Today, please help me welcome author Amber Belldene to Preternatura. Amber is stopping by today as part of her virtual book tour celebrating the release of her lastes book, Blood Reunited. Blood Reunited is the third book in Amber’s Blood Vine series and was published on January 28 by Omnific Publishing. Amber’s one of my fellow authors on the Paranormal Unbound blog and is just a very cool person, you know, not that I’m prejudiced or anything.
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days. Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco. You can learn more about Amber by visiting her website, on facebook or by following her on twitter.
Suzanne, thank you so much for having me on Preternatura on my release day! Today Blood Reunited, the final installation in the Blood Vine series is available.
I thought it would be fun to talk heroines with you, because I know you’re interested in how to craft a great female character and people always say DJ from your Sentinels is an awesome lead.
We both blog on Paranormal Unbound, and that group of authors has an earnest, heartfelt, and uber-serious manifesto declaring our formal commitment to “Feisty women in leather and hot alpha males with fangs…But also quirky, neurotic heroines and geeky, glasses-wearing heroes.” Yeah, I do love me some Clark Kent!
We are also affirming the pleasure of a fabulously wide variety of characters that the paranormal genre makes possible.
The myriad possibilities of supernatural creatures and their conflicts can make every worn-out trope and storyline fresh. I had an absolute blast writing Uta, the heroine of my new release, Blood Reunited, and her fated mates story. She is a foul-mouthed alpha female with an Atlas complex and a mate who hates her. And she makes a lot of jokes about sheep.
To me, female characters are harder to write than male characters. Maybe it’s because most of my readers are female, and I know they will scrutinize my heroine more than my hero because they don’t want to desire her, but to relate with her and admire her. She has to be just the right blend of vulnerable and heroic—a standard few of us achieve in real life. But, hey, that’s why they get to star in books, and we just get to star in our ordinary lives!
The heroine of Blood Reunited, Uta Ilirije, is a twenty-three hundred year old vampire whom I based off of an actual historical figure, Teuta, warrior queen of the Illyrians. Her amazing story includes rebelling against the Roman Empire’s attempt to colonize her people. When I first imagined including her in this series, I had simply liked the idea of an old, female secondary character and I imagined a rebellious, ancient queen would be brash and fun to write.
Soon I realized she would be the heroine of book three, because she was the perfect counterpoint to Bel Maras, and their relationship explained some of the mysteries I’d discovered around his halfling status. (Maybe that sounds weird, but I do feel like I find out things about my characters, rather than invent them.)
Bad-boy biologist Bel is a vampire halfling, which means that, while he lacks vampire super-strength, he also does not age, can enjoy sunlight, and swills bourbon like a champ. He is not quite two-hundred years old—no spring chicken for sure. But he’s still a sullen and brooding adolescent when compared to the world-weary ninth-oldest vampire, to whom he was bonded at birth by an accident of blood. I anticipated having to struggle to keep Uta’s great strength from making Bel look weak, but he surprised me by always matching her in his stubbornness, bravery, and dedication to their common cause.
Uta fights vampire Hunters in her designer shoes, knits blankets at vampire speed, and can’t be bothered to learn English, given how many other languages crowd her old, old brain.
We don’t have a lot in common, but I’d like to think if I lived another two-thousand years, I’d grow up to be a lot like her. And I certainly hope I would be as fiercely faithful to the causes I believe in, if I were in her shoes.
If you decide to read Uta’s story, I hope you’ll let me know if you found her an interesting heroine. I always learn from hearing from my readers!
Thanks, Amber! This one is definitely on my TBR list. So how about it? Can you think of a book where the heroine might have an advantage or two over the hero? I’ve written some human heroes with paranormal heroines, and those are always a challenge. Leave a comment and then enter below for chance to win some awesome prizes!