I'd like to thank Colleen Gleason for taking the time to answer my questions. We're going to give away 2 of Colleen's books to 2 lucky commenters. Colleen has also agreed to stop by today to answer any questions you guys may have, so feel free to ask! If you haven't had a chance to check out Colleen's Gardella Vampire Chronicles , pop over to Amazon right now and order them all. I'm on book #3 and I'm totally hooked. (I mean, what's not to love, a Regency-set Vampire Hunter???)
Why Vampire Hunter? Was this your not so subtle way of dusting off all vampires because you're sick of seeing them?
Heh heh. You've found me out!
Actually, I must confess. I'm one of those seemingly rare people who don't find vampires attractive or sexy. (I know, I KNOW!) And I was such a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and also of the Regency England time period, that, in combination with my dislike of vampire, it just made sense to meld those three elements together.
It was also a fresh idea that sparked the attention of an editor.
How long did you write before you sold?
For years. Off and on through college and beyond. I wrote eight books before selling my ninth novel.
I love your covers, have you been happy with them? Were you terrified you'd get something campy or cheesy or completely different from the stories?
Thank you so much. I love my covers too. I absolutely adore them. My favorites are the first, third, and fifth (ie, the ones with the female on the front).
Was I afraid I'd get something campy...not really. Partly because from discussions with my editor, I knew she "got" the books, so I trusted that she'd push for something different.
Plus, every single cover I've seen from New American Library has been fabulous. Honestly, before I sold to them--and even right after--I started looking at covers in bookstores. It seemed like every cover that attracted me, that I thought was wonderful, was a Signet Eclipse book.
So I wasn't worried at all. The actual cover of THE REST FALLS AWAY was very different from anything I'd pictured, but the minute I saw it, I knew it was the right one. It's just brilliant.
Do you do a lot of research? And, be honest, you chose Paris as a setting so you could write off your vacation, didn't you?
Yes, I do a lot of research. I love doing it, though.
It started with being research mostly about Regency Era England, and vampire lore and mythology, when I wrote the first book. But as the series developed and I became more comfortable with the time period, my research became much more specific.
For example, in RISES THE NIGHT, the second book in the series, I researched Lord Byron and his time living in Venice, because my heroine meets him in Venice. I also was intrigued by the fact that Dr. John Polidori, who wrote THE VAMPYRE (which was the predecessor to today's vampire fiction with the first sort of gentleman vampire), died a mysterious death. So I wove that into the story.
For the third book, THE BLEEDING DUSK, I spent time researching Rome in the 19th century. I learned about a mysterious Door of Alchemy, a real door that still exists today, and used its legend as the basis for Victoria's adventures in Rome.
In WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS, Victoria heads back to England, and I found myself fascinated by the underground (literal and figurative) waste recycling industry in 19th century London--so of course I had to send Victoria into the infamous London sewers. And there was also the fact that the Prince Regent, who was crowned during this book, refused to allow his wife to attend the coronation--and that she was literally refused admittance to Westminster Abbey. That event figured in my book as well, with a paranormal twist.
Finally, for the last Victoria Gardella book, AS SHADOWS FADE, I sent my characters to Prague and I had a wonderful time researching that city.
There aren't any Gardella books set in Paris, but I have been to Paris in order to research another project that I worked on. :-)
Interviewer's note: Yeah. I knew there weren't any Gardella books set in Paris. I have no idea why I asked Paris. I know that I meant Rome. When I reread the question after Colleen had answered, I winced and thought, Dude. What the deuce were you smoking?
Your stories seem to appeal to a wide audience. I know you have some teen fans. What age did you jump from reading YA to reading "adult" novels?
I remember reading THE BASTARD by John Jakes (of the Kent Family Chronicles)--which is most definitely an adult book--in my 8th grade class in a Catholic school. I think I must have been reading other adult novels before then, but I specifically remember reading that one and needing to hide the title/cover from the nuns. :-)
I do have a lot of teens who read my books; they're a large fan base for me, and I love that! My daughter is 11, and I haven't allowed her to read them yet, but I think I will in the next few years.
Speaking of teen...let's talk about High School a little bit.
You and I are close to the same age, so I have a feeling we have similar memories from high school.
Name your 3 favorite movies from high school.
OH! Great question. Let's see....how about four?
FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF
BACK TO THE FUTURE
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (I think that came out then)
ROMANCING THE STONE
Interviwer's note: Add DIRTY DANCING, SIXTEEN CANDLES, and BETTER OFF DEAD to that list and we could be BFFs. :)
Were you in a group? You know, popular, geek, band, athlete, etc?
I was in the "geeky" group, and also the thespian group.
Worst date you ever had?
Hmm. With a guy who I didn't remember what he looked like till he showed up to pick me up...and the passenger door of his car was wired shut, so I had to climb over from the drivers seat. We went to see STRANGE BREW, the movie with Bob & Doug McKenzie. It wasn't a horrible date, just the worst one I can think of. I was pretty lucky!
Tell me about your prom...
I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. We had one prom each year for the juniors and seniors. When I was a junior, I was dating a guy who went to a nearby all boys school, and their prom was the night before ours. So I had two proms in two nights (a Thursday and a Friday). His prom was fine, but my prom was sort of a disaster. His ex-girlfriend, who was a senior at my school, attended the prom with her 40-year-old boyfriend.
No joke. And he looked forty years old! It was awkward to say the least.
The theme for that prom was the love theme from FOOTLOOSE, which I can never remember. ALMOST PARADISE, that's it.
When I was a senior, I went with the same guy, and it was fairly uneventful. My grandmother made my dress, and it was gorgeous. I can't remember that prom's theme song!
What is the one style from the 80s that you think should NEVER return?
The Flock of Seagulls flip hairdo--on men or women. And the overload of jewelry and hair scarves, a la Madonna.
and the burning question on everyone's mind:
Are you a Sebastian girl....or a Max girl?
Heh heh. I could tell you but then I'd have to stake you.
Actually, I love them both. Honestly. Partly because there's a bit of my husband in each one of them! And partly because they're both hawt.
I'm glad I'm not Victoria and have to make a choice....and yes, she does. My editor said so.
Interviewer's note: I'd like to put my vote in for Sebastian. Kthxbye.
To find out more about Colleen, please check out her website at http://www.colleengleason.com.
Thanks again for stopping by!