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A blog about books and other things speculative

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Interview with Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway - February 1, 2012

Please welcome Elisabeth Staab to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1), Elisabeth's debut, will be published on February 7, 2012.


TQ:   What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Elisabeth:  Huh. I guess it depends on what you'd call a quirk, but I think mostly I kind of display socially odd behavior when I write. Usually it doesn't matter because I write early in the morning while the house is quiet, but on the weekends I sometimes write someplace public like Panera or Starbucks and the whole world gets to see it. I listen to music and kind of groove along in my chair while I work, which gets me interesting looks. Even better is when I'm editing, and I stop to stare into space while I think about a scene. Once in awhile I find myself staring AT someone without realizing it! I even once got a jealous "back off" look from a woman who thought I was making eyes at her man!

TQ:   Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Elisabeth:  There are SO many good writers out there. Suzanne Brockmann, hands down. J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, Larissa Ione, Damon Suede, Lara Adrian, Karri Nelson, and also John Grisham (every once in awhile I feel a deep urge to pick up a legal thriller!) are a few of my other favorites. Suz Brockmann is my go-to for technique, plot, POV...when I'm looking for an example of something in romance writing I pick up one of her books. J.R. Ward though is the reason why I started writng and even though I don't read her books much anymore for fear of accidental worldbuilding crossover, it was her series that made me go "Wow, THIS is a romance novel? This is amazing!" I had thought for a long time that I wasn't into romance novels, but I thought all romances were the old school bodice-ripper type books. Nothing wrong with them, but it wasn't my bag. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series opened me up to a whole new genre that I hadn't been aware of, and I fell so in love with it that I started writing.

TQ:   Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Elisabeth:  Truthfully, if it were up to me, I would be a total panster. I used to be superstitious about plotting because the first novel I tried to plot never got finished. I like to sit down and see where the story takes me, organically. BUT...King of Darkness was written without pre-plotting, and I ended up outlining it after the fact, scrapping a ton of it, then rewriting a bunch more. It came out well in the end but it was a lot of unnecessary work. My critique partner finally sat me down and convinced me to get with the program while I was writing Prince of Power, which will be KoD's sequel. I have to say, I think Prince of Power will be an even stronger book as a result. So. I'm slowly creeping over to the plotting camp, you could say.

TQ:   What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Elisabeth:  Writing a paranormal/urban fantasy series is a big challenge in and of itself. Figuring out how to make the world hold together from one book to the next, with multiple story arcs. I didn't know what I was getting into when I decided to do all that! Writing and parenting small children is my other big challenge. I can't send 'em off to school yet, so I get up to write very early. I'm tired a lot, and I drink loooots of coffee.

TQ:   Describe King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1) in 140 characters or less.

ElisabethKing of Darkness is about the heir to the throne of a contemporary vampire kingdom, his would-be mate and their struggle to survive.

TQ:   What inspired you to write King of Darkness?

Elisabeth:  I fell in love with vampires. The Lost Boys is still one of my favorite movies. After I stumbled onto the Lara Adrian and J.R. Ward, I got to the last book in each series and like most avid readers wondered what series I would move onto reading next. This was right after the birth of my youngest child. I was rocking him to sleep one night and I had one of those fuzzy half-asleep dreams that turned out to be the opening scene for King of Darkness. I decided instead of looking for a new vampire book to read, I'd write one. I thought if I wrote my own story I wouldn't have to wait to find out what happens next. That's not entirely true, as it turns out. The characters don't always tell you right away. There's a character that appears in book 2 of the series who is SO intriguing, and he won't tell me what his story is, exactly.

TQ:   What sort of research did you do for King of Darkness?

Elisabeth:  The opening scene for King of Darkness takes place at a rave so I did a little brushing up on rave culture and electronic music. Also there's a lot in the book about wine, and the unusual effect it has on vampires. I spent a great deal of time working that into the storyline. Lots of small stuff: timeline and phases of the moon (which is key to the vampires' reproductive cycles in this world), car makes and models, Bonobo apes (No, I'm serious!. There's a bit of dialogue about them in Chapter 12.), etc.

TQ:   Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Elisabeth:  Thad was definitely the easiest. I fell in love with him immediately. He's strong and sexy but he's not your average alpha. He really revs my engine! The hardest was probably Isabel. She and I had a little trouble connecting at first. With help from my editor and my critique partner I actually have come to be really fond of her and people tell me she's a pretty kickass heroine. She has a painful past though, and as crazy as it sounds, sometimes even with fictional characters you can feel protective. I just had trouble pushing her to her full potential in the beginning.

TQ:   Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in King of Darkness?

Elisabeth:  I really love the scene where Thad first finds Isabel, and the scene where they first make love. The first because Thad is so stunned that it renders him speechless, and the latter because it's when they really begin to connect and bond. Even if they don't acknowledge it until much later.

TQ:   What's next?

Elisabeth:  I'm finishing the sequel to King of Darkness right now! Prince of Power will feature Tyra, Thad's unusually powerful half-sister, as the heroine.

TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Elisabeth:  Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I'm honored!


Read Elisabeth's Guest Blog - A Vampire in Need of an Identity? - by clicking here.


About King of Darkness

King of Darkness
Chronicles of Yavn 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

Interview with Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway - February 1, 2012
ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA…

Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although, drifting among the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons’ blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the king of vampires this party girl’s life turns dark and dangerous.

BUT TIME’S RUNNING OUT FOR THE KING OF VAMPIRES…

Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate has gotten it seriously wrong…


About Elisabeth

Interview with Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway - February 1, 2012
Elisabeth Staab lives in Northern Virginia with her hero and soul mate. She has been a telemarketer, a web page editor, a software developer, a reader for the blind, a technical trainer, a coffee shop barista, a tutor, a homemaker, a government project manager, a graphic designer, and a professional ebayer. Finally, she's landed on being a writer - which is what her high school guidance counselor originally suggested anyway.

Elisabeth believes that all kinds of safe, sane, and consensual love should be celebrated--but she loves the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best.

Find Elisabeth at ElisabethStaab.com, on Facebook, or Twitter!


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1) from Elisabeth!

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is/are your favorite vampire movie(s)?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Guest Blog by Elisabeth Staab - A Vampire in Need of an Identity?

Please welcome Elisabeth Staab to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Elisabeth's debut novel, King of Darkness, will be published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 7, 2012.


A Vampire in Need of an Identity?

What comes to mind when you think of vampires? The castle-dwelling, human-drugging, polygamist, wide-eyed Bella Lugosi from 1931's Dracula? Suave, sparkly, eternally young Edward, from Twilight? Something in between? We've come a long way as a culture of readers and movie-watchers from seeing vampires as horror-movie monsters and villains to heroes and lovers

Somewhere along the way we realized that it was actually wicked-hot, to be desired and claimed by a hot-blooded, fanged, preturnaturally strong being who could--ahem--maybe also make love like there was no tomorrow. Or even being able to be that kind of character.

Meet Thad—the king, in King of Darkness. On the outside, he's everything you'd want in a sexy alpha-male: tall, stacked, and weapon-wielding. No undead coffin-creeping for this blood-sucker. But on the inside? Thad's having an identity crisis, and panic attacks. He’s caught—at first, anyway—somewhere between what’s expected of him and who he believes himself to be. That's right, super-human alphas can be afraid too.

You see, his father was the leader of the last remaining vampires on earth, and that duty has fallen to Thad earlier than expected. He's not really sure he has it in him to follow in dad’s footsteps. He also bears an unusual scar on his arm in the shape of a cross. According to a fortune told by an Oracle at his birth, he won't be able to lead properly or unlock the supernatural power he is supposed to possess until he finds the right mate to help him. That scar is his only key to finding her. Meanwhile, a competing—and of course eeevil supernatural race is trying to kill off his kind, and so the vampires must remain strong and united under their leader, or else it's deadsville for all of them. But no pressure, or anything.

So what's a panicked newly-ascended vampire king with a suppressed magical power and dating troubles to do?

Buckle up and head out in search of that prophesied mate, of course.

He's scrambling to make heads or tails of his new place in the world. To put the pieces of the puzzle together. To find a needle in a haystack…

And then he finds Isabel—another vampire, albeit one who has been living apart from the vampire culture, in the human world. At first, Isabel is another piece of the puzzle. But she doesn't wanna be. Hard to have a mate, fated or not, who's unwilling. Even the hottest of alpha males cannot get away with clubbing a vampire female over the head and dragging her back to his cave.

Except...there's the whole prophecy business.

Even to a vampire, that's pretty wonky, and neither of them are exactly buying into it. That's the part that probably keeps this story firmly rooted in the paranormal. That would make it impossible to swap their species and suddenly have it be a "normal" contemporary story. The thing about prophecies, and destined pairings, is they make for a really cool fantasy. I love—and I think a lot of us do—the idea of a special someone out there for us somewhere in the universe. Destined for us.

But sometimes it blows our perceptions of who we are out of the water. Isabel’s a feisty club girl with a strong sense of independence. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s anything, thank you. Of all the challenges on Thad’s already very full plate, Isabel was one he definitely hadn’t bargained for. Part of figuring out who he’s supposed to be, turns out to be figuring out who he’s supposed to be to Isabel.

King of Darkness is a title with more than one meaning. The darkness is literal of course—Thad is a vampire, after all. But the darkness is more symbolic also, because when Thad finds Isabel he is in a very dark place that he doesn’t see a way out of. Isabel turns out to be his light, in more ways than one.

They just don’t know it at first.


About King of Darkness

King of Darkness
Chronicles of Yavn 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Guest Blog by Elisabeth Staab - A Vampire in Need of an Identity?
ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA…

Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although, drifting among the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons’ blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the king of vampires this party girl’s life turns dark and dangerous.

BUT TIME’S RUNNING OUT FOR THE KING OF VAMPIRES…

Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate has gotten it seriously wrong…


Excerpt:
They were lying to each other. The nervous dart of her eyes, the sudden flush of her neck… she had no intention of calling. Was she hoping he’d simply forget that the safety of their race was on the line? That a well- placed meteor would strike earth and wipe out all of their wizard enemies in one fell swoop?

For his part, Thad had assured her that she could take all the time she needed to think things over, but that wasn’t true, either. Time was running short. His earlier conversation with Tyra had revealed that a conservative member of the Elders’ Council was pushing for the society to be run by committee only, effectively rendering Thad’s position obsolete. Having that gang of old bastards at the helm would send their society back into the Dark Ages.

And all of the political stuff aside, there was a pull between Isabel and himself that he could not ignore. She didn’t seem able to ignore it either, but she was really fighting hard. He suspected that she had not opened up to many about the gruesome death of her parents. Subsequent questions had led to her hesitant admission that she had drifted for some time, feeding from humans and hiding from the sun in abandoned buildings and the like before stumbling onto the rave scene.

It was heart-wrenching to know that she had been on her own from such a young age. He wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer when it came to the emotions of females, but he would wager that opening up had left her feeling quite vulnerable.

So yeah, he’d give her a little space. Enough to regroup and to come up with a plan for convincing her to be by his side. And if he couldn’t convince her? Well, he was the king, for crying out loud. He’d make it happen one way or another. After all, he knew where she lived now. Even if she went elsewhere to hide, he could find her as he had before. She had to know that.

This was only the beginning.

About Elisabeth

Guest Blog by Elisabeth Staab - A Vampire in Need of an Identity?
Elisabeth Staab lives in Northern Virginia with her hero and soul mate, Tom. She has been a telemarketer, a web page editor, a software developer, a reader for the blind, a technical trainer, a coffee shop barista, a teacher, a tutor, a homemaker, a government project manager, a graphic designer, and a professional ebayer. Finally, she's landed on being a writer - which is what her high school guidance counselor originally suggested anyway.

She believes that all kinds of safe, sane, and consensual love should be celebrated--but she loves the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best.

Keep in touch: Find Elisabeth at ElisabethStaab.com, on Facebook, or Twitter!
Interview with Elisabeth Staab and Giveaway - February 1, 2012Guest Blog by Elisabeth Staab - A Vampire in Need of an Identity?

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