PVN: Do you like (or not) what is happening in the genre?
Theresa: I think it's a good change. It opens up more opportunities for the genre to explore the vampires as real characters with hard choices to make. They aren't just brainless predators in search of their next meal, they are beings that just have extraordinary abilities and needs to contend with. In the end it makes them more "undead" for me as a reader if that makes any sense. In the end while you'll always have the classic style vampire tales, I think the new trend in vampire stories is helping them stay fresh when they could be easily becoming old news in the paranormal genre.
PVN: In your Salvation of the Damned you touch upon the theme of reincarnation concerning the female character. Is this a theme you would like to pursue in other works?
Theresa: If given the chance I think it'll come up again. I've always been fascinated with the concept. I mean how can fifty people all have been Cleopatra? Somebody had to be the roman slave. How exactly does that work? What happens? Those are the kinds of questions that make for great story ideas.
PVN: What are you working on now?
Theresa: Currently I'm working on a new faerie series. There is a family that can see them in our world. Not your mother’s cute little Tinker Bell types, all sunlight and sparkles, but the deeper darker fae that are more akin to creatures of the night like vampires and demons, whose shapes vary from black slickness, to blue devil that morph and change—the ones that are dangerous to humans and will stop at nothing to reclaim the world they believe we’ve stolen from them.
PVN: Please describe your writing day and writing environment.
Theresa: Good question. My writing day is always different depending on what else is happening in life. Usually I'll get up and I'm at the keyboard from 6-7 am, sometimes earlier, then I have kids to get ready and off to school. Once they're on the bus, I take care of the day job, interspersing it with 15 to 30 min. writing stints as I'm able. Sometimes, if the schedule allows, I'll take a whole day off of the day job and write for 4 to 6 hours straight or until 3 PM hits and the kids get home and the mommy job takes over. I also substitute teach so when I have teaching days, writing gets put in at lunch break and after school. If I'm on deadline, I'll often go back into the office at 9 PM and write until I meet my page quota for the day, usually that's 10 to 15 pages and can go as late as midnight or 1 am.
I have an office at home that doubles as both my writing space and the place for my day job running Blue Moon Communications. I live in a Victorian style house and the office sits in the base of the turret so it's kind of an odd shaped room but has five windows with a view of the woods and the horse pasture. I'm a complete bibliophile, so I've got book cases crammed full on every spare inch of wall space, inspirational sayings tacked up where I can see them and some fabulous red paint on the walls around the windows to keep me fired up. My desk occupies almost the middle of the room (because of lack of wall space), and it's usually overflowing with stacks of paperwork, research books, spiral notebooks and printouts of various materials and always a cup of tea ( I don't do coffee).
PVN: Are there any paranormal favorites on TV or in the movies?
Theresa: I love Supernatural. Of course, that's partly because I was addicted to watching Jensen Ackles when he was on Dark Angel (which was a must watch for me). My all time favorite movie is currently Stardust, but I've got other movies that my husband and I'll will quote to each other at random, including all the Harry Potter and Star Wars films (my son is addicted to those), Matrix, Men in Black 1 & 2, Lord of the Rings, Total Recall, Independence Day, Ghostbusters, the Narnia movies, and I already mentioned Lost Boys. Basically I really can't do horror films. Action, adventure, romance, I'm there, but I don't want to really see the super scary stuff, it doesn't do it for me.
PVN: What books have influenced your writing?
Theresa: When I was little my mom read to me all the time. We read all the Narnia books, the Tower of Gebburah and all the Madeline L'Engle books. All of those were fascinating to me because it pushed you to look at the world and realize that just because it looks like it does, doesn't necessarily mean there isn't something else to it that you don't see. I've also been influenced a great deal by reading stories from writers like Victoria Holt, who did gothic romances. As a teenager, I loved them and they really got me hooked on the romance genre. They've influenced me to always seek out a happy ending for my characters. I know I don't want to spend several days on a book only to be miserable along with the characters at the end, so I don't do that to my readers either.
PVN: Do you have a favorite fictional vampire character?
Theresa: Right now my current favorite is Alice from the Twilight series. I like her snark and her way of looking at the world. She's happy to be who she is and takes care of those she loves, but isn't afraid to try knew things. She's "new" enough that she doesn't possess some of the biases of the older vampires you see in fiction who've become so jaded that they don't want to really live anymore, they merely exist.
PVN: Would you tell us a bit about your "day" job and Blue Moon Communications?
Theresa: In the beginning I wrote stories. But that wasn't a major in college. So I went to college and got a degree in Mass Communications and worked from there for newspapers, book publishers, corporate public relations departments and large public relations agencies.
I tried for a very long time to keep the writing and the PR job separate. But then I met Cherry Adair in 2003 and became a critique partner with her. She's a force of nature, truly. She asked me to help her with promotion on her next book, and I couldn't tell her no. Within the space of a week she'd told several other published authors I was running a pr agency that would work with fiction authors ( a lot of them won't because it's such a hard sell to the media), and I had the start of an agency.
I specialize in working with fiction authors and publishers doing things like pulling together book tours, pitching clients for interviews on radio, television and in print publications, working on getting them reviews, speaking engagements, giving them media training, writing up website copy, newsletters, and book discussion guides for them, sending out materials to fans, book clubs, libraries and the media, and much more.
The largest project I've had to pull together was a 50-city book tour for an author. The oddest thing I've done is pitch media for an Author's At Sea cruise. Blue Moon Communications is best known for getting two of our clients picked for the total seven selections that were made by the Kelly Ripa Bookclub on LIVE! With Regis and Kelly. If you're still curious, you can always check out the website, www.bluemooncommunications.com.
Once again, Theresa, thank you for this interview!
Now for the contest information:
*The contest will run from March 2 through 11:59 March 4.
*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.
*Ask Theresa a question. Each question counts as an entry.
*Link this interview to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry. (This includes a website or any social network you belong to - Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
*Be sure to include your email information so that I will be able to contact you.
*The contest will run from March 2 through 11:59 March 4.
*One lucky winner will receive an electronic copy of Salvation of the Damned and a $20.00 gift certificate to WickedWinesOnline.com, where you can find Vampyre Vodka and Dracula Syrah and Chateau Du Vampire Bordeaux.
*Everyone who comments will also be entered to win two more prizes to be selected at random from all comments: an additional $20.00 gift certificate to
WickedWinesOnline.com Vampyre Vodka and Dracula Syrah and Chateau Du Vampire Bordeaux, or a pair of customizable chrome fangs. These contest are sponsored by Theresa, and she will pick the winners. Winners of these additional prizes will be announced April 1, 2009.