My guest today is the talented author Meagan Hatfield. Her dark paranormal romance SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE has just been released.
"Even vampires should never sleep with the enemy. Vampire princess Alexia Feodorovna has been undead for 125 years, so it's been a while since any man has made her pulse race. Until Declan Black. One look at his bronzed body and a fire like no other consumes her. Then she discovers that he's a dragon lord come to take revenge on the vamps who killed his parents. And claim a crystal said to imbue its owner with incredible powers.
Alexia is ordered to torture and kill the dragon lord. Yet with each reckless encounter, she finds herself consumed by his fiery passion. A passion Declan battles, as well. Will he be able to resist the fire of lust she kindles within him and keep revenge in his heart? Or will he risk everything to quench the burning desire and claim the vampire as his own?"
1. Welcome, Meagan! Tell us a little about Meagan Hatfield the woman and the writer. How did your interest in writing originate?
MH: Well, I have always loved books and stories. Some of my fondest memories are of rushing into my grandpa’s bedroom at night and tucking in alongside him for story time before bed. He really instilled a love of not only reading, but of storytelling in me. My imagination switch flicked on and has never really turned off. I was always told I had my head in the clouds or I’d get caught daydreaming in class…the world in my mind apparently much more interesting than the one around me. ;) As soon as I could, I began writing stories. However, I always had confidence issues with my writing. In fact, I never even let another soul read the YA novel I penned in high school. But after I “grew up” a bit, had kids, lived life a little, that fragile confidence grew some durable outer layers. So, with my avid romance novel reading grandmothers urging and support, I decided to write toward publication. That was back in 2004. I joined Romance Writers of America in 2005 and sold to Harlequin in 2008.
2. In Shadow of the Vampire, a war between vampires and dragons (shifters) has been raging for hundreds of years. Why did you choose dragons and vampires as adversaries?
MH: You know, I don’t think I can remember! I wrote the first story set in this “world” back in 2006. Hmm, I do recall that the dragon lord hero came to me first. And while I’d like to say the heroine appeared next, it was actually one of the villains of that story – a vampire queen – who came to me. When those two characters appeared, it became quite evident that they had…ahem, a personal history. *winks* Their sordid little past also told me the two species could “mingle” which opened up all sorts of options. Love and hate are tightly intertwined emotions. After all, they say you can’t truly hate a person unless you feel passionately toward them in the first place.
3. How do you develop your characters? Do you picture a real person as you create each character's personality?
MH: As I mentioned above, the characters come to me first. It’s the plot and what those characters are doing tangled in it that I have to try and figure out.
I would have to say sometimes I picture real people as my characters, but never before I create and begin writing them. It’s always somewhere down the road I’ll see a picture and go, “Oh, my character looks a lot like him!” Then I’ll clip out a picture and post it to my corkboard wall by my desk. That is what happened with Griffon, for example. I saw this model on the internet and my jaw dropped – the guy fit how I envisioned Griffon to a tee, tattoos and all. If he had long black hair and a scar running down his face, he would have been eerily perfect!
4. You've created a wonderfully evil villain in Shadow. How important do you think villains are in a story?
MH: Oh, thank you! I know I hated him. LOL!
I think antagonists are more important than we writer’s like to dwell on sometimes. I am a huge Donald Maass fan. I love all his books on writing. One of the things he said in his lateset effort that really stuck out in my mind regarding villains, was how you don’t want one who lurks around the corner, laughs wickedly and then slinks away every few chapters. You want someone who is a real threat, an obstacle, a challenge to the protagonist…someone who is not a cardboard cutout, not entirely evil and also human, so not one hundred percent confident in themselves or their plan. They are people and should second guess themselves, wonder at times if what they are doing is right even if they ultimately decide it is. The villain believes he is the hero in the story, not your protagonist, so he has to have a passionate reason besides just being crazy for fighting (to the death usually) for his belief or cause. In the end, a strong villain will only make the hero seem that much stronger when he wins. ;)
5. There are some HOT love scenes and intense battle scenes in Shadow. Do you enjoy writing one over the other?
MH: *smiles* I actually enjoy writing them both…well, once I get into them anyway. Both scenes are relatively hard to start due to the fact they are so intense and usually very emotional. It can be draining to tap into those wells sometimes. But the words will start flowing relatively quickly after things get going and I really get deep into the characters.
Wine helps. ;)
6. You have an eBook short story being released this month (July) called Dragon Warrior. How does this story relate to Shadow? What future books are planned for your dragons and vampires?
MH: Dragon Warrior is a prequel of sorts. It takes place in the weeks leading up to SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE and begins the night the King and Queen of the dragons are taken. The story centers on the Kestrel Grey, dragon warrior and captain of the legionnaires, and Sparrow “Doc” Rose, the dragon’s resident healer.
I also have a few more stories in the pipeline for this series with secondary characters you’ll see in SOTV.
7. Is paranormal romance your favorite genre to write? To read? Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest?
MH: I actually always thought I’d only write historical romance. I cut my teeth on Harlequin Historical romances, medieval ones being my favorite. Authors like Ruth Ryan Langan, Connie Mason, Margaret Mallory, Deborah Hale...*sigh* I STILL love those books and they are all on my keeper shelves. But I do love paranormal. Heck, I love almost all genres of romance! Yet right now, paranormal is what I am enjoying the most. I always write the kind of story I want to read. So when what I want to read changes, so will my books. I used to say, “I’ll never write in [that] genre.” But I’ve learned to never say never. Writers are story tellers. The characters control the story. I’m just their dancing monkey, writing what they tell me to write.
Four Fast & Fun Questions:
1. What is your favorite 1980s movie?
MH: Yikes, I dread these questions. I’m a total movie buff and honestly don’t think I can answer that. Ack! Um, okay…I guess it would have to be ties between The Princess Bride, Airplane, The Goonies, The Lost Boys, Aliens, Dirty Dancing, Raising Arizona, Heathers, The Legend of Billie Jean, Purple Rain, Back to the Future, Real Genius, The Private Eyes, Field of Dreams, The Little Mermaid, Romancing the Stone, Labyrinth, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Jumping Jack Flash, Summer School, Seven Minutes in Heaven, Mystic Pizza, Young Guns, Say Anything, About Last Night, 9 1/2 Weeks, St. Elmo’s Fire, Clue, Ladyhawke, Just One of the Guys, Silver Bullet, Beverly Hills Cop, Can’t Buy Me Love, Once Bitten, Lucas, Weekend at Bernies, Adventures in Babysitting and every single John Hughes movie. Told you I’m a movie person. Lol!
2. Men in kilts - yea or nay?
MH: Uh, sometimes? I can honestly say I’ve seen men in kilts I wish I could unsee. And I’ve seen men in kilts that I wish I could see under. *grin*
3. What is the wallpaper on your computer?
MH: Right now, my SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE book cover.
4. What do you do for fun?
MH: I love, love, LOVE to teach Zumba and Zumba Toning. I’m currently teaching seven classes a week and look at my class time like therapy. My girls and I all shake it, laugh, chat – it’s social hour and work out hour all in one! I’d go nuts without my fly girls.
Thank you so much for having me here today! If you’d like more information about me, my books, fun extras, excerpts, contests, links, promo items, signed bookplates or if you would like to join my newsletter or street team, check out my website – http://www.meaganhatfield.com/ Also, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think of Declan and Alexia or any of my characters. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
*The contest for this event is now closed. The winner will be announced in a separate post.
Meagan has offered to give one lucky commenter a signed copy of SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE and a "I ♥ Vampires" lanyard. The contest is open internationally; however, if the winner chosen lives outside the USA, then she/he will receive an unsigned book only sent directly from a distributor.
To enter, leave a question for Meagan or a meaningful comment about the interview along with a way to contact you. Everyone that leaves a comment gets ONE entry. Spreading the word about the event is greatly appreciated! Contest ends on Friday, 7/9, at 11:59 pm Central Time. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. Good luck!