Lara Adrian, best-selling author of the Midnight Breed series, gave us some insight into both her real and literary worlds this month. Find out what she’d do with a year off, her java preferences, and what made her stop going medieval and start penning stories about dark and seriously sexy vampires!
Lara, welcome to Coffee Time Romance! How do you take your brew? (strong and dark with a little type-A on the side? Haha!)
LOL – I do love my coffee! And I’m kind of picky about it too; I like it black, strong and fresh ground. If I really want to spoil myself, I’ll make it in a French press, but most mornings I’m way too groggy to deal with all that so it’s Mr. Coffee to the rescue. My personal favorite cup of brew is Guatemalan Organic Dark Roast from www.PeaceCoffee.com (they sell shade grown, free trade coffees from independent growers and the beans are so good they will ruin you for all of the commercial brands – so be warned!).
What made you pick up a pen and start writing about Vampires?
I grew up reading horror novels and watching the old “Creature Feature” movies on late-night TV, and hands-down my biggest fascination was with vampires. They were the only monster that truly scared me—the only monster that I ever believed could actually be real. As a kid I believed it so much, in fact, that I developed a habit of sleeping with the covers up around my neck to protect me from vampire attacks. Even though I’m no longer worried about waking up with fangs in my neck, I still sleep best when the covers are tucked under my chin. Strange but true!
I think the thing that makes vampires so intriguing is the fact that (for most people) they inspire both fear and desire in equal measure. We know we shouldn’t be attracted to this dark, dangerous, (not to mention traditionally undead) creature, yet we’re seduced by the vampire’s preternatural charm and power. We’re drawn to the idea of eternal life and the kind of visceral, all-or-nothing passion that vampires alone can offer. To me, they are the ultimate bad boys—the true dark knights of romance!
Tell us about ‘The Breed’, what makes them different.
I think of the Midnight Breed series as a kind of cross between Predator and Blade . . . but with more sex, LOL. The vampires in my novels are not the classic undead or the damned, nor can they turn anyone else into a vampire. Even though I love the traditional folklore, I wanted to invent my own story world and give my vampires a more biological background (as I find it rather squicky to be romancing a corpse!). So the Breed is actually a hybrid human/alien race that’s been living in secret alongside us for centuries. The general setup is that thousands of years ago, a small group of savage humanoid warriors from another planet crash-landed on Earth. These alien beings could not consume our planet’s crude proteins and had to resort to hunting human beings for blood in order to survive. Their skin was hypersensitive to UV light, as were their eyes, so they could only move around safely at night. They had advanced telekinetic and ESP skills, and they were also gifted with mind control and incredible speed of motion. But they were also violent, war-minded conquerors, decimating entire villages as they moved across the land in search of food and plunder. Over time, the other-worlders ended up impregnating human women. These matings were rare because not all human women could carry the alien seed. It took a female with special blood properties and DNA traits in order for those matings to result in offspring—those hybrid offspring being the first generation of the Breed.
My series begins in present day Boston. Those Ancient alien other-worlders are all dead now, and the Breed today comprises only a handful of first generation individuals, with the bulk of the vampire population consisting of later generations of males born further down the line. Members of the Breed look fully human most of the time, even though they still have all the strengths (and weaknesses) of their forbears. They can live for many hundreds of years, but they must only consume blood, must avoid sunlight, and they can only mate with human women who have the same rare genetic qualities of those females who carried the first generation. Breed vampires, unlike the aliens who spawned the race, have a strict code of honor when it comes to feeding on humans and sharing the planet with mankind. Many struggle with the savage part of their natures, while some go Rogue and succumb to Bloodlust, an addiction to blood and violence that is next to impossible to overcome.
I hope that makes sense! It’s kind of hard to break it all down into a few paragraphs…. (This is why I’m a *novel* writer, and not a short story writer, I suppose!)
You’ve written several books in this series so far. What was it like to have a book on the Bestsellers List, and is there pressure to make the follow-up stories even better than the last?
Having a book make the bestsellers lists is something I think every writer dreams about and let me tell you, it’s an amazing feeling! For me, the sense of accomplishment—and astonishment—is even more meaningful because I’ve written several other books (medieval romances under the name Tina St. John), and worked just as hard on them, without achieving this kind of success. For me, the pressure to learn something new with each new book and to make each one better than the last is always there in the back of my mind as I work, and has been since I wrote my very first manuscript more than ten years ago.
I love writing and creating fictional worlds and characters, and I never want to get bored doing something that gives me this level of joy. So in writing a multi-book series in particular, that means challenging myself constantly and really striving to keep things interesting within the fabric of my story world. With the Midnight Breed series, my personal challenge is to give each book its own individual personality, with each romance pairing having its own special dynamic and plot, while still maintaining the larger story arc that’s playing out over the course of the entire series. Some days, all I want is to make it out of a day’s writing session with my sanity still intact.
Your newest book, Midnight Rising, is Rio’s story. Please tell us about him and what we can expect from this book.
Rio is a member of the Order, which is the group of Breed warriors at the core of the Midnight Breed series. Rio first appeared in Kiss of Midnight (Book One). In the course of that book, he was betrayed by someone close to him, and was nearly killed in a terrible ambush by the Order’s enemies. Since that time, Rio has been grappling with both physical injuries and emotional damage that have left the once gregarious, handsome vampire in a steep downward spiral. He sees no end to his anguish . . . but of course, he has no idea that a very special woman is about to enter his life (and turn it upside down) in Midnight Rising! Only pretty, inquisitive Dylan Alexander—a tabloid reporter who stumbles upon a secret that threatens to expose the entire vampire race—can jolt Rio out of his misery and force him back into the land of the living. I’ve heard from a lot of readers that they’ve been waiting anxiously for Rio’s story and I hope I’ve done him justice!
I love your book trailer for Midnight Breed. Tell us what it’s like to have a little of your story come to life that way.
Thanks! I’ve heard that video trailers for books get something of a mixed reaction online, but I really enjoy making them for my books so it’s as much for myself as it is for fans of the series. My talented web designer, Justin Knupp of www.StonecreekMedia.com produces my trailers. I usually give him a music selection and the text to use for the trailer, then he works his magic with selecting images and putting the whole thing together. Seeing one of my trailers for the first time is as exciting as seeing my book cover art for the first time. Suddenly the story and characters that have been living in my head for months have become something real!
Incidentally, I also have a trailer for Midnight Rising. You can view it on my website at: http://www.laraadrian.com/trailer-Rising.html
Your books are now published in several languages. How did you feel the first time you saw your name on a German-language cover? Do you keep copies of your books in all their variations?
The German translations were especially exciting for me because my mom is from Germany. Unfortunately, I don’t speak the language (yet!) but I was beyond thrilled when we got word that the series would be published over there. I’m also excited about my Spanish translations, which will give me a chance to dust off my three years of high school Spanish lessons and attempt to read them!
So far I’ve only received copies of the German novels, and I have a special place on my office bookshelves reserved for the set as they come in.
What was your life like before becoming such an accomplished writer, and do you now write full time?
I’ve written full-time since I sold my first book in 1998. Actually, I have an incredibly supportive husband who let me quit my well-paying, upwardly mobile (but dreadfully boring) corporate job back in 1995 so I could get serious about writing that first novel. He remained supportive when it took me more than two years to finish that first manuscript, and he was there cheering me on when it sold to Ballantine Books four months after I began submitting it to publishers. When Ballantine decided they didn’t want any more medieval romances from me in July 2005 (right after we bought our condo—our first property purchase after about 15 years of renting), he didn’t tell me to give up writing and get a practical job, nor did he bat an eye when I said I wanted to switch gears completely and write a vampire book next. And when multiple publishers came back with offers on the proposal for that vampire book the very same week my agent sent it out, my husband was the first one to tell me that he knew I could do it. So, in my personal life, I’ve been very blessed. I have the kind of romance and connection that I’ve been writing about for years. All the rest is gravy.
If you could take a year off to do anything you’d like where money was no worry, what would you do?
A whole year? Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin! My first thought is that I would love to live on the water for that year, whether it’s on a beach somewhere (probably tropical, if my husband has anything to say about it) or maybe a lake house with lots of windows and a peaceful little cove where we could launch our kayaks. Bliss to me would be someplace tranquil, surrounded by nature, where I could unwind and stretch my imagination. Umm, would it be wrong for me to hope for a strong internet connection and a computer as well? And a year’s supply of my favorite coffee….?
Do you enjoy reading what your fans and other authors say about your books? What are your favorite sites to visit?
I love hearing from my readers! I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support the series has received from all over the world. I read every email, letter, and MySpace message that comes in and I try very hard to answer each and every one. Right now I’m about a month or more behind (it gets worse around deadline time) but I’m working on it! Hearing from fellow authors is also very flattering, and I’ve found many great new books through the friendships I’ve made among the writing community.
When I’m online, I spend most of my time answering emails and MySpace messages (I do love MySpace!) or researching one thing or another in my books. I will admit to a near daily addiction to PopSugar.com and DListed.com. I visit a handful of industry blogs, and no day is complete without a visit to iTunes to feed my iPod some new music or TV show download.
If anyone would like to friend me on MySpace, please feel free! My page is located at http://www.myspace.com/laraadrian
Thanks for your time, Lara. Congratulations on the release of Midnight Rising on March 25! I've truly enjoyed the book, and can’t wait to read more books in the Midnight Breed series!
Thanks so much for inviting me to talk with you at Coffee Time Romance & More!