Paranormal Romance Reviews
"Bound to Shadows...will keep you at the edge of your seat as the story comes to its shocking end. Fans will find it impossible to set down."
Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews
"Bound to Shadows is the eighth Riley Jenson Guardians novel and they just keep getting better... Keri Arthur has created one of urban fantasy genre’s sexiest heroines.
Doug Knipe, SciFi Guy
Just in time for the holidays, Vampire Wire has a special treat for fans of Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen Guardian books! The New York Times bestselling author has written several several series (including: Spook Squad, Damask Circle, and Nikki and Michael), and her half-vamp, half-werewolf heroine, Riley, has really captivated urban fantasy fans. Whenever I've had a poll or contest for Keri's books, her fans always sing her praises.
Her debut novel in this series, Full Moon Rising, came out in 2006, and readers are both anticipating and dreading the final Riley Jensen Guardian novel, Moon Sworn, which will be released in the summer of 2010.
Keri lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she does the mom thing, the writer thing, and the conversations with elves and dragons thing. Okay, I made up that last one, but if anyone would be having conversations with elves and dragons, it would be Keri.
She's very generously offered to give away two gift packs and each will include Australian chocolates,Tim Tams and a signed copy of one of her Riley Jensen novels. Read to the end of the post to find out how to enter the contest.
MARTA: Congratulations on the success of your Riley Jensen series! Why don’t you tell us a little about Riley and were she is in your most recent release, Bound to Shadows?
KERI: Riley was born out of my desire to write a somewhat flawed, kick-ass character who wasn’t afraid of her sexuality. Bound to Shadows is the penultimate book in the series and, as such, starts to provide some answers. Riley discovered her soul mate in Deadly Desire, and Bound to Shadows deals with her desire for Quinn and her wolf need for its mate. In some ways, it’s a very sad book.
MARTA: Next year, you’ll be releasing the final book in the series, Moon Sworn. When you began the series, did you imagine the entire arc of the books, or has Riley’s journey taken unexpected turns?
KERI: When I first started writing the series, I’d actually imagined it as a trilogy. But by the time I got to Tempting Evil, there were still too many dangling threads and unanswered questions, so I kept writing. By the fifth book, I knew exactly how it was ending, and although my publisher did want more books, nine was enough. Riley’s certainly been through the wringer--she deserves a decent ending!
MARTA: What’s the most challenging thing about continuing a series? What’s the most rewarding?
KERI: I think the most challenging aspect of writing a continuing series is keeping the characters interesting. They need to change and grow as the series progresses, but sometimes that’s more difficult to do than it might seem. I know Riley has certainly frustrated a lot of people (if some of the emails I get is any indication, anyway. lol)
The most rewarding aspect would have to be reader appreciation--it’s nice to know the characters you created are loved by others.
MARTA: When you were creating Riley’s world, what elements of supernatural mythology did you decide to keep, and what did you decide to change?
KERI: I tend to keep the supernatural elements that make sense to me, and ditch the others. For example, the whole vampires having no reflection wouldn’t make sense in any of my worlds, simply because in my worlds, vampires have souls (and the whole soulless factor was one of the reasons for the myth of vamps having no reflection). Besides, in this day and age of mirrors and windows everywhere, someone without a reflection isn’t going to remain unnoticed for long. Same deal with sunlight--sure, it may be logical for baby vamps to be extremely sensitive to sunlight, but any sensitivity or allergy has its cures. So surely the longer a vamp is alive, the more he or she could work on building an immunity. Vamps can live a very long time, so why wouldn’t the older ones be able to withstand some sunshine?
MARTA: Who’s your favorite non-paranormal/urban fantasy kick-ass heroine?
KERI: My favorite non-paranormal heroine--anyone remember an old TV series called Le Femme Nikita? It starred Peta Wilson and it was absolutely brilliant (although I hated the way they ended the series--that was just wrong!)
Naming my favorite urban fantasy heroine is tough (I’m guessing I can’t name mine here. lol). I’d have to say Mecedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde. Children of the Night rocked as a book, and I absolutely adored Andre. It’s my favorite simply because that series was one of the main precursors for the whole urban fantasy revolution (along with Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series--another great urban fantasy heroine). Then, of course, Laurell K Hamilton came along with Anita Blake, and proved just how popular kick-ass heroines and vampires could be.
Of course, if we’re talking TV series, then there is only Buffy.
MARTA: How did your experience as a Function & Dessert Cook for the Essendon Football Club prepare you to be a bestselling author?
KERI: Well, there’s a lot of truth in the old proverb ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen’. Most commercial kitchens are horrible places to work in--they’re hot, and they’re high pressure. To survive, you learn to cope with stress. Which I guess comes in handy when it comes to dealing with the stress of deadlines and publisher (and reader) expectations
But there was one big benefit to working at Essendon--there was plenty of inspiration running around the field in tight black shorts… :-)
MARTA: Are you ever surprised at readers’ reactions to plot turns? Do American audiences perceive your books any differently than your Aussie fans?
KERI: Generally, no, I’m not surprised. I usually read all the reviews and comments about the books on the web, and I’m aware of what readers like and don’t like about the series. I knew, for instance, that I was going to get some very heated emails after the events of Bound to Shadows, and I most certainly did. But then, any writer who kills off a popular character has to expect a backlash from the readers who loved that character. I think the key is providing a good reason, and I believe I did that (something big had to happen to force Riley to do what she did).
I don’t think there’s much difference between American and Aussie audiences, other than the fact Aussie audiences tend to pick up the location mistakes. For instance, in one of the books, a copy-editor changed a tram stop to a train stop, and I didn’t pick it up (that’ll teach me to not proof-read it more closely!) until a reader emailed me and said, ‘since when is there a train stop in Lygon Street?’ lol
MARTA: You’ve said that the Moon Sworn will be the end of the series. Will it be hard for you to let Riley and her world go?
KERI: In some aspects, yes, it will be hard to let her go. Riley may not be perfect, but that’s what makes her such a fun character to write. But I’m not letting the world go--there’s another series on the way, set in the same world, just twenty-five years into the future. Riley and the gang will be making the occasional appearance.
MARTA: What’s next for you?
KERI: Next is that above-mentioned offshoot series. The working title for the series is Dark Angels, and it features Risa, the little girl who appears in Riley’s series. It differs to Riley’s series in that it’ll feature the Aedh and Reapers more than vampires and werewolves. Although they are all a major part of the story--and yes, there’s even a horse shifter (although a mare, not a stallion).
MARTA: Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
KERI: The easiest way is to head to my website. You’ll find all the information there. (There’s also a free read available.)
MARTA: Who is your favorite talking horse? Favorite elf? Favorite shifter. Favorite vampire? If I missed anyone, please tell me!
KERI: There’s only one ‘real’ talking horse, isn’t there? Mr. Ed has to be top of that list! Fav elf--Legolas, of course. Fav shifter--hmm, that’s tough (because I’m guessing I can’t include mine. :-)) Maybe Richard from Anita Blake (before he went all weird in the later books). Fav Vamp--Andre from Children of the Night, and Henry Fitzroy from Tanya Huff’s series. Although Angel was divine, and I adored Nick Knight in the Forever Knight TV series.
MARTA: Thanks for answering my questions, Keri!
KERI: Enjoyed it! :-)
See all the book covers and titles in the Riley Jensen Guardian series.
Read Doug Knipe's review of Bound to Shadows at SciFi Guy.
Read an interview with Keri at Book Reporter.
TO ENTER THE CONTEST: Leave a comment for Keri, or tell us what you like about reading series books. I know that if I love a story, I want to go back to visit the characters. The contest runs through Wednesday, December 30, and winners will be chosen by random drawing.
GRATUITOUS VIDEOS OF THE DAY
I chose the GVDs in honor of some of Keri's favorite characters. Enjoy!
Those who haven't watched "Blood Ties," based on Tanya Huff's novels, should ask for the DVDs for Christmas. Kyle Schmid played the vampire Henry Fitzroy.
Ah, this just made me wish that Joss Whedon had been allowed to continue developing his series, "Angel."