I'm happy to be hosting Colleen Gleason today to celebrate the release of The Vampire Voss, the first in her new vampire series. Not only have Colleen and I been friends since we both finaled in the Golden Heart in 2003, but I'm a big fan of her work as well.
For those of us who are fans of your Gardella Vampire Chronicles, tell us how your new vampire series, the Regency Draculia, differs.
Both series are set during Regency-era England, with the Gardellas around 1819-1820 and the new series during the Napoleonic War—specifically in 1804.
The biggest differences are in the vampire mythology and also in the structure of the series. The Gardellas are really more of a historical urban fantasy series, following the life—and loves—of one heroine, Victoria Gardella. The books are really all about her as a sort of superhero (a vampire hunter) in a historical time period. There are no “good” vampires in the Gardellas, they aren’t ever the protagonists or heroes/heroines. The vampires are all evil, and meant to be slain.
I took a different tack with the Regency Draculia. These books are definite vampire romances, with a spotlighted hero and heroine in each book and a happy ending for them at the end of each story. There are over-arching subplots and romances—a la Suzanne Brockmann and Eloisa James—but each book does end happily for the main couple.
The mythology of my Draculia vampires is much different from that of the Gardellas as well, for in these books, there are vampires that run the gamut from being totally evil to being vampires with a conscience. The vampires in these books have basically sold their souls to Lucifer, and they are living their immortal lives with this knowledge—and with all of its benefits and repercussions.
One of the things that make my vampires different is that each of them has an Asthenia--a specific weakness.
Like the vampires of legend who recoil at the sight of silver, and who are weakened by its presence, each of my vampires have a similar “Achilles Heel”—in this case, I call it their Asthenia. And for each Dracule, it’s something different. For one, it could be sapphires. For another, it could be an oak tree. For another, it could be grass or horses or rosemary.
After writing the Gardella series, you began writing post-apocalyptic stories as Joss Ware. What brought you back to vampires?
I love to write historical novels (in fact, the Joss Ware series almost feels historical in some ways, due to the lack of infrastructure and limited technology in that world), and when it was suggested that I try my hand at a true vampire romance novel, set in the Regency, I jumped on it. I love that time period, and I’ve come to love my vampires too. ;-) After writing five books with all-evil vampires, it was a fun and interesting challenge to twist my brain a different way and to write about sexy, dark, compelling vampires.
Why do you think vampire stories continue to ride a wave of popularity?
I think there are several reasons, one of which is the aspect of escape. We—or many of us—read for escape, and what better place to escape than to a place where we know it’s not real...and where things are often much darker than they are in our own world.
Another thing, however, that I think makes vampires popular is the environment in which they live: darkness, sensuality, forbiddenness (is that a word?)...all of that makes these characters intriguing and compelling. And there’s the sexual aspect—the penetration, the need, the angst and the reality of what is it like to live forever? Those are all fascinating, titillating aspects of vampire lore, and each author approaches them in a different way.
As a reader, which authors of vampire stories do you enjoy most?
Some of my favorites are Lara Adrian and Jeaniene Frost, but I confess that I don’t read very much in the way of paranormal romances...simply because I write them.
I am a huge Buffy fan, however. ;-)
Tell us a bit about the characters in The Vampire Voss, the first in your new series.
Voss, the Viscount Dewhurst, has been a vampire for a hundred and fifty years. He agreed to sell his soul to Lucifer, and now he has everything he’s ever wanted: immortality, scads of money, imperturbable power, and all the women he can handle. If a man were to live forever with all the power and pleasure and money he ever wanted, I believe he would be just like Voss: Selfish, hedonistic, and, at some point, bored with it all.
Everything is going along just fine—if not becoming a little routine after more than a century of pure hedonism with no negative consequences—until he meets Angelica Woodmore…who is the first woman he finds himself unable to enthrall and seduce.
Angelica is one of three sisters (the eldest of whom is featured in the second book in the series, The Vampire Dimitri) who has a bit of the “Sight”, courtesy of their half-Gypsy grandmother. She becomes a pawn in a struggle between two factions of vampires (if I may....the “good” vampires versus the “bad” vampires).
Because of who he is, Voss is studiously neutral in this struggle—playing both sides—because he wants to use Angelica’s powers for his own protection. And Angelica is terrified of vampires.
So...you can see where this is going. ;-)
And then add in all of the aspects we love about Regency romance: the balls, the dance cards, the manners and repartee, the powerful, rakish viscounts and the bored, brooding earls...and you’ve got a good feel for the series.
Also, there are two more books in the series, coming in early May and early June: In The Vampire Dimitri, we meet a tortured, brooding vampire who has come to strongly regret his bargain with Lucifer and who is trying, in vain, to break that bond. Too bad the woman he falls for is fascinated by his Draculean bent. And in The Vampire Narcise, we meet a damaged female vampire who believes that love isn’t for immortals—because nothing can last forever, especially for someone whose soul is not their own.
Thanks so much for having me here! I’m going to give away a copy of the second book in the series, The Vampire Dimitri, to a commenter today.
To enter to win, either ask me a relevant question about the series or writing, etc., and/or tell me...if you were a Dracule, what would your Asthenia be?
Thanks, Colleen. Can't wait to start this new series. You know how anxious I was to get my hands on each new Gardella book.
So, get to commenting, folks. :) There's a great new book up for grabs.