Book Name: Blood and Rain (Blood #1)
Author Name: Shira Anthony
Q You’ve gone from musicians to mermen to vampires. That’s quite the changeup. What prompted such a wide swing in genres and main characters?
I love just about every sub-genre of gay romance: contemporary, historical, BDSM, supernatural, sci fi, you name it! And really, my first love of reading came from fantasy and sci fi, so the switch from contemporary musicians to vampires isn’t as surprising as you might think. I grew up on Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series of sword & sorcery books, and I was a total Star Trek and later, Star Wars geek.
Writing in different genres is a great way for me to keep my writing fresh. In fact, I wrote the first book in the Mermen of Ea Series when I felt I needed a break from writing angsty musicians. I had promised my publisher another Blue Notes Series book, and instead I wrote Elizabeth North an email and said I’d like to swap out mermen for musicians. She’s so incredibly cool, she didn’t bat an eye!
Q. What drew you to each romance and couple you wrote about?
In the Blood Series, there are three MM couples, two of whom you meet rather quickly, the third which you discover a bit later in the story. Without spoiling the plot, I can say that I liked the different dynamics of the couples. Romance needs tension and resolution, and these three couples each represent a different sort of tension.
Up front, and the main focus of the story is the pairing of Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire, and Adrien Gilbert, a vampire hunter. The appeal here was Adrien’s hatred for vampires and his black and white outlook on things. When he starts to have feelings for Nicolas, it shakes the foundation of his world. He’s forced to rethink his opinions and assumptions.
The other two pairings also have dynamics that lead to some great romantic tension. Charles Duvalier, a vampire, and François Gilbert, Adrien’s brother are like sunshine and gloom. Charles feels guilty for turning François into a vampire, and he can’t forgive himself for what he’s done in the past. François is bright and curious—Charles’s opposite in so many ways. I love writing that kind of couple.
Without giving the plot away, I can say that the last pairing (I won’t name names here) is all about misunderstandings and the past getting in the way of love. Love lost, and the promise of rekindling that love. Another great way to write tension into a story. The happy ending comes when both men can forgive each other and learn to trust each other again.
Q. What was the inspiration behind Blood and Rain?
There are a few things that inspired me to write the series, including my longtime love of Anne Rice’s vampires, in particular. Add to that mix a few haunting songs that have stuck with me, The Indigo Girls’ “Ghost,” and Evanescence’s “My Immortal,” and my muse took off at a run!
Q How long have you been thinking of writing a vampire couple?
I’ve had this series simmering on the back burner for a few years, and after finishing another Blue Notes Series book, I needed a change of pace, so I trotted out what I’d already written and finally finished the first book in the series. The second book is finished, by the way, and will be released in the spring.
Q. Your favorite vampire in literature?
Louis de Pointe du Lac from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles! Lestat, the main focus of the books, is fun, but Louis has all the angst and the doubts I love in a fictional character. He’s gentle and conflicted, and he didn’t want to become what he is. I love angst, and Louis has it in spades! Louis, for those who may not know, is the narrator of Interview with the Vampire.
Q. Your favorite vampire in the movies?
Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with the Vampire. Although Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman in True Blood also rocks my world!
Q. Do you know how many books you have planned for this series?
Three books in all. Blood and Rain, Blood and Ghosts (Spring, 2015), and Blood and Eternity, which will probably release in late 2015.
Q. You love the water and sailing. Any chance of seeing more sailors or captains in future stories?
I’m just about finished writing the last of the Mermen of Ea series, Running with the Wind, so that’s your next chance to get into the water with me! But you know there will be more sailing and captains at some point after that, as well. We’ll just have to see what genre they decide they want to be!
Q. What’s next for Shira Anthony?
Next up is Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2), which is currently in edits and due out this spring. After that, look for Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3). After that, I’m working on a contemporary romance set in eastern North Carolina with my good friend and fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Cody Kennedy (writing under his adult pseudo, Aisling Mancy). Beyond that, look for the last Blood Series book, and maybe another Blue Notes novel. We’ll see!
Thanks for hosting me today, Melanie and crew! It’s been a pleasure, as always. -Shira
Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Shira can be found on:
Blood and Rain Blurb:
Blood: Book One Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier. After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Vampires, Historical, M/M Romance, Romance, Paranormal
Blood and Rain Excerpt:
Adrien licked the skin of Cole’s neck, feeling the blood pulse there, hearing it call to him. Cole tilted his head in anticipation, opening himself to Adrien.
Adrien buried his teeth in Cole’s skin. Blood flooded his mouth and danced on his tongue, sweet and salty.
Too long. His body was far more vampire-like in its craving for blood than when he’d first been given the gift of an ancient vampire’s soul. He wondered if it was the same for other immortals.
Adrien tried to ignore the images that flashed through his mind—the sound of silvery laughter, a mother’s loving caress. Cole’s memories. Adrien despised this forced intimacy, but he’d come to see it as the price of blood. Something to be tolerated.
It hadn’t always been that way. When he’d shared Nicolas’s blood, Adrien had experienced great joy. He’d seen himself through Nicolas’s eyes and felt the depth of Nicolas’s love. Each drop of that precious liquid had opened new doors. Each taste offered insight into Nicolas’s heart and soul. A beloved memory. A mystery—the mystery of Nicolas—unfolding with every swallow.
Adrien drank his fill, then claimed Cole’s mouth. This kind of contact he could stomach. He didn’t need sex to survive, but he enjoyed the release. Cole unbuttoned Adrien’s black silk shirt and his cock swelled against Adrien’s thigh. Adrien moaned as Cole skated his fingertips over his chest.
“I have never known a hunter to crave blood,” Cole whispered in his ear. “I thought only we experienced the bloodlust.”
“You were wrong,” Adrien said as he pulled Cole’s shirt over his head and mouthed a pretty pink nipple. Sex was always better after he fed, and Adrien’s cock was already hard at the thought of fucking such a lovely ass. He drew Cole’s body against his, walked backward into the living room, and pulled Cole with him onto the rug. Soon they were naked and he was no longer a hunter or an immortal, he was simply a man, seeking release, seeking pleasure.
For at least an hour after, Adrien lay on the floor and allowed the night air to caress his bare skin. He closed his eyes and dozed.
The voice awakened him. Nicolas’s voice again. Why sleep if it only served to reawaken the pain he sought to suppress?
He stood and pulled on his jeans. He walked onto the balcony in his bare feet, then climbed to the roof of the penthouse.
Having reached the edge, he spread his arms. He leaned forward and fell unimpeded, riding the wind like a sigh. The glass of the building sailed by him, the breeze buffeting his face. He hit the water and sank into the cold blackness. He wished he could die.
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