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Author Interview with Jeanne Kalogridis

Long before I was an author, I was a reader. I loved to read books on history and horror, celebrity bios and stories of witches and vampires.

One day while strolling through an old book store in a quaint and quiet part of downtown Frederick, Maryland, I found a book which changed my life.

It was “Covenant with the Vampire” written by Jeanne Kalogridis.

JK THE COVENANT WITH THE VAMPIRE

When I read:

“Mary has been asleep for hours now, in the old trundle bed my brother Stefan and I shared as children. Poor thing; she is so exhausted that the glow from the taper does not disturb her. How incongruous to see her lying there beside Stefan’s small ghost, surrounded by the artifacts of my childhood inside these crumbling, high-ceilinged stone walls. Their corridors awhisper with the shades of my ancestors, it is as if my present and past suddenly collided.”

I was swept away to the history and lore of medieval Romania to a time when Prince Vlad the Impaler ruled and I was hooked.

I could not put the book down. I mean, literally, the book was attached to my hands and I could do nothing more but read on and become captivated by the history, the romance and the bloodlust of Vlad and his sadistic relationship with his descendants.

After finishing the book, I took pen to paper and wrote Jeanne Kalogridis pouring my heart out to her. I was in awe of her talent and her melodic book and although I had aspirations of being a writer “one day” I knew that I could never, ever write anything as beautiful.

She was kind and gracious enough to respond and laughed having felt the same way when she read The Vampire Tapestry, a 1980 fantasy novel by Suzy McKee Charnas.

She encouraged me to “find my own voice” and to write what I loved. I took that advice to heart and began my journey as a writer.

I vowed that one day if I was ever in a position to help a writer, whether it be one just starting out on this wild and crazy ride or one who is established, that I would. She took the time to reach out to me and it showed me that no matter how successful a writer she was, we were all in this together.

I never forgot that.

Today, I am proud to say that I have gone on to become a best-selling author of nine books and Jeanne Kalogridis is still one of my all time favorite authors.

Her books carry you away to another time and you become enveloped in her words, the dark history of her stories and you forget everything around you.

I had the pleasure of talking to Jeanne recently and again, she was gracious enough to offer words of wisdom and advice to not only me but to all writers who take this journey.

Her words are golden and her advice invaluable for anyone wanting to be a writer…I advise you to take heed…

JEANNE KALOGRIDIS

Jeanne Kalogridis

With your extensive education and background, how much research goes into writing your historical novels?

An obscene amount. I used to teach graduate students how to write a research paper, and I have a true addiction to research–I love knowing details. Generally, I’ll read 30-40 books about the time period and the character I think I might want to write about. I’ll read for a couple of months before I even think about sitting down and writing the story outline. And I make sure that the sources I use are reputable–I made a fairly big error in THE BORGIA BRIDE, mentioning chocolate in Italy in the year 1492–when, of course, chocolate came from the New World and wasn’t available in Europe in 1492. I got the information from a 1940-ish biography about Lucrezia Borgia. Turned out that the biography relied on other biographies that weren’t accurate. So now I stick with recent biographies and historical nonfiction written by modern historians who are looking at original sources from the time period I’m writing about.

JK THE BORGIA BRIDE

There’s a phenomenon that scientists call “research rapture”–the more details one learns, the more details one wants to know. I’ve certainly got a bad case of it, because I also continue to do research during the writing of a novel. As an example of how detailed I like to get: I’m currently writing a novel about a young pickpocket in Renaissance Florence. I was thrilled when I discovered a street map from the period which showed where all the most infamous taverns in Florence were located, with some juicy gossip about each one. I don’t “make up” any details about a period, and a lot of things that seem as though they spring from my imagination are actually based on solid research.

How did you get involved in writing Novelizations for Star Trek?

First, let me clarify that novelizations involve turning a bare-bones script into a nice fat novel, so in this case, the script comes first, and the novel is written from the script, not vice-versa. In the case of STAR TREK, I wrote the novelizations while the script was being filmed, and actually got to go on the set and see stills that helped me visualize what the final result on the screen would look like. I didn’t get to see the film until it was released.

As to how I came to write the movie novelizations: Like many writers who were also STAR TREK fans, I noticed that there were TREK books coming out that involved original stories using the STAR TREK characters. So I wrote one–my first novel–and to my surprise, Pocket Books (the only publisher licensed to print TREK novels) bought it. Then I wrote another original book, then another…and one day I got a call from my editor asking me if I wanted to do the movie novelizations. I was thrilled speechless.

I wrote under the name J.M. Dillard (my maiden name) for STAR TREK. I used my married name of Kalogridis when I wrote my deliciously historical vampire trilogy THE DIARIES OF THE FAMILY DRACUL and, of course, my historical novels. (I’ll shamelessly promote the latter here: THE BORGIA BRIDE; I, MONA LISA; THE DEVIL’S QUEEN, THE SCARLET CONTESSA and THE INQUISITOR’S WIFE.)

What advice would you give a writer just starting out in the business?

Park your ego at the door and start developing a tough hide.

 Because you, and every other writer in this universe, needs to be edited. NO ONE just sits down one day and writes a perfect book by the seat of his or her pants. It simply doesn’t happen. Also, I think most of us come to writing thinking that we either “have it” or we don’t–that if an editor thinks that something needs changing in the book, then our entire book must be a failure. (At least, I was frightened by criticism because I thought it meant I was no good. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that a few people actually think ALL editors are wrong, and that their book is perfect as written. But I don’t run into those types very often.) It was so very hard for me to deal with being edited at first, but fortunately, I got used to it and now am eager to learn from constructive criticism (as long as they’re well read enough to know what they’re talking about.)

JK THE BURNING TIMES

We all need to realize that writing is rewriting. It’s like masonry. You’re not going to construct a cathedral your first day on the job, but you can get there if you work at it. And if you’re not sweating, you’re not doing it right. There are a lot of techniques to learn, but the good news is that once you practice one technique a time or two, it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it again. Then it’s on to the next technique. Here’s how I did it: I read as many books on the craft of writing that I could, and with those in mind, reread my favorite authors to see how they used the techniques. Then I practiced using the techniques myself.

By the way, these so-called techniques aren’t something dreamed up by creative writing teachers. They’re distillations of what we readers want and expect from a satisfying story.

There are two things that make a writer; one of those things can’t be learned, but happily, the other can.

As Stephen King said, “First, be talented.” By that, I think he meant that some people are good with words and can produce an evocative sentence that’s nice to read or hear. Some people have the ability; some don’t. That can’t be taught.

JK THE SCARLET CONTESSA

However, storytelling can be taught. And it’s the hardest part of writing fiction. I don’t know of any first-time novelist who had complete mastery over plot, character, point of view, and heart (and if they’re out there, I hate them :)). I’m pretty much self-taught from books and thirty-two years in the industry (my first book was published in January 1982, and I’m now working on my 37th novel). I was clueless when I started out and made every “new writer” mistake possible. Unfortunately, most of my earliest books with those mistakes are in print still. But I’ve learned a lot and continue studying to get better and better; that attitude is essential for anyone who wants to get and keep a readership.

In sum: Separate your ego from your work. It isn’t about what’s best for you; it’s about what’s best for the story.

What are you working on now?

A historical novel set in Renaissance Florence called THE ORPHAN OF FLORENCE. My young female protagonist, Giovanna, survived by becoming a pickpocket (that was fun to research!) and so after writing many novels about the period’s upper classes, I get to have fun romping through the seedier parts of Florence. Giovanna gets involved with a mysterious benefactor who claims to be a powerful magician, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye. Young Lorenzo de’ Medici plays a prominent role. It’s set during the uneasy time of the Pazzi War, when Florence was in grave danger from powerful enemies. In essence, it’s a fast-paced thriller with a lot of twists.

JK I MONA LISA

 If you could spend one day with anyone, either living or dead, who would it be and why?

 The truth is, I’d want to spend it with my sisters, who’ve both passed away. But if we’re talking about famous characters from history, I’d have to say Lucrezia Borgia. I want to know whether her father, Pope Alexander VI, or her brother, Cesare, was the father of her illegitimate son. (A once-sealed papal bull declared that her child was the rightful heir to everything Pope Alexander owned–in essence, acknowledging the boy’s paternal bloodline.)

JK THE DEVIL'S QUEEN

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Bibliography of works

The Diaries of the Family Dracul

Covenant with the Vampire (1995)

Children of the Vampire (1996)

Lord of the Vampires (1997)

Novels

Specters (1991) (as J.M. Dillard)

The Burning Times (1997)

The Borgia Bride (2005)

I, Mona Lisa (2006) (UK title: Painting Mona Lisa)

The Devil’s Queen (2009)

The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance (2010)

The Inquisitor’s Wife (2013)

Movie Novelizations

The Fugitive (1993)

Bulletproof Monk (2003)

Star Trek: The Original Series

Mindshadow (1985)

Demons (1986)

Bloodthirst (1987)

The Lost Years (1989)

Recovery (1995)

Star Trek Movie Novelizations

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Star Trek Generations (1994)

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Possession (1996) (with Kathleen O’Malley)

Resistance (2007)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Emissary (1993)

Star Trek: Enterprise

Surak’s Soul (2003)

The Expanse (2003)

War of the Worlds

The Resurrection (1988)

Other books

Star Trek: Where No One Has Gone Before – A History in Pictures (1994)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook – The Movie: Generations & First Contact (1998) (with John Eaves)

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For more information about Jeanne Kalogridis

WEBSITE

http://www.jeannekalogridis.com/

BLOG

http://www.historyisabitch.com/

GOODREADS

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/49103.Jeanne_Kalogridis

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/JeanneKalogridisAuthorPage

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Jeanne%20Kalogridis&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

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Thank you Jeanne for an amazing interview and for being my guest today! I wish you much love, happiness and success.

Also, thank you for being an inspiration to me and being so kind to an aspiring author many years ago. It helped me in ways you will never know!

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“There is a reason why all things are as they are.”
― Bram Stoker, Dracula

http://www.lisavproulx.com

 

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INTERVIEW WITH VAMPIRES.COM!!!

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all staying warm wherever you are! Here in Maryland it is freeeeezing! The wind is blowing and howling like a banshee.

I am sitting in my library in front of my wood stove. Kurgan is on his bed at my feet, Steve is due home from work any minute, his daughter Taylor is watching “Burlesque” for the 100th time and life is good!

I wanted to share my latest interview with you. I was recently interviewed by Moonlight at Vampires.com.

http://www.vampires.com/exclusive-interview-with-lisa-v-proulx/

Enjoy!

PUNCTURE the "revamped" version of the original vampire novel that was first released in 2004!!!

                Can you tell us a little about your book Puncture?

                Puncture is the hauntingly beautiful tale of vampire love and betrayal between a mortal and an undead.

             Craving a taste for the dark side, Veronica gets more than she bargained for when she is seduced by Victor, an  evil and dangerous vampire. His obsession with her runs her off the road to Heaven and soon she too will turn her back on righteousness.

Longing to be mortal again and trapped in the darkness of an immortal life, she struggles with knowing right from wrong, Heaven from Hell, and love from hate.

But when she discovers the truth about her dark prince, will it be too late? Will her new vampire friend help her destroy the only man she has ever loved? And why is he so willing to help her destroy him?

You will fall in love with the innocent Veronica and her search for love, feel her joy at rekindling an old flame and die with her as the love of her life becomes her murderer.

Victor is a charming but wicked vampire who could compel a corpse on the gallows to speak. We follow him as he preys on Veronica, senses her weakness and watch as he pounces on her and destroys her with just…one…puncture.

Every woman knows a man like Victor…

How does Puncture differ from other novels about vampires?

Because it really masks a story of domestic abuse. If you think about it, every woman knows a man like Victor. An emotional vampire who sucks the life out of you. Puncture deals with the very real issue of a woman who is so in love with a man that she is willing to trade her life for hers. In return, he controls her and uses her for his own gain. Many women are living that life right now.

What inspired you to write about vampires?

I had always been drawn to them in books and movies. I had been living with a man who was an emotional vampire and he is the inspiration behind Victor. He made me so angry one night when I thought he was cheating on me, that I chose to write about him rather then to kill him. 🙂

What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Puncture?

That it is a story of domestic abuse and when a woman meets a man like Victor, she needs to run like hell. A woman will pick a man based on HER self-esteem. She must be on her own for awhile until she knows who she is, what she will tolerate and what she won’t. When she truly likes herself and can love who she is as a woman, only then, can she find true happiness with a man.

Vampires are often found in romance novels and erotica, why do you think readers find them so sexy?

Because of their power of seduction. Although most women may not admit it, they like the idea of a powerful and beautiful man overtaking them and having their way with them. They enjoy the feeling of getting lost in a man’s arms and the feeling that they are his, even for the moment.

Who’s your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?

I enjoyed Lestat from “Interview with the Vampire” by Anne Rice. I liked the rock star quality he brought to the role; Sexy, arrogant and wicked.

I also like Louis from the same movie. A lost and beautiful soul.

What is your favorite vampire book, movie and/or show?

My favorite vampire book is “Covenant with the Vampire” by my favorite author Jeanne Kalogridis.

Vampire movies that I love are, “The Lost Boys”… “Let Me In”…”Near Dark”

Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words: (bwahaha)

You’ll LOVE it!

And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?

I write other stories beside horror novels and my next book is actually a non-fiction called “The Rainbow Won’t Wait” which is “a dying mother’s advice to an obstinate daughter she is leaving behind.”

I wrote the book after losing my mother in 2006. It is filled with advice and stories of her life and how her words of wisdom got me through the darkest days of my life. How I spent three years in a crippling suicidal depression and became a better person after I got through the darkness.

I still write horror and my next novel is set back in 1800’s London and is about a child vampire.

Thanks so much for your interest and support!

My books can be found on my author profile https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lisavproulx

My blog https://lisavproulx.wordpress.com/

Lisa V. Proulx is also the author of DRAGGED INTO DARKNESS, BENEATH THE BATTLEFIELD and KING OF SHADOWS.

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