Crimson Dawn is an urban fantasy with a paranormal romance twist. It revolves around a 98 year old Pureblood vampire named Valeria Trumaine and her struggles to catch her psychotic ex-fiance after he goes rouge. Her best friend, a 300 year old Tuatha De Danann princess, named Irulan aides her on the hunt for Tristan.
2. How did you come up with the idea to write this book?
I am a huge fan of Kim Harrison and her Rachel Morgan series. For those that have not read any of the books in the series, Rachel is a witch who’s roommates with a living vampire named Ivy. To make a long story short Ivy is bisexual and in love with Rachel. Rachel takes Ivy on this emotional roller-coaster ride with her inability to commit to her but she wont let her go. I love the novels and eagerly wait for each new one, but that aspect of their relationship buggs me to no end. I wanted a story in which the bi or lesbian character ended up getting their girl. I began searching for such a novel but most of what I found was hard core erotica and lacked real story lines. So I decided to write my own. So in a sense, Kim Harrison inspired me to write Crimson Dawn.
3. How long have you been writing? I have been writing short stories since I was in high-school which was (gasp) over 15 years ago. I actually started writing erotic short stories because I was picked on a lot and to keep people from picking on me, I wrote the stories and passed them around. Soon I went from the girl to make fun of to the girl to get smut from. I am so lucky a teacher never got their hands on one of those stories.
4. Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have more (published or unpublished) that you wrote before? Before Crimson Dawn I made one attempt at writing a full length novel. The title of it is Ecomancers. It's full of vampires and werewolves but also telepaths and people with super-hero type powers. I got maybe fifteen chapters into it before I threw in the towel and decided that it was too hard for me to write a full length piece. It's actually a pretty good concept that I might go back and revamp and finish one day.
5. Describe your writing process. When an idea pops into my head it usually starts one of two ways; with a character or an entire scenario. With characters it usually about what's going on with that person. I get a feel for their personality and the challenges they might face. If the character sticks with me then I sit down and jot down a quick life history and a story usually springs from that. In the other case, sometimes I wonder if for instance, 'what if a werewolf had to go through this?' Once I get that question in my head I come up with a main character and start outlining. I am a stickler for background info. Before I write anything I have to have character bio's and species descriptions. I have full family tree's for some characters and a chart that details the blood kin of all of my Extra's races.
6. Who are some of your literary influences? Kim Harrison, Laurell k. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs, Alex Haley, Nikki Giovanni, and Maya Angelou.
7. What kind of books do you read, and is it different from what you write? Whether it's adult or YA, I am addicted to paranormal romances and urban fantasies. But I also love afro-centric historical works such as Roots and Queen. And I love poetry. With the exception of the shorts that will be in my poetry collection, and the poems themselves, most of my work is paranormal or fantasy related.
8. Where do you come up with your characters? Do you base them on people you've seen or met? I'm not totally sure where all of them came from. Val in a lot of ways is the inner Ronnie. She's smart mouthed, uber confident in what she's capable of and leaps before looking instead of over analyzing situations; all qualities that I wished I possessed at one time or another. She also has issues that influence her actions and make her strive to be a better person. I think a lot of us face similar situations at some point in our lives. As for basing them on people I've met or seen, well the visuals I get in my head when I write certainly influence the description of them. I'm a big movie fan and a lot of the times I see certain actors as the characters and I give my characters those physical traits. Val is Jurnee Smollett in my head and Irulan is Gemma Arterton (circa. Clash of The Titans).
9. Do the names of your characters reflect anything or mean anything in particular? Is there a reason behind the names you choose? I chose Val because it was close to my first name which is Veronica. I chose Irulan's name because I am a big fan of The Real World and had kind of a mini-tv crush on Irulan from the Las Vegas season. I named Irulan's mother FreDonia after my grandmother. There are also characters in other works that are named after family members. In my werewolf novel, Ascension: Wolves of Goose Creek, the main character Still, has two younger twin sisters. I named them Maya and Malia after my daughters.
10. Is this part of a series, and if so, when will the next book be available? Yes Crimson Dawn is the first book in the Darklife Saga. I have outlined 5 books in the series so far. The second book is titled Black Moon Rising and I am twenty chapters into it. It picks up four months after the events in Crimson Dawn. I have a YA title that revolves around the character David that is introduced in Crimson Dawn, titled Freak Among Freaks. The events in F.A.F's run parallel with the events in B.M.R. so I am treading carefully to make sure I don't run into any continuity issues. But I am hoping to be done with the first draft by the middle of next month and revisions by the start of September. After that I'm not sure when it will be available but I am thinking the start of 2012. I have another novel coming out this year so I am almost certain B.M.R. will have a 2012 release date.
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