Friday, August 21, 2009

Interview with Amanda Grange, Author of Mr. Darcy Vampyre

Admittedly, while I loved many of Jane Austen’s books, I wasn’t too sure about the idea of beloved Darcy as a vampire. I was intrigued with the concept because I could see how the original story could lend itself to the notion. There is much mystery surrounding Darcy and since Pride and Prejudice is told from Elizabeth Bennett’s point of view we had little insight into his mind or his emotions. We had only his actions to judge him by so the mystery still remains. However I loved the way Amanda handled the premise and her skill as a writer apparent in her story. I also loved how she was able to make Darcy more three-dimensional and yet remain true to the original character in Pride and Prejudice. Best of all, it’s not the typical clichéd vampire story.

I had the opportunity to chat with best selling author, Amanda Grange, which was cool because I could ask some questions.

Why Darcy as a Vampire?

  • I wanted to write a different kind of sequel to Pride and Prejudice, something that would test Lizzy and Darcy’s love for one another and leave the outcome in doubt, and as I was reading a lot of Regency Gothics at the time, the idea of a Gothic sequel came to me. I’d had the idea of Darcy as a vampyre at the back of my mind for some time and it all seemed to fit very well. He’s wealthy, aloof and very attractive to women. I also liked the idea of making him a vampyre because Darcy as a character refuses to die. He’s 200 years old and yet he still enthralls women!

Did you read the original Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice to keep your story in sync with original?
  • Yes, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice many times, as it’s my favourite book. I’ve even written another book based on it called Mr Darcy’s Diary, which is a retelling from Darcy’s point of view! So I know the original very well and every now and again I went back to it to check a detail and make sure I was still on track.

What part of writing this book did you enjoy the most?

  • That’s hard, because I enjoyed writing different parts for different reasons, but if I had to pick one part of the book I think I would pick the scenes in Venice because it’s a beautiful city and I loved sending Lizzy there. I also loved writing about Darcy’s reaction to seeing her so happy.

What was the hardest part of writing this story?
  • I think it was making it all tie in with Pride and Prejudice. For example, in Pride and Prejudice we learn that Mr Darcy’s housekeeper has known him from his early childhood, so I had to think of a way to work that into my sequel and make it fit in with the alternate reality I was creating.

Are you a 'seat of your pants' writer or do you write from outline?
  • A bit of both. I had a strong outline for Mr Darcy’s Diary but I filled in the details as I started to write and all sorts of extra things kept happening. They made the story a lot deeper and a lot more interesting and they kept me absorbed because I didn’t know every twist and turn before it happened.

What's a typical writing day for you like?
  • I don’t really have a typical writing day. My writing ebbs and flows. Sometimes I will go straight to the computer when I get up in the morning and I will sit and write all day, at other times I won’t start writing until the evening and I will then write into the night.

Who is a source of encouragement to you?
  • Other authors. I know quite a lot of them through my writers’ groups, and their creativity and hard work is always an inspiration. It motivates me and keeps me going.

What's next on the agenda for you?
  • I’m working on a Darcy story for a Christmas anthology and then I’m writing a prequel to Mr Darcy, Vampyre, so I’m going to be pretty busy!

Amanda, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I'd be very interested in seeing the prequel to Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. To be honest, I found the section where he explains how he became a vampire fascinating and wished there had been more than you showed in this book.


Amanda Grange is the international bestselling author of Mr. Darcy’s Diary, as well as four more Diaries featuring the points of view of the heroes of Jane Austen’s literature and her own historical fiction. She specializes in creative interpretations of classic novels and historic events. Ms. Grange lives in England. Find out more about Amanda and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre on her website:, her blog:; and follow us on Twitter

I want to share with you Mr. Darcy, Vampyre Book Trailer! YouTube

Two copies of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre—US and Canada only, given to two commenters on today’s Blog. I will need a way to contact the winners, so be sure to leave a way to do that. I will contact the two winners to get your mailing address so the books can be sent to you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Complete and Utter Fraud

My guest today is debut author, Jessa Slade. She discusses the changes that come with going from unpublished to published. The feelings of disbelief and the need to pinch yourself because you can't believe it's no longer a dream but reality. The checking to see if what is felt is excitement or terror--perhaps both?

Thanks so much, Sia, for giving me a chance to blog with you. I’m especially happy to be here because sometimes I still feel like it’s impossible that I am here.

Last month, I attended the Romance Writers of America national conference in Washington DC. Although I’ve been to writers’ conferences before, this was my first time as a published author. I was so excited to be going since I got to wear a First Sale ribbon, which I’d longingly admired on new authors over the many, many years of my writing apprenticeship. I donned the name badge with eager pride. The ribbon—shiny and pink—fluttered at the bottom like a challenge to a very small, somewhat effeminate bull.

Bull, as in bullsh!t.

The Bull of BS has long been my nemesis. I picture it like the red bull from Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN. The Bull rears its pointy-horned head whenever I clamber over the fence that divides me from my dreams, when I take a few steps outside my comfort zone, when I start to think maybe—finally—I know where I’m going, and maybe—finally—I have the right to be there. The Bull of BS has an unerring eye for uncertainty, scents fraudulence on the breeze at one part per billion, and eats eager pride for breakfast.

And the Bull of BS had me in its crosshairs.

I’m not ashamed to say I ran. (Okay, I’m a little ashamed, but eager pride goeth before a poking in the backside by the Bull of BS.) I ran back to the bar, back to the safety of my writing friends because I knew they’d understand.

Fellow paranormal romance author Annette McCleave whose first book DRAWN IN DARKNESS comes out in September, drank a spiked hot chocolate with me and captured the sentiment best: "I'd been unpublished a long time. I was good at it. Now [after selling a book] I feel like I fell off a cliff. I'm starting over." She included a dramatic hand gesture, which mimed a Wyle E. Coyote-style 90-degree plummet over a precipice.

Selling a book doesn’t make you a master; it makes you the apprentice, back at the bottom again.

During the conference, fellow writers congratulated me on the first sale, and inevitably they added, “You must be so excited!” Hmm, let me check... Elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, breathlessness, sleeplessness... That’s either excitement, or terror!

Maybe both as I hop the fence into the field of dreams, into the fray of being a debut novelist. From my first big outing as a published author, I learned a few things that maybe someday will boost me from apprentice (again) to journeyman:

  • There’s always something more to learn, and in the learning comes confidence. Going to workshops and talking to other writers—and this time, talking to my editor and agent—I realized I have indeed learned a few things since the days when I accidentally told parts of my story from the dog’s point of view. That’s progress equivalent, for example, to an apprentice blacksmith not nailing his pants to a horse’s hoof. Yay me! Except there’s always something more to learn so I imagine I’ll never quite get to the end no matter how many times I get to The End.

  • It’s not as serious as I thought. Seriously. I can’t play the wise and thoughtful writer. Not even on TV. Nobody’d believe it, what with the Bull of BS drooling over my shoulder. Taking my writing seriously but not myself so much has eased some of the pressure. This flies in the face of confidence-building how-to articles that tell you to fake it ‘til you make it, but every time I admit to someone that I secretly suspect I am making this all up, they completely understand. And most feel the same! Turns out, there are a lot of us sneaking along the Bull’s fence, wanting to take the risk. Turns out, a lot of us have jumped the fence only to slip in a cowpie. Talk about instant friendships...

  • I might have to hear it, but I don’t have to listen to the voice of doubt. This seems simple and obvious, I know, but with the Bull looming right there it’s really hard to meditate on those positive affirmations. Usually the best I can do is pretend, but that counts for a lot because I’m a fiction writer, and we make things up all the time.

Of course, I’m excited to finally have a story I can share with others. I’m also happy, grateful and determined. And terrified. Selling a book didn’t make me a faster writer (sadly), or more self-assured or less introverted. I didn’t suddenly become the brave and graceful toreador, meeting the Bull’s charge with my crimson cape flying. Nope, I only have a pink ribbon. And that’ll have to be enough.

Well, that and a cup of spiked hot chocolate and writing friends.

Has there ever been a time when you thought everybody could see right through your façade? How did you deal? Afterward, did the experience give you more confidence to pursue your dreams?


Jessa Slade has always adored doggerel verse, overwrought imagery and hyper-extended metaphors. She tries desperately (and often hopelessly) to rein in these dangerous impulses.On the plus side, she only rarely writes about herself in the third person.She lives in Portland, Oregon, with a musician who feeds her, a shelter dog who walks her, and a pair of nocturnal geckos that keep her company during the wee writing hours.

You can visit Jessa:

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Lightning Strikes, Working With Your Muse

My guest today is award winning author, Delilah Devlin. She is the author of several series and has won Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for several of her books. Her current books are Darkness Burning Avon RED Tempted by a Cowboy Kensington Sexy Little Numbers 9/29 Black Lace.

Today she discusses how she works with her muse. Hang on because it's a wild ride.

I like the concept of chatting with you “over coffee”. Since I’m never without a pot brewing beside me while I work, it’s a comforting thought.

I’ve been on a tear lately, writing like a madwoman. Not much time to spend with friends or family. Not because I’m on an external deadline of some kind, but because I’m going through one of THOSE cycles. No, not menopause or PMS! I’m going through a creative cycle. Too many ideas bombarding me when I’m awake, although my dreams have been rich too. Just the other night, Temperance Brennan (from BONES) and I led a coup to take over the world. Can’t tell you how it ended though because when I drew the balaclava over my head, I woke up. Always happens before the big climax. Dammit.

Sia did say I could be myself.

In the past couple of months, I’ve written two shorts stories, two novellas, and I’ll wrap up a third novella this week. I’ve also been working on a proposal for a futuristic. I love it when the muse humors me with these creative spurts, and I take advantage of it, because when the current run peters out, the writing will become “work” again.

I like writing on several projects at once—planning one, plotting one, writing one, and editing one. It sounds insane, but it works for me. Every author has her own process; mine’s just manic at the moment. For a month there, April I think it was, I could hardly make myself sit at the computer to answer the email much less create, but I got a minimal amount of work done, enough I couldn’t claim writer’s block. When that happened, I hit the books—research books, that is—trying to refill the well with new ideas. I read Wicca books, Norse and British isle folklore, anything I could find on angels and demons, and lots of fetishist books. Plenty of inspiration there.

When the muse stirred, it exploded with several ideas all at once, some more formed than others, so I only made notes for the ones that were more mist than substance but tore into the full-bodied concepts. There’s enough material there to keep me going for the next year, which is to say there are many stories inside me now, because I believe in quantity—it works for me. The more I write, the better the writing is. When I slow down, I struggle for a word.

As I already said, every author has their own process, and I’d love to hear from you how you get past the doldrums, how you refill your well, and whether you work several projects in tandem or one at a time. For you readers, I’d love to hear whether you forgive authors for straying outside the lines of what you expect them to write.

Until recently, award-winning romance author Delilah Devlin lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she’s missing the wide-open skies and starry nights but loving her dark forest in Central Arkansas, with its eccentric characters and isolation—the better to feed her hungry muse!

For Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines, because it’s comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war and many countries, cultures, jobs, and relationships to bring her to the place where she is now—writing sexy adventures that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation.

Delilah holds a MS in Systems Management and a BA in History & Spanish, minor in Military Science.

She says she’s a true geek at heart and loves travel and pouring over history and mythology books from around the world.

You can visit Delilah at her website: to see what’s soon to be released, excerpts, and contests.

Also available in September:

The Hired Hand, featured in Lesbian Cowboys by Cleis Press (9/1/09)