Sep 1, 2009

Interview and Contest with Michelle Rowen


Today PVN welcomes Michelle Rowen author of the fabulous and funny Immortality Bites series. Heroine Sarah Dearly's witty take on the peaks and perils of the vampire life has attracted multitudes of readers.



Only days ago book 5, Tall, Dark & Fangsome (Immortality Bites) hit the bookstore shelves. Michelle talks about this and other projects in the works.

She has also promised a signed copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome to one lucky commenter. See contest rules at the end of the interview

Welcome, Michelle and thanks for taking the time to chat with us.


PVN: In your hilarious Immortality Bites series the staring role, except for Lady & the Vamp, goes to Sarah Dearly. Please describe her for us.


Michelle: Sarah is your typical girl next door, only she’s a fledgling vampire. Her character began life a bit self-involved, your typical shoe-buying chick-lit-esque gal, but through many trials and tribulations and near-death experiences, she’s come to realize that people you can count on in good times and bad are the only thing worth fighting for. She’s also grudgingly realized that running for your life in heels is not all that practical.

PVN: Recently released is Tall, Dark & Fangsome (August 25, 2009). What's next for Sarah and the uber handsome Thierry?

Michelle: Sarah has a lot on her plate at the moment. She seems to attract trouble like nobody’s business. Since being turned into a vampire by her blind date from hell, she’s had to deal with vampire hunters assuming she’s evil, her new life as someone who needs to drink blood to survive, and trying to make ends meet since being a vampire doesn’t mean you don’t have rent to pay.

Also, the master vampire she’s in love with, Thierry, is in a centuries-old marriage of convenience and his wife isn’t open to getting a divorce any time soon. Add to that the fact that Sarah’s been cursed by a vengeful witch to become a “nightwalker,” which is the evil vampire from days of old that gave the modern daywalking vamps such a bad rep.

TD&F deals with Sarah and Thierry trying to find the means to break that curse. She also deals with the leader of the vampire hunters who thinks that blackmailing Sarah to sire him can save him fate worse than death. If she crosses him he’s promised to kill her friends and family. Hilarious light fiction, right?? ;) I keep thinking I’m writing darker books, but my readers seem to think they’re funny -- mostly thanks to Sarah’s sarcastic outlook on life. Sarah might disagree with them on that, though.

This is the fifth and final book in the series so all threads brought up in previous books are tied up in a satisfying manner (I think so, anyhow!). We’ll see what readers think!

PVN: Tell us about your new YA series. What is the premise? Who are the main characters? Anything else to wet our appetite.

Michelle: The premise of Demon Princess: Reign or Shine is that Nikki Donovan, a sixteen year old girl who strives to fit in at her new school -- and is actually succeeding for once! -- finds out that she’s the daughter of a demon king. Which means she’s got to deal with unfortunate issues like horns and black leathery wings popping out if she gets upset. When she finally meets her father she finds out that if he dies, she automatically becomes queen of the Shadowlands (think of it as a suburb of Hell) whether she agrees or not. Michael, the messenger/bodyguard her father sends to her, is extremely cute -- if a bit strange -- and has plenty of secrets of his own.

PVN: How is it different writing for a YA audience?

Michelle: Well, the writing feels very much the same, actually. The only difference is the age of the main characters! I may have a different answer once the book comes out in October. I’ve already found that teens are extremely enthusiastic and have strong opinions, and word of mouth seems to be huge in the online YA community.

PVN: What are the characteristics of vampires in your world?

Michelle: Vampires in my “Immortality Bites” universe are not undead. That’s probably the biggest difference between them and most other vamps. They can go out during the day, even though the sun’s a bit bright and draining. Some vamps can eat, although not all (Sarah can’t). They all need blood to survive -- human blood (provided mostly by paid donors) for nutrition, and vampire blood can be more of a dessert -- delicious and addictive (for some) but no vitamins. ;)

My vamps have the potential for immortality, unless they’re killed, of course. And they don’t have reflections, although this typically happens gradually rather than right away. Nightwalkers, my evil vamps, have all the traits of mythical vampires -- death by sunlight, evil tendencies, aversion to crosses, etc.

PVN: What attracts you to vampires?

Michelle: Good question. :) I never liked the horror-movie vamps. I scare easily. The first time I was drawn to a vampire was probably when I first saw the “sexy” appeal of these creatures of the night. Then Anne Rice helped to humanize her vamps and make them real and layered. The final nail in the coffin (heh) for my vampire love was the Joss Whedon factor with Buffy and Angel -- an unexpected take on vampires (back then it was, anyhow), making them conflicted, with the choice between good and evil entirely in their hands. And sometimes they were also really funny, which definitely helped.

PVN: In 2006 you published Angel with Attitude. I read that this book shares the same world view as Immortality Bites. True? Please tell us a bit about the story.

Michelle: Yes, it takes place in the same world, although vampires were only referenced in AwA. Two characters from that book make a cameo in Stakes & Stilettos, one being a former high school classmate of Sarah’s.

AwA will soon be rereleased with a new cover so I’m excited about that. It’s about a fallen angel who’s trying to get back into heaven and goes on a quest for the “key to heaven” with the reluctant but hot demon she summoned who was originally supposed to tempt her to hell. It’s a real story about opposites attracting. LOL

PVN: You have also written the SF book Countdown as Michelle Maddox. What is the story? Will this be part of a series? And why the name change?

Michelle: Countdown was about two people forced to be partners in a reality game show where to lose is to die. It was a hell of a fun write, but darker and edgier than my Rowen fare, so I thought having a pen name would be a good idea to differentiate it. It was a standalone novel. I have a short story coming out under this pen name in December. I’m doing more darker, edgier stuff, although not SF, under a brand new pen name in the future.

PVN: Which authors have inspired you?

Michelle: The authors directly responsible for making me want to sit down at my keyboard and start writing vampire fiction are Laurell K. Hamilton and L.J. Smith. I found the Anita Blake series just when Obsidian Butterfly was being released and I glommed all the books back to back. Loved it. Loved the voice. It was inspiring. I did the same with L.J. Smith’s Nightworld series which inspired me to write YA. I lapped up her version of soulmates. In fact it was one of her Nightworld books that inspired me to name my master vampire hero Thierry (a name not many people know how to pronounce properly). I’m so happy that her books have been rereleased for a new and growing audience.

PVN: Describe your writing environment and your writing day.

Michelle: I have an office with a desk and comfortable chair, but unfortunately I’ve gotten into the habit of writing on my laptop on the couch. My writing day can be anywhere from 4 to 12 hours depending on my leanings toward procrastination. While drafting a new book I have a page count I want to hit every day and I will stay at it until I get there. When the words just won’t come I will cut myself some slack. But not usually.

PVN: Besides the upcoming YA series what other projects are you contemplating?

Michelle: My first Harlequin Blaze, Hot Spell , (a paranormal, of course. It’s my life! ;) ) comes out in November. I have a new paranormal romance series about the lighter side of demonic possession starting up in May 2010 from Berkley Sensation. The first book is called THE DEMON IN ME and I cannot tell you how excited I am about this book and its sequel that I’ve just submitted to my editor. And I’ve currently started writing the first book in my urban fantasy/thriller duology about vampires that I’ll be writing under the pen name Rachel Connor. This will likely be out in 2011.

PVN: How can readers contact you?

Michelle: Through my website at www.michellerowen.com. I’m also an enthusiastic Twitter addict: www.twitter.com/michellerowen.

PVN: Thanks so much, Michelle. With all your new books readers have a lot to look forward to!

Books of Immortality Bites
Bitten & Smitten
Fanged & Fabulous
Lady & the Vamp
Stakes & Stilettos
Tall, Dark & Fangsome

Now for the contest. One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome


To be eligible do one or more of the following:

* Leave a comment
* Ask Michelle a question
* Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL

If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

Contest ends September 3, 2009 at 11:59 PM Hawaii time

The contest portion is now closed Thanks to everyone who participated!

52 comments:

Ruth Schaller said...

Wow, looks great! I'd love to give your book a try!

Ruth

ruthiesbookreviews AT yahoo DOT com
ruthiesbookreviews.blogspot.com

Bridget said...

Patricia, just posted on Win A Book. No need to enter me.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the great interview Michelle. I have the entire series except the newest book. I love how your characters are so real they leap from the page into my head and heart. And how you can make me laugh out loud whilst reading.
Plus that picture of you is hawt!
er,
a question,
...
Have you ever felt strong emotion when you write, like laughing out loud, or feeling tears well up?
:)
Love and best wishes,
@RKCharron
xoxo

elnice said...

I have read all of Michelle Rowens series except the last. I am sad it is the last, and I hope it wraps up well. Will Theirry and Sarah ever adopt a baby so she can satisfy her maternal instinct?

zenfoxflowerATyahooDOTcom

tetewa said...

I can't wait for the release, I enjoy this series!

ObsidianMorte said...

I love the author she's a sweetie. The book looks fabulous. Count me in please.

Lisa M. said...

Hi Michelle! I love this series and am sad that it is ending, but I know all good things eventually come to an end and you as a writer probably want to move on. With that said, I am looking forward to your YA series. I have been reading a lot of paranormal YA lately, frankly because so many of my fave authors are diving into that pool. So my question is: will you ever write a follow-up to Angel with Attitude, or will it remain a stand-alone? I really enjoyed it and would love to hear what is going on with our fallen angel! Thanks! Lisa
lasergirl70@hotmail.com

Michelle Rowen said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! :)

RKCharon... Thanks! :) And yes, I do feel strong emotions when I write. I used to be an aspiring actress (a bit like my character, Sarah) so I really get into my characters' heads when I'm writing them so I do feel their emotions. I cry at least once during a book -- and I'm not a crier! LOL. I also laugh at some of my lines.

Elnice... does Sarah have a maternal instinct? I never really thought she did. I considered making her pregnant in one of the books but I axed that idea. No babies for my vamps, I'm afraid. And they're fine with it. ;)

Lisa M... I never say never, but currently I have no plans to write another Angel with Attitude book. Valerie did get her HEA and I like to leave it up to the reader what adventures she and Nathaniel might have had afterward. AwA just got a new cover for a reprint. Check out my blog if you want to see how it looks. Very different than before! :)

Fiction Vixen said...

I'll be browsing Amazon today checking out the first 4 in this series!

Michelle, I always like to ask authors what is on their "must read it again" shelf and why.

I posted about this interview and giveaway on my blog: http://fictionvixen.blogspot.com

cait045 said...

I am in the middle of reading the series and loving it. Is Tall, Dark and Fangsome that last book in the series?

usignolc@yahoo.com

Pam said...

Could this book be read as a standalone or should one have read the previous 4 books in the series first?

melacan at hotmail dot com

Wanda said...

Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Razlover's Book Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasmine said...

Will miss Sarah and Theirry but looking forward to your new works.

Michelle Rowen said...

FictionVixen... Good question. I don't tend to read books over again. There are too many new ones I want to read! But I suppose The Hunger Games would qualify for a reread from me. I just loved that book. Also I keep meaning to read Wuthering Heights again. I remember really liking it in high school. And, it's not really a traditional novel per se, but I'd like to reread Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels. :)

Michelle Rowen said...

cait045... yes, TD&F is the fifth and final book in the series.

Michelle Rowen said...

Pam... I try to write the books as standalone as I can, but it would be best appreciated as the last book in the series. A lot has happened in books previous that are dealt with in TD&F. I have it on some authority that they don't need to all be read to get the gist of things, though.

Michelle Rowen said...

Razlover... the funny thing about series is that you never know going in how many books you'll be able to do. It all depends on how they're received by the buying public and also publisher interest. Both my YA and my new paranormal series currently have two books completed and scheduled for both of them since they were both sold in two-book contracts. Shortly I'll be doing proposals for the next books in both series. So, short answer, nothing is ever guaranteed, but ideally I'd like both series to go approx 6 or 7 books each minimum if I'm lucky enough to get the chance to write them. Fingers crossed! :)

Cybercliper said...

I love this series!!! Thierry is great and I'll hate to see him and Sarah ride off into the moonlight. But I'm sure we'll be seeing some great stuff in the future. Congrats on the new release...

etirv said...

I enjoyed the Q&A with Michelle Rowen, thanks! Count me in!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

elaing8 said...

Great Interview. this series sounds really good. I'd love a chance to win this book..it'll make me have to purchase the 1st 4 books :)
elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

bridget3420 said...

Hi Michelle,

If you could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, who would it be and why?

Bridget

bridget3420 said...

Tweet

http://twitter.com/bridget3420/status/3700207031

bridget3420 said...

Shared on Myspace blog

http://www.myspace.com/bridgetlaprairie

bridget3420 said...

Shared on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=1084897775&share_id=131017231550&comments=1&ref=nf#div_story_131017231550_131017231550

Michelle Rowen said...

bridget3420... I'd trade places with Kristen Stewart as she films Eclipse. Why? Isn't it obvious? ;)

bridget3420 said...

Blogged

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/2009/09/91-book-giveaway-list.html

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

Jenny N. said...

I've read the other 4 books in the series and loved them all. I cannot believe the series is ending but I'm looking forward to reading this next book.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

throuthehaze said...

count me in please!
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

donnas said...

Great interview. I love this series and am sad to see Sarah go but look forward to the new work coming out.

Is it possible to return to this world again, like in Angel with An Attitude?

I posted on the sidebar here: http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Llehn said...

I'd love to play!

lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Just dropping by to say hi, no need to enter me in the contest.

Love the interview. Fans can get more of Michelle and another chance to win a signed copy of Tall, Dark and Fangsome at Fang-tastic Books tommorrow.

www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

Michelle Rowen said...

donnas... thank you for the kind words. Currently I have no plans to return to Sarah or Valerie's worlds, however I would never say never. I very much enjoyed writing both of them.

SciFiGuy said...

Great interview Patricia and Michelle. I've read all of the Immortality Bites books and loved them all. TDAF is already on order. It was good to hear more about the YA series too.

trishalynn0708 said...

Please enter me..

lovestoread0708(at)yahoo.com

trishalynn0708 said...

My question would be, What is your favorite food?

lovestoread0708(at)yahoo.com

trishalynn0708 said...

Posted on my blog:
http://trishasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/09/giveaways-of-day-922009.html

lovestoread0708(at)yahoo.com

Jo said...

Wow, this book sounds so awesome! I'd love to read it!

I've linked to this contest in my contest section, right sidebar:
http://jo-scrawls.blogspot.com/

Email: joannestapley[at]googlemail[dot]com

Patricia Altner said...

Keta Diablo said...

Hi Michelle, (Hi Patricia),

I enjoyed the interview, and now it looks like I'll have to check out the other books in this series.

It's funny and ironic that you think you're writing darker vampires and your audience find the characters humorous. Whatever you're writing, apparently it's working.

Best of luck to you on this new release.

Keta Diablo
http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com
ps: would love to win the book!

purplg8r said...

I love the Immortality Bites series, as well as Countdown and can't wait to read the new YA series!

Andrea
belle2211(at)yahoo(dot)com

Book Chick City said...

Great interview! I have never heard of this author or her books before, so thanks - I do love finding new authors. I have an award for you too, come collect it here!

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I love this series. Tall, Dark & Fangsome sounds good. Love the cover.

*ina* said...

Fantastic interview and gorgeous covers *sigh*
Wish you all the best!
Hugs,
Ina

Renee said...

I'm so excited to read Tall Dark and Fangsome and Demon Princess! They look terrific! BTW I've read Angel With Attitude and it's great too...I'm loving the new cover for the re-release! Please enter me!

XOXO~ Renee
steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
http://steelergirl83.blogspot.com

Michelle Rowen said...

trishalynn0708... my favorite food is fast food. McDonalds. McChicken combo, specifically. Which I'm currently off of at the moment (and possibly forever) since I'm on Jenny Craig. Sigh.

And thanks everyone else for the great comments. You all rock! :)

Britt said...

Where did the name Thierry (sp?) come from? I mean I know it's french, but is it like Joe to the french or is obscure? I guess if I was older than gods fart I'd have a weird name too...(I'm sorry. I've rambled. Ignore that.)

Brittanynoelle (at) gmail (dot) com

Britt said...

Ooh...Michelle, if you want to be off of McDonald's watch "Supersize me" by morgan spurlock. For some reason after watching that the golden arches just give me indigestion.

Michelle Rowen said...

Britt... my characters tend to name themselves, even if those names happen to be a bit hard to pronounce. Thierry actually sort of came from an L.J. Smith book I read (YA fantasy) and the name just stuck with me.

http://www.amazon.com/Soulmate-Night-World-Book-6/dp/0671551388/ref=pd_sim_b_2

It's actually a very popular french name. A google search turns up nearly 28 million hits!

And re: Supersize Me... I saw it at the theater and it made me want Mickey Dee's. Strange but true. ;)

Joelle said...

I just wanted to say that Michelle you are my favorite author! I love all your books! I am currently looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of your new book "Tall, Dark and Fangsome"
I love the humor/romance that you put into your writing. I never want to put down the books you write! I have to finish it in one sitting.

I just want to say congrats to the success of all your books! I hope to read more from you soon! :D

All the best

Sincerely,
Joelle Rousseau

rousseau.joelle@gmail.com

Michelle Rowen said...

Thank so much, Joelle! :)

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Dawn Hagan said...

your book sounds so interesting
dawnhagan18@yahoo.com