Today I’m proud to host my friend and fellow author, Joleene Naylor, as she tours the blogosphere promoting her latest Amaranthine novel, Children of Shadows. She was kind enough to tell me why she writes about vampires, and some of the challenges she faces in doing so. And stay tuned afterward – there’s a giveaway going on with some pretty awesome prizes.
Holy crap – I didn’t realize I just copied her words almost exactly till I glanced down just now. *sigh* Oh, well – to the guest post! 🙂
Hello! My name is Joleene Naylor, and I’m the author of the Amaranthine vampire series. I’d like thank Kay for hosting me today as I tour the blogosphere promoting my latest release, Children of Shadows.
A question most people ask me is why I write vampires. The truth is, it’s not the only thing I like to write. I’d actually like to do a fantasy series one day. But, right now I don’t have anything interesting to say in that genre. I don’t see any wrongs that need righted, or gaps that need filled, like I did with vampires.
When I started the Amaranthine series in 2005 (pre-Twilight mania), I’d just come from reading three unrelated books in a row where human Plain Jane meets Mr. Vampire. In each case, she instantly turned into a paranormal believer who couldn’t wait to be turned and, with no training and no previous experience, became a super kick-ass heroine. All of this in a few days. Even worse, they left trails of bodies behind; vampire corpses, human corpses, living witnesses. Where were the police? Where were the heroine’s family? What in the world turned her into a fighting machine besides the raw “magic” of being in close proximity to a vampire? How did she stomach the death and destruction without batting an eye?
I understand why most authors skip those things. They’re inconvenient. They’re messy. They complicate the plot and in some cases can even bog it down. For instance, a normal human plunked in the middle of a vampire blood bath would suffer years of trauma. Who wants to read that? I don’t, and I don’t write it, but I do make a nod at it. There is some trauma. There are some repercussions. Katelina has scars from the battles; ugly scars that she hates. There are police officers and kidnapping charges. Customs officials and passports and nightmares. There are dead friends and worried family. Sure, I’m not 100% realistic, but I’m closer than the books I was reading before.
Sadly, that appeals to a niche audience. A lot of vampire readers are looking for the kind of book I’d been reading – which is why there were so many of them. The readers don’t want bogged down by the police. They want to sigh with the romance and swoon at the mighty, shirtless vampire hero. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I enjoy it myself, but there’s only so much sighing and swooning in my series. Sure, Jorick is hot, but he and Katelina do more than stare into one another’s perfect eyes and flush at the slightest contact, especially as the series progresses. There’s a lot of blood, a lot of gore, and a lot of horror elements, which means a good portion of the paranormal-romance community don’t like it. But, because the main characters are a vampire/human romance, a lot of horror lovers turn their nose up and quip, “Go find some sparkly loving teenagers.” And don’t even mention the word vampire to the fantasy world. I believe it was neatly summed up by the Flights of Fantasy blog award specifications: “They can be writers of urban fantasy, high/classic/epic fantasy, comic fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy horror, paranormal fantasy (ghosts are fine but no vampire stuff please) and sci-fi fantasy.”
Even ghosts are more fantasy than vampires. Yeowch.
So what do you do when your vampires don’t fit in? More business minded authors would change tactics and plaster hunky, shirtless men on the cover, add some more sex scenes, chop out the cops and the gore and market that puppy as a paranormal romance. And they would sell, because those books are popular right now. That’s why I’m happy to self-publish – because though I’d love to sell a million books, I want to sell MY books, not the same old books everyone else is writing. I wrote them because I saw a gap in the paranormal books at the time and I wanted to fill it. If I’m not doing that, then I might as well just start that fantasy series and forget it. After all, it would be easier to make everything up instead of having to do research, and I bet Jorick would make one heck of a dark elf.
Or maybe not.
Joleene Naylor is the author of Amaranthine, a paranormal series where vampires live in the shadows and don’t sparkle. In her spare time she is a freelance artist, book cover designer and photographer. You can find information on all of her pursuits at her website http://JoleeneNaylor.com . She also maintains blogs full of odd ramblings and hopes to win the lottery. Until she does, she and her husband live near Bolivar Missouri with their miniature zoo and a couch coated in cat fur.
About Children of Shadows:
The sixth installment of the Amaranthine series pulsates with the dark blood of vampire lore.
The Children of Shadows, a vampire cult not seen for hundreds of years, resurfaces to wage war on the vampire guilds. Led by a familiar face, the cult wreaks havoc while Katelina and Jorick are trapped in Munich. Ume, a mysterious vampiress, claims to know Verchiel and offers the help of her secret organization. But can they trust her?
As mysteries are solved, new ones appear. Why have the Children of Shadows returned, and is it really a former ally that leads them, or a look-alike?
Legends rise and secrets are revealed in a world where vampires walk, drenched in blood and shadows.
Where to find Children of Shadows:
And now, for the giveaway deets! Sadly, I can’t embed the neato giveaway widget, but if you click here, you’ll go straight to it. First prize is an Amaranthine T-shirt in the winner’s size of choice, as well as a set of bookmarks and a $20 gift card for either Barnes & Noble or Amazon (again, winner’s choice). Second prize is an Amaranthine T-shirt (size is winner’s choice) and a set of bookmarks. And third prize is the last Executioner trading card set.
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