Thursday, March 31, 2011

Colleen Gleason Launches New Vampire Series

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. 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.


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, Helen, you ARE quick! Thought you'd be snoozing on your laurels after all your hard work at the convention on the weekend! Hope you've got some Tim Tams in to feed the chook!

Colleen, welcome back to the lair! Congratulations on the new series. Sounds fabulous. I love the way you think outside the box with your stories.

Helen said...

Well I am sure the GR wanted to meet my new grandson Josh and have some Tim Tams LOL
I was having a nice rest today reading don't you love it and thought I would check out the blog but I will be back to resting soon LOL. Oh and the conventon was fantastic I had a great time.

Colleen I do love the sound of this new series I love the regency period so that will get me in anytime LOL
When writing this series was it easier to write becasue the regency world is kinda there already without having to build a new world so to speak? And if I was a dracule my asthenia would be mangos because that is one fruit I don't like LOL.

Thanks Trish for inviting Colleen back today

Have Fun

Cath said...

YAY...a REAL Vampire!!!!!

I'm just a little tired of the broody, woe is me, tortured modern man, sparkly type of vampires that seem to have sprung up everywhere since 'that' huge franchise hit the streets.
(*snigger*...I preferred the wolves in that anyway =])

My question is:
While writing The Vampire Voss who did you envision or get your inspiration from for Voss??


June M. said...

OMG...Vampires & Regency book? I LOVE it! I have definately got to read this series. They sound great and combine 2 of my favorite things.

barb said...

Just been up and checked that Helen hasn't given him too many tim tams

Good blog Colleen and the book sounds good..... like Helen I like regency.

Daz said...

Colleen, congrats on the launch of the new series. I'm looking forward to reading it since I just love the Regency period and vampires set during that time would be a fun thing to read. I also like the fact that there is a HEA at the end of each book in the series. The hopeless romantic in me could ask for nothing more.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Colleen! Since I live in sunshine year round, it is hard to grasp the concept of a Vampire.

But if I was a Draculia, my Asthenia would be chocolate ... Tim Tams would do me in!

Joss Ware said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colleen Gleason said...

Good morning, everyone!

Looks like I'm a little late to the party...but the day is young! We have a long time to hang out.

@Anna, It's great to "see" you again! Thanks much for your kind words.

@Helen Great question about the Regency and world-building: you're right. It was, in some ways, comfortable for me to write set in the Regency world because I'm so familiar with it. It was like coming back home, in a way.

Despite the fact that these new books are set in a time period slightly earlier than the Gardellas, that research aspect was a little less cumbersome. However, I did have to do some heavy research on Paris during the Revolution for the third book in the series, because it starts there.

And as for your Asthenia...I LOVE mangoes, so I'd be in trouble if it were me!

Joss Ware said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colleen Gleason said...

@June and @Barb Definitely, combining the Regency and vampires was *so* *much* fun!!

I hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to read the series!

Colleen Gleason said...

@Daz Thanks for coming by! One of the things that people commented about in regards to my Gardella series was the lack of that HEA...even though it took five books for Victoria Gardella to get her man, to so speak, it was very odd for each book to end with the love story unresolved.

Therefore, it was a different sort of challenge--and a fun one--to approach these new vampire books with the goal of an HEA.

Colleen Gleason said...

@Cath So you were Team Jacob? ;-) Girl after my own heart!!

As for me and my inspiration for Voss...I was thinking of someone like Ryan Reynolds, or even Matthew Morrison of GLEE. Someone very, very "pretty" and blondish/golden and very charming. Yu-u-u-um.

Colleen Gleason said...

P.S. I just "found" Tim-Tams here in Michigan. The caramel kind. OMG.

They're now my FAVORITE Aussie import!

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Colleen! What a wonderful premise for a vampire series! I'm really looking forward to meeting Vampire Voss.

As for my vampire achilles heel? Hmmmm. I'd have to say cleaning bathrooms. I can't stand cleaning bathrooms. Every other household chore I'll do with relative cheer but dirty bathrooms? All that hair & scum & yuck?

No, thanks. I just let it get so relentlessly gross that my husband finally does it. To be fair, I do everything else but I draw the line at bathrooms.

Does that count?

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Good morning, everyone! Glad to see the conversation already hopping this morning.

I do love my HEAs, but I was glad to wait the five books in the Gardella series, especially since it ended how I wanted it to. :)

My Asthenia would be peanut butter. I loathe just the smell of it. In fact, I don't like nuts of any kind.

LilMissMolly said...

I'm OK with some vampire stories. I don't like it when they are too sensual though. I really enjoyed Blood Born because it was original and new.

Jenn3128 said...

Yeah for evil Vamps!

My specific weakness would be loose teeth, your small children would be safe with a vamp like me around. I've got the jeebies just thinking about it!

Colleen Gleason said...

@Susan Sey I'm guessing there'd be a bunch of us who would share your Asthenia for cleaning bathrooms, if we had our druthers. ;-)

In the vampire mythology of the Draculia, however, the Asthenia has to be something that occurs in nature...unfortunately, cleaning bathrooms is, in my opinion, while necessary...totally UNnatural!


Colleen Gleason said...

@Kim in Hawaii Yes, I do agree...vampires would have a tough time of it in Hawaii. That's probably why they love London so much--all that fog!

And in the Regency, everyone slept till after noon and partied till dawn...perfect environment for a vampire.

Colleen Gleason said...

@Trish So great to be back here, and thanks for your kind words about the Gardellas. I have a soft spot in my heart for those books, even though the last one came out in 2009 and I've released five books since then.

I wonder if I could get away with writing a Regency vampire with a peanut "allergy"....heh. If I do, that'll be dedicated to you, Trish.

Colleen Gleason said...

@LilMissMolly I have a confession to make. I never liked vampires (which is why they all got staked in the Gardella books)...but when I started writing this new series, I really got hooked.

It's interesting, because through these first three books (coming out back to back to back), you can almost see my "evolution" into finding vampires sexy/hawt.

The first heroine, Angelica, initially shares that viewpoint of not finding vampires anything but terrifying....but Voss soon changes her mind.

The books aren't as sexy and graphic as a lot of other vampire books out there, so you might not find them a turn-off. There's some violence in the first book, but not terribly graphic.

Colleen Gleason said...

@Jen3128 Yeah, I had a great time slaying all those evil vamps via my Victoria Gardella character...and in my new series, there actually is a vampire hunter who does a bit of hunting himself.

As for the loose teeth...gotta tell you, that cracked me up. Love it!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Colleen, your series sound fascinating. I do like vampire stories with a kind of twist instead of the same old stuff.

Interesting question. If I were a Draceule, I think my weakness would be water. There's so much symbolism connected to that element, that it'd be fun to play around with the parameters. Of course, water's everywhere, so it'd have to be something more than "holy water," but less than
H2O per se.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Colleen *waving* - after the giggles with Kimmi, Janice and I had with you last year, I look forward to catching up with you in NY!

The new series sounds fascinating! The Regency period (well, most of our historical periods too) lends itself well to vampires and darkness. There's something about the time - the layers in society, the physical layers of the towns and cities, not to mention the nature of our culture.

Hmm my asthenia - I actually have an allergy to certain veg eg celery, asparagus, fennel which makes my skin ultra-light-sensitive and produces a rash. Other than that, probably blue cheese or beetroot. *shudder*

Slush said...

Welcome Colleen! I have not had the pleasure of reading a Vampire Historical yet! I love Historicals in general though and devour them regularly.

Your new series sounds delicious and I can't wait to delve into Regency Draculia.

Now if I was a Draculia my Asthenia would be Lilies. I despise the smell, look and feel now, no doubt they would be deadly to me as a vampire.

Thanks for stopping by!

Slush said...

Oh, and congrats on getting the Chook back Helen. I tried to have some serious convo on planning and goals. Let me know if it worked.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh Slush - good one. Hyacinths would be another one for me!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Anna, you don't like hyacinths? I love the smell of them. Now, Bradford pear trees -- that's a different story. They stink.

Gannon Carr said...

Hey, Colleen! I really enjoyed The Vampire Voss, and I'm REALLY looking forward to Dimitri's story. Woohoo!

Colleen Gleason said...

@Slush Thanks! I feel the same way about daisies that you feel about lillies!

@Jo I purposely don't read a lot of paranormal romance so that I don't have any influence in my worlds. So that means that...all the mistakes are my own! LOL.

Colleen Gleason said...

@Gannon Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed VOSS. I hope you enjoy DIMITRI too!

Thanks for coming by! :-)

Colleen Gleason said...

@Anna HEY!! *Waving back* Now, don't be telling everyone about all those things I said and did when we were hanging out...I'll deny them to my dying day!!

But...speaking of which...did I ever tell you about the time at RWA when my two BFFs and I picked up an entire rock band? Heh. Those were the days. ;-)

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome back to the lair, Colleen! Congratulations on your new series - it sounds fabulous *g*

My weakness would be pollen as every spring I'm knocked on my butt with allergies!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Colleen - Just wanted to swing by and wave Hi. If I were a vampire, could you make my astheia be tax returns? I'm so sick of them. My weakness in real life is chocolate. Even immortality isn't worth having that as an astheia.

Cath said...

Hi Colleen, thanks for answering my question. Ryan Reynolds ay....I am SO with you there, totally hot!!!!!

and as to the team Jacob ♥ thing....I'll take Jacob, or Sam, or Quinn, or hell, any of the wolves over Edward!!!

Cassondra said...

Wooohooooo, Helen!

You are popular with the chook!

It must be the Tim Tams.

Cassondra said...

Colleen, welcome, and congrats on this release!

donnas said...

Sounds great. Cant wait to pick it up. Any other paranormal creatures going to make their way into the series?

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen! He KNEW you had a new little one for him to cluck over!

Colleen !!

You know I LOVE your books! ALL of them.

Hmm, my asthenia might be seafood as I am highly allergic to it. Somehow visions of a vampire hunter waving a shrimp at me does NOT make for a good visual!

Mosquitoes !! I despise them! SO much so that I have bat houses on my property to keep the mosquito population away from me!

In these books will we discover why these men sold their souls to the devil? I have often wonder whether it takes a great love of something (money or power) a great hatred of something (life or a person) or a great sorrow to make someone take such a step.