"...romantic, tragic, horrific, fantastic and fun...Jam packed with vampires, werewolves, voodoo, demons, zombies and faeries there is plenty here to entertain fantasy and vampire fans alike." "What a ride! A cast of supernatural characters -- from a vampire to a zombie -- is mixed into a fast-paced and action-packed novel."
When most people talk, I stick my fingers in my ears and say, "da da da da da," but when renowned vampire scholar and infamous curmudgeon Dr. Derek Tatum talks, I actually half listen. So when Dr. Derek praised Raven Hart's Savannah Vampire series, I was immediately interested. He said, "There's genuine horror, humor, romance (but it doesn't dominate), a great setting..." and compared the books to early Anne Rice.
Raven Hart is the nom de plume of Susan Groggins and Virginia "Gin" Ellis, who passed away after collaborating on The Vampire's Seduction and The Vampire's Secret with Susan. Susan continued the series with The Vampire's Kiss (2007), The Vampire's Betrayal (2008), and The Vampire's Revenge (2009).
Susan comes to vampire writing the usual way: political writing gave her a working knowledge of bloodsuckers, and technical writing helped her hone her skills on describing details and action.
Susan is kindly giving away two copies of The Vampire's Secret in a contest. Read to the bottom of the interview for contest details.
MARTA: Welcome to Vampire Wire, Susan, and congratulations on the upcoming release of your fifth Savannah Vampire novel. Would you tell us a little about the series and The Vampire’s Revenge?
SUSAN: Thanks, Marta. The Savannah Vampires series is about two very different undead heroes. William Cuyler Thorne is an ancient and aristocratic vampire tortured by a tragic past. Jack McShane is a more happy-go-lucky (until all hell literally breaks loose), womanizing good-old-boy. They’re both devastatingly handsome of course. The series has shape-shifters, voodoo queens, demons, and a pet zombie. Revenge is the latest book in the series in which I hit poor Jack with just about all the trouble I could think of. Don’t bet against that bad boy, though!
MARTA: I first heard about your series from Dr. Derek Tatum of Mondo Vampire, who mentioned that it’s being miscategorized as paranormal romance, but it’s got a grittier edge. He compared your books to early Anne Rice. How would you describe the series, and has it shifted since you and Virginia Ellis first wrote The Vampire’s Seduction?
SUSAN: Derek is quite right. I never considered the books romances either. They contain love stories, but I always thought of the books as character-driven horror. The series really hasn’t shifted since Gin passed except I think she wrote William with a much harder edge that I do. I thank Derek for the comparison to Anne Rice. I’m a huge fan of hers, and that’s very flattering.
MARTA: I’m a big fan of books with a strong regional voice. Tell us a little about your background – are you a native Georgian or a transplant? What do your characters, ancient William Cuyler Thorne and modern Jack McShane, say about the old and new South?
SUSAN: I’m a native Georgian. I think that both William and Jack are very forward-thinking and were even in the old days. They are heroes after all, so they’ve always believed in freedom, justice and equality for everyone, even when it wasn’t popular, especially among aristocrats like William.
MARTA: What’s one of your favorite books that no one else seems to know about, or appreciate as much as they should?
SUSAN: A book came out a year or so ago that was one of the best paranormal novels I ever read. It has a great love story in it, but a very unconventional one. It’s called The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. I also like everything by Deborah Smith of Belle Books.
MARTA: It must be very difficult to continue your series without your writing partner. Does your memory of Gin influence your characters’ journeys?
SUSAN: I think that it really does. It comes out in how the vampires realize how precious and how short life is. They are much more aware of this than are the humans they know.
MARTA: Now, I know that authors don’t control their book covers, but yours rock. Do you know who designed them?
SUSAN: I have no idea. It’s kind of funny because when the books are sold overseas, they give them new covers. The German cover of Seduction is awesome. Much better and much more representative of what the books are like than the American covers.
MARTA: If Dr. Tatum’s wish came true and a series was being done with your books, what Southern actors would you cast as the leads?
SUSAN: I think that the guy who plays Sawyer on Lost—if you gave him some polish and sophistication and a nice haircut—we be an excellent William. He’s from Georgia like me. Jack’s a tough one because in my mind, nobody is as handsome and sexy as him. That’s why in my book trailers, I picked images of gorgeous bodies with no face showing because I’ve never seen a face that would live up to Jack in my mind. Pierce Brosnan comes close, but Jack is more rugged.
MARTA: What’s next for you? Where can readers find out more about your writing and your books?
SUSAN: I’m working on a proposal for a werewolf series, and I plan to write a southern comic novel. I’ve got many more story ideas than I have time to write them. My website is www.ravenhartbooks.com.
MARTA: Thanks for visiting Vampire Wire, Susan, and best luck on your latest release!
SUSAN: Thanks for having me!
The Savannah Vampire series is:
The Vampire's Seduction (Book One)
The Vampire's Secret (Book Two)
The Vampire's Kiss (Book Three)
The Vampire's Betrayal (Book Four)
The Vampire's Revenge (Book Five)
Read an excerpt from The Vampire's Seduction: "My name is William Cuyler Thorne. I have been a soldier, a scholar, a wastrel and a womanizer. But most importantly, I suppose, is the fact that among the many things I have been, I remain an unwavering killer of men. A predator..."
CONTEST: To enter the contest for one of TWO COPIES of The Vampire's Secret, just tell me your favorite local setting for a vampire or paranormal story, or leave a comment for Susan, who will be dropping by through the week. The contest runs through March 31 and a winner will be chosen by a random drawing.
I know I really enjoyed the Toronto setting for Tanya Huff's Blood Books and I really like the way New York is described in Caridad Pineiro's The Calling series.
GRATUITOUS VIDEOS OF THE DAY
Vamps, vamps, vamps! Just some new vids for you.
The song is from "Dr. Horrible" by Joss Whedon and sung by Neil Patrick Harris, who is all kinds of fabulous.
And if you're like me, when you think vampires, you think DISCO! Yes, because both are evil, yet seductive in a very wrong wrong way.
What's more evil and seductive than disco and vampires? Vampires with ponytails.