An Interview with Shira Anthony & Giveaway
Writing has given me the chance to meet a lot of people from all over the world. I first met Shira Anthony in April of 2013 at the Dreamspinner Press Author workshop. I knew no one when I showed up. But Shira took pity on me and kept me company during dinner one night and we realized we had quite a few common interests beyond writing. In the past two years I’ve come to appreciate what a true renaissance person Shira is. This is reflected in her work and her interests. So take a moment to learn more about the wonderfully talented Shira Anthony.
Author Interview – Shira Anthony:
Welcome Shira. I can’t believe I’ve never had the chance to interview you as much as I’ve had you and your work guest on the site.
Thanks for inviting me, Andrew!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a former opera singer. I work full-time as a public sector attorney (child advocacy), but I also write full-time. How does that work? I’m always tethered to my computer and I don’t watch much TV these days. It’s totally worth it, though. I love to write and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my free time (except maybe sailing on our catamaran at the Carolina coast).
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but the first long story I ever finished was in 2009, when I self-published a het erotic romance. Then a friend of mine suggested a story about a gay conductor and violinist, and I never went back to writing het. I’ve now published books in several gay romance genres including sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary romance. I’ve written classical musicians, merman shifters, secret agents, and now vampires and hunters.
It is! Blood and Rain is the first of three books in the Blood series from Dreamspinner Press. It’s both a contemporary and historical fantasy series, spanning from the late 1890s in France to modern day Miami.
Tell us a bit about the book.
Blood and Rain and the Blood series feature three MM pairings, but the main focus is on Adrien Gilbert, a vampire hunter whose mother was murdered by vampires when he was just a child. Adrien doesn’t really want to be a hunter, but his family is a celebrated hunter clan, and he’s trained with his older brother, François. When he believes François was murdered by a vampire, he accepts a commission for the Council of Hunters and is duty-bound to find his brother’s killer. Along the way, he meets Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire (born a vampire, not created from humans – vampire royalty, you might say). In spite of Adrien’s hatred of vampires, he falls in love with the gentle Nicolas.
You’ve written about musicians, genies and mermen, now with Blood and Rain you’re writing about Vampires. Tell us a bit about your universe.
The vampires in the Blood universe have some things in common with traditional vampires, but they are living, breathing creatures who can reproduce and don’t burn up in the sunshine. I see them more as another race, similar to humans, but so long-lived that they are essentially immortal. Over millennia, vampires intermarried with humans to create hunters. Hunters are long-lived, but not immortal, and they, like vampires, possess supernatural abilities that are channeled through their swords.
The ancient vampires, as the de facto ruling class, entered into a pact with the hunters. The hunters will kill any vampires who harm humans, and the ancients will do their best to teach fledgling vampires (those created from humans) to control their lust for human blood. The Council of Hunters is the governing body that enforces this pact. The Council members have begun to war within themselves, and Nicolas and Adrien are caught in the middle.
Hunters, by the way, can regain their immortality by drinking the blood of an ancient vampire and then returning that blood. Ancients can give this “gift” only once. Immortals are not vampires, but they do crave blood and they become very powerful. More powerful, even, than an ancient vampire.
Gay Vampires have been done since Anne Rice and probably before, what inspired you to put your own spin on this?
I love Anne Rice’s vampires! In fact, her dark universe inspired me to finally write my own vampires. Since I love writing MM, there was never any question about my vampires’ sexuality. The ancient vampires (male and female) in my universe almost always bond with someone of their own sex, and only mate with the opposite sex to produce offspring.
What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?
I loved writing Adrien, the hunter who at the beginning of the story hates vampires and makes lots of assumptions about them, most of which are plain wrong. As the story progresses, Adrien begins to understand the vampires and respect them. Writing his change of heart was the most fun part, although the battle scenes were a close second!
What part made you struggle them most?
The Blood series is one long story over three books. So the setup in the first book has to work for the last two books, especially since there’s a time travel element the reader is introduced to in the second book. Things need to fit and make sense. But writing time travel is a huge challenge, and I’ve had to rewrite some scenes three or four times to get it right!
Tell us something interesting that is not in the blurb?
Adrien becomes immortal when Nicolas gives Adrien his blood.
Of all the different sub-genre’s which one do you enjoy writing the most?
Over time, I’ve realized I have two favorites: contemporary and fantasy. I suppose that makes sense, since those are my two favorite genres to read, as well.
The Blue Notes series is somewhat close to home for you, since you are a trained opera singer, can we expect any more books in the series?
I have ideas for two more books in the series, but it will probably be a while before I get around writing either. I’ve got too many other WIPs I’m working on!
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
I love starting a story, planning it out, and writing the first few chapters, in particular. I love stepping into a new universe with new characters.
What’s your least favorite?
The middle of the story! I usually know where the story will end, but sometimes I get lost in the middle. I’ve even had a character tell me in no uncertain terms that he was NOT going to do what I had planned for him to do (*cough, cough* — Cary Redding in The Melody Thief— *cough, cough*). Talk about having to rethink a plotline!
I’m working on a contemporary story with my good friend Cody Kennedy (writing under his adult pen-name, Aisling Mancy). It’s a cop/lawyer drama set in eastern North Carolina, near the coast, working title, Solitary Man. I’m also working on the last of the Blood series books, Blood and Eternity. And I’ve got two books in edits or soon to be in edits: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) and Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3).
What have you read lately that most people haven’t read but should?
I just finished this really cool urban fantasy by Jack Pyle, Broken Ink. It isn’t a typical gay romance, although there is a happily-for-now at the end. It’s about children who are tattooed with ink that gives them supernatural abilities, including the ability to control minds. It’s a dark and disturbing universe, but it was such an incredible ride! I highly recommend it, but not to the faint of heart. It’s a rough ride.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
That’s a really tough one. There are so many writers I idolize. But in a perfect universe, I’d love to spend an hour or two talking to Isaac Asimov. The man was a genious. The hardest part would be deciding what to talk about, since he knew about so many different subjects!
Besides reading and writing, what else do you enjoy?
I don’t have a lot of time left after the reading and writing part, but I do love to sail aboard our catamaran at the Carolina coast. It’s so incredibly beautiful out here (I’m sitting on my boat writing this, in fact!). Our boat is called “Land’s Zen.” Self-explanatory.
Last question is all yours – feel free to talk about anything you want your readers to know about you, your book, anything at all.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize I’ve published more than a dozen books to date. I started writing for myself, writing the stories I wanted to read. But there’s nothing better than having readers connect with those stories. I feel very fortunate that I can share something I really love with other people. In that sense, writing is very much like my singing was to me. How cool is that?
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.
About the Author:
Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.
In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.
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 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. 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.
Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-conten…
You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/newsletter/