This interview ran in the February 2009 issue of Estella’s Revenge.
HF: So, what is Victoria up to now that she’s back in London, in “When Twilight Burns?”
CG: Victoria is heading back home to London because she’s been notified that the heir to the Rockley estate has been found, and, well, she needs to get her stuff out of the Rockley house. She also wants to return to London to forestall any chance that her mother and her two cronies will make another trip to Italy.
HF: Okay, what gives? Just want is it about vampires that has everyone reading? You, Stephanie Meyer, the Casts, and more; it seems like vampires are everywhere!
CG: There are vampires everywhere! I think it really started with Ann Rice and Chelsea Quin Yarbro–at least, as far as contemporary authors go. (Obviously, there was DRACULA and THE VAMPYRE and other books/stories previously.) And then Laurell K Hamilton, and others like JR Ward, came along. Most of them portray the vampire as the protagonist, whereas in my books, of course, the undead are the villains.
I think some of the fascination with vampires is that immortality aspect, and the superhuman powers…along with the eroticism of having one’s flesh penetrated (with fangs). The fact that a human can be changed or turned, and given those powers–and those limitations–makes for interesting reading. And for compelling conflict when they interact with mortals. Fascinating, really. I just don’t have the urge to write a sympathetic vampire.
HF: One of the things I love best about you, besides your writing, of course, is how open you are with your readers through your website and your blog. Do you find that their opinions affect your writing?
CG: Thanks so much! What a lovely thing to say. (And now I’m blushing.) I really enjoy blogging, and I think part of the reason is that since I don’t go to an office and I work alone, my blog has become that social outlet that I used to have with co-workers. A lot of my blog entries tend to be things like water-cooler conversations, or the kinds of things I’d complain/chat/expound about if I went into an office or other job every day, or if I met friends for lunch or at the bar. That’s the kind of conversations I try to keep on my blog.
And now that I’ve been blogging for awhile, and I know who my audience is, that makes it even more fun–because I sort of know who I’m talking to. I know how certain people will respond. It’s my social outlet, and usually, it doesn’t take me more than fifteen minutes per day to write the blog. I admit, I’m not as good about coming back and keeping the conversation going–nor am I as good about visiting and commenting on other blogs as I used to…but I’m trying to get better at that.
I am very flattered that people find my blog interesting, and it always makes my day when people join in the conversation, too.
Oh, and do the blog-readers’ opinions affect my writing? No. Because by the time they’re reading the books, I’m already one or two books ahead of them–and the decisions have already been made. (Thank goodness!)
HF: Do you find it hard to take their opinions in stride and stay true to what you want to do as the writer?
CG: Sometimes it can be a bit cringeworthy, when I hear a particular point of view and I think…oh, huh. Interesting.
Or…hmmmm…he/she missed the boat on that. Or….NEVER!!! I’d never do that.
LOL. But that’s okay–everyone has their opinions, and like I said, since the books are already written before the blog readers can even respond to them, it makes it easy for me to say–well, that’s the way it is.
Aside of that, I really do know how I want the story to be told, so even if everyone was up in arms about something in regards to the story, I wouldn’t change it. That’s called “protecting the story”, as one of my favorite authors, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, has said. And she’s right.
HF: Now, Max and Sebastian, the hot, hot leading men. Do your fans have strong opinions on which one Victoria should end up with? I know I do!
CG: Yes, my fans do weigh in on who Victoria should pick. Max has a slight majority over Sebastian, but the Sebastian fans are bloodthirsty. Well, some of the Max fans are too. And there are several people who want to know just why Victoria has to choose, anyway? LOL. Since these books are categorized as Romances, unfortunately, she has to eventually ride off into the sunset with only one of them.
But I have had people threaten to write fanfic with a Max/Sebastian/Victoria menage. Or, even, a Max/Sebastian scene. (Though I’ve yet to see one.)
HF: Do you feel that by keeping your blog and such a strong presence in the blogging world has helped your career?
CG: It’s impossible to quantify whether my blog presence has resulted in more book sales (although I know it has because people have told me so), but at the very least, it’s helped me remain sane. And it also helps me to know that, yeah, there are people who read the books, and who enjoy them, and who are waiting for the next installment….it takes away that worry that I’m writing in a vacuum. So, in those ways, definitely it has helped.
HF: Has there ever been a question you are surprised you haven’t been asked? What is it and, more importantly, what’s the answer?
CG: I can’t really think of one, except maybe for people to ask if I have a religious background and what is it–because of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles’ mythology. It is highly influenced by Catholicism. And, yes, I’m Catholic. You can see the that in the series if you’re looking for it–the bottom line being that the series portrays the ever-present battle between good and evil.
HF: Victoria went to some very dark places, literally and emotionally. How hard was it to write these scenes? Did you ever worry that you would lose control of your character?
CG: No. I loved writing those scenes. They energized me. I found my heart racing, and my breathing increasing. Seriously. The ends of the books–those last few chapters where everything piles up and the worst happens–are so amazing to write. My fingers don’t work fast enough, and I find myself out of breath, and tense everywhere at the end.
HF: What is your favorite scene from all of the books?
CG: Wow. That’s a hard one. I don’t know if I can name a favorite scene, but there are a few that I really loved….In THE BLEEDING DUSK, I really loved the scene where Sebastian, Victoria, and Max are all captured in the dungeon. And in RISES THE NIGHT, I really liked the scene where Max visits Victoria when she’s been captured and disarmed. In WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS, one of my favorite scenes is the chapter wherein a taut string snaps. And I love the epilogue for AS SHADOWS FADE.
HF: What has been the biggest challenge, other than getting published, with writing this series?
CG: I think it’s been wanting to make each book different from the last in the sense of its structure. Ie, is it a chase/adventure book (RISES THE NIGHT), a scavenger hunt (DUSK & SHADOWS FADE), a mystery (TWILIGHT BURNS), or what? I try to give each book a different feel as far as structure–but of course, each book is going to have many of the same elements: the Big Bad, the threat of the End of the World, fight scenes, etc. But the structure sort of needs to be a little different. And the underlying message.
In THE REST FALLS AWAY, the theme was making choices. In RISES THE NIGHT, the theme was sacrifice for the greater good. DUSK portrayed regrets, and how making the wrong decision can haunt you and affect your world. WHEN TWILIGHT BURNS is about how we each have the propensity for evil, and that it’s a constant inner battle. And AS SHADOWS FADE is about sacrifice, and also about acceptance of one’s place/choices in life, and balance.
HF: Can you tell us a little of what to expect for Victoria in the last book?
CG: Victoria will face a different sort of evil demon than she’s ever faced before, and this will result in the necessity of the Venators allying themselves–or at least cooperating–with the vampires in order to vanquish this evil. She’ll go to Prague as well as the mountains of Lilith’s lair, and there are a few surprising things that will happen. (I may hear from readers about this one. Yikes.) But, in the end, most of the loose threads will be wrapped up and Victoria will have a happy ever after–at least, as much as Illa Gardella can have.
HF: And what can we expect for Colleen Gleason?
CG: I’m currently working on a brand-new series due to be released in 2010 under a pen name (as yet to be decided!). There are no vampires in it, and it’s not set in a historical time period, which is why I’ll be writing under a different name. There will be paranormal elements to this series, and I’ve planned six books (am currently contracted for three). While there will be very strong female leads in the books, the series actually focuses on a group of five men (and the women they will love) who are thrown together when the world undergoes massive destruction…and they come out on the other side, so to speak, changed and bonded. Each book will focus on the story of one of them, although the books will overlap and integrate throughout the series.
It’s very unique, and I’m really excited about it. More info when I have a name and titles and release dates, etc.
Thank you so much for having me here on Estella’s Revenge! I always appreciate your time–and the great questions you have for me!
And thank you Colleen for your fascinating answers!