1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
I guess I’d say I’m at about a 3. Not too insane. Not too many tight deadlines. Kids are under control (read: in school all day). I love my job. My husband’s been behaving. House isn’t leaking. Computer hasn’t crashed lately (and even if it did, I back up all the time, so I’m still safe. So nyah! to you, Murphy’s Law!)
But…Holidays are coming (ask me when it gets to be December 23, and I’ll be off the scale).
2. Lilith, Lilith everywhere. Nora Roberts has a Lilith in her Circle trilogy, so does Meljean Brook, and quite a number of e-published books that I’ve seen online. Can you tell us how your Lilith came to be?
Yeah, and Lilith isn’t the only thing Meljean and I have in common in our books! We’ve decided we must have been separated at birth, for even though she’s writing a contemporary angel/demon/vampire series, and I’m writing a historical vampire slayer series, not only do we both have a Lilith in our first books (released the same month, by the same publishing house…) but in both of our second books (released also in the same month, June 2007, also by the same publishing house….), the historical figures of John Polidori and Lord Byron appear.
Go figure. I didn’t even know who Meljean was until you, May, pointed her Lilith out to me!
Anyway, back to the question. Lilith is actually a common name for a female demon/vampire. (Rather like Lucifer is a common name for Satan.) So, when I was doing research, I just thought it made sense to use a common mythological figure for my baddie vampire queen. Again, sort of like calling the devil Lucifer. Everyone does it. Even Nora Roberts!
3. Tell us about Victoria Gardella. Will the Gardella Vampire Chronicles be a series featuring a female protagonist, as is very trendy right now?
Yes, the Gardella Vampire Chronicles will tell Victoria’s story over five (planned) books, and then the plan is to move on to a different female protagonist.
When I began writing the first book about Victoria, I never felt that I could tell her whole story in one volume. There’s so much that has to happen before she gets her happy ending. She’s basically a superhero in Regency-era England—a time where women are supposed to wed, bed, and breed.
She has a lot to deal with. She makes mistakes. She’s confident and skilled and good at what she does—it’s in her blood, in her genes. It’s part of her, this superheroine aspect. She rejoices in being different, in carrying on the family duty. She finds a purpose in life—moreso than many of her other contemporaries would—and embraces it.
But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have things to learn, people to know and love, people to share things with and to be disappointed by. She learns a difficult lesson in the first book, and she’ll continue to stretch and grow and make mistakes—as we all do.
4. Since it’s a vampire series, I’m curious: Which parts of the vampire legend do you consider to be inviolate? Personally, my one rule is that they have to drink blood, simply because it’s the one thing that separates them from the rest.
Actually, I kept many of the same characteristics of common vampire legend in my series. I don’t read vampire books—I never have—and haven’t ever really been that intrigued by vampires…until I got hooked on Buffy. I started doing research on vampires, and found stories from cultures all over the world, from ages ago, but when I finally settled on my mythology, I kept the aspects of vampires very common.
My vampires aren’t altogether very fancy: they drink blood, they can’t go out in the sunlight, they’re afraid of silver and crosses and holy water, they don’t like garlic, they have a hard time crossing running water, they die by being stabbed by a wooden stake or beheaded….your basic vampire stuff.
I think part of what sets my mythology apart is the origin of the vampires, and their hierarchy…but also the vampire slayer, or Venator, legend.
5. I’m not a huge Phantom of the Opera fan, but your erotic rewrite of the legend has me intrigued. Share!
I’m very excited about this book. I actually wrote it just for fun one summer, while I was waiting to see what would happen with my Gardella book. Unlike you, I am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan (the Andew Lloyd Webber version, anyway)—so much so that I know every word and every note to the entire musical.
Anyway, I was always so mad that Christine left with Raoul at the end of the movie/play (and no matter how many times I watch it, it always ends the same way! Damn it!), especially after all that passion between her and Erik (the Phantom). How could she waste that? Didn’t she understand it was true love?
And I also always wanted to know what happened after she fell asleep during the Music of the Night scene, because she doesn’t return from the Phantom’s lair for days after. Something hot and juicy had to have happened! And that bed…my God, it was made for hot sex, wasn’t it?
So, anyway, I began to write the story the way I thought it should have been told. I never thought anything would come of it, but I sent it to my agent, and she loved it. (When she stopped blushing.) And she sent it to my editor, and she loved it, and with some revisions, it turned out to be much more of a passionate, very very very hot love story than I’d originally written.
I absolutely love the way it turned out, and I’m very proud of it. The book is titled UNMASQUED: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera, and it will be released in August 2007 under my pseudonym Colette Gale.
6. What happened to Colleen Reage? And what’s the story behind Colette Gale?
I originally wanted to use the pseudonym Colleen Reage, because Pauline Reage is the author of The Story of O, one of my very favorite erotic novels. However, my publisher wasn’t too keen on the idea, so I scrapped it and went with Colette Gale.
I came up with that name because Colette is similar to Colleen, so it would be easier for me to remember to answer to…and also because Colette was a famous erotica writer.
The Gale came from, well, Dorothy Gale of The Wizard of Oz. I recently bought an adult comic book series called Lost Girls. It’s an erotic story about Wendy (from Peter Pan), Alice (from Wonderland) and Dorothy….all grown up, and how their “adventures” have manifested themselves in their sexuality. It’s a brilliant three-volume series by the incredible Alan Moore (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Melinda Gebbie. I think I must have just received the set of books (which I had been waiting to be completed for ten years. Yes, ten years.), and was thinking about Dorothy Gale…so there you go.
7. The Wet Noodle Posse is one of the most ‘put-together’ group blogs around. Do you think the exposure you had from WNP will be good promo for The Rest Falls Away?
I consider being part of the Posse one of the very best things that’s ever happened to me in this business. It’s amazing how this group of women collated and hung together over the years—nearly four years now! Every single one of them is lovely and brilliant and uber-supportive. It’s an unbelievable group.
And I know that between the WNP ezine and all of the fabulous ladies, who are so supportive of me and my books—and, all of ours—my releases will certainly benefit from the relationship. That was the purpose of us pulling together in such a unique way.
And we have a contest!
Colleen’s giving away a signed copy of The Rest Falls Away and a stake (but if you’re outside the US, she may not be able to send it to you, darn postal rules)! Just answer this question: What would you stake with the stake?
The winnah willah picka randomlah. (blame Colleen for this please, because, childish as this may sound, she started it!)