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!