Today Literary Escapism is ecstatic to welcome back Chicagoland Vampires author, Chloe Neill! The second novel in this great series, Friday Night Bites, comes out next Tuesday and I dearly cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.
The story of a young heiress’s initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues…
Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they’re enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves—mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle—the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.
So now it’s up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn’t want peace between them—someone with an ancient grudge…
Doesn’t this sound phenomenal? If so, stick around, we’re giving away a signed copy this week!
For my readers who are unfamiliar with your novels, Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites, can you describe the world you want to introduce them to? What was it about this world that you wanted to share?
Two worlds, I think: The first, contemporary Chicago. I love the city, the Lake, the food, the neighborhoods, the architecture. If folks read one of my books and get the sense they’d like to visit, then I’ve done good by the Windy City.
The second, a world of vampires who’d lived for centuries assimilated into the human population, but who’ve now announced their existence to the world. I tried to recreate the rules and mechanics that I thought that kind of population would have created for themselves while they were underground. The Canon. The governing Greenwich Presidium. A very structured system of Masters and Novitiates, to ensure that no one stepped outside the rules set out by the GP and risk the vampires’ exposure. Hopefullly, it’s interesting and realistic enough that it draws readers in.
I have to say, I loved how Merit did not immediately take to the idea of being a vampire. Lately, it seems like most characters who get accidentally turned just go with the flow or thinks this its cool. Why did you have Merit react the way she did? How did you determine the reaction she was going to have and what was your reasoning behind it? How would you have reacted in her place?
That was very tricky–and, to be honest, I’ve read some reviews in which Merit is criticized for being “whiny.” But Merit’s change occurs *during* the book, as opposed to our picking up the story of a vampire after she’s been turned. She’s human on page 1, and by the end of the first chapter, she’s a vampire. That’s quite an adjustment to make, or it would be for me.
I think I would have reacted just like she did. Keep in mind that Merit wasn’t changed by consent. She had a very specific plan for her life, and being a vampire wasn’t part of that plan. In the matter of a few days, the entire life she’s known–from grad school to sunlight–is taken away from her. While it’s fun to think “Oh, I’d love to be a vampire,” it’s still quite an adjustment to face. She’s slowly getting there–coming to terms with who and what she is–but it’s definitely a transition, and I think that’s an honest reflection of how most of us would react.
Can you introduce us to some of your supporting characters? The ones we haven’t seen a lot of, but will in the future? Who was the most fun to write? Who gave you the most problems?
Sure. Jeff Christopher, who is one of Merit’s grandfather’s employees and a shifter in his own right, has a role in both Friday Night Bites and Twice Bitten. He’s very smart, a little geeky, and very much in love with Merit. We meet Gabriel Keene, head of one of the four American shifter packs, in Friday Night Bites. He plays a key role in Twice Bitten, as we get to know the Packs and a lot more about their internal dynamics (and love of cabbage rolls).
Mallory, Merit’s former roommate (as of Friday Night Bites) remains the most fun supporting character to write. She’s so sassy, very creative, and very, very witty. I get to be silly when I write Mallory, which I very much enjoy.
Morgan, head of Navarre House, is very hard to write, mostly because he doesn’t really know who he is (which means consequently that I don’t know who he is). He’s still very “human” (as Ethan might say), and is still coming to terms with Masterdom. That makes the writing tricky…I don’t want him to seem like a silly, too-dramatic character, but he definitely has his issues.
You have your first young adult novel, Firespell, coming out in January; are there any other projects that you have swimming in your head that we might see later? What do you anticipate for, or look forward to, in both the Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite series?
Hopefully, I’d anticipate a long and happy history to both series, but that depends on sales. :) FIRESPELL is my first YA book, which I’m very excited about. The story just occurred to me, and I really love my cast of characters. This book has a much more magic-focused bent than the Chicagoland Vampires books, so it’s got lots of fun potential.
In addition to DE and CV (and a sequel series to CV), I have two additional urban fantasy series planned, but it’s a matter of having time to write them.
How did you feel when you saw your first published book in the bookstore and has the reaction changed much knowing you’ll have more books on those shelves at some point?
To be honest, I was a little bit sad the first time I saw Some Girls Bite in a bookstore. There was only one copy of the book in the entire store, and it was alone in the romance section. I’d imagined at least making it to the “New Release” table. Kinda anticlimactic.
I squealed with delight the first time I saw it on Amazon. And the first time I saw Friday Night Bites on Amazon, and while I’m watching Friday Night Bites squeak up the Barnes & Noble rankings. That kind of stuff never gets old.
Now, if I ever walk into a bookstore and there’s a stack of Chloe Neill books, or a sign that says “If you liked Some Girls Bite, you’ll also like…” then I’ll feel better. :)
Why urban fantasy? What is it about the genre that drew you to it or did it chose you? Are there any other genres you want to try?
I’d love to write a Regency or historical romance, but I consider myself to be a writer of urban fantasy. I love the ability to create a world, to use interesting tidbits and quotes and happenings from the mundane world, but mix them with the supernatural. The genre definitely chose me.
Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that first”? Who would you love to sit down with and discuss fantasy literature with?
Does Claire Fraser count as an appropriate answer? Everytime I read “Outlander” again, I just want to sit down and stare at Diana Gabaldon out of awe. Jamie Fraser is just the king of romantic heroes. So fabulous. I’m also in awe of Susan Johnson’s historicals. The woman does amazing research, and her books have always felt very honest to me. And so well-written.
During your recent stop at Naughty Editions, you were talking about how readers enjoy the mystery man that seems to continually pop up in great romance novels. I do have to admit, that little supernatural twist does it for me a lot of times, but who does it for you? Which characters have that little extra something extra that intrigue you so much? Which authors tend to write these characters the best?
See above! I love Jamie, I love J.D. Robb’s Roarke (which is a bit more scifi/mystery than supernatural), and I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood-ers. I tend to best like heroes in books with detailed world-building, because a good hero has to be that much better in a complex world–he has to know how to use it, manipulate it, make the best of it.
And now I’m channeling Ethan Sullivan. :)
Name five books that are sitting next to you. Why are they sitting next to you?
The Wolf Almanac, for background on wolf behaviors. The Dictionary of Symbols, for interesting symbolic bits. Echo in the Bone, for my vast love of Jamie Fraser, Creative Quarterly magazine, and the newest issue of Cooking Light. (But only for the articles, lol.)
Thanks to everyone for reading, and thanks for having me today!
Contest Time! We’re giving away a signed copy of Friday Night Bites and a Cadogan House gift pack, which includes a pen, bar coaster, sticker, Visitor’s Pass and bookplate, to a lucky commentator. And just because Chloe is just that awesome, we’re also giving away a copy of Some Girls Bite. That’s right, two winners and it’s fairly easy to enter. All you have to do is answer this one simple question: Who would you love to sit down with and discuss urban fantasy with? Remember, you do have to answer the question in order for your comment to count. The contest is open to everyone, so everyone overseas can join in the fun as well.
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it (#litesc), share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (all in the same post please). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.
For more entries, purchase any of Chloe’s novel (or any novel) through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is one entry and it has to be through the LE Link.
Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment here so I know that’s why you’re joining. Only new readers to the group will be considered.
For an additional entry, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar. All current subscribers will also have an additional entry.
I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer. All entries must be in by midnight on October 6th.