TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Elisabeth: Huh. I guess it depends on what you'd call a quirk, but I think mostly I kind of display socially odd behavior when I write. Usually it doesn't matter because I write early in the morning while the house is quiet, but on the weekends I sometimes write someplace public like Panera or Starbucks and the whole world gets to see it. I listen to music and kind of groove along in my chair while I work, which gets me interesting looks. Even better is when I'm editing, and I stop to stare into space while I think about a scene. Once in awhile I find myself staring AT someone without realizing it! I even once got a jealous "back off" look from a woman who thought I was making eyes at her man!
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Elisabeth: There are SO many good writers out there. Suzanne Brockmann, hands down. J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, Larissa Ione, Damon Suede, Lara Adrian, Karri Nelson, and also John Grisham (every once in awhile I feel a deep urge to pick up a legal thriller!) are a few of my other favorites. Suz Brockmann is my go-to for technique, plot, POV...when I'm looking for an example of something in romance writing I pick up one of her books. J.R. Ward though is the reason why I started writng and even though I don't read her books much anymore for fear of accidental worldbuilding crossover, it was her series that made me go "Wow, THIS is a romance novel? This is amazing!" I had thought for a long time that I wasn't into romance novels, but I thought all romances were the old school bodice-ripper type books. Nothing wrong with them, but it wasn't my bag. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series opened me up to a whole new genre that I hadn't been aware of, and I fell so in love with it that I started writing.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Elisabeth: Truthfully, if it were up to me, I would be a total panster. I used to be superstitious about plotting because the first novel I tried to plot never got finished. I like to sit down and see where the story takes me, organically. BUT...King of Darkness was written without pre-plotting, and I ended up outlining it after the fact, scrapping a ton of it, then rewriting a bunch more. It came out well in the end but it was a lot of unnecessary work. My critique partner finally sat me down and convinced me to get with the program while I was writing Prince of Power, which will be KoD's sequel. I have to say, I think Prince of Power will be an even stronger book as a result. So. I'm slowly creeping over to the plotting camp, you could say.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Elisabeth: Writing a paranormal/urban fantasy series is a big challenge in and of itself. Figuring out how to make the world hold together from one book to the next, with multiple story arcs. I didn't know what I was getting into when I decided to do all that! Writing and parenting small children is my other big challenge. I can't send 'em off to school yet, so I get up to write very early. I'm tired a lot, and I drink loooots of coffee.
TQ: Describe King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1) in 140 characters or less.
Elisabeth: King of Darkness is about the heir to the throne of a contemporary vampire kingdom, his would-be mate and their struggle to survive.
TQ: What inspired you to write King of Darkness?
Elisabeth: I fell in love with vampires. The Lost Boys is still one of my favorite movies. After I stumbled onto the Lara Adrian and J.R. Ward, I got to the last book in each series and like most avid readers wondered what series I would move onto reading next. This was right after the birth of my youngest child. I was rocking him to sleep one night and I had one of those fuzzy half-asleep dreams that turned out to be the opening scene for King of Darkness. I decided instead of looking for a new vampire book to read, I'd write one. I thought if I wrote my own story I wouldn't have to wait to find out what happens next. That's not entirely true, as it turns out. The characters don't always tell you right away. There's a character that appears in book 2 of the series who is SO intriguing, and he won't tell me what his story is, exactly.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for King of Darkness?
Elisabeth: The opening scene for King of Darkness takes place at a rave so I did a little brushing up on rave culture and electronic music. Also there's a lot in the book about wine, and the unusual effect it has on vampires. I spent a great deal of time working that into the storyline. Lots of small stuff: timeline and phases of the moon (which is key to the vampires' reproductive cycles in this world), car makes and models, Bonobo apes (No, I'm serious!. There's a bit of dialogue about them in Chapter 12.), etc.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Elisabeth: Thad was definitely the easiest. I fell in love with him immediately. He's strong and sexy but he's not your average alpha. He really revs my engine! The hardest was probably Isabel. She and I had a little trouble connecting at first. With help from my editor and my critique partner I actually have come to be really fond of her and people tell me she's a pretty kickass heroine. She has a painful past though, and as crazy as it sounds, sometimes even with fictional characters you can feel protective. I just had trouble pushing her to her full potential in the beginning.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in King of Darkness?
Elisabeth: I really love the scene where Thad first finds Isabel, and the scene where they first make love. The first because Thad is so stunned that it renders him speechless, and the latter because it's when they really begin to connect and bond. Even if they don't acknowledge it until much later.
TQ: What's next?
Elisabeth: I'm finishing the sequel to King of Darkness right now! Prince of Power will feature Tyra, Thad's unusually powerful half-sister, as the heroine.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Elisabeth: Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I'm honored!
Read Elisabeth's Guest Blog - A Vampire in Need of an Identity? - by clicking here.
About King of Darkness
King of DarknessChronicles of Yavn 1
Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 7, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
ETERNAL COMMITMENT IS NOT ON HER AGENDA…
Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although, drifting among the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons’ blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the king of vampires this party girl’s life turns dark and dangerous.
BUT TIME’S RUNNING OUT FOR THE KING OF VAMPIRES…
Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate has gotten it seriously wrong…
Elisabeth believes that all kinds of safe, sane, and consensual love should be celebrated--but she loves the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best.
Find Elisabeth at ElisabethStaab.com, on Facebook, or Twitter!
What: One commenter will win a copy of King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1) from Elisabeth!
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
What is/are your favorite vampire movie(s)?
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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 Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
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