Please join me in welcoming Joey W. Hill to Debbie's Book Bag today! Joey is here to talk about the latest release in her Vampire Queen series, Bound by the Vampire Queen. This guest post was provided by the author, and she is giving away a SIGNED copy of Bound by Vampire or a book of hers of your choice! See details at the end of the post.
The Romance and Realism of Fantasy
My mother, a practical Virginia farm girl, was always a bit mystified by my love of the paranormal. As soon as I could read I was delving into the world of Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper, the very human and fallible hero of Lloyd Alexander’s Taran Wanderer series. From there I suffered along with Edward in Chronicles of Narnia when he betrayed his siblings, and cried when Aslan was sacrificed. I wrestled with Thomas’s doubt and bitter resentment in Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant Chronicles. I was awed and swept away by the earnest quest to achieve perfect chivalry in the tales of King Arthur and his knights. Movie favs were Sword and the Sorcerer, Beastmaster, Excalibur, Star Wars... You get the picture.
All kids go through their dragon and castle phase, but some of us keep a foot in that world even when we have to leave childhood behind. I think the reason I did was because I was captivated by the characters I met there. Integrating a paranormal setting and/or abilities with the motivations and choices we all face, no matter what world we inhabit, made those imaginary worlds seem closer, more real—more irresistible. In those worlds, just like our own, characters had to make the right choices, despite fear, self-doubt, guilt, remorse…
The prevailing theory is that we read romance, fantasy, etc. to escape from our mundane world. While I don’t deny that component to it, there’s a flip side. Reading these heroic and romantic works inspired my outlook so that I was better tuned to recognize and appreciate chivalry in my “real world”, acts big or small. They help me believe in the magic and heroism that dwells within all of us, and that in turn inspires my writing, a meshing of the paranormal and contemporary worlds. If you’ve ever seen the lovely movie The Mighty with Kieran Culkin and Elden Henson, it a prime example of how a fantasy world can inspire positive actions in the “real” world.
So I’m obviously a firm advocate of letting the paranormal worlds of our imagination walk hand-in-hand with our daily travails in Mundania, Muggle-world, whatever you want to call it. While I wouldn’t suggest drawing a sword on your megalomaniac boss and calling him a scurrilous knave, if it’s a visual that gets you through the day with a smile, go for it.
Interestingly enough, this enduring fascination with Arthurian lore and chivalry translated to my vampire series. When my agent asked if I had a paranormal series to pitch to New York, I’d been nursing an idea related to vampires for some time, an area I didn’t feel had been explored deeply enough – the vampire-servant dynamic. Since I write erotic romance, the Domination/submission potential of that relationship intrigued me. What would compel a person to bind himself/herself to a vampire for all eternity, knowing the vampire world views humans as inferior beings, and their servants as their absolute property, to do with as they desire?
In the first book, Vampire Queen’s Servant, a 1000-year-old vampire queen is my heroine and a former vampire hunter, Ren Faire knight and drifter is my hero. Because Jacob has the heart of a knight, I understood his service to Lady Lyssa to be based in his deep and utter devotion to her, no matter what. There was a noble heroism to that, even though he was subjecting himself to a world where he had no defined rights.
That could be a recipe for disaster, except for a key irony in vampire society. Because of the politically volatile and cutthroat nature of vampire relations, often a servant is the only person a vampire can trust. It’s inevitable that a more emotional bond will form. My vampires aren’t angsty creatures, beating their breasts saying “Woe is me, I’m a monster”. They’re seductive and deadly, unashamed of who and what they are. Lady Lyssa is not a warm character, which makes the journey that opens her heart to Jacob, and how deeply he comes to understand who and what she is, so challenging and absorbing.
It’s probably pretty obvious why I like to write erotic work, but just to expand on that, erotic attracts me for the same reasons paranormal does – it widens the scope of the relationship, allowing a deeper, more intense journey, because sex is the gateway to the most vulnerable and raw corners of our soul. Here’s a snippet of Bound by the Vampire Queen, the latest book in Jacob and Lyssa’s journey together, that helps prove the point, a rare moment when Lyssa is actually more physically vulnerable than Jacob:
When Jacob spoke like he did now, Lyssa could do nothing to change his mind. It overwhelmed her with anger, despair and love for him, all at once. As he moved back in her direction, recognizing it, she wouldn’t let the last take precedence, not when she had a point to prove.
She backed away from him. The stillness that entered his gaze warned he could leap forward, use preternatural speed to catch her. But he didn’t. Not yet. He slowed his steps, matching her pace. It was a deliberate tracking maneuver, guaranteed to bring another element into their shared tension. She had no problem using the irresistible attraction between them to make her case, though she didn’t deny there was far more to it. Just as his determination to follow her no matter where she went could go hand in hand with the sexual predator taking him over now.
You can find an excerpt for this book on my website. There are also two exclusive chapter excerpts on the JWH connection fan forum (login/access information here). This is the eighth book in the Vampire Queen series, but the third with Jacob and Lyssa as the main protagonists, so if you read Vampire Queen’s Servant and Mark of the Vampire Queen (Books I & 2), you’ll be in great shape to read Bound by the Vampire Queen. If you find you enjoy the books, be sure and visit the forum mentioned above for free download vignettes that revisit the characters to this series and others. Free excerpts for all my work, contemporary and paranormal, are on my website, www.storywitch.com.
Hope you enjoyed this look into the whys and hows of what I write. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all! Oh, and if you leave a comment or question for me, you’ll be eligible for a signed copy of Bound by the Vampire Queen or the title of your choice, if you’d prefer another of my books.
The author is providing a SIGNED copy of Bound by the Vampire Queen or a book written by her of the winner's choice!
~ You must be a GFC follower or an e-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST December 23rd.
1. Please leave a question or comment for Joey on THIS post to be officially entered in the giveaway!
2. Please fill out the FORM.
How have I not read any of your books? They sound Great. I will have to add you to my list to look for when I go to my local bookstore. I see that you write stand alone books and series. I am curious, do you prefer one to the other? Is it easier to write a stand alone rather that a series? I enjoy reading series, I feel like I become part of a family and get to escape to a whole new world and get to meet everyone.
Tanya, thank you for that wonderful comment. That's an excellent question - to be honest, I'm not sure I've ever really thought about it. While I write what the muse tells me to write, when a publisher is expecting another book in a series, it does somewhat regulate the creative flow in that direction, whereas a standalone can be purely inspired.
On the flip side, coming back o a world you've already created makes other things easier - you can concentrate more on the characters.
A lot of times series are born not out of a plan, but because the author just likes the world and characters so much she wants to keep revisiting them! Similar to the reader perspective you described, where you're going back to visit familiar faces (smile). Since Bound by the Vampire Queen released, I've seen some comments that reflect that - people are enjoying coming back into Jacob and Lyssa's world and seeing what's been happening with them.
I hope that answers the question - looking it over, I think I'm saying that the pros and cons balance on both series and standalones...and as long as the muse is involved, no matter what the story is, I'll enjoy the process of writing it (with the usual headaches over edits and such!).
Hope you enjoy my work and thanks for giving it a try.
I read The Vampire Queen's Servant and got completely entranced with the world building. I have since collected them all. I like the ones with historical settings, the ones with Australian locals and the tough, hard men who submit to strong woman they love. Can't wait for the new one!
Ruth, thanks for that. I loved writing Danny and Dev's story (Vampire's Claim). Denise Rossetti, a lovely and talented author from Queensland, really helped me with the Australian research - even tried to keep me from getting too carried away with the colorful colloquialisms (laughter).
Since you noted liking the historical settings, I'll mention that one of the two vampire books I'm contracted to write in 2012 is likely to either go back to historical Australia (Alistair/Nina) or possibly delve into Scottish/British history (Niall/Evan/Alanna). That should be an intriguing journey.
Thanks so much for the great compliments and for stopping by! Please let me know if ever my work disappoints you.
I love reading about vampires. I have not read any of your books yet but I would like to. Have you wrote alot of vampires books? Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com
Tore, there are eight in the Vampire Queen series so far, and I just contracted for two more to be delivered in 2012. You can find excerpts and blurbs (as well as the series order) on my website, www.storywitch.com (click on the Vampire Queen series link). Hope you enjoy my approach to them!
Joey is a new author for me but I can't wait to read her books! They definitely sound like something I would really enjoy reading!! Thanks so much for bringing her to my attention:)
Ohh Joey Is definitely a great vampire, romance, BDSM, author, I just finished reading Bound by the Vampire Queen, I loved it, loved it, loved it , especially the new components you added to them!!! Im also glad you're writing 2 more books in the series, and hope you get to write many more! For all you potential readers, I so suggest to read her books, you'll come back for more I guarantee it!!!
I thought I had left a message...Glad I checked back, lol!
I am a newer fan of Joey's and have only had the chance to read one book so far but am greatly looking forward to reading more. Thank you for the chance to win an autographed book!
Krizia and June, thank you for that! Julie, I always hope new readers will enjoy their journey with my characters, but don't hesitate to email me with feedback good or bad - it all helps!
No obligation to do that, of course - I don't believe in putting any pressure on readers, since most of us read to take a breather from our many "real life" obligations and requirements(smile).
Oooo enter me enter me. I love love this series. You have no idea how much. Following you now.
Sonia, I'm so happy to hear you love my vampires! Glad to have you as a reader, and best wishes in the new year to you all!
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