Thursday, December 30, 2010

Interview with T Lynne Tolles

Laurie:  Hello, Teresa.  I am pleased to get this opportunity to chat with you.  Thanks so much for taking time out for this interview.

Teresa:  My pleasure, Laurie. I’m thrilled to be here.

Laurie:  I would like to talk briefly about your Blood series. The first four books are out and I understand there is another one in the works, correct? 

Teresa: Yes, book five, Deadman’s Blood, is in the works and about ¼ of the way done. 

 Laurie: What was your inspiration for this series?
Teresa: That’s a good question….I have no idea. I felt more possessed then inspired. I had been reading a ton of paranormal books that spring and got thinking…I wonder if I could do that. Lo and behold, Blood of a Werewolf was done and I had become obsessed. I had a gazillion ideas for more books containing the initial four characters.

Blood of a Werewolf (Blood Series - Book 1)
Laurie:  I read the first book Blood of a Werewolf a few months ago and really enjoyed the story and your writing style.  This series is categorized as Young Adult but as a mature reader I still found it compelling and amusing.

I loved the early scene when Darcy is dancing in the water, so carefree. Was it easy to write?

Teresa:  It was easy to write. I could see myself doing it and if I think back, I probably had done it at some point in time. Music has always had a huge influence on me and I often get carried away.

Laurie: I have heard some authors say that they write because their characters chatter in their mind until their story actually gets written down. Have you ever experienced that?

Teresa: Hmmm. Sometimes I suppose, but mostly my stories are driven by dialog.  Sometimes I don’t know what’s going to happen until the dialog starts and then I touch on something I find intriguing and go with it. Other times I have to play everything out in my head over and over until I smooth the kinks out of it and it forms a life of its own.

Laurie:  Of the books you have written for your Blood series so far, which one is your favorite?

Teresa:  I suppose it changes with each book. With each book, my writing skills and the development of my own style progresses. So at this particular moment, I suppose my favorite is Bloodstone Heart. I had the best time mapping out tunnels under the castle and drawing the island so I could accurately portray the scenes.

I also tried to tease my followers by introducing Josh and Lanie at the beginning in Bloodstone Heart and not merging in the story from the third book, until about the half-way point. I am so mischievous.

Laurie:  I should say so! What a crafty play. I am sure that tactic will strengthen the storyline and further fuel reader imagination and anticipation.

Please share a favorite short excerpt from Blood of a Werewolf.

“Blake knew the business of Death, as do all vampires. Though he tried to avoid it when ever possible, this was an attack on his family – a long awaited revenge. He was going to enjoy this. With that thought in his mind, he sank his fangs in Paine’s neck. In a manner of seconds he had drained the old man of most of his blood. He was careful not to kill him so that he would know what was to come. Instead of unclenching his teeth to pull away, he bit down harder and pulled a chunk out of him, as an animal might – not for the need of sustenance, but for the need of vengeance. The death of his parents, the near death of his bother, the attempt on Darby’s life and the intolerable act of harming Rowan - all of this came to a head at that moment and he sank into an ugly feral need for vengeance. He ripped at the old man, until there was nothing recognizable about him.

Darby was stunned in horror and disbelief by the ghastly sounds coming from behind the desk. To her, none of this was real; it was just some horrible foggy dream. She just wanted it to stop and the pain in her head to go away.

Suddenly, all went quiet behind the desk and the only thing Darby could hear was her own heartbeat. She tried to sit up as best she could only to see Blake coming towards her, eyes red, completely covered in blood and with her now in his sights.  He didn’t appear to be Blake at all. She had to remind herself that this was her loveable giant string bean, Blake, just to get her mind to lurch forward and out of its comatose state. He didn’t look at her as if he knew her at all. Where were those beautiful brown eyes she knew? What a horrible dream this was.  With all the energy she could summon in her body, she said his name in the calm sweet protective way she had always said it, “Blake, Please.” The gray fog her mind had been in, went black and all coherence of her surroundings went with her into that blackness.”
                   ----------End of Excerpt-----------

Laurie:  Gosh Teresa! I had absolutely no inkling that one of your favorite excerpts would be that particular scene. It is one of the most chilling episodes. Blake had the fierce drive to protect his family – and Darby bore witness to his transformation.

[The interviewer takes a short break to check her neck and get a sip of water to ease her dry throat.]

Laurie:  You just recently published a new story called Somber Island. It’s a ghost story with a remarkable heroine. What can you tell us about the evolution of this gothic mystery?

Teresa:  Actually it was my sister’s-in-law idea. This past Labor Day the family went up to Oregon for a long overdue visit with my husband’s brother, sister and sister-in-law. While out driving around and gabbing about our recent travels to Scotland, my sister-in-law (who is a huge Jane Austen fan) said, “You should write a book set in the Jane Austen period using our recent trip to Scotland as your background - Maybe a governess who comes to a home where she works for a vampire.”

After going home that weekend, I couldn’t stop thinking about her premise and completely dropped Deadman’s Blood to start work on Somber Island.

Laurie:  I loved the remote setting. Is there a real Somber Island?

Somber IslandTeresa: No, at least not that I know of.  I wanted the title to reflect the gloomy, gothic feel of the book.

Laurie: Please share an excerpt from Somber Island.

“The wind whooshed around her, her dress and coat making a whipping sound as the cloth beat upon her. The rain was icy and it stung when it hit her from the force of the wind.  She was quite certain she could see a small boat headed her way and hoped it was Samuel.
She was soaked to the skin now through her coat, dress, and under dress, but she waited patiently as the boat came closer and she could tell now that it was definitely Samuel.  She held the collar of the coat tight around her neck to try to keep any warmth she had within it. The wind howled past her ears as if deeply irritated by her presence.  The white caps were getting higher and the poor little boat tossed and tossed, barely making any progress whatsoever, but eventually the tiny boat bumped into the dock and Phoebe quickly helped Samuel tie it up and get out of the boat with his load.
She wrapped her arm around the shivering, gangly boy and helped him up the trail to the forest.  Here the rain and wind lessened with the shelter of the canopy of trees above them, but the tops of the trees moaned and creaked in the vicious wind above. Phoebe was happy for the reprieve of the pelting rain as they raced to the house for some warmth.
Once at the steps of the house, the boy stopped dead in his tracks and would not budge. She pulled his arm towards the house but he refused to enter. He seemed absolutely panic-stricken at the thought. She wondered why he was being so stubborn about coming in. For lack of a better idea, she spun him around and headed for the stables. At least it was shelter.  She had to get the boy warmed up or he'd no doubt get sick.”
                                 ----------End of Excerpt-----------

Laurie: That excerpt illustrates brilliantly one of the things I love about reading Somber Island. Throughout the entire story, there were times when the descriptions of the bleak landscape, loneliness and isolation gave me goose bumps, literally.

Can you give us a glimpse of an idea or two that you have for future books – a sneak peak, if you will?

Teresa: Well, let’s see. Deadman’s Blood may be the last of the Blood Series. Many underlying plots will be revealed that go back all the way to the first book and beyond. I know what’s going to happen. I just haven’t worked out all the details in my head.

I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a book on Hell Hound and Demon, and so enjoyed the ghost story in Somber Island that I think I would like to do another ghost story. Nothing’s solid yet, I really want to finish up Deadman’s Blood before I start another book.

I wouldn’t say I’m having writer’s block, but I think I’m having a tough time saying goodbye to the characters I’ve made in the Blood Series. Funny how you get so attached to your characters. I had the hugest crush on Devon until I brought Josh into being – Silly right?

Laurie: No, not at all. Not to me at least. As a reader, I often get caught up in the lives of the characters, too. Sometimes, it’s really hard to say goodbye when the book is finished, and they stay alive, for a while yet, in my mind. I think for an author it’s probably even more difficult.

 Where can your fans find you hanging out?

Teresa: I’m on my computer ALL the time. I’m either writing to wonderful people who have written to ask when book 5 is coming out, messing around on Facebook or GoodReads, or on one of the Amazon Paranormal Romance Discussion forums.

Laurie: You recently set up a huge new blog called Paranormal Everything where authors, readers, and reviewers can connect. Please let everyone know more about it and what they can find there.

Teresa: I did…It’s not really a blog right now, but I think a blog will definitely be added soon. Paranormal Everything is really a couple of easily maneuvered lists to make it easy for readers, authors and reviewers to find each other; however, it is still in its infancy.

In the future, I hope it brings all three groups together since we all need each other. Right now it is an extension of my own site, but I hope, as it grows and becomes an important tool to the Paranormal community, that it will become its own entity. You can find it at:

Laurie: It’s definitely something I encourage everyone to check out.  Authors can easily add links to their websites and books. Readers are able to easily navigate through one-click links to find lots of great books. And reviewers can show off their reviews. I just can’t say enough good things about this endeavor!

Is there anything else you would like to mention today that I should have brought up and didn’t? 

Teresa: I think you covered everything quite elegantly, Laurie.
I guess the only thing I might add is just a note to potential readers.  If you are looking for a cookie cutter generic author, I’m probably not your cup of tea.  My vampires and werewolves are not your typical violent blood-thirsty fiends; they are more like you and me with an affliction that they deal with to become part of the human race.

I also don’t spend a lot of time on character looks, because, lets face it, no matter how I describe someone, the reader will have their own image that probably looks nothing like mine. I figure my readers are smart, imaginative people, and they can fill in the blanks I’ve left, to fit their own desires.

Like you say, my books fall mostly into the YA category, maybe barely spilling into the Adult, but that isn’t really a decided choice, it’s just how I write – nothing very graphically violent or sexual. Sure there’s sex, but it’s tasteful and romantic and pertains to the development of the characters and the story. I’d say the most violent thing I’ve ever written is the excerpt I added above from Blood of a Werewolf,  but I have to admit, I had a lot of help from my nephew. He kept pushing me to make it more gruesome since it was such a turning point in the story.

Laurie:  Thank you again.  It’s been fun.  We have a brand new year ahead of us and I, for one, bet it will be filled with good times, good friends and lots of great new books.  Thank you so much for chatting with me today!  

Teresa:  Thank you, Laurie, for inviting me and taking time to include me in your talented list of author’s interviews.

If you would like to read my reviews of Blood of a Werewolf or Somber Island, please click the links below.

My Review: Blood of a Werewolf

My Review: Somber Island
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