Friday, March 4, 2011

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!

You're welcome!

I understand you have a new release out called The Truth About Vampires. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Of course! The best thing I can do is share the backcover copy with you. All her life Seattle reporter Kristin Reed sought her breakout story. She never thought she’d find it in the crimson nightclub lair of a real life creature of the night. Kristin never believed vampires existed—until with dark brooding eyes and a decadent chocolate scent, Dmitri Dionotte called out to her.

Dmitri and his clan’s true nature was cloaked in secrecy until a warring vampire order threatened their existence. Kristin was just the woman he needed. She couldn’t resist their story…or Dmitri. Her blood pulsed hot and furious when he touched her, and with his kiss, all logic fled. But each night she spent with her vampire lover brought her closer to death and destruction. A death not even an immortal could triumph over.

The Truth About Vampires is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it was partly because my editor at Harlequin wanted titles that had the word vampire in them. The original working title for the book was Unveiling of the Damned which went with the short novella I’d done a few years earlier called Salvation of the Damned (which is actually in print for the first time in the back of this book as kind of a little extra for readers). I came up with a whole list of potential titles, most of them riffing off of James Bond movies (which is why the next one out in June is called The Vampire Who Loved Me) but when I really analyzed what the story was about it came down to the revealing of vampires to humanity and realizing that they aren’t as different from us as we think. My reporter heroine is out to get the truth. And besides, who doesn’t want to know the truth about vampires (well, my version of it anyway!)?

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?

Part of it came from my experiences in the newsroom early in my writing career. It’s tough enough to be taken seriously as a reporter when you work in a newsroom full of guys. It’s even harder when what you want to write about is something everyone else thinks is a joke. That’s where the start of Kristin came from. For Dmitri, it was a little tougher. I wanted a conflicted vampire. Someone who didn’t ever intend to be a vampire, but got turned and is still an honorable enough guy that he’ll do the right thing no matter what. I also wanted my vampire world to be a little bit different because I knew I’d be writing several stories in this world, so while some of the cultural ideals we have about vampires appear in the story, if it could be explained with some other biological rational, that’s what I did. I also organized my vampire culture into clans, similar to the Scottish clans I did so much research for when I was writing historicals. This includes the border reivers. This story is only the first in a new mini-series, The Sons of Midnight, that I’m working on for Harlequin Nocturne.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

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. Some of what I do use in developing the series comes from encyclopedias dedicated to ancient myth and legend from cultures around the world. I like to try and create my stories with a thread to reality woven through it.

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

I’m always a sucker for my own heroes. From the moment Dmitri popped into my head I really liked him. He’s the strong-silent type of alpha who horribly conflicted but doing his best to protect and serve those around him. You see Dmitri never wanted to be a vampire. In fact, when he was human, he was a priest in the time of Chaucer, helping the church to hunt down vampires. But he got seduced and changed—and he’s vowed never to turn another person. 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 smells like chocolate and is Italian. 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 as vampires. 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?

Probably running a blog tour through Bewitching Book Tours. They’ve been fantastic in getting the word out to people who love paranormal romance. Of course twittering about vampires doesn’t hurt either. But the single best thing? Getting out and talking to people-always having bookmarks on hand-even in the grocery store and when checking out at Costco.

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 three more Nocturnes, The Vampire Who Loved Me out in June 2011 and The Vampire Half-Breed along with one yet to be titled out in 2012. They all take place in the same world of the Cascade Clan, in the Seattle area and make use of the well-known Seattle Underground as the home base for these vampires. I’ve also got the first in a steampunk romance trilogy, The Legend Chronicles, coming out in Nov. 2011, titled The Hunter. It’s a set of stories that revolves around three brothers who are supernatural hunters in the Wild Weird West and named after their father’s favorite guns—Winchester, Remington and Colt. The best way I can describe the series is if you took the television show Supernatural and mashed it with Wild Wild West. There’s all kinds of adventure and inventions (including the hero’s clockwork horse, a Sting Shooter, etc.) mixed with mad scientists, demons, vampires and all kinds of mayhem. The first book is about the baby brother, Colt, who gets saddled with a succubus in his search for his father’s portion of a compendium of all Hunter knowledge, The Book of Legend, on a mission to protect the world.

Thanks, Theresa!

To celebrate her book release, Theresa is offering a free copy of her book, The Truth About Vampires, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

Theresa is at a convention today but will try and sneak away to answer some questions. I'm sure some of you have some 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 Kensington Books. Visit her online at www.theresameyers.com,
or find her twittering at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers

Check out author’s website at www.theresameyers.com
Buy The Truth About Vampires from eharlequin at http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=23240&cid=2577.

9 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Theresa. Thanks for joining us here today. Your hot chocolate is brewing. How is your conference going? I love the idea of your book. I fell in love with vampires as I read Anne Rice's series so I can't wait to sink my teeth into this one. See you at RT next month. Enjoy your day with us.

Theresa Meyers said...

Alas, I wasn't able to go after all. Life intervened. But I suppose that leaves me more time to visit with people here today and get some more pages written on the next vampire book that's due in May.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Theresa, what a treat reading about your vampire world -- I love picturing them in underground Seattle!

And I also love your Western brothers' names...what a perfect trio. :) You must've come up with those before "running the numbers," but did their personalities still work out or did you have to tweak 'em?

CrystalGB said...

Great post. Your vampire word sounds amazing. I love the nocturne books.

Theresa Meyers said...

Hi Laurie!

Actually I came up with the names first (well the first and last names). The part where I got to tweak them a bit in running the numbers was on their middle names!

Theresa Meyers said...

CrysalGB thanks for stopping by!

catslady said...

Chocolate and Italian - brilliant lol. I've always enjoyed the supernatural but it was Twilight and Katheryne Kennedy's books that got me interested again in what I guess is now called paranormal and/or fantasy. Your book sounds intriguing and especially your main character.

Theresa Meyers said...

Catslady,

Well, really, can you fault me for including two of my favorite things? Glad you like them too!

Estella said...

Your vampire world sounds awesome! I enjoy books set in the Pacific Northwest.