Feb 8, 2010

Susan Blexrud - Interview and Contest

Please welcome Susan Blexrud author of the humorous vampire romance series Love Fang. Now all the short stories of the series can be found in print from DLC. She has kindly offered signed copies to two winners. See more information at the end of the interview.

PVN: What are the characteristics of your vampires?

SB: My vamps do not fall into the “we’re so bad, baby” category of vampire romances.  They’d never call their significant others “baby,” and they don’t suffer from teenage angst.  They’re grownups.

I took my vampire cues from Bram Stoker's original story because I wanted my hero to be in a time warp.  When he is first introduced, he still sleeps in a coffin.  To avoid the temptation of love, he's kept himself alienated from modern society—for 500 years.  It's only when he meets Dr. Lauren Marsh that he decides to adapt to the 21st Century.  Also, once he stops sleeping in a coffin, his pesky respiratory allergies begin to clear up.

PVN: Have you introduced any other paranormal characters in your stories or have plans to do so?

SB: I've begun writing a fifth story in my fang series about a bat fungus that is killing bat colonies in the Northeast (this is really happening), and I'll be introducing werewolves in that story.  They won't be the good guys.

PVN: In my review of the short story Love Fang I called this story a sweet romance. Do you agree (or not) Why?

SB: Unlike many vampire tomes, my stories don’t read like my vamps are on crack.  Yes, Love Fang truly is a sweet romance, except (as you aptly noted) for the torrid sex scenes.  My vamps are definitely alpha males, and they're also very emotionally human.  I’d never attempt to pigeonhole my readers, but if I had to describe a typical Susan Blexrud reader, I’d say that she’s someone who loves a sexy romance with endearing characters.  I’ve had numerous readers tell me they didn’t like vampires until they read mine.

PVN: Are there any current or past TV series featuring vampires that you have enjoyed?

SB: Well, I'm a True Blood devotee, though I like the books much more than the TV series.  I'm a huge Eric Northman fan, and Alexander Skarsgard is a perfect Eric.  He makes it worth watching.  Wish there was more of Charlaine Harris’s wonderful comic voice in the TV show, and less emphasis on blood.  Not that I don’t like a good bloody tale.  I’m hooked on Dexter, for Pete’s sake.  But the blood in the True Blood series is just too thick, stringy and gooey.

PVN: What do you most like about the writing life?

SB: Even though my life work has largely been in the public eye (I was director of communications for the City of Orlando and functioned as the mayor's spokesperson), I'm a solitary worker at heart.  So, spending hours at the computer by my lonesome is gratifying for me.  I also love working with my critique group, the Pink Fire Writers.  We're four gals who write in very different genres, and we're good friends as well as being brutal (sometimes) critics.  The real icing on the cake is when I hear from fans.  There’s not much money to be made in this business (at least I haven’t experienced that, so far), so the gratification is in a job well done.  Good reviews are always nice, too, and I love doing guest blogs on sites like PVN.

PVN: Where and when do you write? Describe the ambience.

SB: I usually write first thing in the morning, with a cup of high-octane java at my side. I should send you a video of my desk so you could see all the muses that surround me.  I have empty bottles of Kahlua (in the shape of a Mayan statue) and Vampire Vineyards' Cabernet Sauvignon on the shelf above my desk.  My daughter was worried that I was drinking on the job, but I assured her that the bottles were empty, and though I’d savored the wine, the Kahlua spent its life in my Chocolate Kahlua Pound Cake.  (If you'd like the recipe, please let me know.)  I have a photo that I took in the London Zoo of a toucan, a family photo of my son's high school graduation, about 20 "how to" books on writing that range from a good thesaurus to The Book of Useless Information.  I also have a crucifix with St. Francis's prayer inscribed on it, a portrait of The Blue Dog that I picked up the last time I was in New Orleans (pre-Katrina), an old globe (don't let anyone tell you no one uses globes anymore), and a few writing awards to remind me on the days when nothing flows that I AM capable of stringing a group of words together...logically.

PVN: What books or authors most influenced you?

SB: I love Barbara Kingsolver.  She manages to impart moral lessons without being preachy, and her dialogue is spot on.  I admire the humor of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Cruisie.  I like Sophie Kinsella’s single titles (The Undomesticated Goddess and Remember Me).  I’m a total sucker for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.  I drool over Charlaine Harris's Southern vampire books.  I marvel at The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. 

PVN: What works are in the future?

SB: In addition to the fifth story in my vampire series that I mentioned earlier, tentatively titled Black Fang, I’m going to finish the sequel to my Mayan time travel, Delora’s Necklace, and I’m working on a young adult book about a mouse detective entitled Minerva Greensleeves, House Mouse.

PVN: When reading for pleasure what do you like to read?

SB: For a fun, light read, I enjoy Barbara Bretton’s knitting/magic books.  I’m in a book club, so much of my reading focuses on the monthly book I read for the club.  These books run the gamut from non-fiction (memoirs like The Glass Castle) to literary fiction like Ahab’s Wife.  About the lightest thing we’ve got going this year is Dan Brown’s latest, The Lost Symbol.  Since I write paranormal, I’ve always got a book or two going in my genre.  I just finished Gail Carriger’s Soulless, which was great fun.  Currently, I’m devouring The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which is so good it makes my teeth itch, by Katherine Howe.

PVN: How can readers find you on the Internet?

SB: I'm on Facebook, and I just joined Twitter, but the best source is probably my website, www.susanblexrud.com.

Contest information

Two lucky readers will each win a  copy of Susan's new book  Love Fang.
US residents only

To be eligible do one or more of the following:
* Leave a comment -   1 point
* Ask Susan a question - 1 point
* Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL -  1 point for each site

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

Contest ends Feb. 22 at 11:59 PM PST


Emma Michaels said...

Please enter me!
Question for Susan:
What would you suggest for writers seeking publication on their first completed novel?
Wonderful interview!!!!

Emma Michaels

throuthehaze said...

Great interview! This book sounds very interesting :)
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

SandyG265 said...

This sounds like an interesting book.

How did you ever think of having a vampire be allergic to sleeping in a coffin?

sgiden AT verizon DOT net

Amanda Makepeace said...

Great interview! I agree with you on True Blood versus the books. The books are sooo much better.


Julie S said...

Great interview! Count me in juliecookies(at)gmail.com

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Emma, My advice is to stay positive, keep up with what's new in your genre, and learn from your rejections. It's a tough road, but persistence pays off.

@ SandyG265, I studied vampire characteristics before I began writing Love Fang, and when I learned that vampires are susceptible to allergies, I felt I could make it a humorous part of the story.

Unknown said...

I love your Blog Patricia, I always learn more unknown authors from you to add to my TB lists.
Great Interview, please enter me into the contest.

Susan: How many more books are there going to be written with your Vampires? Is this a long going series where I'd be able to catch up?

I like reading the first in a series, when i buy books, I like to know I can still purchase book 1or it drives me a little Batty :) Have a great day,
Stephmartin71 (at)yahoo.com

booklover0226 said...

Good morning, Susan.

I would like to have the recipe to the Chocolate Kahlua Pound Cake, please!

I've read one of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books and found it sweet and funny.

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

Tracey D
booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Susan Blexrud said...

@ StephMartin, Yes, isn't PVN great? One of my faves, for sure. There are currently four stories in my fang series, available independently as e-books at Fictionwise or All Romance E-books, or all four stories are included in the print book. I'm writing the fifth story, Black Fang, which introduces werewolves and fae into my paranormal world.

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Tracey D, I'll be happy to send you the recipe for Chocolate Kahlua Pound Cake. I'll forward it to your e-mail. And I'm not sure about book trailers. I love to make them, and anything that increases exposure is good, but I really don't know if they translate to sales. That said, I'll keep making them because they're such fun to do.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview, I'm always looking for new vampire reads and authors! tWarner419@aol.com

Unknown said...

Black Fang, what a great title. Thank you for the information, I get newsletters from All Romance Ebooks so I'll go take a looksy :) That chocolate kahlua sounds yummy, guess it means I need to go each my snack, trying to be good with my diet, but kinda hard to do when mom buys 1/4 sheet birthday cake! :) Have a great day. Steph

jellybelly82158 said...

Thanks for the great interview. This sounds like a great book.

Which do you prefer - paranormal or urban fantasy?

Julie S

Sandy Jay said...

Great interview. I love vampire stories. This one sounds good.

forwhlz at gmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Great interview, ladies! (and nice name, Susan!)

No need to enter me. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've posted about this at Win a Book.

Susan, if we can help you promote anything else, drop us a line.

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome interview and the book sounds like a fun read!

lilazncutie1215 @ yahoo.com

Unknown said...

Great interview. I love that the characters are all adults and "real".

I tweeted the contest here: http://twitter.com/IntenseWhisper/status/8822463867

Question: Do you write with humor as a main part of your books? I have not have the chance to read them yet.


Susan Blexrud said...

@JulieS. Paranormal or urban fantasy? No preference, really. I like well-written stories, whatever the genre.

Virginia C said...

Hi, Susan & Patricia! Happy Valentine's Day! Susan, you are a new author to me, and I really enjoyed visiting your website. The lace jacket you are wearing in your website photo is very pretty and feminine : ) The excerpt from "Love Fang" has me wanting to read the whole story! A collection of all four tales in one book would be a great, fun read!

You mentioned Bram Stoker in your interview. Did you enjoy the 1979 film version of "Dracula" starring Frank Langella? To me, Frank personified the sensual allure of the "Grand Vamp" himself, Dracula!

Please enter my name in the drawing. I am a follower and subscriber.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Patricia, I Loved your interview. You asked all the great questions.
Susan, Maybe I overlooked this in the interview but why did you decide to start writing and when?
I like the way you make your vamps so they are not so bad. There are good vamps for sure so all are not bad. I would love to win so pls put my name into the giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Virginia, Yes, I loved Frank Langella as Dracula. Course, I also loved Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000. Thanks for commenting!
@Miss Kallie, I've always been a writer, though I just began writing paranormal 3 years ago. Glad you like my sexy, funny vamps.

Jamie said...

Do you like writing paranormal better than your previous writing?


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I love the fact that your stories are now available in print. Plus with you being a NC writer maybe I'll get a chance to go to a book signing. I also think Harris's books were much,much better than the True Blood series. The TV show doesn't have any of the hokey humor that I fell in love with in the books.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

Dot S.(ladeetdareads.wordpress.com) said...

I love sexy, endearing vampires so I guess I'm a Susan reader. I would love to win this book and prove it.

Susan Blexrud said...

@Stacy - I love to write, and though I adore my vampires, I'm just as enamoured with the detective mouse I'm currently writing about. But I'm not abandoning my vamps. You'll see lots more of them.

@Robin K. - Humor is just a natural aspect of my writing. I was the class clown in high school, so I guess it's a logical progression.

justpeachy36 said...


Please enter me in the giveaway.

Susan... what was your inspiration for writing this novel? Did you always like Vampires or is this something new?

Susan Blexrud said...

@ justpeachy - I've ALWAYS loved vampires. Got hooked on Anne Rice in the early 80s, and then I saw this hunky French actor (darn, I can't remember his name) play Dracula in a stage production in St. Louis, and the goosebumps have been perpetual since then.

Reading said...

You mentioned that your a sucker for Twilight, did you see the movies and what were your thoughts?

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Bethie - I saw Twilight. Still haven't caught New Moon (it's on my list, along with Young Victoria). I think Robert Pattinson is a great Edward, and I have a thing for Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper. I also love the Alice character, both in the book and movie. Basically, I think the film nailed the actors, but it couldn't convey the emotions of the book. Few films can.

Stephanie Grant said...

Great giveaway thanks for the chance.

Unknown said...

HI Susan, I may have missed this , Does your Vamps have a series name? I am adding you to my book bible and I like listing the series titles along with what the book titles and numbers. Have a great day, Stephanie

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Stephanie - Unofficially, I call my vampire books my FANG series. There are four stories (I'm currently writing the fifth), and they're available individually as e-books or together in the print book. Thanks for asking, Steph!

Andrea I said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning more about you and your books.
Were you a reader growing up?
http:///facebook.com/Andrea Infinger

Susan Blexrud said...

@ Andrea - Yes, I've always been a reader. Growing up, I was big into the Sue Barton nurse series, the Happy Hollisters, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. Wish I'd had Harry Potter in those days, but I enjoyed them with my son as he grew up.

Beth said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

Great interview!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Candes said...

All right! I just love vampire stories. Thanx :)