TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Jeannie: I need two things in order to write effectively: music and an empty house. Complete silence actually distracts me. I know many authors prefer to work without music or noise, but I simply must have music. As for the empty house, it’s weird but I can’t concentrate knowing there is someone in the house. The cats (I have four.) don’t bother me, but if my husband is home – forget it.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Jeannie: I’m somewhere in the middle. When I start a new project, I like to plot out the main twists and turns but I always leave room for surprises. Characters have a way of taking over a story and sending it in new directions. I love it when that happens.
TQ: What inspired you to write the Alexandra Sabian series?
Jeannie: A life-long fascination with vampires, mysteries, and science fiction. Ever since I was six and saw Bela Lugosi as Dracula, vampires have fascinated me. I’ve studied the lore and legends from different counties and I’m always amazed by the similarities but also the vast differences. I also grew up ready Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown and have been a science fiction geek for as long as I can remember – I’m a huge Doctor Who fan! When I first started writing the series, I wanted to be able to combine all of these elements. No one told me I couldn’t so I did.
TQ: Why did you set the series in Mississippi?
Jeannie: I set the series in Mississippi because it’s my home state. I grew up in a rural area where the nearest town was twenty miles away. It was very easy to imagine vampires and other supernatural critters running around in the dark. Plus, the South has a rich tradition of storytelling that often involves the paranormal, and I wanted to carry on that tradition but bring it into a modern genre like urban fantasy.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations?
Jeannie: A lot! I spent a total of about two years researching police procedures, forensics, and other aspects of law enforcement. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to make connections within the law enforcement community and they’ve been kind enough to answer questions. The most extreme bit of research I’ve done was to spend a twelve-hour shift riding shotgun with a patrol officer on a Saturday night. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Blood Secrets?
Jeannie: That’s a tough question because every scene is a favorite in some way. If I had to choose, I would pick a scene between Alex and Varik that’s about mid-way through the book. Varik is attempting to prove a point but he uses some rather unconventional methods to do it. I also love the final scene in the book. I don’t want to give anything away, but I had a little too much fun writing certain events.
TQ: In Blood Secrets, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Jeannie: The most difficult character is the bad guy – the Dollmaker. I really don’t like being in his head. It’s a dark place and he’s just creepy. The easiest characters to write are Alex and Varik. They’re both very distinct personalities, and I don’t usually have much difficulty writing from their view points. When they’re together on a page, the conversations and arguments practically write themselves.
TQ: Who should play Alexandra Sabian and Varik Baudelaire if the books become movies?
Jeannie: Ben Barnes is Varik. Hands down. I had no idea Ben Barnes even existed until I saw a poster in a theater for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian a few years ago. It featured Ben and I remember stopping in the middle of the theater’s lobby, grabbing my husband’s arm, point at the poster and saying (rather loudly), “That’s Varik!” Ben fits the image I’ve had in my head of Varik from the start so I would definitely want him to play that role. As for Alex, I honestly have no clue who should play her in a movie. I’ve heard suggestions of everyone from Jessica Biel to Jessica Alba to Felicia Day to Emma Watson. If the books ever became movies, I’d leave casting that role up to the experts.
TQ: Is there a playlist for Blood Secrets and what is it?
Jeannie: There is a massive playlist for Blood Secrets – everything from the Dixie Chicks to Marilyn Manson. A few artists made frequent appearances though: Godsmack, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Kamelot.
TQ: How many books are planned for the Alexandra Sabian series?
Jeannie: I plan for six books total, and hopefully, I’ll get to write them all.
TQ: What's next?
Jeannie: I have a short story appearing in an anthology that will be out this fall. The story is a steampunk-inspired romantic fantasy which is completely different from the Alex series, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Currently, I’m working on a couple of projects. I can’t say much about them right now, but I’m really excited about them. The next two Alex books are plotted and I’ll be returning to them soon.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
Jeannie: My pleasure and thanks for inviting me!
About Jeannie's Books
Blood LawAlexandra Sabian 1
(Dell, July 6, 2010)
A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.
Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders
Alexandra Sabian 2
(Dell, July 5, 2011)
Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.
When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.
Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders
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What: One commenter will win a copy of Blood Law (Alexandra Sabian 1) and Blood Secrets (Alexandra Sabian 2). Please note the books will not be sent until on or after the release date of Blood Secrets.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite vampire movie?
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*