We’re talking with Marie Treanor, getting to know her and taking a peek into her new vampire series.
Marie lives in Scotland, so no surprise that her heroine in that new series is Scottish! She’s penned a sexy and mysterious hero to complement Elizabeth Silk as she fights her attraction to Saloman, refusing to give in to his end game. Two books in the trilogy have been released so far, with the third due out in October. Still plenty of time to pick them up and get started so you’re all set later in the year!
Be sure to ask Marie a question or leave a meaningful comment for her – she’s offering up a copy of either Blood on Silk or Blood Sin – reader’s choice.
Now let’s chat!
DUCK CHAT: Welcome to The Good, the Bad and the Unread, Marie! By way of an introduction, instead of the usual tell us about yourself, how about revealing that one thing that perhaps even your most loyal fans don’t know about you?
MARIE TREANOR: Thanks for having me, Sandy – it’s great to be here! Hmm, how about: I can’t drive a car? The last time I was behind the wheel – many years ago! – I nearly killed my driving instructor by driving straight at an oncoming van.
DC: If you could retire any interview question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.
MT: It would probably be: “What advice do you have for aspiring authors?” – not because I’m not happy to help fellow-writers toward publication – I am! – but because I know I’m still learning myself and I’m terrified of giving someone advice that doesn’t work for them, or, worse, even holds them back! There seem to be almost as many routes to publication as there are authors, and I know my own story isn’t typical.
So I tend to give very general advice – like “keep reading and writing as much as you can and learn from any feedback or criticism you’re given.” I don’t think you can go wrong with that.
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
MT: Yes, definitely – especially once I’m really into the story and the characters are so clear that they do virtually take on a life of their own. Their words don’t seem to be mine any more, and conversations quite often go off in directions I hadn’t originally intended. And yes, they do surprise me sometimes – for example, by being seductive when I mean them to be cool, or the other way round.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
MT: They do, hands down!
DC: Let’s talk about your Awakened by Blood series as a whole first and then we’ll talk about the books. Please tell our readers, first, about the genesis of the series, and, second, is it evolving the way you’d envisioned?
MT: Well, the background is, I’ve always loved gothic romance and vampire stories, and I’d been feeling the urge to write something dark and gothic with an ambiguous but devastating hero. And then this image came to me of a stone sculpture coming to life in some spooky crypt, and advancing on a terrified woman. This became the awakening scene from Blood on Silk, and my gothic hero became the Ancient vampire Saloman. Well, you can’t get a much darker past that his.
Parts of it have evolved more or less the way I saw it from the beginning. Others, like some of the secondary characters and the wider vampire world developed rather differently, but I don’t think it changed the overall “feel” of my story. The relationship between Elizabeth and Saloman developed a little differently too – a bit more stormy and uncertain than I’d planned after the first book; and yet one scene where I had planned for her to leave him, didn’t work out like that at all!
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
MT: Kids Though actually, mine are very good. They’ve got used to me disappearing into my own world for long periods! It’s when they have too many friends coming and going all the time, or spend umpteen phone calls (which I generally have to answer) arranging to go out that I begin to get impatient. And I know I shouldn’t because I actually like them to bring their friends round!
I’d love to say housework too, but in reality, I ignore that until it becomes too difficult to move around the house!
DC: What has been your favorite book cover from all of your releases and why?
MT: I’m happy to say I’ve had lots of beautiful covers over the years. I love my covers for Blood on Silk and Blood Sin because they’re elegant and gorgeous and sexy, and convey just the sort of atmosphere I want to. And they managed to get St. Andrews Cathedral, one of my favourite places in the world, onto the cover of Blood Sin.
But I also confess to a soft spot for Gothic Dragon from Samhain. Why? Because he’s beautiful to look at and fits almost exactly my vision of the hero.
DC: How about your least favorite book cover? Why?
MT: Ah. Well, I think that would have to be the cover of an old e- book from a now defunct publisher. I hated it because it said nothing about the story or the “feel” of the book, and in my opinion it didn’t even look nice L. But, the good news is, the book was republished as Magic Man at The Wild Rose Press, with a much sexier and more relevant cover.
DC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?
MT: Interesting question. I suppose they must have evolved, if I’ve grown at all as a writer. But I don’t actually feel that I do anything different! I’ve always tried not to allow my characters to become clones of each other, and when each comes to me, he or she still feels fresh and new.
DC: The first book in your series is Blood on Silk. I have to say I really love Saloman. So deliciously sexy and mysterious. Would you tell us more about him and Elizabeth and how their story came about?
MT: Saloman was my gothic hero, the beautiful, terrifying sculpture that came to life. For me he was already more than a vampire. He was a prince among vampires, older than recorded time, so he had to be a larger than life character, almost overwhelming. The rest grew from that: he alone among his people survived, because of his sheer drive, wit and curiosity. He’s highly intelligent and fascinated by the new. He’s learned wisdom way beyond anyone else’s, and yet it isn’t really tempered by compassion. He isn’t without feelings: he’s loved and lost in the past many times, and has strong affections for his vampire “children”; he’s as hurt by betrayal as anyone. But he isn’t human, he’s alien in his thoughts, feelings and morality, and so other people’s lives and his own affections tend to take second place to his ultimate goal.
Although he’s a complex character, he sprang more or less fully formed into my imagination. Elizabeth was a little harder. She had to be intelligent enough and strong enough to oppose him, humorous enough to amuse him and quirky enough to intrigue him beyond all other intelligent, modern women. It was fun to have her be the one who awakens him when she’s devoting all her energies to rationalizing vampire myths, and then, very reluctantly loose her skepticism. But she never loses her enquiring mind, even when terrified; and from the beginning the historian in her is fascinated by the things Saloman can tell her!
DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?
MT: I do tend to mix genres up a lot in one story, so I’ve probably tackled elements of most genres to some degree! I do enjoy murder mysteries, though and I’d quite like to try a “straight” one of those some time.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
MT: To have more self-confidence, I think, and try for what I really want rather than what I think is all I can do.
DC: What book would you like to read again for the first time?
MT: Off the top of my head, an amusing crime thriller by Christopher Brookmyre called The Sacred Art of Stealing. I read the sequel recently and found I’d forgotten several salient points of the first one! They were both great fun – all about misdirection.
MT: Well, they find themselves working together to track down Saloman’s missing sword, which in the wrong hands could be lethal for the world. Naturally, they disagree as to the right hands, but being together they grow to a new understanding of each other. Saloman is overcoming what is left of vampire resistance and extending his influence into the human world, while Elizabeth, growing into her powers as Awakener, takes on the dangerous challenge of preventing him from allying with the vampires of America. Their feelings for each other deepen, but worse tragedy looms because Elizabeth knows she will have to betray either Saloman or her friends the vampire hunters. And for the first time, she encounters the possible option of immortality versus stickling to her principles.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
MT: Short but compact, this one packs quite a punch. From the chaos which surrounds her, she bumbles through triumphant, or at least in one piece.
DC: What would your “voice’s” tagline be?
MT: I’m rotten at taglines. Based on things other people have said, how about “unique, sensual, fun”?
DC: What romance book would you recommend our readers pick up during their next bookstore run? (Yes, in addition to any Marie Treanor novel!)
MT: Any of Gail Carriger’s “Parasol Protectorate” series.
DC: The third book, Blood Eternal, is due out in October. Can you give us a sneak peek as to what Saloman and Elizabeth will be up in this book?
MT: Well, another Ancient is awakened and becomes the focus of rebellion against Saloman, who has to face the demons of his past as well as the possibilities of the future. The secret of vampire existence is struggling to get out! Elizabeth fights prophecy, illness, the stagnation of the vampire hunter network and the temptation of immortality, in order to find her true place in the world and in Saloman’s life.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
MT: I would probably have gone back to being a librarian. Which would be okay – I love books!
– dark or milk chocolate? – Dark
– smooth or chunky peanut butter? – Chunky
– heels or flats? – Flats
– coffee or tea? – Coffee
– summer or winter? – Summer (such as it is here!)
– mountains or beach? – Mountains. We live by a beach so I’m blasé
– mustard or mayonnaise? – Mayonnaise
– flowers or candy? – Flowers (I’m on a diet)
– pockets or purse? – Pockets for preference, but it depends what I have to carry
– Pepsi or Coke? – Neither
– ebook or print? – Both
And because we still enjoy the answers we get:
1. What is your favorite word? – It” according to one of my editors! At the moment, I have a liking for “bumptious”.
2. What is your least favorite word? – “Incentivize” and other horrible made-up business words.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Music
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Senseless cruelty.
5. What sound or noise do you love? – My kids laughing
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – The screech of a fork on a plate (or a blackboard). Shudder.
7. What is your favorite curse word? – Arse – it’s not too offensive if the kids overhear me
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? = Counselling.
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Police – too dangerous and gritty for me
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “Just kidding.”
DC: Thank you for being here today, Marie. It was a pleasure!