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Q&A: Author of vampire series on strong women, kinky things, time travel May 28, 2009

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
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If you like strong heroines, flawed (but sexy) men and settings that take you not just to fascinating cities but through time, you’ve got to check out Susan Squires. Her vampire novels are dark, dangerous but always anchored in a great love story. The latest in her Companion timeforeternityseries (CLICK HERE FOR ORDER TO READ THEM IN) is TIME FOR ETERNITY, due out in September. I asked Susan to talk about her vampires, and why her male vamps sometimes get a little abused. (Look for part 2 of her great writing tips in the next week!!!)

Q. What is it about vampires that fascinate you? Do you believe in them? Or think they existed at one time?

A. I don’t believe vampires are real, now, or historically. The reason they’re fascinating is that they are a metaphor for the dangerous unknown. A theme in many of my books is that you must embrace what you fear most in order to be whole. That’s because I’ve seen so many people let their world be slowly circumscribed by their fears. So, what better than to make the leap to loving a vampire (or becoming one?)

Susan Squires

Susan Squires

Q. In many vampire novels, there’s a line when the vampire says “I have a disease,” and as a reader we snicker because we know it’s not true. But in your series, it’s true. You link vampirism to a disease. Where did you get that idea?

A. This was actually a bit of one of those bolts from the blue — an idea that strikes you so strongly you can’t resist it. It was at the height of the fear of AIDS, when many people were blaming the victim for having the disease. (Remember the “AIDS is a judgment of God on gay people” phase?). There was so much fear and loathing in the air. I couldn’t help but think — what if we were afraid of vampires and thought them evil for something they couldn’t help? Of course, that gives you lots of possibility for tortured heroes, big decisions, and misunderstandings.

Q. Your vampire world is filled with very tough women. Why is that? And the rules for the world are very clear. Did you plan this before you wrote the series or did it unfold as you were writing?

A. I like tough women. Many of my women have had difficulties. They may be scarred, or orphans, or not exactly what their parents wanted in some way, or caught between sacramenttwo cultures, or have difficult special powers. I like to write about coming back from adversity, and in one way or another, you have to have an inner core of strength in order to do that. In many instances, my heroines have to discover that they are stronger than they thought. We all like to hear that’s possible, right? As far as the world, it was mainly set up in SACRAMENT, (the first book I ever wrote, actually), but it also evolved over time. It’s a trick to make it all fit together logically over time and not violate the principles.

Q. And the men in your books — they might be vampires, but they certainly take a lot of mental and physical abuse. Why?

A. Oh, I love tortured heroes. And I love the chance to give women an opportunity to be both strong and nurturing. I will tell you that when I wrote THE COMPANION (first in the series) for my editor at St. Martin’s Press, it was pretty tough on the hero and a little kinky. I never intended to do that again. But when I asked her whether she thought readers would be disappointed if the next one wasn’t kinky, she said, “why of course it will be kinky. You do that so well.” So, more kinkiness ensued, though less in later books. In my new time travel series, I have managed to get away from that. Not that it was bad — I’d just done it to death.

Q. Any favorite characters? (I like Donnatella for her time-travel adventure to find her long-lost love)

shadowsA. I liked Donnatella so much in ONE WITH THE SHADOWS that she got her own story in DARKNESS. I liked Ian and Beth in THE COMPANION. I liked Ann Van Helsing in THE BURNING. I loved Jergan in ONE WITH THE DARKNESS. Oh, heck, I like them all or I couldn’t spend nine months with them. (That’s how long it takes me to write a book.)

Q. What is it that you like about time travel? (Which you return to in your next release TIME FOR ETERNITY)

A. I love being able to explore different time periods. I like the complexity of figuring out how my characters fit into that time’s events, changing them, but ensuring that the outcome we describe in our modern history books remains the same. For the author they are like a kind of puzzle. For the readers, I hope they are just a little surprising. In other words, they’re fun to write, and that keeps me interested and engaged! Why else write.

Check back here for part 2 on her great writing tips next week.

Comments»

1. Q&A: Vampire author on juggling full-time job with novel writing « Paranormal Romance - June 13, 2009

[…] and great romance, to tell us how she does it. Her TIME FOR ETERNITY is due out in September. CLICK HERE for Part 1 on my interview with her: “Author of vampire series on strong women, kinky things, […]


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