Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love Found in Blood: An Interview with Elise Walters

Hello Followers!

I know it has been a little while since my last post, but some health issues got in the way of both this and my writing so I do apologize to all my faithful readers who have been here from the beginning. I had propositioned my fellow authors for interviews and guest spots on my little piece of the internet here and this is one I have been really looking forward to writing. And what am I writing about? Dun dun dun.....VAMPIRES!

I know, I know! Everyone is getting sick and tired of vampires, but what if I told you that these weren't your run-of-the-mill vampires? Would you be interested then? If not, you should be. I got the pleasure of reading one of the best books I have read in quite some time, and that's saying something. "Tentyrian Legacy" by Elise Walters is as follows:

The legacy begins in the sands of Egypt in a time when an ancient city called Tentyris flourished. Its secretive people, ruled by the Council of the Zodiac, lived peacefully alongside humanity. That time was 53 B.C. More than two millennia later, the power of the Tentyrian people has been all but forgotten. The remnants of memory that live on have been turned into twisted folklore about vampires and astrology.
One girl on the cusp of womanhood is about to discover just how real that folklore is.
With telepathic powers that made her parents send her to a mental institution, Arianna Parker always knew she was different—but she never thought a job interview would lead to the discovery of her being a prophesied descendent of an ancient Egyptian vampire race. Nor for that matter did she think she would fall in love with Maximos Vasilliadis, a 2,225 year old vampire. Maximos is the creator of the Tentyrian Brotherhood—a secret order of warriors, pledged to prevent a catastrophic event predicted to wipe out Earth.
Maximos believes Arianna is a descendent of his kind—the Tentyrian vampires—and she has been destined to lead their cause in saving the world. With her 25th birthday approaching, an event that will change her forever, Arianna finds herself caught in the middle of warring vampires—some of whom intend to use her and her power of telepathy for evil.
From the manicured lawns of Connecticut, to the streets of New York City and an exotic island in the Ionian Sea, Arianna must learn to trust Maximos and her heart if she is to save the world, herself, and the Tentyrian legacy.

Now I'm sure that grabbed your interest. Elise Walters has completely re-imagined the vampire and instead of being blood thirsty, animalistic, and sadistic beasts of Hell, they are respectful, mindful of their place in the world, and have totally kick ass powers. I have it in my mind, for anyone whose interest the synopsis hasn't grabbed, to try to talk you into giving this wonderful and very well written book a chance, but I think I'll let Elise do that for me. Below is the interview I had the distinct pleasure of doing with her and I have to say it was so much fun.

1 Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I currently live in Pound Ridge, NY but I grew up in New Canaan, CT (a focal point in my book). I graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in English and afterwards I moved to New York City and began a career in advertising and marketing.  My career took me from advertising birth control to working in marketing for financial services. This past spring I decided not to return to my “corporate” job and instead I take care of my son (who is 8 months old) and I write from home full time. I feel like my life has completely turned 180° since not working outside of the home but honestly I couldn’t be happier! Now I get to truly do what I love, which is writing and being a mom.
How did you come to create the Tentyrian society?
It all started with a carving. The carving is called the Dendera Zodiac and it is housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Originally pulled from the ceiling of the ancient Hathor temple found in Dendera, Egypt the zodiac portrays within a circle the 12 zodiac symbols we associate with modern astrology:  Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. The zodiac carving of Dendera also portrays 4 Egyptian maidens who appear holding up the circle. It was from these symbols that I was inspired to create the structure of Tentyrian society that is governed by 12 vampire covens named after the zodiac symbols as well as 4 princesses called “Luminaries” and Queen Hathor.  As you’ll come to see, there are a lot of historical references throughout the book that tie into Egyptian and Greek mythology surrounding the zodiac.
What draws you to this genre?
I’ve always loved all things paranormal and most things romance so for me the paranormal romance genre is like nirvana in a book. As a tween I was obsessed with books by Catherine Coulter and Anne Rice and I’d say that love never stopped. For me, reading and writing books is an escape and a way to relax—vampires books with romance tossed in is the perfect vehicle for that (for me)!
What inspired your view of the vampire?
My vampires—called Tentyrians—are not animalistic. Rather they view themselves as evolved humans with superior strength, intelligence, health, and supernatural powers. Tentyrian society is rooted in a strict code of morals and a sense of responsibility towards the human race as they believe in a symbiotic relationship with them (at least until the Dark Coven comes to believe otherwise). I’d say it was my desire to convey elements of humanity in my vampires that inspired my portrayal of them. I didn’t want them to be monsters and instead I wanted them to be heroes and models of what humanity should appreciate. After all, it is the Tentyrian descendants who are destined to save the world in my book.

How much research did you do for this work?
As I mentioned, the concept for the book was based off of the Dendera Zodiac, which was something I had seen on a trip to the Louvre museum. That concept brewed within me for several years so that when I started writing Tentyrian Legacy I knew where I wanted to go with the story. As a result, I didn’t set aside months let’s say to conduct research—I did it as I went. A lot of the places and scenes from the book are based on real life experiences so that helped cut back on the need for a lot of research. I write about what I know and love which makes the process feel very natural. And when I need some 3rd party insight, Google is always there for me!
What caused you to choose for vampires to infiltrate big business to meet their own means?
My vampires strive to blend into human society for a couple of reasons. First, they are outnumbered and in the minority. Second, they don’t want to be discovered. And third, they see using humans as a means to an end. Naturally, I thought it would make sense for them to infiltrate big business (finance and pharmaceuticals, for example) to garner the resources they need to obtain power and money. Power and money are the keys for modern day Tentyrians to bring about the demise of the human race, or alternatively, protect it.
How would you define your writing style? If you had to compare it to another author, who would you choose?
Oh geez, that’s really tough. I put some of my writing once through one of those statistical analyzer tools and I was told I write like Dan Brown. Hey, if I could sell as many books as he has I’m good with that! I can tell you though that in an ideal world I would love to emulate the writing style of Jane Austen and Karen Essex—but my writing just comes out as it does and I’m sure it’s a far cry from theirs.
How long would you say it takes you to finish writing just one of your novels?
Ummm, years? I’m not a prolific writer and when I wrote Tentyrian Legacy it was just a pet project that I truly never thought would be published. I would let it sit for months at a time, so in total I spent about two years writing it. Now that I’m focusing on my writing full time (as much as I can with an infant at home) I’m giving myself 9-12 months to finish the next book in the Tentyrian series called Tentyrian Thirst.
How many books are planned for the series?
Four in total. Tentyrian Legacy was the first and focuses on the story of Arianna Parker (the first Luminary descendant). The other three books in the series will focus on the remaining Luminary descendants.
How would you describe your experience working with Permuted Press?
Great! As I mentioned, I had no expectation of getting Tentyrian Legacy published so I’m truly grateful that they believe in my work enough to print it and help me market it.
What would you say is the most challenging part about being a writer? What is the most rewarding?
The most challenging is finding the time. Life gets in the way—raising kids and focusing on jobs needed to pay the mortgage are a HUGE time suck. Damn you mortgage! The most rewarding is when someone reaches out to you and says they love what you’ve written. I’m still in disbelief when someone says that to me. 
What are your future plans as a writer?
Finish the Tentyrian Legacy series! I can’t even imagine what other writing projects I’ll tackle after that since I feel like I live and breathe all things Tentyrian at the moment.
Do you have appearances for conventions or signings planned?
I do. In 2014 they are mostly in my local area (Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT). In the immediate future I will be doing a book signing at Elm St. Books located in New Canaan, CT on October 25th from 12-2:30 and giving a talk at the New Canaan Library on October 28th at 7pm.  Formal conventions are still in the works but my website will be updated shortly with this information!