Apr 6, 2010

Nancy Kilpatrick - Interview and Contest


It is truly an honor to welcome Nancy Kilpatrick to Patricia's Vampire Notes. Her fiction is well known to vampire and horror fans. In March Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, an anthology of fiction by Canadian authors was published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Nancy is the editor of this terrific collection which includes stories by such writers as Kelly Armstrong and Tanya Huff. [see contest info at end of interview]

Nancy, thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule for this interview!

PVN: What besides the vampire theme bring the stories of Evolve together? What are the new Undead?

Nancy: The new undead take the vampire as we see him/her presented today in movies like Twilight, TV shows like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Being Human, and in any number of books. This is the vampire that is now living among us.  No one is saying anymore: “There’s no such thing as a vampire.”  The writers in Evolve start from there and imagine where the undead can go in the immediate future.  To find out how they envision the evolving vampire, you’ll have to read the book!

PVN: What is the process in putting together an anthology such as this one? For example: How do you choose the contributors and the stories.

Nancy: I edited last year a horror/dark fantasy anthology with David Morrell, Tesseracts Thirteen.  David doesn’t favor supernatural stories and as we made selections we both agreed on, that book veered away from the supernatural.  There were 7 vampire story submissions I thought were excellent which we didn’t use.  With David’s blessing, I managed to talk the publisher into doing another anthology, all-vampire, which I edited alone.  

The base of the anthology was those 7 stories, complimented by another 16 stories and a poem.  I found writers who I know do exceptional work and asked them to contribute.  I think readers will be impressed by the quality of the writing and also by the innovative ideas.

PVN: You first came to my attention when I read (and loved) three Power of the Blood books which have recently been reprinted.   Do you have plans to continue this series? Would you mind telling PVNs readers about this series?

Nancy:  Actually, there are four Power of the Blood books:  Child of the Night; Near Death; Reborn; Bloodlover.  I have a 5th book I would love to sell but the market is odd right now and selling a #5 in a series is difficult.  The original 4 were each published by several publishers, beginning with Pocket Books and culminating with Mosaic Press, which has reissued all four.  So yes, I have a 5th book.  It’s Michel’s story.  I have fans all over the world clamoring for this book but I need to find a publishing house that will take it on.

These novels are set in a world I created which presented more modern vampires, as in the last 100 years or less. There were 3 male vampires who, against all odds, became friends. The first three books are their stories and they appear in a major or minor way in one another’s books.  



The fourth book, Bloodlover, is a kind of flashback book; it begins in the 1960s.  One of the ‘old’ vampires in the original three books and who plays a pivotal part here and there is Julien, who turned out to be a very popular character.  Bloodlover is his story, and the story of Jeanette.  If you’ve read the three books, you’ll know who they are. If not, well, you can always read the three and find out. The novels are available on amazon and in bookstores.

PVN:  I would really like to know what attracts you to vampires?

Nancy: I’ve ALWAYS been attracted to vampires, since childhood. They were my favorite movies as a kid, and Horror of Dracula was my favorite movie as a teenager. I began collecting vampire books, movie posters, toys, etc. etc. and joined many vampire organizations about 30 years ago.  I have to say that of the nearly 2000 titles in my library, about 10% are mind-blowing, another 10% are utter crap, and the rest fall in the middle. When I wrote the Power of the Blood books, I knew what had been done before and nothing like what I’d written was out there. I believe the same is true with Evolve, that nothing like this is out there right now. The contributors to Evolve have peeked into the future and passed through my expertise on the subject; readers can see where the vampire can go in the next 5-10 years.
 
 
PVN: What were some of your favorite books as a young reader?



Nancy: The first book I read on my own was The Little Witch.  The school took our class to the big public library downtown to see how it worked and we were allowed to take out 2 books each.  Before that, books were bought for me, or were part of school work. I actually hunted down The Little Witch a few years ago and bought an early copy. I discovered it has a huge fan-base and had been reprinted for 40 years, it was so popular. The author worked in a school library, I believe, and this was her only novel, although I think she wrote a book or two of poetry. Anyway, I digress.  You can see from the title that I had an early interest in the supernatural. I’ve always loved the dark side in fiction. 

PVN: When and how did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Nancy: I don’t think I decided.  I’ve never had a career plan, probably to my detriment. I’m one of those people who just went with the flow of her life and I flowed this way. The first novel I wrote was Bloodlover, in 1975.  Anne Rice came out with Interview with the Vampire then and I mistakenly thought the world would be open to my vampire novel.  I had to write three more books in the Power of the Blood world that were published first, beginning in the early 1990s.  Bloodlover was finally published in 2000.

When I wrote
Bloodlover in 1975, it was on a typewriter and it took me 9 months.  I shared a house with 2 women.  One moved out. One went to Mexico for months with her boyfriend, and then returned.  I didn’t notice.  I was absorbed by working on this book, which back then was set in 2003, so it was futuristic. My obsession turned to utter disappointed when only 1 out of 35 publishers I wrote to even wanted to look at sample chapters.  And that publisher lost the manuscript and went out of business.  The world was, as they say, not ready.  For Anne Rice, yes. Not for me.  Not yet.  Timing is everything and it’s not something most writers have any control over.

I wrote a lot of short fiction and other novels. Basically, after such an initial sharp blow of rejection from so many publishers, I picked myself up off the floor and kept going. I’ve always seen life as this: you live, or die. If you get out of the womb, you have the ability to live. Life is precious and it’s worth the fight, even in the midst of despair.  If life is anything that can be narrowed down to one word, that word is: change. I always hang onto that thought: things will change. And they do.

PVN: Do you find the same fulfillment as an editor that you do as a writer?

Nancy: It’s a different fulfillment. Writing comes from one part of me, editing is from another. I like to edit books because it gives me a chance to form an overview of a subject. In the case of Evolve, that would be vampires and how they are evolving. I find it fun and exciting to receive stories that match my concept. Of course, all stories don’t, and they don’t get into my books. I’m pretty much a purist about that. But the stories that do make the cut, they thrill me. 

There’s a lot more work to editing than just accepting stories, but that part is one of the big kicks for me.

PVN: You recently traveled to the UK. Would you tell us a bit about the fun dark places you visited?



Nancy: One of my big interests is Danse Macabre artwork from the Middle Ages and England has some.  Not much, but then there’s not much left in the world.  Rosslyn Chapel just outside Edinburgh and the not-too-far-from-there Hexham Priory have some.  Norwich has a DM glass panel in St. Andrew’s Church.  I’m also a lover of cemeteries and the best ones (besides the 7 original garden cemeteries in London which I’ve seen) are the Glasgow Necropolis, modeled on Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and also an original garden cemetery in the UK, and Edinburgh’s creepy Greyfriar’s Cemetery. 

Besides those interests, I went to the Pitt Museum in Oxford, which has lovely real shrunken heads and about 300 skulls.  And the natural history museum adjacent has mummies, another interest of mine.

Of course, there is Whitby, the abbey ruins, which I’d not seen before.  And other abbey ruins in Glastonbury, Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds and Rievaulx Abbey near Helmsley.  I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than the ruins of Gothic arches.  Even the intact Gothic churches can’t compare.  Something about the beauty of the past, still standing, despite the erosion by man and by time...

One of the big adventures was visiting Temple Newsam, a huge estate just outside Leeds, which my ancestors owned.  I traced my family history a few years ago and, God, I would have been a Vicountess if all had gone well!

PVN: You taught a workshop on writing vampire fiction. What were some of the basic points you covered?

Nancy: There is basic writing info but a lot of it is to try to get writers to come up with a unique vampire. Too many writers are replicating Edward. Or Lestat. This becomes fan fic, really. Finding a new vampire, YOUR vampire, is the idea. That’s what sells. That’s what readers want to read.


PVN: Would you please tell us about Amarantha Knight, and her "younger sister" Desirée Knight?
 

Nancy:  Amarantha is my pen name for hardcore erotic fiction.  I edited 5 anthologies as Amarantha and wrote 7 novels in The Darker Passions series, which are pastiches of horror classics:  Dracula; Frankenstein; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Fall of the House of Usher; Carmilla; The Pit and the Pendulum. These are extreme erotica with a lot of S&M.  Each sticks to the plot of the original story as much as is possible, retain the characters, and generally is meant to be a fun, erotic read, humorous and sexy.

Desirée, on the other hand, writes more mild erotica.  I’ve published two novels using this name: Mercedez: Day of the Dead (based on the Vivid Girl, Mercedez) and Hunted, for Orion Publishing in the UK. 
Hunted features a character with a mobster boyfriend who sets her up when another mobster is killed, so she’s on the run, joins a diabolical circus of sex-crazed performers and gets involved, all while hiding from the Mafia.  The sex in these books is mainstream playfull, nothing too extreme.

PVN: What is the Tesseracts Series?

Nancy: Tesseracts is a series of mostly science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction anthologies.  Number 13 came up and the publisher thought it would be fun to do horror and dark fantasy stories, so this book is an anomaly.  He asked me to edit number 13 and I asked David Morrell to co-edit--most Tesseracts anthologies are co-edited.

    Tesseracts Thirteen: Chilling Tales of the Great White North
    Nancy Kilpatrick (Editor), David Morrell (Editor)
    EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing; 1 edition (July 30, 2009)

PVN: On your website you describe yourself as a Horror Writer. How do you define Horror Literature?

Nancy: Well, I had to say something, so that’s what came up!  It’s an easy way to classify myself.  But in fact I write a lot of different things. I’ve got 2 books in the Jason X world where the movie character Jason is in space, so those are science fiction.  I’ve published mystery stories, fantasy, erotica, you name it.  I will write anything that interests me.  My site was set up by my friend Caro Soles many years ago and I’m kind of inept with sites so I’ve learned how to update it which I don’t do nearly often enough.  I need to do a new site but that’s a learning curve I don’t have time for right now.  Maybe I can find a tech slave!

PVN: What projects are you working on now?

Nancy: I have two novels I’ve been writing for the last 2 years and they are going slowly because I’ve edited these two anthologies, I’ve promised and written dozens of short stories and had a few more writing commitments.  I also teach writing courses online for George Brown College so, depending on my course load, teaching can take up a lot of my time.  And from time to time I have private students I tutor, or private editorial work.  I’ve also written a few articles and been on a couple of committees in the last while. 

For me, it’s a bit frustrating because I’d love nothing more than to just sit down and finish these novels. But there is the reality of eating.  And I do love to travel—travelling feeds my soul like nothing else. Travelling, of course, requires money.  Then there are the mundane parts of life like food shopping and laundry.  I try to have a social life too and, oh yeah, exercise three days a week!  I’m busy all the time and when I can snatch time for working on the novels, I do, but sadly any writing time I find goes into the short stories I’ve promised. I have three on my schedule now, and another three in the distant future, as in the end of 2010 or 2011.

This is not how it used to be for me. I wrote the three Power of the Blood books (and other novels) when I was married, and my ex-husband was a writer too.  Living with someone, sharing expenses, having your significant other within reach—and a writer- simpatico SO--all this contributes to a life that allows for a lot of writing time and space, if that’s how you’re wired.  Now, I have to work harder to make money, to see my boyfriend, etc. etc. 

PVN: Where can readers find you on the web?

Nancy: Well, there’s my website, badly in need of an update: www.nancykilpatrick.com
 

And recently I took my faceless/profileless Facebook self and jumped in with a wall of my own.  There’s also an Evolve wall set up by the publisher, and I have a fan wall set up by my Italian fans on Facebook; I check all of that daily. 

PVN: Anything else you would like to add.


Nancy: I believe the publisher has extended the deadline for the lower prices for the special editions of Evolve.  There will be a trade paperback in stores as of April but the special limited editions are only on the Evolve website
 

There, you can find a trade paperback signed by all the authors and me, and the authors include Kelley Armstrong, and Tanya Huff, who contributed an original Vicki Nelson story.  (limited to what remains of the 300 printed)
 


You can also find a hardcover, unsigned. (limited to what remains of the 50 printed)
And the big special edition is a hardcover signed by everybody, wrapped in silk, and packaged in a wooden coffin!  Very cool!  (also only 50 printed, and I would imagine few remain).




[Note: The book is available for pre-order in the US now, but will be available in August.  Evolve publicist says, "We would love to see people having their own Evolve launch parties in vampire attire..."]





NOW FOR THE CONTEST



Nancy is offering one copy of Evolve to a US or Canadian resident.
 

Ask Nancy a question: One chance

Make a pertinent comment: One chance

You may also:

*Link to this contest on any of the social network sites, including Twitter, or your own web page. Let me know the url:  One chance for each link.
 

*If you are a Google follower (see sidebar on right): One chance
 

*If you are a member of the PVN Facebook page: One chance
 

*If you are an email subscriber: One chance

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

This contest closes April 9, 2010

37 comments:

SiNn said...

congrats on the new book sounds awesome! I seriously love that cover

Was the cover something you allhad input on or would you change anythingabout if if you could?

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BreiaB said...

Definite congrats on the new book, I am dying to read it. With the kinds of stories you write , are everyone supportive of you in what you choose to do?

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Another Daydreamer said...

Congrats! Since first seeing the cover and premise of this book, I knew I had to read it. I'm curious if any of the authors used characters from their own series' of books? Or maybe side plots from their books?

Thanks!

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Julie said...

I really want to read this collection. The cover art is really eye catching and the stories themselves sound like they would be great. Do you have any future works planned?

I'm a Google follower, member of the PVN facebook page, and an email subscriber.
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SandyG265 said...

I love the cover for Evolve.

As editor do you invite certain authors to submit a story for an anthology or do you get submissions some other way?

Thanks

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Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi SINn,

The cover is by John Kaiine, a UK artist who is Tanith Lee's significant other. Here's how it came about:

The publisher had not done horror in the past, just Tesseracts Thirteen, which David Morrell and I co-edited. Because he knew nothing of vampires, and also because he sent me a few idea I knew weren't right for this anthology, I looked around and found some images I liked, most of which had been used, but I was trying to convey an idea. One image was on Tanith's website and I'd assumed it was a cover for one of her books. I emailed John and it turned out the image hadn't been used on a book. John graciously sent a disc with a lot of images. The publisher loved this one, and I love it too. And now you love it! That's great!

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi BreiaB,

Thanks for the congratulations. I'm in love with this book and am so happy it went the way I'd envisioned it would go.

I've had support at various times in my life by good friends, mostly, and other writers. Writing about vampires, which is a lot of what I've written, brings problems. Vampires, as I'm sure you know, go in and out of fashion (kind of like Goth!). Many people in the mainstream don't understand the appeal of vampires and yet a whole lot of ordinary people are going to see movies like Twilight and are watching True Blood on TV. Anne Rice has sold a gazillion books and not just vampirophiles have bought them.

I try to patiently explain the appeal to people who are usually upset by the idea of a) vampires and b) a woman writing horror. For the most part, I think there's good communication.

Ultimately, I rely on the people who love and support me in my work.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Another Daydreamer,

None of the authors but Tanya Huff have mentioned using a character or idea from another work. Tanya's is an original Vicky story, not seen before. I know she has a lot of fans who will be excited about that.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Julie,

I have quite a few short stories out just now, some of which are vampire:

"Vampire Anonymous" in Vampires: Dracula and the Undead Legions

"The Vechi Barbat" in By Blood We Live

"Traditions in Future Perfect" in The Bitten Word

"Bitches of the Night" in Blood Lite

I'm also in negotiation to edit another anthology.

As well, I've been working on two new novels, one of which features vampires. And I have a 5th book in the Power of the Blood series which is being shopped around.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi SandyG265,

I have worked both ways with anthologies and even when I edit a 'closed' anthology, I'm still open to stories. People hear about anthologies and will contact me and say that and would I read a story and I always do.

The main reason for doing a closed anthology is time. If I invite authors to submit stories, I know their work and know I can count on (most of) them, and that the stories will be of a certain quality.

An open anthology is a tremendous amount of work. When David Morrell and I co-edited Tesseracts Thirteen, which just came out last fall, we received about 200 short stories which we read and shortlisted. We had to agree on every story included in the anthology so we had conferences by phone, by email and in person. It was fun but exhausting and took a good 6 months of focus on that book.

I've had people say to me, well, if you do another antho and you think I might fit, could you let me know, so I keep a list and try to contact people. Even in a closed book, I like to leave space for new or not-yet-popular writers who are doing good work. It's a tough business, writing, and getting a break is important.

katsrus said...

Congrads on your new book. I also love the cover. Your books sound very interesting. Will be looking for them.

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Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi katsrus,

Thanks! And I appreciate it. I think you'll not be disappointed with EVOLVE.

Tore said...

Where do you get your inspiration from? I enjoyed the Twlight books very much. Would be interested in reading your books. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Dot S. said...

Okay, I've had my head in the sand. Nancy, I've enjoyed your interview and will look for your books now that I know.

Is there a 'new' author of vampire fiction that you, as an editor, are particularly interested in?

salvagin@verizon.net
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Anna Dougherty said...

I've heard so many good things about this book on the various vamp blogs and I'm super interested in reading it. The wooden coffin edition is such a great idea. Who came up with it?

What is your favorite story, or stories, from Evolve?

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Anna
vampchixreadbooks@gmail.com

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Tore,

I've always found vampires fascinating. When I began writing, my first book was Bloodlover. As it turned out, that book became the 4th in my Power of the Blood world. Writing and publishing are both peculiar and I find there are no straight lines to anything.

I tend to get inspired by a person or a place or even an object, something that twigs an idea for me. Ideas are easy, writing them is another story, so to speak. It's finding a way to get in that idea, person, place, thing in a larger picture, so that a story evolves, one that makes sense for the writer (me), and hopefully touches the reader.

I do hope you'll seek out the Power of the Blood books. I think you'll enjoy them.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Dot S.

I love the novel Let Me In by John Lindquest, who I met recently. He's a VERY nice guy. The movie Let the Right One In is based on his novel. He now has a second novel and might be writing a sequel to the first. If you get a chance, see the movie--it's brilliant. But try to see the original Swedish version, which is around. There's a US remake which I haven't seen--I don't think it's out yet. The original is filled with the cold and aloneness of Scandinavia and I think it's so evocative that you'll want to read the book after.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Anna Dougherty,

I'm glad you're eager to read Evolve. It's a terrific book. I'm always asked for my favorite story but you know, they are all favorites. If I didn't love each story, it wouldn't be in the book. I'm a fairly exacting editor and I won't put a story into a book because someone famous wrote it. All the stories are favorites and all are different.

As to the coffin, that's the publsher's idea. There are only 50 of those, so it's a real buy, a collector's item. This is a hardcover book, signed by all the authors, the artist, the publisher and me, wrapped in silk, with a cross bookmark, a seal on the silk, and packaged in a coffin. You can see it and buy it only on the evolve website, since it won't be in stores:

www.vampires-evolve.com

llt806 said...

Thank you fr the interview. Your words were very insightful.

Any advice for other writers who love writing about vampires but are concerned of having their work compared to Twilight?

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi llt806,

If you are writing YA vampires, you will inevitably be compared to Twilight. That's what's happening right now in the YA market.

If you're writing adult vampire fiction, you won't be compared.

Regardless of what you write in the way of the vampires, the best approach is to make your vampire unique. What's been done has been done. Find out why your vamps are different and stress that and let them lead their undead lives accordingly.

KMichelleC87 said...

Ooh really creepy cover. I love it! And I love anthologies so this book sounds great. I cant wait to read it. Not sure if anyone already asked/answered this question but what is your favorite author or book?

thanks for the contest

i follow this blog

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Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi KMichelleC87,

If you mean in EVOLVE, well, they are all my favorites.

If you mean in general, I don't think I have a favorite author, but there are some stories and books (vampire) that stand out for me.

For instance, Tanith Lee's "Bite Me Not" is one of my favorite stories.

I loved Interview With the Vampire when it came out. Tanya Huff's books are great. I have so many titles I love it would be impossible to name them and list the authors.

skyla11377 said...

1) Hey Nancy What Are One Or Two Things We Wouldn’t Normally Know About You?

2) I Love When Writers Can Come Up With New And Plausible Ways To Make Vampires/Undead Come To Life. I Grew Up Seeing Vampires As These Undead Beings That Can't Go Out In The Sun And To Kill Them You Need To Drive A Stake Through There Heart. Then When Stephanie Meyer Came Out With Her Version Of Vampires It Opened My Eyes To A World Of Possibilities. I Have Also Loved Vampires Since I Was A Kid So That Is Kool That We Have That In Common.

3) I Blogged About This Contest.
http://skyla11377.blogspot.com/2010/04/patricias-vampire-notes-blog.html
I Tweeted About This Contest (@skyla11377).
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I Posted This Contest On My Myspace Bulletin.
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4) I Am A Google Follower.
(Skyla11377)

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Amy J Ramsey said...

Your books just sound too good. I would love to check them out further.
Great interview.

Amy Ramsey
Ramsey's Reviews
www.trinagon.blogspot.com

jellybelly82158 said...

Congrats on the new book. It sounds great.
Whose idea was it to package a copy of the book in a wooden coffin?

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Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi skyla11377,

You might not know that I have two cats, Bella and Fedex.

You might not know that I have a fascination with Danse Macabre artwork.

You might not know that my favorite drink is a Bloody Caesar.

There. Now you know more about me than most people!

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Amy J. Ramsey,

Thanks. Please do check out my books. And, of course, EVOLVE.

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi jellybean12858,

The idea for the coffin was the publisher's. He has a friend who does woodwork and he decided a limited number of books (50) in a coffin, all numbered and signed by everybody, would be a great collector's item. I think so too.

Aik said...

I'd love to read this book! The book cover is awesome!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Aik said...

*Link to this contest on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/11748592968

*If you are a Google follower (see sidebar on right): One chance

*If you are a member of the PVN Facebook page: One chance

*If you are an email subscriber: One chance

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Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi Aik,

I hope you will!

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Hi everyone,

I've just stopped by to thank Patricia for having me on this great blog, and also to each of you for being kind enough to come and post your questions and your congratulations. Please do have a look at EVOLVE. If you're in Canada, you can buy it in stores now. If you're in the US, you can buy the book at amazon.com and it will be in Barnes & Noble stores about August.

Take care, all.

In darkness,

Nancy Kilpatrick

Nancy Kilpatrick said...

Oh, and if you live in or near Toronto, I'll be at the World's Biggest Bookstore on Friday night, 7 to 9, with about 10 contributors, signing EVOLVE. Please stop by.

NK

k_sunshine1977 said...

awesome interview! can never have enough vampire reading, i say.....

facebook fan - kisah jackson

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing. I havent read any of your books, but the Power of Blood books sounds great and I am adding them to my wishlist now. Hope to read them soon.

What did you do when you first found out you were going to be published?

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booklover0226 said...

Hi, Nancy.

What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

I look forward in reading this book. I think anthologies are a great way to be introduced to new authors.

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I posted on Twitter...

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