Hey guys. Thank you for joining us at the Coffee Time Romance & More. I am back again. *winks* Today I bring you the lovely Ms. Tory Michaels to discuss her Dream-Walker War series with her newest release, Prophecy of Blood.
So let us begin the interview. Ms. Tory, please first help yourself to the yummy sweet and salty goodies in front of you and with your favorite beverage ranging from coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to delicious shakes and smoothies; sit back and make yourself comfortable before I bombard you with questions.
Though I missed the chance to read the first book in the Dream-Walker War series, the second book certainly made me your fan so I jumped at the chance of interviewing you for the series.Please first introduce us to the world you have created for all the readers who have not yet tried this wonderful series out and the lead characters. How did you come about creating it?
Geez, right out of the gate you hit me with a doozy of a question. Now, it’s geeky I’ll admit, but Jordan, Christine (Blood-Mage Rising and Prophecy of Blood), Dara and Anthony (Blood Rage) all came out of some role-playing games like ten years ago. They reemerged about five years ago (at least Dara and Anthony did) and demanded I finally put their story to paper.
The world itself is Earth, but an Earth where all the supernatural beasties (except one small group, we learn at the end of Prophecy) came out of the shadows eighty years ago in the Great Awakening. Since then, they’ve integrated themselves fully into many of the countries in the world (vampires are strictly no-nos in most of the Middle East – that whole blood drinking thing kinda clashed with the local religions). In the United States, they ended up with the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs, which handles all the paranormal-related matters (FBI for the supernaturals, licensing for magic users, and panic permits which allow vampires to abandon their cars anywhere if the daylight gets too much for them).
Like I said, the characters came out of role-playing, but I built the world when a bunch of incidents collided: I was in a Master’s program for Public Administration (which I never finished because the writing bug stole me) and it had never sat well with me that vampires always got assumed to either be depressed or evil. I wanted to change that, and bring them all out of the closet. The Master’s program got me a much better idea of what went into running the government, at least as far as the bureaucracy goes. And it all built from there.
*call it excitement (evil grin).. I love role-playing games too* ;)
Now on to Jordan and Christine. What was your inspiration behind these two characters? Their journey, growth and coming into their own without losing the essence of what they were to what they are now.
I never saw Chris and Jordan coming together when I wrote Blood Rage. Not for the longest time. Jordan was there to be pure evil, and in the first draft of Rage, he was a one-chapter throwaway character meant as a motivating factor for Dara. Chris was originally supposed to there, buddy buddy with Dara and Anthony (in later versions of what became Blood Rage. Let’s just say there are multiple version of the Dara/Anthony story floating around).
Chris was supposed to end up with a half-breed incubus named Marcelo. Marcelo turned out to be a beta-male, intense at times, but more than content to stay out of the way and let Chris…and Jordan…handle the majority of the problems. I still have that entire 100k manuscript on my computer, and it was in that book that I started seeing Jordan as more than just the sociopath who did some, okay a lot, of nasty things.
Of course I also considered making her the series villain, Ares. My beta readers threatened to lynch me if I did that.
So, I decided to try my hand at Urban Fantasy, because then I could use Jordan and not have to worry about the squicky problem of Jordan in a romance. ::sigh:: Unfortunately, the sociopath had other ideas and I made the fatal mistake of asking my beta reader if she thought Jordan capable of love even though he literally has no conscience. As I put it in Prophecy (I think), Jordan ends up looking to Chris to provide him with some sort of moral compass that he knows he lacks, and until her, never knew the point in having.
Of all the characters I’ve written about, Chris and Jordan have definitely changed the most. Chris went from being the carefree, bouncy woman you meet in Chapter One of Blood Rage, to the occasionally whiny, geeky bad-ass who wasn’t afraid to work with whoever she had to (including the man who buried her alive 200 years ago, Jordan) to help out her friends.
Jordan, like I said, was supposed to be evil. ::sigh:: And then he loved opera. And sang. And loved horses. And demonstrated that, despite what I’d thought, he had a sense of humor. I’m a sucker for man who can make me laugh. And so…I re-wrote Blood-Mage to add in a deliberate sub-plot of Jordan and Chris getting together.
God that was a nightmare. You try turning a 1000 year-old sociopath into a man that readers can actually like, without losing the twisted mind that made him precisely who he was.
*hahaha.. am glad he changed your mind*
In the years that I have been reading romance, I do not believe that I have seen an author take a risk as you have done with both Jordan and Chris especially being a relatively new author. What made you create these characters which are so very unconventional, especially Jordan who is in every sense of the word a true ‘Bad guy’? *drooling*
Hehe. Oh, wow. There have been other authors (Kresley Cole with Lothair comes to mind) to take an evil character and give them a good twist. The important thing to me was that I not destroy the core of what made Jordan, well, Jordan while still presenting something that an audience could root for. He will never say he’s sorry for what he’s done because he’s incapable of feeling regret for things he’s done. He might regret their impact on Christine, but deeds themselves…no. He still revels in the wickedness, but wants to be someone that Chris will be with. So, she gave him a slightly softer side, and he nudged her back from the goody-two-shoes she tried to convince everyone she was.
*mmm.. will definately check her book out*
Me personally, I loved these two. Call me the insane pervert that Chris keeps calling herself but it had me hooked. I am curious as to what was the reader response to these characters and how would you justify your choices?
Let’s see. You’re one of only 3 or 4 who’ve read Prophecy since it came out, so your review will be pretty close to the first feedback I’ve had. ::sigh:: Those reviewers who read Blood-Mage Rising felt that Christine came across whiny (a couple of people said that) and that they had trouble getting behind a character who showed no remorse and was still the same stone-cold killer he started out as. But Blood-Mage was not a romance. It was Urban Fantasy with a romantic subplot. It was always meant to be the second Chris/Jordan book that finished their journey. I simply couldn’t squish two hundred years of antipathy between those two out in the single week’s time I had for the first book.
*well Chris is a bit whiny but that's what makes the character unique.. same goes for Jordan*
Would you say that the first book is required to be read to fully understand the world? Also there is a question of the relationship between Athdara (lead of the first book) and Jordan. Is it explained in the first book? This particular mystery has left me confused if I should grab it too though I did not have trouble following the rest.
Mmm, not fully. I think enough of it’s referenced since the events of Blood Rage take place over the same time period as the other two books. But it focuses on Ares’s first foray, demonstrates just how dangerous a blood rage is to a vampire, and yes. It deals more with what happened between Jordan and Dara. Jordan’s machinations are the primary reason Dara and Anthony didn’t get together for the first two hundred years. I’ll leave it at Dara was, erm, an unwilling guest of Jordan’s for two weeks, and came out with scars over her entire body.
The Prophecy of Blood like the Blood-Mage Rising again ended on a cliff-hanger which has me salivating for the next book. When will it be out? Will it be the last book or will there be more in the series with these characters?
Erm…right, next book. I don’t know if there will be. Clearly my books haven’t reached the tastes of the reading audience. I mean, c’mon, no one pirates my books and pirates steal everything.
I know what happens in the world, and where I want it to go. However, none of the potential cast of heroes and heroines have stepped up to volunteer. There was an entire second series in mind that’s set about 100 years after the events in Prophecy. But now…I don’t know.
*well that is a very disappointing news.. I hope you continue anyway (that's my selfishness talking)* :)
The next book will continue Jordan & Chris as lead or will there be a new lead? Any one we know?
They grew on me, but their romance is over. I’d love to do a Dallas/Rourke thing (JD Robb’s In Death series reference) with Chris and Jordan, but Evernight’s focus is on romance. So…I don’t know.
Ronnie was supposed to step up as the heroine for Book 4. That isn’t working so well.
*Ronnie was another badass yet a sweetheart.. sigh.. liked her*
I loved your take on the mystery of Atlantis and its disappearance. Though Chris and Jordan now have the required information, we, the readers, do not. Will all be explained soon? *wicked grin*
How do you come up with the character dynamics and interactions? I mean is it planned or the characters guide you, both lead and secondary?
They definitely lead me. See my answers regarding how I came up with Jordan as a romantic lead above. :P
I noticed that Xanthea lived for a long time in a Muslim country and a number of insights in the Prophecy reveal that some of the others mentioned in the prophecy might be from the same area. Will this play a bigger role in the next book and is it possible bringing religion into the story might create a controversy considering the situation in the world nowadays? Especially the mention of Jihad and Jahunnum etc..
No. I absolutely have no intention of stirring controversy. I had characters that needed to be part of the story, and given their local, it seemed far more likely that they would be Muslim than Christian. So that’s what they are. Their faith and belief in the ultimate Jihad that brings about the end is in no way related to the events of Prophecy. It’s simply how they were interpreting what they couldn’t possibly understand (since they didn’t know about the prophecy about Atlantis).
In Blood Rage, I actually reference a practicing Muslim vampire. This was entirely to demonstrate just how wide-spread vampirism was. The vampire in question was one of Ares’s first victims, and she kept her faith by believing that suicide was haraam. Yes, Muslims aren’t supposed to drink blood, but she didn’t ask to become a vampire (she was turned against her will), and since suicide’s forbidden in Islam, she had to drink blood.
*that is true.. a delimma..*
You seem to have put in a lot of research for this series. Any interesting facts or information you would like to tell us about that you came across during your research?
Mmm, nothing comes to mind immediately. It was interesting to see how the myth/legends of Atlantis came about, and I had a lot of fun playing with that one.
Are you working on any other books/series apart from the Dream-Walker War? If yes, is it the same genre or a spin-off from this series or a stand-alone book etc? Can we have a sneak peak?
I am currently about 20% done with a totally unrelated book that’s meant to be the first book in at least a trilogy. The series is tentatively called Hearts of Stone. It’s another alternate reality Earth where paranormal creatures exist, except in this world, the humans are pretty clueless about what walks around with them, vampires are pure evil, and there is a battle for the very fabric of the universe.
*sounds interesting though the opposite of DWW series..*
I read that you have three kids, a kindergartener and twin toddlers. How in the world do you manage them, your house, marital life and writing? Sounds like a tiring job to me.
I sleep less than I should. I write during the early morning hours and my lunch. Lately I haven’t been able to write at night (partially because I’m getting up between 4 and 5).
*tough job being a woman..* ;)
Do ideas come easily to you for stories and the writing just flows flawlessly or you have to make an outline and plan the story? I guess what I mean to ask is, are you a planner or a panster?
Oh! That word. That’s a perfectly nasty word. Outline. ::shudder:: Okay, I used an outline for the first six chapters of Prophecy to get me started and broke away from it within two chapters…BUT it got me going.
How difficult is it to write a series in which you have created a whole new world? How do you keep track of what is told and what is to be told without it being confusing or conflicting?
The Dream-Walker War is scattered, but mostly in my head. I never managed to do a series bible for it. I go back and re-read… a lot to make sure I don’t accidentally change someone’s hair color. I don’t catch quite everything, but thus far there has only been one place I can think of where there’s a bit of a mix-up. But, as a demonstration of the things I’ve caught that I screwed up on was a minor flunky of Ares’s (Pierce Townsend from Blood-Mage Rising). Up until the final round of edits before submitting to Evernight, in the scene he was in, he was both a were-bear and a were-tiger. ::groan::
Do you have any author which you consider a role-model or inspiration to writing books?
As of today, when I finished her Midnight Breed series…LARA ADRIAN! Oh my freakin’ lord! Now that woman can write a book!
*that certainly is another very interesting series*
There is a question that has been going around in my head whenever I read a paranormal romance. May be you can enlighten me. Why it is that in most of the paranormal romances, explicit sex is an important/integral factor? Is it something planned or comes with the story or genre?
I certainly wish it wasn’t, but for the e-books, it certainly seems that it’s becoming more and more explicit. Even in the mainstream, big-6 published books, sex has become far more explicit. Truth be told, that’s my least favorite part of writing these books, having to show the down and dirty. Though I certainly like some of what I conjure up. Heh. Chris and Jordan in Chris’s bathroom comes immediately to mind.
*sigh.. don't kill me readers but I agree explicit sex has become tiring..*
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there interested in writing a series and creating a new world? Any personal experience you want to share with them about your journey?
Write every freakin’ detail down as you come up with it! Don’t try to keep it all in your head. It will save you time and frustration in the long run.
*hehe.. sound advice..*
Any last comments or message for all your readers out there and us, here at Coffee Time Romance and More?
I’m so excited to get to be here. I wanted to show up on CTR since Blood Rage first came out early in 2012, and here it is!
Wuv you, Jeri!
And we are certainly glad to have you. :)
Thank you so much for taking time out to spend time with us here at Coffee Time Romance & More and giving us more insight to your books and writing. I hope you will join us again. Best of luck and success to you.
Readers I hope you also enjoyed as much as I did. I personally cannot wait for the next book but unfortunately it might not come unless you go, try it for yourself and then ask the author for more. Thank you for your time. We would love to hear your feedback. See you next time with another great author.