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Lara Adrian Bibliography & Interview

Midnight Breed Series (in reading order)

LoveVampires Author Interview with Lara Adrian:

Lara Adrian on Lara Adrian

Lara Adrian Author PictureI live in coastal New Hampshire with my husband and a rescued, thoroughly spoiled, 19 pound, grey-and-white tuxedo cat named Sammy. I grew up in Michigan, but my dad is from Massachusetts and we often visited the area, which fueled my love for New England. My father's family roots stretch back to William Bradford of the Mayflower and farther—to England, where one of our ancestors, John Leland, served King Henry VIII as his Royal Antiquary. Leland wrote several texts chronicling the English countryside, and he’s also credited with writing a poem read at the coronation ceremony of Anne Boleyn!

As for me, I’ve always loved writing, but I never dreamed it could be something I’d do for a living. I spent about ten years working office jobs and starting/running small companies, but with the strong encouragement of my husband twelve years ago, I started writing my first novel, a medieval romance. Two years later I finished it, and the book was published by Ballantine in 1999. Now I’m on my tenth novel, which means I’ve typed nearly a million words to date!

Lara Adrian on Kiss of Midnight

Kiss of Midnight Cover PictureKiss of Midnight is the first book in my Midnight Breed series, and it goes on sale May 1st from Bantam Dell. It introduces the world of the Breed--the vampire nation that has secretly existed among humankind for thousands of years--and that of the Order, the cadre of vampire warriors who live on the dark fringe of that society, dispensing swift, lethal justice to the members of the vampire race who give in to the disease of Bloodlust and turn Rogue.

Kiss of Midnight is Lucan's story; he is the leader of the Order. As one of the oldest of his kind and the founder of the warrior class, Lucan is feared and respected for his power and his rigid sense of honor. But Lucan hides a secret weakness, something that threatens to destroy him as it did his father and two elder brothers. The very last thing he needs is to find himself entangled with a mortal woman who tempts him like no other. Gabrielle stirs in Lucan all that is primal and male, unleashing a fierce hunger in him that only she can slake. Her blood will either save him, or condemn him as the beast he fears he truly is.

While the romance between Lucan and Gabrielle is the heart of the novel, there are several other subplots that unfold as well, including the growing threat of the blood war within the race; the deep bonds--and shattering losses--that affect any tight group of brothers-in-arms; and the struggle that Gabrielle, as a human, experiences as she is forced to accept this strange otherworld as her own. I've always loved big novels with lots of story, and that's what I'm striving to deliver with each installment of the Midnight Breed series.

Writing as Tina St. John, you are the author of several medieval romances. What made you decide that you wanted to write a contemporary paranormal romance, and what made you choose to write about vampires?

Tina St John Novel PictureTo be perfectly candid, my previous publisher decided that my medieval romances were not selling in large enough numbers for them to contract me for another one. They assured me it wasn’t the quality of my writing, but rather a soft market in the historical romance genre for anything non-Regency. The suggestion came back that they wanted me to try my hand at a contemporary paranormal. What no one knew, including my agent, was that I’d been dying to write something dark and contemporary! I’ve always had a fear/fascination with vampires—the only monster that ever scared me as a child—and I also had a mad crush on them, thanks to Anne Rice. Vampire romance was a natural direction for me to go, and I’m having an absolute blast. I haven’t known this kind of excitement for my writing in a very long time.

There is a superficial similarity between the vampires of the Midnight Breed and J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood (they are both about living warrior alpha male vampires who live together in a compound) are you worried about comparisons being made between the two series?

I began writing my series the month before JR’s first book was released, so although I absolutely adore her BDB series, and take any comparisons to her as high praise, I wasn’t aware of any similarities until after I’d sold my Midnight Breed series and JR's BDB books started coming out. JR was actually one of my first readers as I was developing my proposal and she really encouraged me each step of the way. We became friends several years ago, having both written for Ballantine Books, and we also share an agent.

My personal inspiration for how the Breed warriors in my series live together was actually a mashing together of the sophisticated vampire coven living in a mansion in the movie Underworld (my own headquarters modeled loosely after the Burrage Mansion in Boston), a bit of the television series Alias’s slick operations center, and my own imagination. As for the fact that my vampires are living beings and not the undead or "turned" humans, that’s just the mythos that appeals to me personally. I made them a hybrid human/alien race because I tend to gravitate toward scientific explanations for things, rather than things based in folklore or superstition. I don’t think I’d be capable of writing a beta hero, so all my guys are—and always have been, in all my books—alpha to the core.

J R Ward cover PictureTo further answer the question about concerns over comparisons between my series and JR’s, I do see some similarities in the tone of our books, but it’s not something I’ve tried—or tried not—to do. My voice, and my imagination, are simply what they are. I will admit, however, to redirecting one particular story element that had been in my original proposal for the series, but I later recast when I learned that JR had gotten there first. In the third book of my series, I had planned to pair one of my warriors with a woman undergoing treatment for leukemia (something my family had been exposed to over a four-year period with the prolonged illness of my husband’s eldest daughter, who passed a year ago January). In hindsight, I realize it would have been wrenching to revisit the emotion of that experience, so I wasn’t at all reluctant to switch gears when I realized JR’s second book featured a heroine with cancer. JR covered that ground brilliantly, besides.

J. R. Ward gave you a great cover quote for Kiss of Midnight, so she must have really liked your book too?

As I mentioned above, JR really got behind me as I was making this transition into new, darker territory with my writing. It was so exciting watching her career soar off the charts with the introduction of the BDB, and I’m thrilled that she liked my work enough to offer her endorsement.

Kiss of Midnight is an original and refreshing read, full of surprising plot twists and ideas, yet both the vampire genre and the romance genre can be full of clichés. Does this make writing vampire romance especially difficult?

Thank you for the kind words! I love to be surprised and kept guessing by a fast-paced, sexy novel, so that’s what I try to write. Fortunately—or unfortunately, I suppose—I haven’t read a lot of vampire romances, so I’m only aware on a cursory level of the clichés within the genre. I don’t believe there are any totally new ideas in fiction, but a writer can make something feel fresh and exciting by the way s/he chooses to illustrate her story and characters. Originality comes down, I think, to the writer’s own unique view of the world and the language employed to convey that view.

In the idea stage of a novel which comes first, the characters or the plot?

A little of both, actually. Each book is different, I've found. For KISS OF MIDNIGHT, I'd already had the basic structure of the story world and the underlying, central plot of the series in place--enough to know that I could carry it through several novels. I knew who Lucan was, and I knew a lot of his backstory, but it was by digging deeper into his character that I found the romantic plot of his book and the core of his personal, internal conflicts.

I do think a writer is smart to spend time and effort in really peeling apart his or her protagonist (and the rest of the cast) to make sure the book is peopled with realistic, intriguing, and complex characters who are believably motivated to act as the writer needs them to act within the plot. In the end, your plot depends on the strength and depth of your characters, so don't skimp on creating them and bringing them to life on the page.

What is your writing style, are you a detailed planner or do you just sit down and write?

I've always been a plotter. I need to have some idea of what I'll be writing when I sit down to do it, and having a roadmap means I make fewer wrong turns in the story. I think this is why my editors consider me a clean writer, even in draft mode. If I attempted to let a story just pour out of me by the seat of my pants, I'm sure there would be a lot of go-nowhere scenes and spiraling conflicts.

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own and surprise you or are you always in control?

LOL -- Now that I've gone on in the previous question about how careful I am with my plotting, I have to admit that there are times a character, or an idea for an unexpected twist, will surprise me as I'm in the thick of a given scene. Because I know my characters pretty well before I begin a book, very often those little surprises are still organic to the character or his/her development and I will follow them to see where the lead. If you rigidly ignore those moments because they weren't in the initial plan for the book (as I've learned from experience) you risk shutting out something that could be just the right spark of magic that was needed.

I actually have an example of this from KISS OF MIDNIGHT. The heroine, Gabrielle, was orphaned as an infant and bounced from one foster home to another through most of her childhood. She never fit in anywhere, and never understood why. In my outline, I'd originally planned that Gabrielle had attempted suicide as a teenager because of her inner turmoil. As I got farther into the story, Gabrielle revealed to me that the cuts on her forearms weren't suicidal at all, even though they were self-inflicted. I realized in that moment that she had a history of cutting--she needed to bleed just to feel alive. She didn't know why, but I did. To say much more would spoil some of the story, but suffice to say I followed Gabrielle's new spin on her history and a lot of her conflicts and attitudes made a great deal more sense to me as I moved forward with the story.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? In particular ones who are interested in writing paranormal romance?

Paranormal romance has never been hotter, but because of that, editors are seeing a lot of great new material and they have the luxury of being very choosy about what they acquire. Also, there is the risk that paranormal romance is peaking and may begin a downward slid in popularity before too long. That doesn't mean there's not room for something really special--NYC publishers and readers alike are just waiting to be swept away into a fully-realized, imaginative paranormal world. Strive to make your story world real and multi-layered, with enough twists on reality to keep the reader intrigued but not confused. Make your world and the characters in it different, but recognizable, relatable.

One other thing for paranormal romance writers to keep in mind is a criticism I once heard an editor make about submissions she was receiving. Don't make your novel *all* about the world-building and the "wow" factor of your paranormal element(s), whatever they may be. Remember that you are telling a story about characters, but more importantly, characters in conflict. Don't sacrifice character or emotion for the sake of gimmicky paranormal tricks and magic.

Kiss of Crimson, the second book in the Midnight Breed series is due for release in June 2007, can you tell us about that book?

Kiss Of Crimson Cover PictureKISS OF CRIMSON is Dante's book. It picks up a few months after KISS OF MIDNIGHT ends. Without spoiling too much, Dante's story revolves around a new drug that's circulating among the Breed and turning a lot of the young vampires into Rogues. Dante and the rest of the Order set out to put a stop to the manufacture and distribution of this drug, called Crimson, and Dante unexpectedly finds himself blood-bonded to a woman who just might be in league with his enemies. This book goes deeper into the world of the Breed, bringing in some new characters from the Darkhavens--the civilian sanctuaries where the general population of vampires live--and characters from KISS OF MIDNIGHT are also present as participants in this second book.

There is a third book planned for this series. Do you have a title or release date for that yet?

I’m writing the third book now, which is titled MIDNIGHT AWAKENING. It’s recently been put on the Bantam Dell schedule as a December 2007 release.

Any hints about what will be in it?

MIDNIGHT AWAKENING is Tegan’s book—he’s the broody, quietly tormented one, and easily the deadliest of all the warriors. You’ll meet his heroine in KISS OF CRIMSON, the second of the series. This book has a lot going on, and will not only shed light on the history of the Breed and the warriors of the Order, but also provide some surprising revelations about where things are heading. It’s also shaping up to be the most passionate of the series so far, given the nature of the alliance Tegan forms with the heroine of the story. Beyond that, I hesitate to say more for fear of spoiling things.

Will the third book be the last in the series or could you write more?

Actually, I’m pleased to report that I’ve been contracted for three more books in the Midnight Breed series, which will bring the total (so far) to six!

If your bookcase was on fire and you could only save three books, which three would you choose?

Tina ST John Novel PictureOh, that’s a terrible thought! I’d have to save my autographed copy of THE DA VINCI CODE (I met Dan Brown at a small signing event in the first few weeks the book was released—he was so gracious and entertaining, a genuinely nice guy). I’d also save the 1866 book of love poems that one of my New England ancestors inscribed as a gift “from a friend” to the woman he would eventually marry. Lastly—only three?—I’d have to save my first run copy of my second novel, LADY OF VALOR, the only one of my books that’s out of print.

Who is your favourite fictional vampire?

Hands down, as he was my first, I have to say Anne Rice’s Lestat de Lioncourt. Vicious, vain, sensual, sophisticated, and tormented—most other vampires can only aspire to be as cool and sexy as him.

You're walking down a dark alley and a vampire jumps out in front of you; are you a screamer, a slayer, a runner or vampire bait?

I suppose that really depends on the vampire! ;-)
31st March 2007

A big "Thank You" to Lara Adrian for taking part in the LoveVampires Interview.

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