Today, I have the honor to interview Jeannie Holmes, debut author of Blood Law, releasing July 6th, 2010. I haven’t had the chance to read her book yet (hence my faux-pas in the second question, please don’t throw rocks at me!) but it really sounds awesome, and I can’t wait to get my copy *winks*
Can you tell us a bit about Blood Law? Is it the debut of a new series?
Yes, Blood Law is the first installment in a new series. However, I don't have an official series title yet. We're still working on that part.
Blood Law follows Alexandra Sabian, a vampire and Enforcer with the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation, as she investigates a series of brutal murders in the small town of Jefferson, Mississippi. All the victims are vampires and are killed in a manner similar to the way her father was murdered. These similarities stir up a bunch of personal demons for Alex and the Bureau becomes concerned about her ability to properly handle the investigation. As a result, they send her former mentor and ex-fiancé, Varik Baudelaire, to not only assist with the case but assess Alex's effectiveness as an Enforcer. Tensions between the humans and vampires in Jefferson reach a breaking point, as well as between Alex and Varik, and mayhem ensues along with murders, arson, kidnapping, and even a little romance. Naturally, I don't want to give away too much, but there are a lot of small-town politics and secrets, especially family secrets, that affect the people and events in the book.
In most Urban Fantasy, The guy is usually the vampire, why did you choose to have a Vampire heroine and a human male sidekick?
I wanted Alex (the heroine) to be a vampire because, as you pointed out, the guy is usually the vampire. I thought it was time for women to show some fang without being classified as "evil." Plus, balancing her vampire instincts with her job as a federal agent in charge of policing the vampire population in a small town where vampires are fully welcomed gave Alex another layer of complexity that I've really enjoyed exploring. As for Varik, he's far from being her sidekick, and he's also a vampire, not human. He's much older than Alex so his view of humans and the world in general is different from hers, which leads to some really great arguments between them. Making them both vampires gave me the freedom to explore a lot of mysticism and really build up the mythology around the vampires and how they function in the world.
How did you choose your character names? Do they have a second level meaning?
I chose Alex's name -- Alexandra -- for its meaning, "defender of the people." As for who the people are she’s ultimately defending, I can’t answer that question, but it will be addressed in the series. Her last name, Sabian, is from my imagination. I think I chose it because it sounds similar to “saber.” Varik means “honorable defender,” and it suits him because there are times when he does act as a protector or defender for Alex, even though she may not want him in that role. I chose the last name of Baudelaire for him because of the French poet Charles Baudelaire, who wrote a series of poems in the mid-1800s entitled Les Fleurs du mal, or “The Flowers of Evil.” Several of the poems describe vampires as well as illicit love affairs and were therefore condemned as obscene and banned, and Charles Baudelaire himself was viewed as an eccentric among the eccentrically viewed Romantics. It’s just my little homage to a fellow writer.
I’ve actually discussed this topic with some friends, early readers, and my agent. It’s really eerie because I remember going with my husband to the local movie theater and seeing an advance poster with Prince Caspian on it advertising the second Chronicles of Narnia film. I stopped in the middle of a huge crowd, pointed at the poster, and grabbed my husband’s arm, shouting, “Oh, my god! That’s Varik!” I found out later Caspian was being played by Ben Barnes so ever since then I’ve said he’s my ideal Varik.
Alex, on the other hand, is a much different story. I honestly have no idea who I would choose to play Alex. Others have suggested everyone from Jessica Alba to Jessica Biel, and I have a hard time picturing any of them as Alex. I think I’ll just have to leave this one up to experts who are far more deft in the casting arena than I.
Blood Law has a very powerful suspense groove, do you have any first-hand experience with law forces?
No, I don’t have any first-hand experience with law enforcement, but I know people who do and who are willing to answer questions. However, I did participate in a “citizen’s academy” last year with the local police department. The citizen’s academy met one night a week for a couple of months and various speakers from different branches of the department came in and explained their roles, showed some of the various tools and “toys” they get to use, and answered questions. That was very informative but the most helpful part of the whole experience for me was the night I spent riding along with an officer on patrol. I have a new appreciation for anyone working law enforcement after that experience.
Why did they change the cover? Did you have any say in its creation?
Ah, the cover change. This is probably the question I get asked the most often. The reason for the cover change was primarily a marketing decision. If you think about what you see when you walk into a bookstore, it’s an overwhelming jumble of covers, and the name of the game is standing out, especially when you’re a new author. Changing the cover wasn’t a decision that was made lightly or without a lot of discussion. In the end, everyone – my publisher, my editor, the Dell marketing and sales staff, and I – thought it was best to change the cover in order to give Blood Law a greater chance to stand out. I was able to give some input into its creation, mainly the fact that Alex has red hair, but I didn’t see the completed cover, the original or the makeover cover, until it was completed. I did ask for a couple of very minor changes, but the Dell art department did such a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the book, especially with the second cover, that I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.
On a more personal level,
Your four cats are named Chaos, Panic, Disorder, and Nugget, do I want to know why? lol
It’s kind of a long story, but the first three (Chaos, Panic, and Disorder) came as a set. They’re actually siblings from the same litter, and we adopted them to keep them from going to a shelter. They earned their names after leaving our living room in shambles during an evening attack of the “frenzies.” Nugget came to us a year later after hurricane Ivan hit Gulf Shores, Alabama. (My husband and I live in Mobile, which is west and a little north of Gulf Shores.) Nugget’s mother was a stray who abandoned him in the courtyard adjacent to our house. After I discovered him in the courtyard and determining that his mother wasn’t coming back for him, I brought him in the house and kept him in a carrier in a back room away from the other cats. When my husband came home from work, I showed the kitten to him and naturally, the kitten was hungry. He started crying and making this high-pitched whining noise. My husband said he couldn’t believe that much noise could come from “a little kitten nugget.” (At the time, Nugget could fit in the palm of my hand.) The name stuck.
What's your favorite TV show?
Honestly, I don’t usually watch a lot of TV but I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since I was a kid. If I had to pick one show as a favorite, I would have to pick that one.
Do you have any other project in the making right now?
Well, as I’m answering these questions, I’m finishing the sequel to Blood Law. Once it’s completed and off to my editor, I do have a couple of other projects in mind but nothing under contract as of yet.
Can you tell us the craziest thing you ever did?
That would be a toss-up between twelve hours I spent riding along with a patrol officer and writing three separate novels while also working on my Master of Arts degree in English. Given the fact that the degree didn’t involve a 100+ mile per hour ride to respond to a call of shots being fired, I’d have to give it to the police ride-along.
Thank you so much Jeannie for taking the time to answer my questions! It’s been very interesting ^.-
Jeannie also generously offered a Signed copy of BLOOD LAW to one lucky reader!
Open to US & Canada
To enter just FILL THE FORM
Ends July 4th, 2010.
No Extra entries awarded but feel free to drop a line for Jeannie and spread the word =)