Six Book Giveaway, Chapter 4– Colleen Gleason!

**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…

TheRest2

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.

Whew. 🙂

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*!

But…ohhhh…Tim Riggins.

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!

44 thoughts on “Six Book Giveaway, Chapter 4– Colleen Gleason!

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Colleen! (Told you I have a question.) Can you tell us anything more about this paranormal version of Northanger Abbey you’ve written? As a huge Jane Austen fan, I’m dying to know more… 🙂

  2. tennismom mary g says:

    Hi Colleen
    I think its amazing that you never gave up after all the rejections. Some people get discouraged after the 3rd or 4th. What kept you going?

  3. Julie says:

    You are too funny, Mary. They might have been hand-me-downs, I can’t remember. I would love to get the books with the original covers, for nostalgia purposes, but all Amazon has are these newer reprints. I’ll have to keep looking…

  4. Amy M says:

    I do have a question. Do you have to do a lot of research when writing a story on vampires?

    Your books sound great! Thanks for the contest!

    Amy M

  5. colleen gleason says:

    Hey all!

    Thanks to Julie for having me here, and for pimping out my Gardella books. *mwah!*

    And another huge congrats back at you, Julie, for your Major Award yesterday! So exciting, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! *crossing fingers*

    So, on to the questions….After a brief digression to my love for Trixie Belden.

    Can I just say one thing? Jim Frayne.

    Okay? You see? He was my first literary crush, and I’ve never gotten over him. I’ve even thought about writing Trixie/Jim fanfiction (is there any? There has to be….)

    All right. On to the questions….

  6. colleen gleason says:

    The Northanger Abbey thing, Julie, is a novella that I wrote to be included in an anthology coming out Sept 2010. It’s going to be called Bespelling Jane and each of the four contributors took a Jane Austen novel and wrote a paranormal twist on it.

    The amazing, wonderful Mary Balogh (someone you should put on your reading list, Julie, and anyone else who reads historicals) is doing a twist on Persuasion, with reincarnation.

    Janet Mullany, who writes spicy stuff as Jane Lockwood and very very smart funny stuff as herself is doing a contemporary version of Emma in which the story is about a dating service for paranormal people.

    Susan Krinard is doing a modern-day Pride & Prejudice in which Mr. Darcy is a vampire….

    And I did a version of Northanger Abbey in which my heroine, who is just like Catherine of the original, sees stories and gothic intrigue everywhere she goes….but Caroline (my character) doesn’t realize that she’s getting mixed up with vampires.

    The novella is in the same “world” as the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, but since it takes place about 15 years after the last book ends, the characters from my series are only on the periphery of the story.

    I had a total blast writing that novella, by the way, and it’s written in the style of Ms. Austen–charming, light, and, I hope, witty.

    Thanks for asking.

  7. colleen gleason says:

    tennismom mary g Thanks for stopping by–and for asking about what kept me going after all those rejections.

    There were times when I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t stop writing or thinking about stories in my head. I had to have an outlet for them. I tended, even then, to elect to sit in front of the computer and write (or try to write) instead of watching TV or other things. Like housework. Heh.

    But just before my agent did sell my first book, I do remember having a tearful conversation with my two best writing friends saying that I was out of ideas and if this one didn’t sell, I didn’t know what I was going to do. LOL.

    Of course, I haven’t yet run out of ideas, but it was a dark moment!

    Amy M Regarding research for my vampire novels…I decided early on that I wanted my vampires to be sort of run of the mill, in the sense that I wanted them to be recognizable as vampires to the average reader, but that they weren’t going to be center stage.

    The story, the world I was building wasn’t meant to focus on those characters as much as the Venators, or the vampire hunters, and who they were and what their lives were like.

    The vampires were evil and they all are villains, and so I wanted them to have common characteristics of vampires, and so I did a little bit of research and tried to pull the most common characteristics for my vampires.

    During my research, I decided on my mythology of how the first vampire was “created”–that he was Judas Iscariot–and built upon that, as well as basic things like vampires are afraid of silver and garlic and can’t go in the sunlight, etc.

    But to be honest, most of my research came not from the vampire side, but the historical side. I could make up the vampire stuff, but the historical details had to be accurate!

  8. Chelsea B. says:

    Do you know what is so weird? I’ve been looking for a book based on ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and now I know where to find it! I’ll definitely be reading that one!

  9. KatiDancy says:

    w00t! Hi Colleen!

    Um, I don’t really have a question, so I’ll just say that The Gardellas are SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS, and such a wonderfully fun and interesting series. And I’m not just saying that because my Team won (that’s all I’ll say about that). What I love about Colleen is that she’s not afraid to really, really give her heroine a hard time. It takes a bold author to put her heroine through some of the nonsense that Victoria survives.

    Miss Julie, no need to enter me, I have copies (um, 2 copies, actually) of all of Colleen’s books.

    But I’m glad you’re here Colleen! Hey, why don’t you talk a little about who you prefer: Spike or Angel. That always gets Julie going…

  10. Julie says:

    Okay. I like Spike, I like him a lot. But Buffy and Angel…? To quote you, Ms. Kati, “Big, swoony, sigh.” 😉 Love them together.

    And if anyone says otherwise around here, we are going to have some Serious Words.

  11. Wanda says:

    I would love to read The Rest Falls Away. Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. Lea says:

    Thank you once again for a wonderful giveaway of what sounds to be a super book Julie.

    What a great interview with Ms. Gleason.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Best
    L

  13. blodeuedd says:

    Hi Colleen and Julie,
    The regency era meets buffy, yup I would be sold too 😀

    You spoke about the phantom, any other great works you would like to spice up a bit?

  14. Liza says:

    I’ve somehow missed this series, but will be adding it to my TBB list now. I love the idea of Buffy meeting the regency era. Buffy is still one of my favorite shows ever. I love Buffy and Angel together, but think Spike is really hot.

  15. colleen gleason says:

    Spike v. Angel, huh? Well, when I’m asked (which is quite often, given the books I write) Spike or Angel, I always say–Angel for Buffy, Spike for me. Heh.

    Kati!! Good to see you here. Thanks for the lovely things you always say about the Gardellas and for introducing me to Julie. You rock!

    Paula Thanks for asking about the Avon books. Although lots of people know about them, I’m keeping it on the down-low for a bit longer. But I think I’ll hit up Julie for a chance to come back closer to the time of the release…if she’ll have me. 🙂

  16. Julie says:

    Colleen– I would love to have you back closer to the time of the release. Given the little bit I know about this new series, I can’t wait… 😉

    Angel for Buffy, Spike for you, huh… Good answer.

  17. Dottie says:

    Hi Colleen and Julie!

    Once again Julie, Congrats! You go girl!

    Colleen, your vamps are all evil, traditional vamps, but your heroine, is she without faults, does she ever become attracted, pulled into their web…beyond her control?

    I have yet to read your books, but I will be looking for them.

    Oh, big Angel and Buffy fan here! But I have a soft spot for Spike. After all, we all have a bad days, he just tends to have a few more.

    Dottie 🙂

  18. colleen gleason says:

    Hi Dottie…well, I can’t really say too much or I’ll be giving spoilers. But let’s just say that there are some vampires who do exert their control over the people who hunt them. One of which is a very strong, overarching subplot of the series. 🙂

    How’s that for a vague answer?

  19. Julie L. says:

    Colleen, I’ve never read anything of yours – but I find this whole idea of a regency vampire very intriguing! I like the idea!

    Julie, again congrats on your win, and I definitely am going to check the Gardella books out – I think it’s about time I found out what all this vampire stuff is all about!

  20. Donna S says:

    What an interesting idea about Phantom, hmm.

    I have been wanted to start this series but havent had the chance. It really sounds great.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  21. Aymless says:

    Hiya Julie and Colleen!

    Great mini interview. I love Trixie. My mom still had her originals. They were great! Trixie totally beats out Nancy (although Nancy was packing heat).

  22. Gabriela says:

    Hi Colleen and Julie!

    I have heard good things about the Gardella series, please enter me in the contest. I have never read POTO but I did see the movie. And that began my love affair with Gerard Butler.

  23. colleen gleason says:

    Aymless Hey! It was great meeting you at RWA. 🙂

    Gabriela I love Gerard Butler too…he was my “model” when I was writing the Phantom book. Did you see The Ugly Truth? My husband thought it was hilarious.

  24. Gabriela says:

    Colleen, I just saw The Ugly Truth on Sunday. The only bad part about the movie was that he was not nearly naked enough in it for me. 🙂 I thought TUT was a really funny movie, really good date movie because it was hilarious for guys too. I want to go see it again, actually.

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