Q&A with Jenna Barwin and Dark Wine at Midnight (#Giveaway!)


Today, join me in welcoming debut author Jenna Barwin! Jenna is here to celebrate the release of DARK WINE AT MIDNIGHT and to subject herself to the Preternatura Q&A.

About the Author:

Jenna Barwin started writing fiction in the fifth grade and after a year unpublished, gave it up. During this long hiatus she’s tried her hand at an eclectic range of careers, although not all at the same time. She’s been a: circus magician; sound mixer for live bands; video editor for a Hollywood-based news show; CEO of a non-profit; public law attorney. She has degrees in sound engineering, theology, the law, and, if a degree was ever offered, she’d have one in the school of love. She enjoys both land and underwater nature photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt. She is now writing full-time, bringing her diverse experience to paranormal romance, science fiction and urban fantasy storytelling. Find her at http://jennabarwin.com.

ABOUT DARK WINE AT MIDNIGHT: Orders from the Lux can’t be ignored—a fact Dr. Cerissa Patel truly loathes. She’s a scientist, not a secret agent, and doesn’t want to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. But her duty to obey the Lux leaves her no choice, not with the fate of humanity on the line. Her cover story seems easy as pie: become a vampire’s envoy, move to Sierra Escondida, and sign-up investors from among the secret vampire communities to finance her biotech research lab. At least, it looks easy until an assassination attempt leaves the Hill vampires suspicious of her arrival. They don’t want her—or her research lab—in their small town. Worse, she must ignore her growing attraction to Henry Bautista, a vampire winemaker with eyes the color of dark bourbon and just as intoxicating—who’s hiding his own deep secrets. He’s rich, dangerous, and as complex as the wines he makes, and he will do anything to stop her from hurting his town. With him watching her every move, she must uncover who’s behind the vampire movement to enslave mortals—before Henry discovers what’s hidden beneath her skin… Dark Wine at Midnight is book 1 in the Hill Vampire series. Escape into the mystery, romance, and political intrigue of the Hill Vampire vineyards—where secrets can be deadly…

Now, let’s hear from Jenna!

Thanks, Suzanne, for inviting me back. Dark Wine at Midnight released this month, and I’m giving away three ebook copies to your readers. Anyone who signs up for my newsletter between May 2 and May 8, 2017, will be entered to win one of three ebook copies of Dark Wine at Midnight (Kindle version, value not to exceed $4.99). The winners will receive their free ebook electronically through Amazon, so they must have an Amazon account to win. I’ll contact winners by email, and they must respond within three days to receive their ebook. Enter the giveaway by signing up here: https://jennabarwin.com/jenna-barwins-newsletter/

Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work.

Dark Wine at Midnight, the first book in my urban fantasy Hill Vampire series, is equal parts mystery, political intrigue, and love story. It’s also a little bit Dr. Frankenstein meets Shark Tank, but with vampire entrepreneurs. Here’s the elevator pitch: A research scientist is forced by her people to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. One of those vampires is an expert winemaker with eyes the color of dark bourbon—and just as intoxicating. To succeed, she must convince him to trust her, despite the dark secrets each carries, and the mutual attraction they can’t resist.

Describe your favorite scene in the book? Why is it your favorite?

My favorite is the climax of the book, but if I tell you about it, I’ll give away too many spoilers. So let’s go with my second favorite.

Henry is a vampire and a winemaker. Cerissa is a research scientist and a spy for the Lux. Henry discovers what she is and confronts her. As their verbal battle winds down, and after a very hot first kiss, Henry begins to see the humor in the situation, and sums up the two of them as: “Dr. Frankenstein meets Dracula.”

I like the way they spar, and then they resolve it with humor.

Hardest scene you’ve ever written:

The death of a character I loved. I can’t reveal who that is without giving away too much. It occurs in a later book in the series.

What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?

Jeaniene Frost’s Into the Night, the final book in her series about Leila and Vlad the Impaler (just don’t call him Dracula). Jeaniene writes “couple series”—a series of books featuring one romantic couple. I loved her Cat and Bones books, and her Leila and Vlad combo pulls me in each time.

Once I fall in love with a couple, I like following their story through multiple books. My Hill Vampire series is a couple series, although there may be other characters who find love too.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Sherlock Holmes will always be my favorite character of all time. I devoured all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories and novels when I was young. I also read Jules Verne (and didn’t understand a lot of it at the time I read it, I was too young). But Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land stands out as my favorite book. I read Stranger when I was twelve or thirteen. I like fiction that challenges me with new ideas about the meaning of life, and Heinlein nailed it.

It’s one of the reasons I like urban fantasy and science fiction. The whole idea of taking what it means to be human, and changing one or two things—giving us different powers, or different limitations, and then discovering how we would develop differently, from a sociological perspective—I like playing with those ideas. And of course, part of that is how those powers or limitations shape our romantic relationships.

Book you’ve faked reading (Moby Dick is the most frequently given answer!)

Just about any book you’d expect a young girl to have read. I didn’t read Little Women, or Little House on the Prairie, or any similar book, with the exception of the gothics, like Jane Eyre. I just nod my head and agree politely with whoever mentions the more traditional books.

I don’t know why, but I was always attracted to books that, in theory, were pitched at boys. I liked action, adventure, science fiction, and dark subjects.

Most horrifying moment while reading a book:

Now, keep in mind, I’m a big Dexter fan, and I’ve watched most of the Walking Dead, so it was a learning experience to find out what truly horrified me most.

I was reading a very successful urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, and the author killed off a pregnant reoccurring character. I’d read the first few books in the series, and was really looking forward to the couple having the baby, and seeing a happy story line evolve for them in what is otherwise a darker themed series.

When the pregnant character was killed by assassins, not only was I horrified, it just didn’t feel organic to the story, and I felt betrayed. It’s weird, because you never know what is going to cause a reader to disconnect from your story.

Favorite book about books or writing:

It’s a toss-up. Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story is at the top of my list, but Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict follows as a close second. At this year’s California Dreamin’ Conference, both authors gave presentations on writing, and I was taking notes as fast as I could type.

What’s next?

Dark Wine at Sunrise, book 2 in the Hill Vampire series, is written and I’m currently editing it.

Dark Wine at Midnight is currently free in Kindle Unlimited. The ebook and paperback are also available for purchase on Amazon. Here is the link:


Want to contact me or join the conversation? You can find me at:



Thanks, Jenna! Be sure and sign up to win a copy of her new book—it sounds great!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

13 thoughts on “Q&A with Jenna Barwin and Dark Wine at Midnight (#Giveaway!)

    • Hi Roger – Great question! Dark Wine at Midnight is Secrets of the Vampire Vintners. After a long talk with my editor, I changed the title so it fit more within the genre. It was a hard decision, as I liked “Secrets”, but I got more “oohs” from beta readers with “Dark Wine.” What do you think?

  1. oh it could be a great read even if the death of a character tends to make me hesitate just a bit i get attached too easily^^

    • I understand Miki, me too, I get attached to all my characters. I can tell you it’s not a lead character, if that helps.

  2. Books you’ve faked reading–what a great question! For me, it’s anything by William Faulkner. Someone should have introduced that man to Strunk & White.

    • LOL, too true! I really loved my college English Lit class, it’s the only textbook I saved from my undergraduate studied. We managed to avoid some of the awful traditional novels. What I remember most is the Gothic short stories, and learning about poetry as an insult art form (Terence This is Stupid Stuff). I loved poems where the poet had used his or her skills to insult their enemies.

      And Suzanne asks very good questions!

  3. What a fascinating book! I love that Cerissa is a research scientist. Great cover too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for stopping by! I had a lot of fun answering Suzanne’s questions.

  4. Thanks for stopping by! I am always on the look out for fun new books. Thanks!