I’m really excited for everyone to know a little more about Melissa R. Smith and her Sanguine series. If you’re a fan of the paranormal genre, I recommend her books. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into the genre, I think she’d be a good author to begin with.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself other than the standard bio on your website?
A. One of my favorite places in the world is at the beach and would spend all my summer there, if I could. I also enjoy learning about European history. Not just reading dates and places, but the culture itself is fascinating, anything to do with clothing, etiquette, the class system.
Q. What drew you to write about the paranormal?
A. I can’t say there was one, particular defining moment which drew me to write paranormal fiction, it just seems that I’ve always had an interest in it, particularly in the area of vampires. I’ve written in different genres before and just found that I’m the most comfortable writing paranormal.
Q. Some authors use the term paranormal, while others use supernatural. Which term do you prefer and why?
A. I prefer the term paranormal, as supernatural tends to make me think more of ghosts and hauntings. Though I do believe that both terms do cross the boundaries sometimes. It’s certainly up to each individual author to decide which word suits them best.
Q. Legacy was turned down by an independent publisher; are you still interested in pursuing the traditional route?
A. I greatly enjoy what I’m doing right now, but being published traditionally is always a possibility. I believe that if it’s meant to happen, it will. So, until then, I will concentrate on writing the best novels I can for those who enjoy reading them.
Q. Tell us about the Sanguine series and what inspired it.
A: I was never into the ultra-violent vampires that you read about in many adult-centered novels; still I wasn’t ready to write about vampires in the young adult genre. When I began writing about them, I simply tried to picture our world with Sanguines in it – the undead in its simplest form. No magical powers or hidden agenda, just a group of beings who have always been in between the living and the dead and how the Unveiling in 1903 forced them to interact with their only means of survival, humans. The Sanguine Series has the romance that most readers enjoy, mixed with elements of our everyday lives. I think it makes the series more believable and an easier read.
Q. Sanguine Historian, Derick Upton, wrote an entry on Sanguine myths. How much is based in tradition, and how much is made up?
A. I think almost all of it is based on some sort of tradition, the typical legends of vampires throughout history. Derick is very thorough and did his research, which is why he hates the term vampire so much. Sanguines get a bad reputation because of these earlier myths that, for centuries, no one ever tried to dispute. Derick felt it was time to set things straight.
Q. In Six Hours to Sunrise (book 1), Laney asks for the Midnight Special. How did you come up with the idea for Sanguine clubs? Do all the clubs have the Midnight Special or does it vary on what it’s called?
A. In the world of Sanguines, I felt clubs were essential because otherwise, how would Sanguines be able to find blood short of advertising on Craig’s list or Ebay? Donations to collection drives that make bagged blood for Sanguines are fine for some, but not nearly enough for those who need certain blood types that are more compatible. For them, clubs were created to bring those Sanguines together with live donors of all blood types, but especially those that too rare to trust to the Depositories. As for the Midnight Special, the Dutch Club in North Carolina is the only club that offers that special treat…at least so far.
Q. Touch of Silver is the eagerly awaited sequel to Legacy and the 3rd book in the Sanguine series. What are you most pleased about with this book?
A. I think that it allows Devani to finally stand up for what she needs without hurting anyone else. She grows a little, in her realization that no matter how well-meaning her intentions were, she couldn’t stay away from Roman. In the end, the risk was well worth the reward.
Q. Do you write your characters’ backgrounds before writing or do you already know it? How far back do you go? How does a character’s past affect the story?
A. When I begin writing, I sit down and list what characters are needed for the book, such as ‘female – 35 years old’, then I take each character, name him/her and begin to give them some life and as much history as possible, even if some of that history doesn’t make it to the finished book. If I get to know them before I start writing, then they find their voice and their words makes it to the screen much easier. I think all of my main characters have a past that affects their present and future. In fact, my favorite theme to write about is the two main characters meeting in the past and becoming separated due to forces beyond their control. Bringing them back together is a great challenge as well as a great joy.
Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
A. I love writing those first two or three paragraphs because they are so pivotal to the story and determine if the reader will be interested enough to continue. Actually, those seem to be the easiest for me to do, probably because I know how I want my story to begin before I ever start writing.
Q. What’s next for the Sanguine series? Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
A. There are many areas I could explore with the Sanguines, but I’m getting a great deal of requests for fleshing out Derick Upton’s story. He has a small, but important role in Six Hours to Sunrise and since he is an older Sanguine, he has an extensive history and many stories to tell.
Q. Why do you think vampires remain popular in modern culture?
A. That’s a tricky question to answer. I think it goes back to the original sensuality and allure of vampires. They bit women on the neck, drank their blood and were considered unholy and forbidden. I think deep down inside, we’re all attracted to things that are more than a little taboo.
Q. Who’s your favorite fictional vampire character and why?
A. Frank Langella’s portrayal of Dracula in the 1979 movie was what got me started on my interest in vampires, but it was Mick St. John (played by Alex O’Loughlin) in the TV series, Moonlight, that renewed my love and ambition to write about them. Mick and his friends, while still unknown to the world, were trying to live among humans to the best of their ability. Yet, Mick had fallen for Beth, a girl he knew from his past. He was torn between keeping the secret and revealing his true self, thinking she would find him to be a monster. It was a great series and a shame it was canceled so soon. The great ideas that came from there inspired me.
Q. You also wrote The Color of Night, which features the Panthera, Quinn. Will there be a second book featuring his cousin or any other Panthera?
A. Yes, there will definitely be a second book to Color of Night and it will feature a more in-depth look into the world of the Panthera. Katrine, Quinn’s cousin, has a past that begs to be explored and resolved.
Q. Finally, Touch of Silver comes out in March, any spoilers you want to give us?
A. Those who have read my books know how much I love happy endings. That’s as much as I can say right now.
01. Favorite Old Hollywood Movie?
Singin’ in the Rain.
02. Favorite drink (alcohol counts)?
03. E-book or print book?
04. Shopping weakness?
Easy. Vera Bradley handbags.
05. Favorite season?
Fall or early Spring.
06. Chocolate or vanilla?
07. Favorite song?
Before the Rain by Duran Duran is a new favorite of mine. It’s haunting and beautiful, especially the live version.
I’ve been writing for about twelve years now, beginning with fanfiction. I published my first book in 2001, with a revised version in 2004.
My hope is to find a good following of readers who enjoy my work. I try to write stories that feature strong female characters, usually over the age of 25. I also keep my sexual content to a minimum, for those who prefer less erotic and more romantic.
Paranormal is my genre of choice, but I also have written historical romance, which I hope to publish very soon.