What I found were diamonds in the rough. Books that I likely wouldn’t have picked up, based on their covers, but stories that were well crafted and tales that I truly enjoyed.
I have been given the privilege to interview Jean Booth. I'm sure you'll find her and her work as interesting as I do.
Jean has multiple titles, including the intriguing Zombie War books, which I honestly can't say enough nice things about. Consumed, the 4th book in her adult Paranormal Romance/Supernatural series, Origins, will be releasing very soon. From what I have read of her work the stories tend to be a bit shorter than I'd prefer, and not always the easiest to “get into” (if you haven’t read the preceding books in the series), but her character driven style makes the tales she weaves truly gems worthy of note.
Jean has graciously said that not only will she answer my questions below, but she will also give away a free eBook of Choice (the first book in the Origins series) to anyone who comments on the interview with questions for her.
So, remember: After you read the interview you can click though all the links listed below, but you should also leave a question in the comments section for Jean and get your free eBook!
For three hundred years I lived with Stephan; learning about the culture forced upon me, growing as a pyrokinetic vampire and healing from Mneseus' century of abuse. Before Stephan's guidance and direction, I was an empty shell. His kindness, compassion and just beliefs showed me that there could be a life without pain. Over time, I learned to love again. Foolishly I believed Stephan and I would be partners, comfortable and content without half-life for eternity.
Then She came and ruined it.
I left them to find a place I could spend the rest of my lonely years. Mneseus' last words reverberated through the centuries, reminding me, I wasn't worthy of love. It would be now, when I finally resigned myself to an eternity of solitude, that I would find it.
Logan was everything I'd ever needed in a man, with one fatal flaw. Could I look past that, risking my heart, my future and his very life to be with him? Was love truly enough?
I think the best way to start, Jean, is with your world. Can you give me a little understanding of the world that the Characters of the Origin series exist in? How would you describe the differences of their world and the one we live in?
Origins is set in today's time. It starts out in modern America and develops from there. We travel from the implied Nevada desert, to Miami, FL., to Bimini, to the heart of ancient/modern Atlantis, to the wilds of South America 400 years prior, ending with Consumed set in Michigan. I guess the main differences between today's world and my world is that Atlantis is real and supernatural beings hide in the shadows, waiting to be revealed.
This series seems to have a deep and rich setting. Beyond that background, that world, what do you think sets your series apart from other series of the same genre?
Most of the supernatural books I've read (and I've read a LOT) center around supernaturals hiding in the shadows or dealing with years after the revelation that they exist. I've never read a series that depicts what happens during the revelation that supernaturals walk amongst us. Mine tells that story, along with how they came into being in the first place.
What inspired you to write this series in this genre?
I've always liked vampires and werewolves. I think the whole genre is romantic and terrifying at the same time. I've been reading books on the occult/supernatural since I was in high school and never before had I had a real understanding of how they came into being. They always just were. I thought it'd be fun to tell the story of how they were created and why.
Origins has definitely taken twists and turns for me that I hadn't expected and make it challenging to write. I've taken my ideas and tried to connect them into both the reality of our culture and history and the realities and cultures of this genre. I think it makes for a plausible story.
Going into the initial writing of the Origin series of books, what (if anything) did you feel was missing from the Paranormal Romance genre that you wanted to add?
LOL! I think I kinda answered this in the earlier question; however, I always wanted to read a story about how they began. What started the whole vampire/shifter/magic beings? Somehow this question has always reminded me of the "what came first, the chicken or the egg?" scenario. I wanted to develop their beginnings, show how they became what they are.
What, if anything, do you think you’ve learned (as a writer) from the experience of writing and publishing this series of books?
Holy crap! Everything!! Before writing Choice, I've never even attempted to write a novel, let alone a series. I wrote poetry in high school and would have debates/discussions with friends and family about this genre to the point where my mom suggested I write them down. I had no idea how challenging writing really was. From doing research to make my tale believable, to writing dialogue that doesn't suck was the first challenge. Then it was deciding if I wanted to go Traditional or Indie. After realizing how long I'd potentially be waiting to get my book published going the Traditional route, I chose Indie and opened a whole new can of worms.
I consider myself a starving artist and therefore do everything myself. I paint my covers, depicting scenes from the books I want to highlight, do all my formatting, editing and publishing. I've learned all this as I go, figuring out what works and what doesn't as well as how to do all of it. It's been fun, yet extremely challenging. I've also learned that I'm shyer than I thought and have an extremely difficult time putting myself (and by proxy, my books) out there to be judged.
What was the most unexpectedly difficult part of writing Consumed (book four in this series)?
I usually have the endings done before the book reaches the half-way point, but I didn't with this book. I had a few different paths that I could go down with the characters, yet I wasn't entirely certain I wanted to add that drama into the storyline or not. The ending took me about a month to get through, which is an extremely long time for me.
How does writing the Origins series compare to the other books you’ve released?
Origins is very complex compared to my other books. I have an erotica novella that is basically 30 pages of sex that I never expected to write, as well as a zombie horror trilogy that I literally dreamt up. Origins is longer than those, with more time devoted to research.
What do you find to be more personally challenging as an author… Characters and dialog or locations and detailed exposition?
Oooh. I think that would have to be the characters. I find it difficult to write the basic traits of the characters without them seeming narcissistic or going into explicit detail, especially with the stories being written in first person. I think it gets easier the more I write, but the first time I was writing about what Natasha looked like sucked. She was looking into a mirror trying to decide if she approved and I must have rewritten that about 15 times.
I know you have written books outside of the Origins series. Do you have any plans to publish work in any other genres that you haven’t already tackled?
Yes! I've currently touched on Paranormal Romance as well as erotica and zombie horror, but I also have a dragon book in the works as well as a memoir, science fiction, military suspense and a serial killer novel.
To be honest, I never actually wanted to write a romance. When I started writing Origins, I intended it to be suspense/action. My characters had other plans. The only genre I have no desire to write in is Young Adult; however that's not to say the characters won't take me down that road as they did with romance...
Wow. I’m honestly impressed with how much thought, and the kind of thought, you put into your process. I’d like to turn things now, however in a more personal direction and ask you some questions to let readers get to know a bit more about you as a person.
I’ll begin, as I am want to do, with the least imaginative question… that I always ask: Can you tell the readers at home a little bit about yourself?
I'm a very shy homebody. Getting out to talk to others, even in this kind of venue scares the absolute crap out of me. I'm definitely an introvert who married an extroverted homebody. Kind of an oxymoron, but there it is.
I'm 31 and spent my entire adult life working in healthcare. I currently work nights in a locked inpatient psychiatric institute and while it does have its enjoyable moments, my passion is writing. I've been reading since I was about six and have always adored fantasy. I like to stay busy so I usually have four or five projects going on at once on top of working full time and trying to write full time
I completely understand that. I always have dozens of projects going at once. It helps me fight writers block. If I hit a wall on one project I can simply shift gears into another project.
Oh! I also am the resident crazy cat lady. I always tell my husband he saves me from being the official CCL, because in all the tales, she was never married, but together we live very happily with nine cats.
I am highly allergic to cats. If I were not, however, I'm positive my wife would have already collected many as well.
What books or authors do you feel have most influenced your writing, be it characters, setting, or style?
Laurell K. Hamilton showed me how to start my books. I'd read her blog then read her stories and find correlating scenes that had happened to her in real life. It was through reading and dissecting her work that I figured out how to begin.
Steve Alten is up there as one of my favorite authors because of all the research he does to make his stories plausible. When I have questions about my writing, I make sure I double check history, sociology and demographics of what I'm talking about for authenticity. I want you to feel like this could actually happen, even though it's complete fiction.
Alyssa Day first introduced me into the possibility of Atlantis being involved with vampires, although I see things a bit differently than she does.
Kelley Armstrong introduced me to a different viewpoint for werewolves and because of her, I'll never look at them the same again.
There is certainly no denying the talent of Kelly Armstrong, and Laurell K. Hamilton certainly knows how to nurture a rabid fan base. I'd say you've certainly got taste.
If you had to choose just one... and I know this is not an easy question for most writers... which author would you consider the most influential to you?
Hmm, that would have to be Steve Alten. I read his story, The Loch, on a whim and couldn't put it down. I realize it's complete fiction, but I desperately want to go to Scotland and see for myself if that cavern really does exist. I want to write like that. I want my readers to not be able to put my books down and to think to themselves, "This could really happen!" That's my dream, influenced by an amazing author.
In the world of writing and publishing, an author has to take support where they find it. Where would you say you've found the most support for your work outside of family and friends?
That would definitely be a little group I got connected with on Facebook called The Collective.
I was floundering one day, trying to figure out how on earth to publish my books when I ran across an author that literally gave me hope by simply being his wonderful self. Thomas Amo, thank-you for introducing me to our fellow authors in the Collective and for creating a support group for Indie Authors.
Thomas is a great guy, but he's also quite the wordsmith in his own right. I have to agree with you though, he is a very supportive person and surrounds himself with equally supportive people.
I probably would've given up if it weren't for these wonderful people. I'd like to consider them friends, but we've never met, and I never would've talked to them had it not been for writing.
Are there any new authors/books that have grabbed your interest recently?
I'm starting to get more into Indie Authors, now that I've joined their ranks. To be honest, I held to the snooty belief that because a writer couldn't find a publisher, they sucked. That is totally wrong. Sure there are the duds in Indies, but there are duds in traditionally published as well. I've been reading and finding myself enjoying loads of new Indie Books.
One of my faves is M.E. Franco who also writes vamps, along with Michelle Muto, and surprisingly Nicky Charles. I also recently read Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, a book that I didn't expect to like, yet ended up bawling my eyes out to.
What are the last three books you read (or are you reading now)?
I'm currently re-reading my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I just finished with The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen, not a book I thought I'd enjoy as I'm not a big fan of religious themed books, but it's really good. Before that I read the werewolf trilogy by Nicky Charles. I really enjoyed Nicky's take on wolves and how the books really stayed centered on the few main characters.
What are you currently writing?
I'm kinda taking a break from writing at the moment. However, I did touch base on my memoir last night and have some ideas percolating for book 5 in Origins. I'd also like to get the final book out for the zombie trilogy by May, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. We'll see.
While I am pleased to see that another book might soon be forthcoming in your Zombie series, I will admit that I am sad to think it might be the end of the series.
As a follow up question, is there any hope that we’ll see Cybernetic Mermen in your future fiction?
LOL! You're a mind-reader!!!
I was just thinking about that the other day! I have absolutely no idea if I'm going to include Mermen into the story or not. It would make sense, however, to have them as part of the Nymph's abilities, but I'm just not sure if I want to go down that road yet or not. It's part of the percolating ideas. :)
The one standard interview question I have to ask (it is required by law, you know?): Do you have any rules, pointers, or advice for other writers just starting out?
Breathe. Ask questions. We've all been there and most of us (the good ones anyway) are willing to help. Write a book you want to read, chances are, other's have been looking for it too. Once you've written the book you've been waiting for, for the love of God, get it edited. If that means you're like me and nit pick every minute detail, taking a break from looking at pages every 5 minutes just to keep yourself detached from the story, then do it. I'm not saying it has to be perfect, or that any book out there is (including mine) but it's very distracting to continuously read run-on sentences in a REALLY GOOD book.
The most important thing I've learned from this experience is if you don't love it, if writing isn't your passion, leave. Find what is. Do what you love, what puts that spark in your eyes as you talk about it. If that happens to be writing, find a support group of other authors. People who don't write don't really understand what goes into writing. You need to be able to talk to others, to get ideas, to vent frustrations to someone who truly understands.
Now that you’ve put up with all my questions… I’ll ask one last question that should be more fun to answer. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers and fans? Any tempting teasers or the like?
You guys are absolutely AWESOME!!! I absolutely love getting messages, comments, or e-mails from y'all talking about the books. I love getting feedback and getting to know you guys. For those of you who've been upset with me for putting Natasha on the back burner, never fear, she's back as the speaker for the next book. I never intended to deviate from her story and for that I do apologize, but Victoria's story needed to be told. I leave you with a teaser from Consumed. It's a story within the story, Victoria's explaining what happened to her after Stephan found her, her first glimpse of the sun in over 80 years. Enjoy :)
A teaser from Consumed:
I'd never been away from my homeland before and was nervous to start my journey. Fear and excitement warred within me as I watched Stephan prepare his men for travel. Most were assigned to watch the few that Stephan deemed salvageable from Mneseus' prison. Stephan himself wanted to get home faster and kept glancing over at me. Finally, he sighed in resignation.
"Victoria, I must return to my lands. However, I find myself in an uncomfortable position as I'm not sure what to do." He began, looking uncomfortable and unsure of himself. It was a posture I knew instinctively that he wasn't familiar with, yet would perfect it over time with me.
"I'd prefer to stay with you." I stated immediately, sensing part of his dilemma.
He sighed again.
"I was going to run to the docks, but perhaps a more leisurely route would be acceptable as well." He mused aloud. I could practically see different scenarios playing out in his head.
"I like running." I replied softly.
He glanced at me in surprise.
"When he'd take me to feed, we'd run. I always enjoyed the run." I admitted softly. Stephan would never know what it cost me to admit that. Any time Mneseus learned of something I'd enjoyed, he found a way to destroy it. I didn't want my running to be taken from me.
"Well, that makes things easier then. Come my dear, we'll be home in no time." He held out his hand for me.
It was my turn to look uncomfortable. I still held my books tightly against my breast, unwilling to leave them behind with these strangers. They were my life's work and I treasured them above all else. He seemed to catch onto my hesitation without me having to utter a word.
"Hold on one moment." He said with a grin that transformed his face. He was off, talking to one of his men in a rapid language I didn't understand, returning within moments with something in his hands.
"It's a satchel. You can place your books inside and carry them with you as you run." He explained, holding it out to me.
I smiled, placing all the books into the pouch and slinging it over my head. It was a strange way to hold them, but effective. I enjoyed this satchel thing.
When I was ready, we ran through the forest that had once been my home. We left the others with strict instructions on how to return to Stephan's safely. Stephan seemed to trust his men implicitly. They'd arrive at Stephan's within a week of us.
The run was exhilarating! I felt so alive, so free as the forest whipped by my cheeks. The satchel was amazing. I was able to feel the comforting weight of my books against my hip, yet still have the freedom to run and leap as my body adjusted to the changing landscape around us. Stephan stayed close by to make sure I was okay, glancing back a few times to grin at me.
There was sadness behind his grin but I waived it away. He'd just killed one of his own, witnessed horrible acts and had to destroy almost an entire dungeon filled with abominations. I could understand his grief. I too, warred with grief, fear and exhilaration. I was surprised at the sadness I felt for my life's change as well as leaving my homeland. While I knew Mneseus to be dead, I'd burned his remains with my own hands; I still feared that it wasn't over, that somehow he'd find a way to destroy my life from the grave.
We arrived at the docks just before sunrise. The sky had lightened into a dark blue, followed by an even lighter blue I hadn't seen in almost a century. I watched the sky lighten further as Stephan talked with a few of the men bustling about. I was extremely nervous being around so many strange people. I didn't like any of it.
I was absurdly grateful for consuming Stephan's blood earlier, knowing from my small consumption that he was extremely powerful and honorable. Without his blood coursing through my veins, I was certain I'd be munching on one of the dockworkers.
"Stephan!" My voice held an edge of panic as I called him over to me. The sky was starting to take on a pinkish hue and I was terrified of what would happen next.
"What's wrong child?" He asked, rushing to my side, concern etched onto his features.
"The sun!" I hissed, my eyes darting toward the lightening horizon. I was absolutely petrified. I couldn't fathom why he'd want to save me if he was just planning on watching the sun destroy me. While I'd craved death over the years, I'd never wanted to go out like Daniel had. The memory of him writhing in pain until his body turned to ash was not one I'd likely ever forget.
Stephan let out a surprised laugh, halting as he saw my expression of pure terror.
"You mean, you don't know?" He was astonished with my ignorance. Before allowing me to respond, he cursed in his native tongue.
"Gerald!" He bellowed to the man he'd been talking to earlier. "See to the arrangements. I shall return shortly."
The man he yelled at bowed respectfully, tilting his head slightly to show off the vulnerability of his exposed neck. It would be a gesture I'd remember years later. Now, I was too caught up with the threat of the sun's rays.
Stephan gripped my arm, leading me to a more secluded part of the beach where we were relatively alone. I could still hear the activity going on further down the beach, but we were far enough away that we had the illusion of privacy. Once he was content with our location, he turned me to face the dawn's light that was slowly caressing the trees that had contained me for a century.
"Forgive me Victoria. I thought you knew. I had no idea how much he kept hidden from you. We shall discuss things in length later, but for now, embrace the dawn." His hands smoothed across my shoulders, trying to offer a comfort I couldn't accept. He continued in a gentle whisper as the sun's rays reached over the tops of the trees. "While the sunlight is more intense than you were used to as a human, it will not harm you until you're much older. I want you to watch, to know that I will always speak the truth to you, that I'll do everything in my power to see to your safety and happiness."
I'd stopped listening to him. My slow heart was pounding in my chest as I gripped the satchel close to my chest, holding my books tightly to me as I waited for the sun to burn me to ash. I didn't trust Stephan. I didn't know him then.
I remember that sunrise as I remember no other before or after. No other sunrise was as beautifully terrifying as that one. It was as if the sun had never truly risen before that day, yet I can't recall a day after when it had been so spectacular. The sky was lit with a pink hue, highlighting the emerald green of the trees. It lightened even further, the tip of Inti's orb peeking through the tops of the trees, creating a halo of light to envy the god's beauty. The rays kissed my skin for the first time in almost a century.
A breath I didn't even know I'd been holding escaped my lips in a shocked gasp as I felt the first rays of Inti's light caress my cheeks. I gasped with its brilliance, the way the light reflected the colors around me and illuminated the trees. Even the sand at my feet glistened with joy at the dawn's first healing light.
My knees went weak. I couldn't blink for fear of missing even a moment of the brilliance before me. It was spectacular. Nothing could've prepared me for the impact of that one perfect moment.
I collapsed to the ground, tears spilling from my eyes. In just a few short hours Stephan had given me more than any other person ever had and demanded nothing from me in return. He was truly unlike any other I'd ever met before. In that moment, I knew. I knew here was a man I could trust, a man that would speak the truth to me, protect and care for me unlike any other. I felt his arms around my shoulders, offering comfort to me when I didn't even know I needed it. I leaned into his embrace, for the first time opening myself up to another and revealing my vulnerability.
"Thank-you." I whispered to him, unable to take my eyes off of the brilliance around me.
"Whatever for?" He asked; astonished that I would be thanking him for something he didn't do. He didn't make the sun rise, it happened daily.
"You've given me back the sun." I whispered as twin tears blurred my vision before spilling down my cheeks.
Jean Booth’s Vital Statistics and Online Details:
Jean lives in Nevada with her husband and cats. When she's not out risking her neck on the back of a motorcycle, she enjoys the more calm activities of reading, gardening, and spending time with her friends and family. She's worked in health care for most of her adult life before deciding to finally share the stories that have been living inside her head.
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and get your free eBook of Choice, Book One in the Origins Series!
and get your free eBook of Choice, Book One in the Origins Series!
The giveaway ends Friday, December 28th at midnight (US Central Time).
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