Thursday, March 5, 2009

Victoria Gardella's Saga Draws to a Close

Colleen Gleason and I have been friends since we both finaled in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest in 2003. There have been many times when we've instant messaged each other late at night or sat in a hotel lobby somewhere bemoaning the fact that we hadn't sold any books yet. Fortunately, now we both have -- after many years of writing, submitting and those dreaded rejections in the mailbox. Colleen hit upon a fantastic, high-concept idea with her Gardella Vampire Chronicles -- Buffy in Regency England. Even if I didn't know Colleen, I would adore these books. Unlike a traditional romance in which the heroine gets her man in the course of one book, Colleen has forced Victoria Gardella (and us!) to wait five books to see if she gets her happily ever after. The last in the series, As Shadows Fade, hit bookstore shelves yesterday. I'm SO looking forward to reading the final installment and hoping my guy (of the two potential heroes), Max, is the one Victoria ends up with. If not...well, I have Colleen's address. :)

Q: In this final book of the series, does Victoria finally get her happy ever after? Was it difficult for you to make her choose a hero?

A: Yes, she does!

It wasn’t hard for me to make Victoria choose her man, because, even though she hasn’t always known, I have always known, since the beginning, who her true love would be. That’s never changed, and I’ve never wavered.

But she, like most of us, has had to experience different relationships, and see them begin, end, and change, before she could decide who she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She also has had to grow into her role not only as a woman, but as a Venator, as Illa Gardella, before she was ready to make that commitment.

It had to be a man who understands her, to accepts her, who respects her–and with whom she shares beliefs, morals, and judgments. Again, just like the rest of us! So, Victoria chooses a man who will support her in her role as Illa Gardella and help her make those choices from now on. She won’t be alone.

Q: This is the last book in the series about Victoria. How did you feel about the end, and did you find it difficult to wrap up all the loose ends?

As far as the series goes, I felt it was time to wrap up as many loose ends as possible (there are still some that remain unanswered–such as, the mystery behind those paintings in the Consilium!), as Victoria’s story was winding down. I found it both exhilarating to give Victoria her happy ending, as well as completely devastating. I loved her and her character and her world, all of her men and supporting cast, and it was hard to say good-bye.

But at the end of the day, I thought it was important to end not only on what I felt was a high note, but also now, before it went on too long and became predictable or, as I’ve said in the past, before Victoria has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at her.

When I decided that five books were perfect for Victoria’s story arc, I did have that thought in mind…that I didn’t want to go too far with her so that the series was battered or done to death. For me, as a reader and watcher, I find that series that go on for too long lose some of their sharpness and freshness. As for how the series was to end…I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to end until I was finished with When Twilight Burns, insofar as other threads. I mean, you know I’ve always known who Vic would end up with…but the other threads…I wasn’t certain how they would be resolved.

Q: A lot of books get attention because of their heroes. However, in The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, you have created a very strong standout heroine who gets more time onstage than the possible heroes. Was this by design or did it just happen that way?

A: The series has always been about a woman faced with the desire to do and be “everything”–wife, woman, vampire hunter, Society lady, etc.– and her challenges when confronted with having to make choices and decisions about her priorities.

It’s about a woman who is so unique in her world of Regency England that she is stronger than any man, is charged with a special duty…and yet is a woman, and wants what most women–heck, what most people want: to be appreciated, respected and loved, to have companionship and friendship, and to have someone to partner with.

So, it was indeed by design that Victoria is the cornerstone of the series. And it is Victoria who makes Rockley, Sebastian, Max and even Beauregard and Lilith do things and make choices that they might not have made. She changes them, even as they change her. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Q: Victoria has grown into her strength a lot throughout this series. What can readers expect to see from her in As Shadows Fade?

A: You can expect to see a very strong, capable woman who has finally come into her own. She knows what she wants (but not always how to go about getting it when it doesn’t have to do with vampires), she has made mistakes in the past and has learned from them, and she is Illa Gardella. She has been through a lot, and by the end of this book, we’ll see that she’s as happy as she can be, that she’s found her place, and has accepted it, even embraced it–with courage, experience, and confidence.

In short, she’s a very different woman than the one we first met in The Rest Falls Away…and I really like the person she’s become.

However, in this book, she faces a different sort of pervasive evil than anything she’s come up against previously. People who have read this book see that the paranormal antagonists are very different than the stake-able vampires in the first book…they’re darker and creepier and more inherently evil. Those scenes feel different than other fight scenes that I’ve written, and that’s purposeful, because I wanted to end the series with her showing that she can fight any evil…not just vampires.

If she’d come up against this particular enemy in the first book or two, Victoria wouldn’t have made it. She’s grown in confidence and knowledge, and only because of that has she been able to come this far.


Thanks for hanging out with us here in the lair today, Colleen. I'm sure we've got many Gardella fans here. And if they aren't now, I hope they will be soon.

If you've not read this series, go forth and purchase all five books (made easy by clicking on the cover of As Shadows Fade in this post). Also, you have a chance to win one of your very own today. Colleen is giving away a book of the winner's choice from the Gardella series to three lucky commenters today.

And if you are already a fan of the series, I'm curious who you're rooting for -- Max or Sebastian. I will endeavor not to say snarky things if you say Sebastian. :)


limecello said...


limecello said...

Great post, Trish and Colleen! Also, Colleen - congratulations on your newest book! I love the premise of your series - Buffy in Regency England? Yes please!

Also - this is a personal feeling/pet peeve - thank you thank you thank you for ending the series! I think it's great you ended it on a high note, and stopped before as you said it went "too long and became predictable." I like series, don't get me wrong- but I don't want to know about the main character's cousin's shoemaker's sister's best friends' god-brother's butler's former employer's grandson. (I don't even know if I have that right O_o Haha, although actually, if an author managed to write *that* story, I might be intrigued because of the sheer novelty.)

jo robertson said...

Hi, Colleen, welcome to the Lair. Your Gardella Saga sounds intriguing. I do love a strong heroine. Can you tell us a little more about the series? How does Victoria come to "discover" her vampire-destroying powers? What's her background? Is she really like the original Buffy, shallow and reluctant as a heroine?

Yay, Limecello! Isn't this the third day in a row you've taken the rooster home with you? Lucky gal!

Jane said...

Hi colleen,
Congrats on the new release. I'm a huge fan of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I'm definitely on Team Max. I hope to see Victoria have her HEA with Max in "As Shadows Fade." Max is mind kind of hero, broody and passionate.

Congrats on the GR, Limecello.

Leslie said...

Hi Colleen - great interview. I love this series and am sorry to see it end but I totally understand your reason for not wanting to dragging it out. :)

And I have always been in the Max camp! I like Sebastian a lot but IMO Max is the one for Victoria.

*WTG limecello*

Minna said...

Great post! And congratulations on your book Colleen!

ANGEL - Love Song For A Vampire [David Boreanaz]

ANGEL - Die Another Day [David Boreanaz]

Helen said...

Well done limecello he must be having lots of fun at your place.

Great interview Ladies I have heard a lot about this series but have not yet read any of them they sound fantastic.
I have never read a series that the heroine doesn't get her hero till the last book I am looking forward to reading them.

Have Fun

Davina said...

How have I not heard of these books? They sound wonderful! I'm heading straight to Amazon to add them to my wish list. Great post - I really enjoyed reading the interview and you've got me very much intrigued about this series! Colleen, I hope the final book is well received. :)

Virginia said...

limecello, congrats on nabbing that rooster again!

Great post ladies, congrats on your new release Colleen. I have not read your series, but it sounds very intriguing. I love reading a good series but I like to get all the books before I start reading them. There has been a time or two, that I got involved in a series and I had to wait two years for the last book to com out, by that time I had forgotten what was happening in the series. Therefore I like to get all the books before I start reading them.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Wow, a great series and a shot at a free book from that series, what's not to like?

I haven't read any but it they will be my next purchase!

Kirsten said...

Colleen, I haven't yet delved into your series but it's out there, waiting for me like a big ol' present on Christmas morning. I know I will love it, and I know I will love it all the more for having such a strong, female leading character! I'm also impressed that you knew this was the right time to bring the series to a close. That must have been hard.

I'm curious about how you plotted your 5 books. You say you always knew who your heroine would end up with, but also that she changed a lot in the course of the books. Did you plot out the series of 5 ahead of time? Did you have a sense of her arc right from the start?

Congratulations on all your success!

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Trish! *waves* Thanks again for having me here at the Banditas! It's always such fun

And hi to the Banditas, many (most!) of whom have books sitting on my shelf. Congrats on having such a fabulous blog!

Limecello, your personal pet peeve is also sometimes my pet peeve. :-)

One of the things that's different about my series as opposed to other romance series is that the books only follow one person--Victoria--and her life. Instead of bringing in all those relatives, it's Victoria's story that we follow.

Think of it as a very expanded romance, over five books. Or, if you like, a five-book Lord of the Rings-type romance. :-)

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Jo!

Victoria is one in a long line of a family of vampire hunters, or Venators. She learns of her legacy shortly before she debuts into Society, and in fact, her debut ball is also her first test as a vampire hunter.

Victoria has some elements of Buffy, of course, due to the nature of having two lives to live...but she's also very different in that she is not the reluctant heroine Buffy is...nor is she the "One in Every Generation."

There are more Venators than just Victoria, but she is the most powerful, as she is directly descended from the first Venator.

(I always worried about the rest of us when Buffy was fighting demons and vamps in Sunnyvale...if she was the only one who could kill them, what about the rest of the world?)

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Jane! Team Max, huh? You and Trish, and it looks like Leslie too!

Well, I won't tell you whether ASF will disappoint Team Max members or not, but I can tell you that everyone I've heard from who's read it so far (regardless of which team) seems to have loved it. So I hope you will enjoy!

Do let me know. :-)

Hi Minna! Thanks for the congrats!

Colleen Gleason said...

Helen, I hope you get a chance to pick up the books some time! Now that the whole set is out, that will make it easier for you if you like them and don't want to wait for the next installment.

I did that with the last Harry Potter books--I couldn't stand it, so I didn't read The Half-Blood Prince until The Deathly Hallows came out. That was a looonnnnng wait, but I'm glad I did.

The order of the books are:


You can see info about each of them here:

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Davina! I hope you get a chance to read the series! Thanks for your interest and for putting them on your wish list.

Virginia, I understand wanting to wait until the whole series is out...especially if there are cliff-hangers. (And there are. :-) )

Dianna, hardworking mom indeed! Aren't we all? I have three kids, and broke my leg at the end of January--I'm still on crutches, not driving, and it's been really tough. Good luck to you.

Colleen Gleason said...

Kristen, you asked about how I plotted the five books.

Well, I didn't. Not really. I'm a complete seat of the pants, organic writer. That actually caused a few problems for me after I finished the first book, THE REST FALLS AWAY, because even though I'd planned for it to be a series, I hadn't planned!

So it was very different for me to have to learn to think ahead about what was going to happen in each book.

I ended up sort of thinking about each book as one season of a television show, for example. Each chapter would be like an episode, with things wrapped up in smaller arcs over one or two chapters, but the overarching plot wouldn't end till the end of the season (book)...with an even greater overarching plot over the whole series.

The only thing I really knew was who Victoria would end up with, and that the last book would show how much she'd grown into and accepted her role.

I wasn't sure how many books there would be when I wrote the first, in fact. I think I originally thought a trilogy...but then, as I was writing the second book, I knew there was no way to wrap things up and flesh Victoria out in only one more book. So I settled on five books.

It felt right, too. Five books. I think it worked out well...but I'll have to see what the readers think!

Anna Lucia said...

You know, those who know me know I'm picky about my paranormals... and these just made my 'must buy' list! I love the concept, and everything you said today, Colleen, made me more interested!

Great job!

Louisa Cornell said...

AGAIN? Limecello, what is going on between you and the GR? Inquiring minds want to know!

Hello Colleen! You must know by now I am a HUGE fan of your books. I can't believe all of these people who have not read them. Are you nuts? They're fabulous! And add me to the Team Max roster. Sebastian is the guy you have a wild fling with. Max is the guy you marry.

I, too, agree that some series have stretched way beyond their viability. I think as long as the author is still excited and in love with what they write a series will reflect that. However, if the reasons for continuing it have more to do with fan demands and money that too will show in the writing. Some fans want a series to go on forever but they don't realize how hard it is to sustain that level of creativity book after book. At some point an author needs a completely clean canvas on which to paint.

Can't wait to read As Shadows Fade, Colleen. Thanks for a really great run!

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Colleen & Trish! I love the sound of your vampire series--it feels so fresh to see a heroine-centric vampire story! I'll admit, I love to see the romantic tension dragged out over a good couple of books, too. Thank you for making it five & not endless (and yes, I'm talking to you, Ms. Evanovich.)

Do you have any tips or tricks you can share for keeping the readers tuned into a love story that unfolds so slowly? Do you focus on a specific romantic conflict in each book so the reader gets some resolution, some forward momentum? Or is it more vague than that? I'd love to know if you had the entire romantic journey mapped out in your head, or if it unfolded organically as you wrote. I know you said you always knew the outcome, but did you also know how they'd get there?

Thanks for swinging by the lair today! I'll be sure to snap up these books so I can meet Victoria in person!

Gannon Carr said...

Hey, Colleen! I adore this series and can't wait to finally read AS SHADOWS FADE! Of course, I'm counting on Victoria finding her HEA with Max!

*waving my Team Max banner*

Congrats on the GR, limecello.

Trish Milburn said...

Congrats on the Golden Rooster, limecello. What will you two be up to today?

Jane, yay on Team Max! You're a smart lady. :)

Trish Milburn said...

Leslie, yay, another Team Max members. We seriously need T-shirts. :)

I too am glad (but also sad) the series is ending. But I do think the quality of stories is better when there's a definite end date and the writer(s) can plan accordingly. Like with LOST on TV -- there's an end date, and the writers know what they have to resolve when. But, wow, after watching last night's episode, my brain got twisted in knots again. Awesome, but whoa!

Trish Milburn said...

Helen, there seems to be a bit more of a trend to have these multiple-book stories with the same heroine and potential heroes now. I personally love them.

Davina, yay! I'm glad we could expose you to these fabulous books. I can't wait to finish my own deadline and get all the books I have to read for the RITA competition done by Monday so I can read As Shadows Fade. I really think you'll love the series. Just try to avoid any spoilers about the last book until you've had the chance to read the series and experience the suspense of "who will she choose?"

Trish Milburn said...

Virginia, there have been times when I've only discovered a series after several books have been out. I'd read the first book, love it, glom all the rest, and then have to wait, impatiently, for the next one.

Trish Milburn said...

Louisa and Gannon, I'm LOVING that we've got so many Team Max members in attendance today. I kind of liken this to the Angel vs. Spike debate. I thought Spike was hilarious, but I was so an Angel girl. I still maintain that Angel and Buffy will get their happily ever after someday, and no one will convince me otherwise. (Joss, if you don't think so, please don't tell me!)

Trish Milburn said...

Okay, I'm all caught up with comments. I'm off to do some revisions, and Colleen has gone off to the doctor to have her poor broken leg looked at, so we'll be back a little later. But keep the wonderful comments and questions coming. As a matter of fact, I have one...

Colleen, do you remember the moment when you got the idea for the Gardella series? How did that come about? Did it immediately send a zing of excitement through you?

Donna MacMeans said...

Limecello - I heard this rumor that it's actually the GR who is looking into the blog just after midnight while you sleep - just so he can stick around another day - true?

Welcome back to the lair, Colleen, and what a hot, hot cover you have. Sad/glad to see the series come to an end, but just in time for you to start another!

MsHellion said...

Sorry, I'm a Sebastian fan. Max is great, but Sebastian is...well...more intriguing to me. He has a more interesting code of ethics, if you will, and I just like him more for that reason. *LOL*

I totally agree about putting a limit on series because I think after a while the books are very HIT OR MISS, but with the Gardella books, the arc was still there. The story still fresh. Kudos to you, Colleen! I prefer to end with a series where it *should* end and end on a positive note, rather than...well...NOT. *LOL*

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Colleen! Welcome back! I'm so excited about the series, I've been waiting for the final one to come out so I can read them all one after the other *g*. I know, I know - but I can't help it! And now that I know there is a Max vs Sebastian battle - well, I'm there!

I'm with you on series that seem never-ending (Stephanie Plum lost me at 10). I think that's true of TV as well as books.

Thank you too, for that little gem about how you write. Thinking of each chapter as a TV episode is brilliant! That's been a huge help to me today!

Colleen Gleason said...

Anna Lucia! Thank you so much. I do hope you get to them, and that you enjoy them.

Louisa! So fabulous to see you here! Thanks for the compliments. *blushing* I can't wait to hear what you think after you read ASF. That book was really a labor of love, after all, and I hope it doesn't disappoint!

Susan...interesting question about keeping the tension going. I have to think about that.

Definitely in each book, there was some sort of event or resolution in relation to Victoria's love life--either overt or subtle.

I mean, and this I don't think is a spoiler, lots of people zeroed in on Max as potential hero material in the first book...and others couldn't stand him. Same with Sebastian. (Obviously, different people.)

But, I guess I consider the series an evolution--of Victoria not only as a vampire hunter, but also as a woman, making decisions about her love life and relationships. Yes, each book moves her closer to permanency in both.

She gets to know herself better, and the men around her.

And there have been people who make comments about "every man she meets falls in love with her"...and to that I say, well, if you met a woman like Victoria--strong, smart, brave, beautiful, very unique--and you were a man who didn't have self-esteem problems, why WOULDN'T you fall in love with her?


catslady said...

I have to admit I haven't read any of your books but I'm always happier starting a series when I know it's over and that way I can get my hands on all the books and not worry about trying to find any missing books. I love going out and getting them all at once if I know the author or at least buying the first one and then going out and buying the rest - they sound fantastic!

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Gannon! Great to see you here! Your Team Max banner is really it!

Hi Donna! Love your new cover! Berkley has just been great to you with covers, haven't they?? Congrats!

MsHellion! Thank goodness you're here to support dear Sebastian!

I have two critique partners, and from the beginning, one of them was Team Max and one was Team Sebastian...and so they've really been great helps to me as I write the books.

Regardless of who rides off into the sunset with Victoria, they both agree that the "loser" (even though he's not a loser in any way) is still a hero.

Will I finish the leftover hero's story? Someday, I'd like to. But I'm not ready yet.

Colleen Gleason said...

Trish asked when I got the idea for the series, how it felt...I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember thinking..."This is a really cool idea."

And because I am not a vampire reader (I don't read vampire books--can you believe it??), and I don't really care for vampires (that's why they all die in my books), I was delighted to find a way to write a vampire book that was palatable to me.

It was a matter of writing for the market, but in my own way, without compromising my own likes and dislikes.

Because I believe you can't write a book you don't believe in. It just comes off as flat.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hi, Colleen! I still need bookmarks from you... *grin*

I wanted to let you know I liked this interview so much, I posted the link to it at my Win a Book site. Hope it brings you new readers. And I REALLY hope you're not going to make us wait too long to see what you produce next.

donnas said...

Great post and interview. I have had my eye on this series for a long time and would love the chance to start it.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi catslady! Thanks for the interest. I've been getting reports that the bookstores have brought in at least one copy of each of the back titles with this release, so even though they've been out for a couple years, you might find them on the shelf and not have to order them.

Susan! *waves* I am out of bookmarks! (I need to have that fixed on my website. Argh.) And since I'm done with the Gardellas for now, I wasn't going to order any new ones...but I'll see if I can scrounge up a few.

Thank you so much for linking to this interview. I appreciate it! :-)

Colleen Gleason said...

Someone asked about what I'm doing next...well, I do have a new series coming in 2010, but it's not vampires, and it's not historical.

If you're interested in being kept up to date, make sure you're on my newsletter can sign up on my website (

and I'll keep you posted. :-)

Christie Kelley said...

Colleen, I finally have a moment to catch my breath and I'm dying to start your series. I know I have book 2 that I won in a drawing at RT. But I missed you when you came to my chapter meeting. I'd planned on buying book 1 then. Sigh. Now I have to go to the bookstore.

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Colleen! Congrats on the release of As Shadows Fade *g* The series sounds fantastic - I'll definitely be adding all the books to my TBR pile :-)

Do you have any tips you can share on writing a series? How did you stay organized?

Pat Cochran said...

Sorry about your broken leg, Colleen.
Hope you're better soon!

Haven't read any of your series or
the genre, but I'm trying to keep
an open mind. Winning your book
would be a great way to make a genre
start! LOL

Pat Cochran

Helen said...

Thanks Colleen now I will be able to order all of them and start reading then I can make my mind up as to whether I am in Team Max or Team Sebastians camp.

I will head on over to the web page and join up for the newsletter to keep me up to date.

Have Fun

Wordly said...

I'm kara gnome at the divas site :)

Congratulations on your book and on finishing the series. I don't blame you a bit for stopping now, when it's still at a high point, really smart. Are you a little sorry to see it end, though? Or maybe you feel excited about the new project, too :)

Had you already known quite a bit about the Regency, or did you have to do a lot of research?

Your poor leg! That whole not being able to drive thing must be hard, really hard. Hopefully soon you'll be out there, keys in hand :).

Cassondra said...

Colleen, welcome to the lair!

This is a fantastic-sounding series. I've turned over a new leaf, though, in the past two years. I don't read series until they're done. That's dangerous of course, as some early books might not be in print, but the truth is that I'm just not any good at waiting. When I fall in love with a character and a world, I want to see it through to a nice HEA. That said, I'm reading a series now and it's not finished. I'm kicking myself for breaking that rule. (drums fingers waiting for July and the next installment--and then Spring of 2010 for the next--AAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHH!) I used to be a "must be an HEA in EVERY book" kind of girl, but I'm not now. I've matured I guess!

Now a series is fine as long as I have the HEA guarantee at the end. And I'm with you--too long is too long. At the same time, I mourn the loss of those people. What I've learned, though, is that with a finite and reasonable number of "installments" I'll go back and re-read. With too many, I give up and move on to other worlds.

Trish thanks for bringing Colleen to visit with us--and for showing us this cool series.

Strong but realistically flawed heroines and confident, realistically flawed men--those two are a win-win for me as a reader.

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Christie! Congrats on winning RISES THE NIGHT at RT last year. (Which chapter are you in that you missed me at?)

Definitely best to try and get the first book to read first. I do know people who have jumped in with the second or third book, but it's probably better to start with the first.

Beth, thanks for coming by.

Good question about keeping organized when writing a series. Because mine includes lots of worldbuilding (well, what series doesn't?), I used a big three-ring binder to keep myself organized.

I have a section for characters, of course--and I actually printed off descriptions directly from the books and included them in the section.

I also did a lot of research regarding the paranormal (ie, vampire) aspect of the books, and have a whole section on that.

Then I have a section with notes, print offs of websites, etc., for the clothing, vehicles, etc. of the time period.

I have a section about martial arts and weaponry (which figure in the books--I draw from Asian and Indian martial arts), as well as one with language (I use Latin to determine the words and terms from my world, and also a little bit of Italian, which I'm not as good at).

And so on.

For my new series, which is even more complicated, I've started another three-ring binder and am currently filling that up as well. That way everything is in one place and it's like a big bible or reference manual.

It works for me--visually, I have pictures and research, and I can add any sort of information in any sort of format.

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Pat! I'm glad you have an open mind about the series now. :-)

I'm not sure what your hesitation is (open-ended books? Vampires? historical?)...but let me just say that, over and over, I've had people say...

"I don't read historicals, but I loooove your books!"

"I don't like vampire novels, but I love your books!"

"I don't read romance, but your books aren't romance, are they?"


The books are dark, but not bloody and gory like some horror/vampire novels can get.

They're really more about a woman trying to find her place in the world, to carry her burden and to understand her unique responsibility, than about vampires feeding on people.

Like I said, I don't like vampire novels. *ducking*

Colleen Gleason said...

Hi Wordly! *waving* I hope you're enjoying the workshop over on Divas. I'm having fun.

You asked about my research and whether I knew about the period...well, yes, I felt a decent comfort about the Regency era when I started the series. Enough that I was able to jump right in.

What I ended up doing more research on in the beginning was vampire mythology, in fact. (Remember, I don't read vampire I wanted to find out what people "know" about the undead, and also try to find something new and fresh.)

As the series went on, I did more research about specific events or places in history, around which I built my stories. In each book after the first, I took a specific historical event or location, with an interesting story, and put a paranormal twist on it...that was a lot of fun.

Cassondra, thanks for the welcome! I hope you get a chance to check out my now-complete (heh) series. ;-)

Trish Milburn said...

Great conversation going on today. I just sent in my revisions (Hallelujah!), so I'm coming up out of the cave for a moment to see what's going on here.

Whatever Colleen has up her sleeve next, I can't wait to read it. I'm sure it'll be just as fab as the Gardellas.

Karin said...

I have not yet read any of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles but am anxious now to pick them up. They sound really interesting - especially with the description of them being Buffy in Regency England. Victoria sounds like a rather resilient heroine and I look forward to reading about her.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Colleen, I am not quite as hard working as I was when that name was created. My daughter hung that name on me when she was in her late teens. I had her, her brother (12 years younger than her), my mother, my aunt, and husband all in one house more or less. It was a crazy time.

Cassondra said...

Colleen I will definitely check out the series. And I had a question, too.

You've suggested reading the books in order. I know a lot of series are BEST read in order, but the caveat has always been, "write the book so that it can stand alone." And yet, the series I'm reading now--I jumped into the middle, but immediately had to go back to the beginning and read them in order. They're much better in order. You say yours are too.

How was it selling this series? Did the publisher contract the whole five books at once, or did you have a normal two or three book contract and then got buy-in for the rest of the series? And do you see series like this becoming more popular--do you find editors open to this and not saying, "we want stand-alone books" for each one?

I find that I'm loving them, but selling them....I have to wonder if that presents its own issues?

Cassondra said...

Trish, congrats on getting the revisions done!

Colleen Gleason said...

Cassondra, that's a good question, and one for which there really isn't a cut and dried answer.

When I sold this book (or rather, when my agent did), only the first book was written. I didn't even have a synopsis for the second--but they bought two books.

There was never any real discussion with my editor about how many books there would be. I simply wrote the first book, and by the way the first book ends, you know there's going to be more.

But the publisher made the decision to market the book as a romance, even though it technically isn't (no HEA), and they clearly labeled it as a series book (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles along the bottom of the cover).

Each book can stand on its own--like the season of a TV series. There's a plot that's wrapped up and all of the information you need to know to be up to speed is filled in. Not everything you want to know, but everything you need to know.

But you get the full effect if you read the books in order, just as you do if you want the TV series seasons in order. YOu don't have to, but you do.

That was pretty much the only sorts of revisions my editor gave me with these books--to make sure the background was filled in for new readers.

I've had people who started, as I said, with the second or third book, and were fine. They loved it and came back to catch up.

So, I guess there is no answer to your question--I didn't purposely set out to write a series that had open-ended endings. I just wrote the book. And my agent just sold it.

And then the publisher decided how to market it.

If they had marketed it as an Urban Fantasy instead of a Romance, would it have done better/worse? I have no idea.

But since my books came out, there are several new "romance" series with open-endings: Jeaniene Frost's, and Stephanie Bond's Body who knows. Maybe I started a trend. ;-)

(Just kidding.)

Trish Milburn said...

I just love how you've described the series as TV seasons, since I'm such a TV junkie too. :)

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Colleen, I'm in the Maryland chapter. I think Janet M brought you in. You told me when you signed the book to start with book 1 but you were all out of them.

Cassondra said...

Colleen said: who knows. Maybe I started a trend. ;-)

(Just kidding.)

Well, in all seriousness, I'm seeing more of these now. That's what's floored me. Somebody had to do it first and do it successfully. (Okay by "first" I mean "first" for this go-round. I hadn't seen this done in a long while--not since I've been writing).

The conventional wisdom was, if it's a romance, you've got to have the HEA at the end of every book. At least that's what I was taught. I personally think this "new" possibility is great. Not that I think all series should be this way. I just think it opens the door a little and gives authors a bit of room to wiggle, and wiggle room is good, at least IMO, so that things stay fresh. I love the idea of arcing a heroine across a series of books as you've done--to give her a more realistic time and breadth of experience to figure out who she is.
Kudos to you for doing your thing and doing it well, and hey, maybe you DID start a trend!

Cassondra said...

Colleen said:

But the publisher made the decision to market the book as a romance, even though it technically isn't (no HEA), and they clearly labeled it as a series book (The Gardella Vampire Chronicles along the bottom of the cover).

Well, that's one way of getting a series I guess....slap "chronicles" on the front cover and publish it as romance. You KNOW we're gonna come back for more and more--and DEMAND more-- until she gets her HEA.

Smart editor.

Smart Colleen, for writing a book so good the editor was able to do this.

Dianna Love said...

Great post Trish. Congratulations Colleen on your newest book. Love your series and think you are being very smart - as always - to end on a high note so readers are chomping at the bit for your next wonderful book.

PopinFresh said...

Congrats on the new book Colleen.

Colleen, I know you mentioned that your next series won't deal with vampires and it isn't historical. Does this mean that you'll be writing about another supernatural creature, or are you changing it all together?

As for who Victoria picks, I think it will be Max. :( I hope it's Sebastian, as I'm very much in the Sebastian team, but I see no hope of him getting together with Victoria. :(

~ Popin

Colleen Gleason said...

It's always so much fun here at the Banditas!

Hi Dianna! *waving madly* Hope to see you at RWA this year!

Cassondra and others...maybe you saw the article I wrote for the August RWR about this trend of multi-heroes, and I talked a little about it then.

My editor is quite brilliant, and I'm so glad she took a chance with my unusual romance series.

Colleen Gleason said...

Popin Fresh, you asked about my next series. It's coming in 2010, from a new publisher.

It will have paranormal elements in it, but I'm not writing about werewolves or shapeshifters or vamps or angels or demons. They're humans with special powers...and they have them for a certain reason.

More superheroish than paranormal, I guess, but the series itself has a very strong paranormal feel. There are zombies in it too. :-D

Sign up for my newsletter so I can keep you updated, as I will be writing under a pen name--as yet to be determined.

Anna Campbell said...

Colleen, sorry to be so late to the party! Computer troubles - AAAAARRRRGGGGH!!! Congratulations on the release of the last of the Gardellas. Trish, great interview!

limecello said...

LOL Donna - I love it! You've found me out! ;)

Trish Milburn said...

Thanks, everyone, for keeping the conversation going today. And thanks for hanging out in the lair, Colleen.

I'll be posting Colleen's winners probably tomorrow night once our Friday guest, Sophia Nash, has had most of the day at the top of the blog.