Jen: You’ve got a few different series ongoing right now. I’m a PNR girl at heart, so let’s start off by talking about the Sons of Midnight books. Tell new readers a little bit about them.
Theresa: It’s a vampire/werewolf world of my own construction that I write for Harlequin Nocturne as a mini series currently based in the Pacific Northwest in and around Seattle (close to home makes it easy to do research). I tried to make my vampires and Weres a little more biologically based so they are caused by a virus, which alters their mortal forms.
The vampires also have some fairly cool powers beyond the amped up power, strength and senses, including the ability to flux (turn invisible), phase (walk through solid objects via manipulation of the molecules), materialize objects at will, talk telepathically to one another, glamour mortals that are susceptible (not all are) and are able to smell various emotions. My Weres are able to shift at will, and have amped up power, senses and strength, longer than mortal lifespans, and can also scent and track things incredibly well in either form.
While they each have their own groups (the Cascade Vampire Clan in Seattle is located in the Seattle Underground and the Wenatchee Were Pack is over the mountains in eastern Washington) and are at an uneasy truce with one another, they have common enemies – the revier vampires (who are similar to the border reviers in Scotland) and the goddess of Chaos, Eris, who really doesn’t care where casualties and mayhem come from as long as someone suffers. It’s a fairly complex world, but I love writing in it!
Jen: With the latest book, we’re getting into the werewolf element quite a bit. Is that going to play a bigger role in future books?
Theresa: Yes (but there’s still plenty of vampires in it too!). The next book in the mini-series is actually titled Her Big, Bad Wolf out in March 2013 and deals with the secondary character Tyee (Ty) who was impacted by the change in Alphas of the Wenatchee Were Pack and goes out on his own. (Lone wolves are never happy wolves.) When a one-night stand turns into an unplanned pregnancy, Ty has not only a new pack to protect (his mate and his unborn child), but also has to work alongside the Cascade Vampire Clan members against a group of revier vampires creating their own army of amped up mortals with a hive mind (Thralls – very similar to the amped up mortal guards – Shyelds – the Cascade Vampires have, but totally different.)
Jen: Who has been the most intriguing character to you so far in this series and why? Could you give us a little snippet showing him in action?
Theresa: I’d have to say so far Slade Donovan, the half vampire half werewolf in, The Half-Breed Vampire, has been my favorite. He’s that bad boy with a golden heart. I mean, really, what’s not to love? He’s got street smarts, but he’s loyal down to his core, someone that once they trust you and know you will have your back every single time. He’s a bit snarky and just cocky enough to be fun to banter with, but he can also be incredibly tender and protective.
Slade’s jaw flexed as it tightened. He touched the center of the print with his fingertips, then sniffed them. Dirt heavy with iron, a fast flowing stream and saxifrage plant that only grew in high Alpine conditions. “The thing that made this print was here in the last two hours.”
A shiver shimmed down Raina’s spine, making her skin pebble. He could almost hear the small downy hairs lifting on her arms.
As much as she wanted to protect her friends and discover more about the wolves, she was still ultimately unsettled by them. Score one for his side. Wary was better than foolish.
“So are we just going to scout up the hill until dusk?” she asked as she readjusted the loaded pack on her back.
“No I was planning on heading out. Wasn’t it you who said we’d be wasting time if we didn’t get here sooner than later?”
“But it’s only a few hours until dark.”
“You afraid of the dark?”
“Hardly, but if we’re going overnight camping, then we’re going to need a tent and sleeping bags.”
“You have them in your car?” She nodded.
“Go ahead and grab them.”
“What about you? I know you didn’t bring that kind of gear and I’ve only got one sleeping bag.”
Slade gave her a bone-melting smile and materialized at his feet his military pack from the car. “Don’t need a sleeping bag or a tent, babe. Vampire, remember?”
Raina resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “So what’s in there?” she pointed at his black bag.
“Weapons. Explosives. Toothpaste. The usual.”
“Wait!” She made a grab for his bag, but he swung it away from her reach. “Explosives, what on earth makes you think we’ll need that kind of hardware?”
“Luck favors the prepared. You should know better than most. Wolves aren’t the only ones out on state land. Ever met a pissed off bear? Not anything you want to tangle with hand to hand.”
Raina harrumphed. “Bears,” she muttered as she turned on her heel and marched back to her car. “Poachers are more dangerous than bears. I’m going to get my overnight camping gear and see if Joe minds me parking for a night or two.”
Fifteen minutes later she was ready to go again and the shadows of the trees were beginning to stretch and grow longer as the day began to wane.
The overnight hiking pack weighed close to fifty pounds and was half as large as she was, extended up above her head. A bed roll and light-weight tent, as well as some freeze-dried supplies, a water purifier, a first aid kit, a few utensils and extra ammunition. He contemplated asking her if she’d like him to carry it. Given the stubborn tilt of her chin, he’d bet she’d take it as an insult.
Slade eyed the pack. “You sure you didn’t bring the kitchen sink?”
“Why, did you think we might need one?” she threw back at him, matching his sarcastic tone. “At least I didn’t pack explosives.”
Slade chuckled. “You’ve got spunk, Officer, I’ll give you that. What about jelly beans. Got any of those?”
“How would they help?”
Rania rolled her eyes, then checked the heavily padded shoulder straps and made sure everything was adjusted correctly, then smiled. “Let’s go find the big, bad wolf.”
Theresa: Right. It’s a whole different world created around these four sisters, the O’Connel girls, who can see fae when other people can’t. They’ve been trained their entire lives to avoid and ignore the fae to keep themselves safe, but when one event happens and a friend of the eldest sister is abducted, it starts this chain reaction where they each become involved in the fae world (and with a seriously hot fae guy) in order to not only help one another, but to save our world from the attack to reclaim our world planned by the fae. Along the way they discover powers they never realized they had that help them change the world. The first in those stories, Shadowlander, is a novella that’s already out and the rest, Shadow Hunter, Shadow Seeker and Shadow Lover, will full-length novels and be coming out in 2013 from Entangled Publishing.
Jen: I see you also do steampunk. I have to admit, I’m not really well-versed on the genre. What is it about steampunk that appeals to you?
Theresa: LOL. Yes I like to do a lot of things! I write my steampunks for Kensington’s Zebra line. At it’s heart steampunk is really Victorian-set science fiction and fantasy. We’re taking modern technology (things like robots, computers, lasers, time travel machines, space flight rockets) and using Victorian-era components to make it possible. There’s also a spirit of kind of the underdog infused in many of these stories, where they are fighting against the establishment for the betterment of humanity, which I think kind of rings true for so many people today who want their own experiences of feeling like they are the disenfranchised 99% to be reflected in what they read and experience in the entertainment media. For me personally, I love steampunk because I’ve always been a bit of a Victoriana nut myself. I was sewing Victorian style dresses for my school dances when I was 15 and 16 years old. I live in a Victorian-styled house and am fairly obsessive about tea. The Victorian era has always just been a favorite of mine. What’s cool about steampunk is I get to blend that love of the Victorian era with my love of paranormal in my steampunk series.
Theresa: Right. The Legend Chronicles revolves around three brothers all named after their father’s favorite guns, Winchester, Remington and Colt, who are paranormal Hunters. They protect the average citizen from the threat of Darkin, things like vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, skinwalkers, etc. But when the arch demon Rathe is determined to open the Gates of Nyx (essentially an entrance to hell) and let the Darkin enslave humanity, they must work to find three scattered pieces of something called the Book of Legend (kind of a compendium of all Hunter knowledge about the Darkin) to seal the Gates closed. Their big problem is each of them has to work with a different female Darkin (a succubus, a vampire and a shape-shifting thief) to accomplish their missions. It forces each of them to look at the Darkin far differently and at the same time acknowledge that perhaps they are more than just brothers or Hunters, but possibly something more–The Chosen.
Jen: For me, a great hero makes or breaks a romance. What are the most important elements in your mind while crafting your heroes?
Theresa: First he’s got to be strong, not just in a physical sense, but mentally and with conviction. He has to know what he wants and what matters and have his own code of ethics he lives by. They’re smart, have a great (sometimes bitingly wicked) sense of humor, have gorgeous eyes and a body that’s big enough to make me feel little. They care about the world around them, and cherish the woman they are with, and most importantly they stand for something and aren’t afraid to fight for it.
I tend to write what I call gamma heroes. They combine the best traits of an alpha hero and a beta hero and I think they make the best romance heroes. Alphas are too into themselves and their own ideas of the world to really care about the heroine until it’s almost too late. Betas wait for her to make the first move, even thought they might be passionate about her. Gammas have enough self-confidence to be bold, but have that emotional core that allows them to love her, say so, and want an answer back. Now. For example, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant often play Beta heroes. Bruce Willis and Steven Segal play Alphas. Adrian Paul, Taylor Lautner, Chris Evans, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson often play Gamma roles. (Han Solo is the perfect example of a Gamma hero.)
Jen: Which other author really gets it right with a superb hero for you? Which character is it and what’s the appeal?
Theresa: Cherry Adair does a fantastic hero every time, so does James Rollins. They’re tough, tactically savvy guys, who could kill a man with their bare hands, but are aware of the woman in their sphere of influence and wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice to protect her. They aren’t mindless meat-heads. They’re smart, have a solid core of ethics, and they fight and would die for what truly matters to them.
Jen: What made you sign up for AAD –and what are you looking forward to most from the event?
Theresa: I had so much fun last year, I wanted to go again! This is one of the few events I can go to where I really get a chance to just hang out with readers and talk about one of my favorite things–books! I’m also excited about getting to lead a number of field trips in and around the city. We’re going to have so much fun!
Theresa is giving away a ton of books today. She is offering a grand prize of five signed, print books: The Hunter, The Slayer, The Half Breed Vampire, The Vampire Who Loved Me, and The Truth About Vampires. And five additional winners will walk away with an ebook of The Half-Breed Vampire. You can learn more about Theresa on her website or follow her on Twitter.