**Note: the giveaway is now closed. Winner will be posted on Wednesday.
Psst– for those of you who haven’t heard, I won a Major Award yesterday. (Yes, that’s a Christmas Story reference.) More info here.
Okay, now for today’s chapter in the Six-Book giveaway, which I’m very excited about… As I’ve mentioned before, I’m relatively new to the romance genre–both as a reader and a writer. I’ve joked that I first realized I’d written a romance novel after Berkley bought my first book and told me that’s what I had written. (I’d originally written Just the Sexiest Man Alive as a screenplay, thus I called it a “romantic comedy.”)
The great thing about being new to the genre is that I now have all these new-to-me authors to discover. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t read any paranormal romances. (I know–what had I been waiting for, right?) Determine to rectify that, I began asking others where I should start with the paranormal sub-genre. The two most common responses I got were that I should read Nalini Singh’s books (which I’m really enjoying) and Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles, the first of which is…
Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil… .
Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.
In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.
But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.
And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.
I met Colleen at RWA (introduced by Kati and Katiebabs— thanks girls!), and I had a blast hanging out with her. Anyone who sneaks a bottle of wine into the RITAs–and two glasses–and then two more glasses for the Amazon.com guys sitting behind us (who we needed to open the bottle because apparently neither Colleen nor I are handy with a regular corkscrew)–is just fabulous in my book. And she shares my long-ago love of the Trixie Belden books. (Anyone else remember those?)
People described the Gardella Vampire Chronicles as Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the Regency Era. As soon as I heard that, I thought one thing: Sold. As a huge Buffy fan, I can’t wait to check these books out. I’ve got one copy of The Rest Falls Away sitting at the top of my TBR pile–and another copy for one of you.
I asked Colleen if she had a moment to answer a few questions as part of the giveaway, and she very kindly replied. Here goes:
JJ: When did you first realize you wanted to write, and how did you get started?
CG: I’ve been writing since I was a wee gipper. Or nipper. Whatever they called little girls back then. I even remember my first story–called “The Old House,” which I think I wrote in second grade.
Anyway, I’ve been writing stories ever since I can remember, and even while I was in college and then grad school, I wrote. I finished my graduate degree and started working in the business world (and sales and marketing), but I worked at night on my books. I got married, had three children, worked full-time, and kept writing.
To this day, I find it very difficult to write except between the hours of 7-11 at night, which is when I wrote when the kids were little and I was still working.
I collected more than 95 rejections before my agent (whom I’d had for two years) sold my first book to NAL in late 2005. That first published book was THE REST FALLS AWAY, although it was the ninth book I had written.
Since 2007, I’ve had the five books in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles published (the series is now complete), three “seduced” (read: erotic) classics published as Colette Gale, and I am launching a new series with Avon in January with three books being released in 2010.
JJ: What is it about writing romance and erotica that appeals to you?
CG: I wrote my “seduced” or dirty version of the Phantom of the Opera (titled UNMASQUED) because I was always mad that Christine didn’t stay with the Phantom at the end of the Webber play/movie. (I confess, I’m not a purist; I prefer Webber’s version to the original Leroux version–because I’m such a romantic, and I have a soft spot for tortured heroes. Erik is about as tortured as they come.)
Also, being a big fan of the POTO movie/play, I was always trying to imagine what actually went on in the Phantom’s lair and during the Music of the Night scene. So I put that together with my love of erotica (Pauline Réage, A.N. Roquelaire, even Bertrice Small) and BANG! Out came UNMASQUED.
The Gardella Vampire Chronicles aren’t really erotic (although there is some eroticism), and they aren’t strictly, technically romance because there isn’t a happy ever after until the fifth and final book. It’s really the story of one woman trying to do everything and be everything everyone expects her to be. (Just like many of us women/mothers/wives try to do.)
JJ: Fun questions. What are you watching on TV these days?
CG: I love 30 Rock (can’t wait for the new season), and I’ve become addicted to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I also like Friday Night Lights, but I’m behind on the show because I love it so much that when I start to watch it, I glom and then nothing gets done for a week. So *no spoilers*!
JJ: What is your biggest weakness (shoes, chocolate, purses, etc.)?
CG: Books, chocolate, eating out at nice places.
Thanks, Colleen! An erotic version of Phantom of the Opera— I love it.
Colleen mentioned that she’d pop in if anyone had any questions, so feel free to ask away! Ooh– I’ve actually got one. I’ll post in it the comments…
So now for the giveaway– one lucky person who comments below will win a copy of The Rest Falls Away. The contest will run until 10pm CST on Tuesday.
Happy reading everyone!