Join me today in welcoming author Lydia Dare to the Preternatura blog! Lydia Dare is the pen name of the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson. Both Tammy and Jodie are active members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and live near Raleigh, North Carolina. Lydia Dare’s new book, a Regency-era paranormal romance called It Happened One Bite, was released by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 1.
First, about It Happened One Bite: He’s Lost, Trapped, Doomed for All Eternity…Rich, titled and undead, gentleman vampire James Maitland, Lord Kettering, fears himself doomed to a cold and lonely existence—trapped for decades in an abandoned castle. Then, beautiful Scottish witch Blaire Lindsay arrives, and things begin to heat up considerably…Unless He can Persuade Her to Set Him Free…Feisty Blaire Lindsay laughs off the local gossip surrounding her mother’s ancestral home—stories of haunting cannot scare off this battle-born witch. But when she discovers the handsome prisoner in the bowels of the castle, Blaire has no idea that she has unleashed anything more than a man who sets her heart on fire.
Welcome Tammy and Jodie! It Happened One Bite is the fifth in a series of loosely related standalone novels. Could you describe the progression of the series from the Westfield brothers, who are werewolves, to the witches’ coven, and now to the vampires?
Tammy: The Westfield brothers were born because we wanted to place Lycans in Regency England. Regency rakes and Lycans have a lot in common – they’re larger than life, privileged scoundrels, so the two worked well together. But then we decided that Ben would be “broken” in Tall, Dark and Wolfish, and who else could heal him, aside from a Scottish witch? So, the witches were born and they were fearless. Then we needed a new type of hero to pair them up with. Hence the vampyres!
In an interview, one of you said that the heroine of It Happened One Bite, Blaire Lindsay, was the hardest character so far for you to write–what about Blaire was difficult?
Tammy: Blaire wasn’t difficult for me at all. I LOVE Blaire. She’s tough, resourceful, curses, and she’s not a typical Regency lady. So, I got to abandon some of the stereotypes for ladies of that time period when we created Blaire and had a lot of fun with it. Jodie, had a hard time with Blaire, though.
Jodie: I did. I had the hardest time with Blaire. I am such a girly girl and she’s not, so it was hard for me to “get” her. Luckily, Tammy was able to channel her quite easily.
How did the two of you meet and begin writing as a team?
Tammy: Jodie and I were at a workshop for plotters. And neither of us plots, so we were not in our element. Instead, we started talking and came up with the hero and heroine for A Certain Wolfish Charm while we were there. Then we went home and Jodie wrote the first five pages and sent them to me. Two months later, we had a complete book. Two months after that, we finished Tall, Dark and Wolfish and we sold the first three books to Sourcebooks.
Jodie: So, we’ve been writing together for 2-½ years, but we’ve been friends much longer. We actually joined our local RWA at the same time and kind of bonded over our newness.
I’m fascinated by your writing process, and the fact that it’s almost like one of those free-writing exercises you have in writing classes, where one person writes a paragraph and sends it to the next person. You really don’t know where the other one is going till you get her next 1,500 words? Could you describe your process?
Tammy: You described it pretty well. We each write about five pages, then send the pages back. The person who gets them will go through what the other person wrote and edit, adding, subtracting or simply familiarizing ourselves with what happened when “the kids were gone.” Sometimes you don’t make any changes at all. Other times, you insert a whole chapter. Or a scene. Or simply some descriptions. Then we trade again.
What fascinates you about the Regency period? And about Scotland as a setting?
Tammy: When I read, I like being removed from my daily life. I like reading about the carriages, and the homes and the dresses. And I like the different standards of conduct and propriety. It’s like entering a different world. We entered Scotland because Elspeth, the heroine from Tall, Dark and Wolfish, just happened to be Scottish.
Jodie: My father’s family is Scottish. So I feel a certain kinship to the Scots. As for the Regency period – that’s all Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite all-time story.
Who would you cast as the (dead-sexy, no pun intended) James Maitland/Lord Kettering?
Jodie: Oh, I completely see James as a Robert Downey Jr. He’s self-assured, but there’s still a slight vulnerable side to him. (Suzanne thinks that would be PERFECT!)
To what degree do you depend on the traditional literary traits of your werewolves and vampires and witches, and to what degree do you make up your own new mythologies to fit them into the historic period? (Love the idea of the rings as gifts from the battle witches to reward Matthew, which allows him to bestow special powers upon the vampires to whom he gives the rings.)
Tammy: I like to think we don’t rely on any mythology at all. Our ideas were ones we’d never heard of before, and the rings were fabricated by us, along with their powers and the ending. We were actually trying to write something unique and unheard of, and give our hero and heroine a true happily-ever-after. I hope we succeeded.
Jodie: Oh, thank you! I think if anyone should have ever been rewarded with magic rings it is Matthew from In the Heat of the Bite. He might be the most noble character we’ve ever written.
Are the next two in the series written, and do you anticipate more–or are you moving on to other projects?
Jodie: Yes, In the Heat of the Bite is complete and will be released July 2011. And Never Been Bit is also complete and is scheduled to hit shelves in September 2011. We are currently working on the next trilogy.
Thanks, Tammy and Jodie! Want to win a copy of It Happened One Bite? (I just finished it and can highly recommend it–it was a fun, sexy read, and you really don’t have to have read the earlier ones in the series.) The nice folks at Sourcebooks Casablanca are offering two for commenters today. Leave a comment, and you know the rest of the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Be sure to include your email. Now…Go forth and comment!