Oct 25 2011
My guest this week is Rebecca T. Little, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy author from North Carolina. Her book, Blood Thief, is currently in the submission process.
Hi Rebecca. It’s great to have you as my guest this week. Please, tell the cool peeps about yourself.
Hello, Molly. As you know, I write paranormal romance. I’ve always been fascinated with things that are “other.” I grew up reading, rather voraciously, and have always had an appreciation for the written word. I love the classics: Shakespeare, mysteries – Agatha Christie was an early favorite, thrillers, historical novels . . . you name it. As a writer, my interests are all over the place. I’ve explored all sorts of hobbies & fitness activities. I can roller-skate, kick box, belly dance, play tennis, volleyball & basketball, and enjoy yoga and running. I love fishing, especially at the beach. I love to cook. I’m a pescetarian – a vegetarian that eats fish and seafood. I have an affinity for glittery, shiny things as well.
You are currently trying to find an agent for your book, Blood Thief. Care you give your elevator pitch here?
::holds the elevator door for you:::
Set in the preternaturally secretive Southern town of Sarum, Blood Thief, a paranormal romance, is a first-person narration by Celeste St. Ange, a 314-year-old vampire who finds herself in a life or second-death race against the clock to recover her bloodline’s stolen reliquary with the help of a handsome human thief.
:::pushes the button for the lobby:::
What can you teach us about vampires in literature?
Almost every culture in the world has a vampire story of some type. In Bram Stoker’s day, the vampire was supposedly a metaphor for sex; a dangerous activity. I think it is safer to say that the popularity and adaptability of the vampire mythos relies on the correlation to our deepest fears and desires. The vampire represents the things we’re afraid of, such as death, and our desires, sex, intimacy without sex (penetration of fangs rather than, well you get the idea), and power. The vampire is someone people can identify with because he or she is an “outsider” and everyone, especially teens, at some point feels that they don’t fit in. The vampire has the power that ordinary mortals dream about having . . . control over others, immortality, flight in some cases, and some serious sexual potency. The vampire has many facets in fiction. Look at the range – undead fiends to the more sensual vampires in recent fiction – is it any wonder a wide variety of people can identify with this mystical archetype? The way vampires in literature have changed over the years is a direct reflection of how our fears and desires have evolved.
How do the vampires in your book, Blood Thief, differ from other literary vampires?
Celeste, and the other vampires in Blood Thief, began as humans. Unlike a large number of literary vampires, they can get hurt. They’re not invincible. When they do sustain an injury they need blood to heal. They have the ability to heal at a preternatural rate, but it comes at a cost. Each of their bloodlines answers to a Regent and each bloodline has a reliquary that is a depository of sorts for their vampiric talents – strength, speed, telepathy, illusion, etc. My vampires “bloodshare” with each other in order to “borrow” talents. Only a Regent has the ability to hold talents permanently, otherwise they only last a short while – making it advantageous to stay near the other members of the bloodline. There are just as many types of vampires as there are people in Blood Thief, but there are two main schools of thought – those that befriend humans and those that consider them to be expendable.
What are the main themes and symbolism in your book?
Stoker’s Dracula was “good people banding together to defeat evil vampire.” Blood Thief has more shades of gray. Vampires aren’t inherently good or evil. Neither are the humans. This is more about discerning who is good and who is evil – who can be trusted? There is light vs. dark tangled with shades of gray. The novel is set in autumn to highlight the cycle of death and rebirth and ultimately the resilience of mankind.
From your point of view, how do you see the future of vampire mythos?
Vampire stories, for as long as they are written, will continue to change to reflect our fears and desires because that is what the vampire is – fear and desire personified. As science continues to explain those things we used to find mysterious and terrifying, vampires will change. A couple hundred years ago, death and decay were clouded in mystery. The average person didn’t understand the changes the body goes through after death the way we do now. They couldn’t fathom how a body could appear unmarred after death – that perhaps the lack of heat and oxygen helped to preserve it. They sought a supernatural explanation. Now, everyone watches CSI and can tell you about decomp, lividity and the like. So our vampires must evolve. The fear of global contagion, superbugs and pandemics still fit nicely with the vampire myth. Now vampires are explained by a virus. That’s sort of how it works. Sure, you’ll see it run in cycles as readers tire of a particular “flavor” of vampire. Twilight caused a backlash and now we’re seeing more monstrous vampires . . . the movie Priest, for example . . . but ultimately, the vampire changes as we do.
Who is your target audience for Blood Thief?
Paranormal romance has long been written for women and teenage girls. While I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel, I think Blood Thief would be enjoyable for more than the typical demographic. Yes, the main character is female, but the male characters aren’t bodice-ripper-cover types. No cookie-cutter male romance novel characters here.
The world of publishing is changing so rapidly. It’s hard to keep up. Lots of people have strong opinions, but no one really knows what will happen. What are your thoughts about this ever-evolving landscape? Predictions?
My plan for Blood Thief is to go the traditional route – agent, editor, and publisher, print copy as well as ebook. I think agents and editors play a huge role in the success of a book and I don’t want to miss out on that. Self-publishing is great for those who write well and don’t want to go through querying and rejections. It’s an instant-gratification society after all. But the problem is the people out there who don’t write well can self-publish their books too and they are flooding the market with sub-standard quality fare. I think that we are going to see a lot of change in the way books reach the public because of that. People are going to lose trust in venues that offer self-published ebooks without some sort of quality control. If you buy five ebooks in a year and four are crap, the next time you buy you’re going to be a lot more likely to find a better method of getting quality reading material. There are exceptions to every rule of course. You have your occasional excellent author who self-publishes and does well. There are print books out there that arrived by more traditional means that are horrible too. I can’t say that I won’t ever self-publish. I may if I find that the traditional route isn’t happening for me, but I at least want to try that direction first.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. I think many of us have a love/hate relationship with it. How do you feel about it?
Over all I’ve found it a very positive experience and consider myself extremely fortunate to live in an age where it is so prevalent. Thirty years ago you had to write a letter, put it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it, put it in the mailbox, wait on the mail carrier, wait a day or more for the letter to reach its destination, wait for the addressee to read it and respond, mail it to you, and wait for it to arrive. And if you had to send multiple messages and wait for replies, Heaven help you. Now we clickety-clack a few moments, click send and the answers can reach you just as quickly as you sent them – whether it’s to one person or a thousand. Not only has the speed of communication increased, but the scope of it has as well. I can talk to experts in any field, find out information on virtually any topic, see pictures or video or almost anything . . . and it happens almost instantly. This means so much to the writer. Research is so much faster and so very much easier. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people that I might have never encountered otherwise. To be able to share my work with those people and interact with them, hear what they have to say, understand their work . . . that just thrills me.
Tell us about your life in North Carolina and your wonderful family. Go ahead, brag away!
My life is centered around my family. I have a wonderful supportive husband and two really awesome kids. My daughter is musically gifted and plays tennis. Lately I’m really enjoying playing tennis with her. My son loves to read and runs 5k races. I occasionally run with him, but more often I’m working the results table for our running club. In our downtime we like to just relax at home with a good meal and a movie. In addition to the human family members, we have a dog, a cat, a bird, two rabbits and two skinks – quite the menagerie. Like most busy families, most days it is barely controlled chaos!
You say that you’ve always had a passion for the written word. At what age do you remember expressing your creativity? Can you tell us about that?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. One of my favorite activities when I was little was to fill “books” my mother had made – paper sewn together on her sewing machine – with my writing and drawing. I’ve always been the creative type. If I’m not writing, I’m expressing myself in another form, be it painting or theatre or cake decorating. I’ve always had a passion for the written word. I was the kid who loved English class and cheered when the teacher announced that we’d be studying Hamlet.
I hear you’re a shoe freak, just like me, and can’t pass up a good shoe sale. Any truth to that rumor?
Oh geez. Is there ever! Let me see the word “clearance” or “sale” in association with shoes – especially platform pumps – and my money is SO gone. It borders on addiction! My husband actually works for a shoe company. He jokes that he took the job just so I could have his employee discount.
I’ve been forever called picky, but I maintain that we’re all picky creatures. What are you picky about?
The one thing that drives me absolutely bat-crap crazy is the incorrect use of “then” and “than” in print. I’m pretty darned finicky about food and drink also. Stupidity, in general, irks me and is probably the only thing I truly have a bias against.
Where can peeps find you in cyberspace?
Any parting words for the masses? Any shameless plugs?
Shameless plug first – keep an eye out for Blood Thief! Parting words – spay and neuter your pets . . . treat others the way you’d like to be treated . . . make time for yourself . . . tell those you care about that you love them – you never know when you won’t have the chance anymore . . . work hard and play hard . . . if you think something you plan to say or do may be misconstrued, it probably will be . . . be kind. That pretty much covers it.