Friday, April 16, 2010

Interview with Theresa Meyers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Theresa Meyers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks for the invitation!

I understand you have a new release out called A Vampire’s Mistress. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The blurb says it best.

Six years ago Gabriel Forrester gave his life--literally--for Marina DeMornay, choosing to become a vampire to be with her. Then Marina was compelled to become mistress to a vampire prince...and Gabriel disappeared when she needed him the most.

But when Marina's consort is killed and she's captured, Gabriel is sent by the Vampire High Council to rescue her...and they become bound together even more strongly than before. With their enemies still on the loose, can Marina and Gabriel put the past behind them long enough to save both vampires and humanity from their enemies and reclaim the passion they once shared?

A Vampire’s Mistress is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


I’m almost embarrassed to tell you. The Nocturne authors have their own website www.nocturnauthors.net and we occasionally chat with each other online. At one point we were talking about how our editors were asking for titles with the actual word vampire in them and how we could go about making them more interesting. Someone brought up using more “Harlequin inspired” titles and we started throwing out ideas to the tune of the Vampire Cowboy Billionare’s Mistress’ Secret Baby. I decided on A Vampire’s Mistress because my heroine is the consort of a vampire prince, against her wishes and the hero in a way saves her from that. Based on this, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the next story I’m working on at the moment is currently titled The Vampire Half-Breed.


What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal in real life. My mother was an alternative type of person and we grew up believing in things like elves. Of course it helped that she actually stuck a tape recorder under my bedroom window with their little voices talking while she was reading me a bedtime story. I didn’t find out about that until I was an adult, so for the longest time the belief in something other than what we can see was firmly grounded in my world. I’ve always been into fairies, ghosts and tend to be more nature-based in my philosophies of life. It took just a shove to the edge of dark, and the offer of a book contract, to get me more involved in writing vampires, weres, demons and dark angels.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for A Vampire’s Mistress actually happened back in 2005 when I traveled from Seattle to Sicily to visit family. As part of our tour of the island we scoured the steps of Tourmina, we trekked to see the amazing mosaics in the historic ruins of the Roman Villa del Casale, a summer getaway from the third to fourth century B.C. We took a tour of the Duomo in Palermo, and we traveled through the famed catacombs that lie beneath the Capuchin Monastery filled with mummies and the remains from as far back as the 1600’s.

Now you might think a catacomb full of thousands of bodies is creepy. You’d be right. It is. But it’s also fascinating enough to make it a prime tourist destination. There’s a section filled with virgins clothed in their unused wedding finery of various centuries. More macabre is the children’s section, and in particular a little girl so well preserved she looks like a baby doll, down to her fine eyelashes and the pink satin bow in her brown curls. There are skeletons in frock coats and gloves and monks in cassocks. All in all hardly a place where you’d think to set a romance.

But my writer’s brain found it all so fascinating I couldn’t help but think of what would happen if you were being chased through the catacombs. Who would be chasing you and why? And that’s how A Vampire’s Mistress started.

Do you have any favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

Not really. I poke around the Internet but a lot of what comes out in the stories has more of a biological bent to it so I’m just as likely to go digging through an old copy of a college biology or chemistry book as I am to look up old city maps.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I’m always a sucker for my own heroes. From the moment Gabriel popped into my head I really liked him. He’s the strong-silent type of alpha who thinks a lot and is loyal to a fault. His actions always speaker louder than his words. His first instinct is to protect those around him regardless of the cost to him personally. Plus he was willing to give up everything, literally even his own life, just for the chance to be with Marina. I mean, who wouldn’t want a guy like that?

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

I’m afraid that’s a little strange too! Usually I’ll start off with a character’s name and “run the numbers on them” as my mother called it. Basically it’s using numerology to find out the characteristics of an individual based on his or her name. It gives me a really rough starting point to know the character’s deepest motivation, how they see themselves and how others see them. Sometimes I’ll look up a more common name in You Are Your First Name. Then, using the number from the character names I’ll look up the certain characteristics I’ve matched those numbers to in the book The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes which gives me an additional layering to the character. Finally I find out when their birthday is and use Linda Goodman’s Love Signs to see how two people in a relationship with similar astrological signs would behave. If I’m still stuck on a character, I’ll go back to my early journalism training and interview him or her. For my vampires, I keep a running list of characteristics so no two are exactly alike.

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I have a list of attributes for my world I’m continuously adding to. I’ve got not only the words I’ve used to create certain things, but the society structure, any rules or laws they live by, the scents that accompany certain emotions that they can smell. Basically just stuff so I’m consistent in my stories set in this world. In my vampire mythology vampirism is caused by a virus. Some of the stories revolve around human’s reaction to this knowledge and their efforts to stop the spread of the virus and reverse it.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

There are lots of authors I love to read, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t read ANY vampire fiction at all until after I started writing it. Not even Twilight. I’d read the Harry Potter series, and Eragon, loved television shows like X-Files, Dark Angel and Supernatural.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Because it’s a novella, an a e-book, probably being part of the Silhouette Nocturne Authors blog and the Paranormal Romance Blog that’s run by Harlequin has been the biggest help to date. Of course twittering about vampires and catacombs doesn’t hurt either.


What do we have to look forward next?

Right now I’m working on more stories set in this same vampire world. I’ve got two Nocturnes, The Truth About Vampires, out March 2011 and The Vampire Who Loved Me out in June 2011. Both take place in the Cascade Clan, in the Seattle area and make use of the well-known Seattle Underground as the home base for these vampires.

Thanks, Theresa!

To celebrate her book release, Theresa is offering a free copy of her book, A Vampire’s Mistress, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


A former book publicist, an American Title II finalist, and now a full-time writer, Theresa has seen multiple facets of the industry on her path to becoming a multi-published romance author. She currently writes for Harlequin Nocturne and Diversion Books.

Visit her online at Facebook at Theresa Meyers, author or find her twittering at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers

Check out author’s website at www.theresameyers.com

Buy A Vampire’s Mistress from eharlequin at www.bit.ly/AVampireMiss.

9 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Theresa. Thanks for joining us today. Your chocolate will arrive in a few minutes. Your trip to Italy sounds delish, but I'm not sure about the catacomb part. Ick. It's amazing though how much of what we do and see in our personal lives can cross over into our writing lives. Talking with another couple at dinner last night brought out the kernel of an idea for the start of another book. Have fun today.

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. Theresa's book sounds wonderful.

Donna Del Grosso said...

Hey Theresa!
Your book sounds great! I loved your story about going to Sicily! I've always wanted to visit Italy. And Kim, I would definitely visit the catacomb!
Good Luck with this new book, Theresa!

Theresa Meyers said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the invite to hang out on the couch here at your blog! I think when they tell you write what you know, what they are really saying is write what you can find out, research, talk about with others. Knowing is gathered in a lot of different ways. But nothing beats going to a place for me to pick up the real nuiances of a place.

Theresa Meyers said...

Hi CrystalGB, Thanks for stopping by! There's actually a new review of A Vampire's Mistress up today over at Long and Short Reviews. Take a look if you're interested.
http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2010/04/vampires-mistress-by-theresa-meyers.html

Theresa Meyers said...

Hey Donna!
Seriously, I can't wait to go again. Italy is absolutely stunning, and having a bunch of family to hang out with while you are there just makes the whole experience that much better. So glad you stopped by today!

joder said...

Oooohhh, a vamp story.....I love vampire stories and can't get enough of them. I love how each author gives their vampires their own list of dos and don'ts. So, what about your vamps? What harms them and what special abilities do they have?

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Theresa Meyers said...

Hi Joder,

You're right, each author does their vamps a little different. My vampires happen because of a virus in the system that transforms humans into vampries when it's in the right quantities. My vampries are able to go in the sunlight (though their eyes are light sensitive)and don't do the whole stakes or garlic thing (unless it's steaks with garlic, but then, whatever).

Dead Man's Blood is a kind of poision in their system and they can die from either beheading, being blown up or by getting harmed from a weapon made from orchailum (a metal composite talked about by Plato in his writings on Atlantis).

I've really created my own little world with them where they live in a clan society organized under a royal heirarchy, kind of like Scotland was in the 1500s. The vampires who are outsiders are rather like the reivers (outlaws) that plauged the border lands of Scotland.

So glad you asked!

Estella said...

I love vampire stories and A Vampire's Mistress sounds great!