Thank you Raven for agreeing to this interview and I hope you have enjoyed the questions I have given you. Yes! Thanks and you’re welcome!
Terra: After reading The Vampires Revenge I have come to the realization that you have layered your story and quite nicely too. Is it easier to reveal all the different crisis’ at once and then solve them separately one at a time? Even though it is one crisis after another, each one is quite organized. Is this your typical style of writing?
Raven: Yes, I like to maintain a good level of ongoing crises/action/resolution. I love a fast-paced story as a reader, so that’s how I write. As far as the way crises are revealed, it kind of depends on where I am in the story. The crises crop up where they will. Hopefully I can get them to build on each other and resolve them one at a time so they have maximum impact individually and sustain a high level of excitement taken together. I wish I could tell you I plan things out to the nth degree before beginning, but a shocking number of plot points come to me as I’m writing and I have to go back and change things to make them fit together properly. I do keep an exhaustive outline though, so that helps me stay organized.
Terra: Jack is really a lively character. I find him quite endearing, love his sense of sarcasm and think it is adorable that he thinks with the wrong head most times. He almost seems more human than vampire. What do you think he would have to say about my description of him?
Raven: I think he would say you’re right on! More than any other vampire in the Raven Hart “world,” he still thinks of himself as human. So does Werm, but he’s still a fledgling so that’s to be expected. It’s Jack’s humanity and his concern for his human friends and “family” that set him apart. This trait makes a nice contrast between him and William, who really has to struggle against his evil nature. In fact, it was Jack’s humanity that lead William to turn him into a blood drinker. He saw a spark of something pure in Jack, and wanted to create a companion for himself that could remind him of what it was like to be human and good, even though Jack would be a vampire. Somehow William knew that Jack would hang onto a human sensibility as a blood drinker.
Terra: Okay this question has been niggling at me for quite some time now. We know Jack is a vampire thus the undead, Connie is human now turned immortal, how in the world as we know it did Jack do the duty of getting Connie pregnant while she was still human? Yes I do know the story of the birds and the bees but if Jack is undead shouldn’t his little swimmers be unable to function properly? OUCH, please don’t let Jack know that I said that!
Raven: Believe me, Jack is more shocked that anyone! Ordinarily Jack would not be able to father children, but a prophecy exists that says one day this will happen with a very special vampire. Jack is the fulfillment of that prophecy. There’s also a prophecy about a vampire fathering a slayer. That would be Travis Rubio of course. These prophecies have only been hinted at so far. One of these days in the future of the series, they will be made more clear.
Terra: You have a wonderful romance going here. Vamp male loves human female, Were male loves human female, Vamp female wants to jump Vamp male bones but that could get complicated. Vamp male sets up Were male to seduce human female that is said love of both males. How in the world did you keep your line of thinking straight when everyone must have been crowding in wanting their affections to be told first? Did you have any of the characters actually getting angry with you because they were jealous of who gets what and when?
Raven: Seth is getting a little peeved, yes.
Terra: I have to say this is the first time I have heard of the double deads and would really like to know where the innocent souls go when they have been popped out of their own human bodies for a demon from hell to take over? Do they go into another body, lay in limbo, go to the desert of lost souls?
Raven: I like to use the traditional vampire “rules” involving coffins, mirrors, holy water, etc., but I also like to throw in my own original touches. I came up with the idea of the double deads to represent vampires (already undead) who had been killed again, hopefully for the final time. However, the old lords were able to strike a deal with satan to resurrect them. When they come to the surface from the underworld in “The Vampire’s Revenge,” they can either take the demon form that satan cursed them with or they can take over some poor unsuspecting human’s body. When the latter happens the human’s soul jumps into the nearest living thing. When the nearest living thing is another human, it sets off a chain reaction where a large group of humans are not who they’re supposed to be. Some are possessed by demons and others are bumped out by other innocent humans. If the possession is allowed to spread exponentially, a whole planet’s worth of people could be walking around in somebody else’s skin!
Terra: Why did you pick Savannah as your home base for the storyline? I know the South has a lot of history and they are a very spiritual people, how much of this has to factor in on your decision to place the storyline there?
Raven: The spirituality aspect was important, but the main reason Savannah was picked was because of its violent history and its status as one of the most haunted places in the country. There were all kinds of military battles going all the way back to colonial times in which the fighting was so intense and the casualties were so great that people were often buried where they fell, even if it was in someone’s front yard. There were yellow fever epidemics, great fires, cutthroat pirates and brigands of all kinds. With vampires you can tap into all Savannah’s bloody history.
Terra: Does Seth know of Connie’s pregnancy and if not how do you think he will react upon finding out that what he might be expecting as his own little bundle of fur turns out to be someone else’s little blood drinker? And what do you think Connie is going to make of this once it becomes clear that she’s pregnant?
Raven: Seth doesn’t know yet, and frankly, his reaction will not be pleasant.
Terra: How long did it take you to write The Vampires Revenge? Was there any particular rituals/habits that you followed to help you go from beginning to end?
Raven: It took several months, and I had a couple of false starts until I got a handle on how the story should play out. The best ritual/habit you can develop when writing on deadline is called BCHK which stands for Butt on the Chair; Hands on the Keyboard.
Terra: Will we have a future story featuring Olivia and her clan? I really enjoyed the Celtic Gods showing up in The Vampires Revenge, will you have more deities visiting us in future stories, possibly with Olivia’s clan?
Raven: Thanks! I would really love to do a story about Olivia and her clan. I liked playing around with the Celtic gods. I hope to use more of Olivia and Donovan, who I really like. I visited Ireland this past summer and it was very inspiring. I saw a lot of archeological sites and monastic ruins that put me in mind of trips back in time I could make with a really ancient vampire like Donovan.
Terra: Have you thought about writing a novel in another romance sub genre”? If not, would you consider it if your editor put the question to you? Why or why not?
Raven: I would consider pretty much any writing job that sounded fun. I can’t think of any romance sub genre that I would hesitate to take on, in fact. As a professional working writer I have a sharp eye out for any and all opportunities.
Okay everyone, ask Raven a question pertaining to her books or to this interview and make sure and leave an email addy to have a chance to win one of two copies of The Vampires Revenge that Raven has been so kind to giveaway today. Hope you have enjoyed the interview and I know you will enjoy the book.
The Vampire's Revenge
Hey! Watch where you're swinging that axe!" I yelled as the blade whistled through the air, grazing my cheek. "I'm trying to help you bring that demon down, you know. The least you could do is try not to lop off my head."
The demon, a nasty little number covered with slimy brown scales, ducked but not before Connie's axe connected with its shoulder. It howled in pain and outrage from the bricked-in corner of the alley we had backed it into.
"Is head lopping one of the ways you can kill a vampire?" Connie asked. She never took her gaze off the demon, but her eyes lit up with a deadly fervor that made me cringe because I knew it was meant for me.
"Well, yes," I admitted. "One of the few." The demon made a break for it, but I caught him in the jaw—if that hump below its mouth was a jaw—with my fist and spun him back into the corner.
Connie sighed. "I have so much to learn. So many vampires; So little time."
Werm, who'd acted as bait by luring the creature into the side street where Connie and I were hiding, danced back and forth looking for an opening so he could use the ninja throwing stars he'd ordered from a martial arts catalog. He'd gotten each of them specially engraved with an ankh, which was the ancient Egyptian symbol for eternal life and a good-luck charm for vampires, or so he told me. Of course Werm's greatest weapon was his ability to make himself invisible, but he'd still rather play with kung fu toys.
"And as for you," I warned, pointing at Werm, "if I wind up with one of those chunks of steel sticking out of my forehead I'm going to make you rue the day you begged to be made into a vampire."
"What makes you think I don't rue it already?" Werm asked, holstering his weapons with a pout. The little goth guy had thought being a vamp would be all fun and games and give him a change to scare the shit out of guys who used to kick sand in his face. He didn't figure close-quarters demon fighting would be part of the deal. Be careful what you wish for.
The demon charged me and I kicked it in the side, slamming it back into the wall. Connie raised her weapon again and swung with almost as much speed and strength as I myself could muster. The demon's head left its shoulders with a spray of blood and its body fell forward onto the pavement and turned into a pile of dirt. The smell of it mixed with the sickening-sweet stench of the nearby dumpster and made my nose twitch with disgust.
"Another one bites the dust, uh, uh," Connie sang with a little victory dance. I watched her shimmy her shapely booty in awe, not quite sure whether I should be grossed out by her blood lust or turned on by it. I seemed to be a little of both. Maybe I'd inherited William's death wish along with all his responsibilities.
"I'm going back to the club," Werm said. "Call me when you need me."
As I waved him off, Connie turned her attention to me, noticing the trickle of blood running down my cheek. Her eyes dilated, the pupils turning into slits, the irises blood red. She grabbed me by the neck and pulled my face next to hers so quickly it startled me. I searched her eyes for the spark that was my old Connie, and didn't see it. Would it—would she—ever be back? Or was she lost and gone forever, lost in the shell of this vicious, half-human killer standing in front of me now?
When she pressed her lips to my cheek, I felt myself go weak in the knees. She hadn't shown me any affection since. . . the night I tried to kill her. For her own good, of course.
I quickly realized it wasn't the hots for me that caused her to move her lovely lips along my skin, sending a shiver running down my spine and a throb of desire running everywhere else. As a dhampir, she was part vampire, part human, part goddess. She was savoring my blood for its flavor and its power. She was a predator now, and I was her prey of choice. She flicked out her tongue and lapped away the dribble of my blood.
"Mmm. Good to the last drop," she murmured in a throaty whisper.
Even as I glanced down to see her pull back her lips and reveal her baby fangs, I felt more yearning than terror. She was born to kill me after all, and I swear if it weren't for Mel and Rene, I would let her. As long as she made love to me one last time.
I closed my eyes, relishing the serrated rasp of those fangs across my skin, and nearly swooned. I know, I know. Kickass vampires with superpowers like me don't swoon. But you don't know Connie. Her hot breath burned a line from my cheek to my neck.
"Please," I heard myself beg.
"Please what?" Her tongue probed the hollow of my throat, searing my cold, dead flesh.
I bit my tongue to keep myself from murmuring, kill me. It was tempting, but too many innocent people depended on me for their safety. I couldn't take the easy way out as much as I might want to die in Connie's arms, at the point of her fangs, and be done with it.
"Nothing," I muttered. I took hold of her shoulders and gently pushed her away from me, breaking the suction lock she had on my neck. "Remember our agreement. I help you with the demon killing and you don't eat me."
"You're going to get a nice, blood-red hicky," she teased, ignoring me.
I rubbed at the spot on my neck. It was difficult getting used to the new Connie. Before, she had been a no-nonsense woman. Oh, she had a great sense of humor and could be as playful and fun-loving as anyone, but when it came to matters of life and death—which it came to all the time because she's a cop—she was as serious as a heart attack and always in control. But the way she went about catching demons as a slayer was altogether different from the way she went about catching regular bad guys as a detective.
When she was activated as the Slayer, she'd turned wild, unpredictable and vicious. Travis Rubio, her father and the only vampire who had faced down slayers and lived to tell the tale, said she would achieve more self-control as she matured. Right now, to her way of thinking the only good vampire was a dead vampire. She saw those of us who refused to do harm in the same light as those who preyed on humans. I hoped that as time went on, she would develop some discrimination. I longed to be able to reason with her, to convince her to fight at our side against the evil ones. I only hoped I could keep her from killing me for that long.
And I also hoped I could keep my beloved Melaphia the voodoo queen from killing Connie to avenge her adoptive father's death. What was done was done. William was the first vampire that Connie had slain, and nothing could bring him back now.