Friday, December 10, 2010

Interrogation Room and giveaways

I have been sitting on this suspect since October and it has not been easy. I finally got her to crack and tell me her name - She is none other than Michele Hauf, the woman editors have been indicating as the whodunnit in the paranormal world. She has signed her confession on a couple of books, which I shall pass on to you for your perusal. Michele has been writing for 19 years, France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage 'write what you know', all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.

Joanna: Why did you choose the paranormal route?
Michele: I don't think it was a decision, it just happened.  The first book I wrote was a vampire romance (Dark Rapture '97), and I had just seen the remake of Dark Shadows starring Ben Cross, and it occurred to me that a vampire could be a romantic figure.  The next thing I know, I had a story in mind, and started to explore that.  And now I write paranormal because non-paranormal just doesn't feel as interesting to me.  I need that added weirdness.  :-) 

Joanna: How do you decide what works for you when you are examining your legends(otherworldlies)?
Michelle: I start with the basics, like with vampires: they must have fangs, must drink human blood, etc., and then I alter some of the mythology to suit my needs and also make up my own stuff.  I like that vampires are hurt by holy objects, but decided in my world that if the vampire has never been baptized then holy objects have no effect on him.  I think I created the 'shimmer', which is what occurs when two vampires touch.  A shimmery sort of feeling, which is the only way they know they have touched a vampire (unless of course, they see fangs).  And I do like that a vampire must drink from a human to survive, as opposed to bags of blood (which would have no soul).  I need that dilemma of having to use human life to survive.

Joanna: How dark would you go with a paranormal so as not to alienate the fainthearted?

Michele: I think I get pretty dark, but on a scale of 1 - 10 I'm probably about a 7.  I've read some paranormal romances that go all the way to 10 and it puts me off.  You lose the romance.  Yes, we're dealing with paranormal creatures who do not follow human rules and may be accustomed to committing vulgar acts, but these are romances, so I keep that in mind when writing.
Joanna: Are you all for the good guy vampire or the dangerous vampire who wont change his nature but falls in love all the same?
Michele: I'm not sure what a good guy vampire is?  To me that might be the kind who refuses to drink human blood, and that sort of turns me off.  I like my heroes to have a quality of danger about them, and that danger must be tied to their survival.  And I really love it when the bad boy doesn't want to change his nature, yet love softens him a bit.

Joanna: What are you thoughts on the sudden influx of paranormal romance authors on the scene lately?

Michele: Well, paranormal is hot right now, and it is what editors are buying.  I think a lot of authors who have always wanted to write paranormal, now have their chance.  Others, who are just jumping on the bandwagon, hmm...   But I hope the quantity of paranormal reading choices remains.  I love that my favorite genre is finally so hot!  More choices for me when I go to the bookstore! 

Joanna: Does writing ever get any easier, once you have had some experience?
Michele: You would think it would, but some days it just feels impossible.  Every story can be easy and hard.  When you have the initial idea and start to draft out the story and everything is new, it's like love when you are under the influence of romance and the whole world is right.  But after working on one project for months and reading over the chapters again and again, it is bound to get a little boring, and maybe even difficult.  Most of my books go through that stage, and I tend to forget, that after the difficult part usually comes the 'falling in love' stage again.  (Hmm, can you tell I'm in the 'difficult' stage of a story right now?)  :-)  What is easy is you learn your process over the years and how you do research and you don't stumble over trying to develop a system because you've got it down.

Joanna: Any advice on handling book reviews?

Michele: Well, there's good reviews and bad reviews.  Some reviewers really know what they are doing, and whether or not they liked the book, they can succinctly synopsize it and explain to the reader exactly what appeals (or didn't appeal) to them.  Other reviewers, it seems, just want to let others know they hated the story, and because they did, you should too.  As a writer, I know not everyone is going to like what I write, and wouldn't that be weird if everyone did?  I think the most interesting books are the ones that reviewers both love and hate, with very little middle ground.  That book caused some very strong feelings, one way or another, so how cool is that?  Much better than getting mushy, middle of the scale reviews, I'd say.
Joanna: What advice would you give the up and comers like me?
Michele: Is that writers hoping to become published?  Write.  Every day.  Read, watch movies, do creative things to keep your creativity sparked.  Always write.  Hone your craft by reading 'how to write' books (I still do).  Go to workshops and listen to how other writers do it, then take away from it what works for you, and ignore what you know won't work for you.  Learn the 'rules', then break the rules.  Again, write.

Now check out this really cool place, its called Club Scarlet and its where Michele's otherworldlies go to hang out - you can hang out with them too (but you have to be careful).

Michele will be giving out 2 of her books SEDUCING THE VAMPIRE and ROGUE ANGEL: THE BONE CONJURER to one winner (international), if you are like me and love paranormal stories or would like to give the genre a try leave a "me please" comment and you will be in the running - winners will be announced next week and the winners of my Five Oaks giveaway will be announced tomorrow.

The Ninja Vampire's Girl - out now
Coco Stevens was looking for an angel's halo to help out her sister, who is a muse. She found the halo, and an angry angel—and a sexy man weilding a deadly blade and make-her-weak-in-the-knees kisses. He may not exactly be what she thinks he is, but he's got the ninja moves—and fangs.

Seducing The Vampire - out in January
He was mesmerizing, a vampire like none other...but the fire between Viviane LaMourette and Rhys Hawkes would begin a centuries-long clash between two powerful vampire brothers.

In Marie Antoinette's Paris, the beautiful vampire Viviane seeks a male patron who will allow her to live on her own terms. Courted by two feuding brothers, Viviane succumbs to the handsome rebel, Rhys. She's unaware that Rhys has other, darker, motives. He seeks vengeance against his brother, Constantine—by stealing Viviane and tainting her with his blood.

But just as Rhys is realizing the depth of his love for Viviane, his brother take his revenge. By casting a spell on the woman they both desire, he condemns her to a living death inside a glass coffin.

Two centuries later, Rhys hears the urban legend of the Vampire Snow White, imprisoned deep in the tunnels under Paris. He must find her and set her free, but will he be able to save her from the evil still intent on destroying them?


  1. Hi, thanks so much for the advice to aspiring writers. Please put my name in for the giveaway as I'd love to read paranormal stories!

  2. Thanks for another great post full of much-needed advice.

    Please count me in for the giveaway. Thanks :)
    The enigmatic, masked blogger

  3. Me please! Me please!!

    Thank you!!

    :-) Great interview - paranormal is in -yay!!!!

    Take care

  4. Thank you Joanna for hosting Michelle. Nice to meet you Michelle. Your books sound fabulous. I especially like how you have handled the degree to which your vampires must struggle and live within certain parameters. That creates tension, always a good thing. I write high fantasy, so no vampires here. I did however participate in a blogfest for Halloween in which I wrote about a vampire who used his cell phone to get help for his victim so she wouldn't die. LOL
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  5. Oh, totally Me, Please! I don't write paranormal, because I'm too lazy to do the whole world building thing, I think. But I love reading about alternate realities, vampires and werewolves and mermen, oh my!

  6. Oh, I'm so glad Michele said writing doesn't get easier. I thought it was me. In fact, writing for me seems to get harder. LOL

  7. This was an excellent interview. Thank you for the advice. I have found that since I started blogging it has been easier for me to write everyday. I have set a routine now. I will blog a little while then switch over to my writing.

    Great interview Joanna. Thank you Michele for answering the questions -I can't wait to read the two newest books. I love Ninja's so The Ninja Vampire's Girl sounds like a lot of fun. Seducing the Vampire out in January sounds like it will be a good one too.

    Thanks again!

  8. Club Scarlet is really cool too! Thank you for the link!

  9. She gives some great advice. She writes from the heart and yes, she just writes. It's so important.

  10. Hey, everyone! Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions, I'll be stopping in a time or two today, and will gladly answer what I can.

    Thanks for inviting me here, Joanna!

  11. What a great interrogation :)
    I don't write paranormal, but I love reading it.

  12. Hi Michele! It's great to see you over here (I keep up with the Riding With The Top Down blog).

    Do you have any insight/opinion on having an agent for harl. category romance (even if you don't have to) versus reserving agenting for single title?

    Thanks! covers!

  13. Me please! Loved the interview Joanna!

  14. Great interview. I especially liked the part where she said she takes it to a 7 so the reader doesn't get put off. I like that advice.

  15. Great interview, ladies, and wonderful advice. I almost wish I did write paranormal!

  16. Rula, regarding needing an agent for category romance. You can sell to Harlequin without an agent. I sold to Luna unagented. By the time I started writing Nocturnes, I had an agent, and had her agent a few of those category romances. But after a few contracts, I felt confident that I could negotiate my own category sales, and now my agent only does my single title stuff (HQN). I would say an agent is very valuable in helping to learn and understand a contract. Often, there are not a lot of points an agent can negotiate for on a category contract, but there are a few.
    For any author who has an agent or not, and makes a sale, I highly recommend you read the entire contract through. Do not rely on your agent to vet the contract, then hand it to you just to sign. You must read it all, and understand it all. If you have an agent, ask her about anything in the contract you do not understand. If not agented, ask your editor about points you do not understand. Never sign anything until you know exactly what it is you're signing.

  17. I love when an author shares...reading what an informative mind has to say is like reading their books. I feel like I'm part of the action...Thank You...

  18. Wow! Awesome interview! Thanks to both of you for the great questions and answers! Got so much out of this!

  19. Thank you,I really enjoyed reading this interview. I'm fascinated by people who write fantasy as they must be some of the most imaginative writers around!

  20. Me please! ;) Another great interview Jo, and Michele. I enjoyed reading it, and especially Micheles view of Vampires drinking blood from humans with souls vs out of a to speak.

    PS: Shimmering vampires, thank you Michele!

  21. Interesting interview and love the book blurbs and covers!

  22. Thanks for the interview =) Michele rocks when it comes to writing =) About the reviewer's section. I agree. I'll read reviews but it never changes my mind on if I read the book or not. Everybody has different likes. I think I'm going to check out Club Scarlet when I'm done. That looked like fun. Please enter me in this contest! Thanks!

  23. Oh! Me please!

    What a wonderful interview. Thank you!

  24. What a great interview! Thanks!

  25. Aren't we greedy little cats? Me too! Me too! Thanks Joanna for a great interrogation room. As one recently arrived to writing vamp stories I totally enjoyed the interview. Good questions. Thank ya s'much!

  26. Ooh, pick me, I LURVE Paranormal!!! And international, yay! Great interview Joanna, and I loved Michele's answers and tips :)


  27. I really enjoy vampire books. What a great interview, especially the part about how to write a good vampire romance.

  28. Great interview! You had questions in there that I haven't seen in other interviews and such great answers from Michele.

  29. What a great interview! I like it when I hear that life doesn't magically get easier once the authors are published. It's a good reminder for us to keep working hard, before AND after publication. Great stuff!

  30. Para-normal hasn't interested me much--until I read this review! Seriously. Michele's books sound incredibly intriguing, even though I have never really "related" to vampires. But I did like Stephenie Meyer's vampires. I admired the visuals in the movie Nosferatu. Anyway, I appreciate Michele's comments. There definitely isn't anything magical about creating a good novel, whether it involves vampires or not!!

    Thanks for hosting Michele!!!
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home

  31. Another great interview. Thank you, Ladies.

  32. Ooh, me please. What an interesting interview! This isn't an area I have a lot of experience with, so the insight was very cool.

  33. Thanks for the wonderful interview. I love that Michele doesn't write vampires drinking from juice boxes so to speak. It's more thrilling for them to survive off humans. Great post - I'll have to pick up one of her books! :D

  34. What an awesome interview! Great questions, and a lot to learn from Michele.

    Joanna, thanks for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment.

    Have a great week!


  35. *waves wildly at Michele*

    Remember silly ole me? ;)



I'd love to hear what you have to say, so go on & make my day