Giveaway (US/Can): Burrowing into a vampire author’s grey matter with Tes Hilaire & Elisabeth Staab
Please help me welcome authors Tes Hilaire and Elisabeth Staab!
So often we spend our time getting to know the character in a book, but what about the warped (Hey, who are you calling warped?!?) mind that created such a dark world. Today, in honor of our hosts here at GraveTells, Elisabeth and I decided to dive into the shady minds that brought you two very different and dark worlds. (Note from DVK: Wait, did you just call us all here at GraveTells warped? Mmmhmmm! I’m on to you both!) But before we proceed, a disclaimer…
The authors cannot be held responsible for any disturbed ideas you pick up from our psychic brainwaves. Any strange nightmares or burst bubbles of perception you have as a result from reading this are your own. Proceed with caution.
Tes: I’ll start off easy for you, Elisabeth, with a question on your preferences for Heroes: Tall Dark and Deadly or Golden God of Seduction?
Elisabeth: Uhm…Yes, please? LOL. I love them all. Thad, in King of Darkness is an alpha pretty boy with muscles, blond hair, and blue eyes, but he’s in crisis. He’s got a tortured spirit and a sensitive soul. I like to play with the unexpected inside of traditional packaging, and pushing my heroes to the edge. And you, Tes? I get a dark, gritty feel from your writing, and a brooding, barely contained quality from your heroes, am I close?
Tes: Brooding… Oh yeah. I think it goes with the whole dark and mysterious thing, which, I admit, I’m a sucker for. Even Logan, who is the hero for Deliver Me from Temptation, has a certain brooding quality to him. Future leader of the Paladin, his honor and duty drive his actions, but under it all is a man who wants for more. So when he meets his bond mate and realizes he might have to choose between love and duty… yeah, definitely some brooding, barely contained anger and frustration there. And since we’re talking about the hidden sides of things… Elisabeth: In your childhood, did you subscribe to beliefs in things like the Boogie man? And if so, tell us some of your scariest fears.
Elisabeth: Oh yeah, I am ALL about the stuff that goes bump in the night and lives under the bed. I was the one who told the ghost stories at slumber parties and pulled out the Ouija board or the Magic 8-ball for everyone to play with. I eventually stopped watching horror movies because they kept me from sleeping. I’d lay awake thinking of all the what-ifs. Were bees going to come out of my mirror and sting me to death? And forget about the circus, cuz I definitely don’t do clowns. Okay, Tes: Your world of the Paladin contains a cornucopia of supernatural creatures that appear to live undetected under the noses of humankind: vampires, sirens…did you set out to create a world that way, or did you start with one species and the rest just kind of showed up?
Tes: Truthfully? Deliver Me from Darkness was all about Roland, my tortured vampire. It wasn’t until I had the first few chapters written and Logan (Roland’s best friend) appeared in them that the world started to explode. I knew Logan was a warrior and that Roland had been one too until he was turned, but until I started researching I wasn’t sure what type of warriors they were or who the enemies were that they fought. Turns out it was more than just baddy vampires. Demons, Succubus/Incubus, the more-annoying-than-anything-else imps, and merkers (half demon’s fathered by a truly fallen Paladin) to name a few. Basically, if it has any sort of ties to hell it is or will be a baddy in my novels. And since we’re speaking of creatures and all things evil… Elisabeth: If you were trapped in a room with a creature of evil and one weapon, which creature would you choose to face and what would that weapon be?
Elisabeth: Gosh, that’s tough. What I’d really like, is a supernatural ability of some sort like my vampires have. The ability to stop time perhaps, or shoot fireballs like Thad. Stopping time would be my first choice, because then I can freeze the evil bad guy, and still whack off a few other things on my to-do list. I swear, there are NEVER enough hours in the day. Especially when you’re sidelined by evil creatures in a small room. Which leads me to…Tes: We’re both at-home parents. I, for one, sometimes find it tough to juggle (I drink a looot of coffee!). Vampires and evil wizards and deadlines vs school meetings and packing lunches…do you find it tough to balance?
Tes: Elisabeth, I’m going to let you slide on the superpower thing… As for me? I make my doppelganger do the dirty work. The laundry, the cooking, cleaning the bathrooms. She draws the line at parent teacher meetings though, can you believe it? I guess that’s not completely bad since I have a feeling the brain-fried state she exists in wouldn’t make a very good impression with school staff. Talk about bringing misfortune down on your kids. And on topics of misfortune…Elisabeth: I’m sure you’ve heard of the Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. I know we write about such things, but would you want to live in such a time? And if so, would you want to live in the world of your stories?
Elisabeth: The world in King of Darkness is probably a little too interesting for my tastes, as enticing as trappings like hot-blooded, fanged-up, bad boys would be.The world outside of the relative security of the vampire estate is full of mercenary evil and things that are out to kill and I admit I prefer the relative safety of suburbia. That said, part of my research involved studying monarchies in places like Nepal where that sort of thing isn’t too far away from reality. In the capital city life is more or less safe, but outside of that there used to be a civil war going on and it wasn’t safe in rural areas. So I acknowledge that I’m lucky, and I do pull shards of what I write from other realities. Tes: If your hero and heroine had “their” song, what would it be?
Tes: Okay… believe it or not this is the hardest question you’ve asked. I think, for me, my couples have more of an album, or a sound. I listened to a lot of different music while writing Deliver Me from Darkness. The heavy doses included musicians such as Coldplay, The Fray and even some Nine Inch Nails. Different songs spoke to me at different points in their emotional journey. I guess, if I had to choose just one of them, I think it would have to be Yellow by Coldplay. Something about the mood of the song had me playing it over and over again when I was getting ready to write the highly emotional scenes between them. Maybe it was the obvious love and devotion “Look how they [stars] shine for you…”, maybe it was the sacrifice “For you I bleed myself dry… “ but it just seemed to fit for them. Phew… don’t ask me why, but that was painful… so since misery loves company … Elisabeth: You’re alone on a dark street in the city. The streetlamps have burned or been busted out. What did it? And what happens next?
Elisabeth: I’m a vampire, and my body is cold with the nearness of evil wizard vibes. Probably one who has the power to control electricity, or something along those lines. Or maybe he’s just kickin’ it old school and he busted out the lights with a weapon of some kind. So I wait, I listen, and I quietly screw the silencer on my MK23. Gun in one hand, knife in the other, I stretch my preternatural vision until I can make out the guy. He thinks he’s hidden in a doorway, but I’ve got better vision in the dark. I go invisible and creep around the side of a car. Soon as I’m on him, BAM! Butt of the gun to his face breaks his nose. He’s disoriented and bleeding, then out comes the knife, and I take him down. Hardly broke a sweat and the poor newbie bastard didn’t see it comin’ (Bonus points if anybody knows which character’s point of view this was written from!). Tes: Let’s talk about a different kind of action–establishing sexual chemistry between your characters. You’ve got a strong pairing for your next book, was it tough to make them *nudge, wink, ahem* come together?
Tes: Wow… I’m blushing… I won’t even tell you where my mind just went. Anywho…Yes, both Logan and Jessica are very strong personalities. Logan, being the last full-blooded Paladin has been raised to be a leader and Jessica, being a homicide detective is used to pushing people to the limit to get answers as she fights for justice for those who no longer can. The chemistry was never a problem between these two. Hot plus hot equals hotter, right? The problem, as you say, was making them come together. Jessica is not very trusting by nature, and Logan, well he knows, logically, that it is most likely best for both of them if he walks away. But neither of them can do that, the bond pulling at them is too strong. Needless to say it makes for some great sexualy charged moments with all kinds of conflicted thoughts and emotions. For the steamier stuff though…well you’ll have to read the book. Elisabeth: Okay, I’ll be nice and end on an easy one. Well, kind of. If you had to pick just one female protagonist from your Darkness or Power books (including secondary characters) who would you be and why?
Elisabeth: I like them all for different reasons. They’re each powerful in their own ways. I think, truthfully, Alexia, Queen Isabel’s best friend is my favorite. She’s a music lover, which makes her a woman after my own heart. She’s also scrappy, and tenacious. At the beginning of King of Darkness she goes from being the human friend of a vampire living in the human world, to being the only human on an estate full of vampires. In book 2, Prince of Power, we see that isolation begin to chip away at her, but she fights against it. Tes: What part of either of your books was the hardest to write? The easiest?
Tes: Oh, this is easy. The easiest thing to write is the ending. The hardest part is getting there. See, I always have a general idea of where the story is going, in fact I often have pages upon pages of outlines and mini scenes written before I truly delve into the novel. You’d think this would mean the entire novel would be easy to write, but the thing is my characters have other ideas. I can’t tell you the number of times I’m writing happily along and then one of my characters puts the brakes on, folding their arms, shaking their heads, with a big “nuh-uh, no-way” on their lips. When that happens there is no talking to them. It’s their way or the highway, which means I often have a lot of scrambling to do to catch up to their wavelength and figure out not only what the heck they want, but how to make it happen and still drive them to the climax *cough, clear throat* (jeez, see what you did to me Elisabeth? *Elisabeth cackles with glee*) that I need them to reach. The reward, obviously, is when I get to the end of the book and everything falls into place. Writing that last third is such a wonderful experience… for me obviously, not them, as it’s also their black moment. Oh, payback is so sweet at times. 😀
About the authors
|Elisabeth Staab still lives with her nose in a book and at least one foot in a fantasy world. Her bestselling paranormal romance novel, King of Darkness, is available now. Her second book, Prince of Power, releases in January. Find out more at ElisabethStaab.com|
|Tes Hilaire’s idea of a perfect vacation would include her porch on a sultry summer night, a good glass of rich, red wine, and a book about darkness, passion, torture and love. Her first novel in the Paladin warriors series, Deliver Me from Darkness, is available now. The next, Deliver Me from Temptation, releases in December. For more, visit TesHilaire.com.|
More about the books
Thank you for joining us today! One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Tes Hilaire’s Deliver Me from Darkness, and another will win Elisabeth Staab’s King of Darkness.
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