Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guest Blogger: Nancy Haddock

The winner of Nancy's book is: Kerry Nelson! Congratulations, Kerry. Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Nancy. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Where Are the Weres?

I write a paranormal mystery romance series for Penguin/Berkley starring Cesca Marinelli. Cesca is a 228-year old vampire who was born in St. Augustine, Florida in 1780, turned in 1800, then buried in a coffin in a half-basement and forgotten for over 200 years. When Maggie discovers Cesca during the restoration of a Victorian house, Cesca has a second shot at afterlife, and lot to learn to catch up to the 21st century.

You may surmise that my series is not dark or edgy, and you would be right!

After La Vida Vampire was released, several readers asked me why I didn’t have werewolves (or tigers or leopards, etc.) in my books. Several more asked why I killed off the werecreatures entirely.

The short answer is I didn’t want Weres in my story world. Not because I don’t like werecreature characters – oh, no! Far from it! I’ll read stories with Were characters all day long, be they the throat-ripping bad guys, the sexy good guys, or a mixed bag. Weres are an integral part of the paranormal and urban fantasy genre I love.

But let’s face the facts, folks. We have werelions and weretigers and werebears, oh, my! We have wereleopards, werewolves, werepanthers, wererats, and about any other werecreature an author wants to create.

Given that, where and when do Weres wear thin?

I did consider including Were characters during the early stages of my world building. After deliberating the pros and cons, I thought it was enough of a risk to write a vampire book when so many authors already wrote vampires so very well. The same applied to werecreatures. So many authors wrote them well – and so many populated their books with both Weres and vampires – I figured I didn’t need to go there. I “killed off” Weres for my story world, partly to take care of the question in the reader’s mind. I also made that choice so I could highlight the difference between lycanthropes and my magical shape-shifting character, Pandora, the Florida Panther.

As the time has neared for Last Vampire Standing to be released, a sneaky, savvy, darling reader pointed out that I killed off the Weres in the US, but made no mention of them being wiped out world wide. Might I, the reader asked, ever write a story line in which Weres from Europe trickle into town?

Hmmmm. Now there’s a fun possibility. And, since I’ve learned never to say never, who knows what may show up in future stories to challenge Cesca’s “normal” afterlife?

That’s a question for later. For now I hope that readers will embrace the old and new characters in Last Vampire Standing. Triton, Cesca’s first love from her girlhood, makes an appearance in the new book, and, of course, Maggie and Neil, Saber and Pandora figure prominently. Jo-Jo the Jester, the wannabe stand-up comic, was a scream to write for the sequel, and a paranormal investigation geek is also introduced along with a few more vamps in Daytona Beach.

What is your reading pleasure in paranormal and urban fantasy – the more supernaturals the better, or do you prefer a cast of fewer? Which kinds of supernaturals do you most like to see Weres paired with – vampires, witches, other Weres? Do you like to see new supernatural characters and elements brought into sequels, or do you like all the ingredients in the soup from the get go?

I’d love to discuss these questions, so please leave a comment. If you’re a published author and leave a comment, please also leave your web URL or title of your last or upcoming book! I like sharing the stage!

Nancy is giving away a copy of Last Vampire Standing, but you must leave an answer to one of the questions to be entered. For more opportunities to win a book, see the Beach Party page on Nancy’s web site –
www.nancyhaddock.com. The winner will be posted here on Tuesday evening. Check back to see if you won!

40 Comments:

Blogger Nancy said...

Lynda, thank you for hosting me today! It's a pleasure to be with you!

Light,
Nancy

9:28 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

Hi Nancy :) Great post.
You know, sometimes, too much is just... too much. So, I loved reading about how your novels are just centered on vampires :)
As for which were characters I like, my favorites are werewolves. I don't mind supernatural characters coming up in sequels if they aren't there from the get-go. It's always interesting to watch a world come to life and find out more.

12:15 AM  
Blogger LadyVampire2u said...

Hi Nancy! I so loved book 1 that I am dying to read Last Vampire Standing.
My Answers to your Questions:
Q:In paranormal and urban fantasy – the more supernaturals the better, or do you prefer a cast of fewer?
A: Actually my answer to that is up to the author writing the book. I actually like a lot of characters but only when the author takes her time introducing them so I'm not confused about who's who. If the storyline is very involved and doesn't make for time to slowly introduce many characters, I would say to go with fewer characters in a book.

Q: Which kinds of supernaturals do you most like to see Weres paired with – vampires, witches, other Weres?
A: Honestly, I don't mind any supernatural being paired with a Were. I like them all and have no big preferance.

Q: Do you like to see new supernatural characters and elements brought into sequels, or do you like all the ingredients in the soup from the get go?
A: Having a series revolving around a central character is great but I also like series starring different characters to. I guess this is again a toss up for me.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

It depends. :) I like books that focus on, say, just vampires or just werewolves. I also like books that encompass a wider array of supernaturals.

I am perfectly ok with a series not including weres. Sometimes it seems like it'd be better for the author to start a different series than to include too much in the current series (esp stuff that wasn't included initially).

6:09 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

Hi Nancy!
Great posting :) I've got to say that for me it all depends on the story. Some times I love the mix of every paranormal critter that can be thought up---and then again, somtimes it just doesn't work for me. I have read books with such a huge variety of characters that I can't even keep track of who is what, know what I mean? And at times I've had to backtrack to see which character blends well with which others according to the story. And then there are other stories that a huge cast of totally different paranormals just work beautifully :)

Wonderful topic! Hope you're having a good sunny day in St. Augustine :)

6:17 AM  
Blogger Amy S. said...

Great post!

What is your reading pleasure in paranormal and urban fantasy – the more supernaturals the better, or do you prefer a cast of fewer? The more the better.
Which kinds of supernaturals do you most like to see Weres paired with – vampires, witches, other Weres? All of them
Do you like to see new supernatural characters and elements brought into sequels, or do you like all the ingredients in the soup from the get go? New supernatural characters and elements.

6:25 AM  
Blogger donnas said...

Great post. While I love both vampires and were, sometimes it is nice to only have one type in the story. I dont mind seeing other paranormal creatures show up in sequels but I dont really want them to take over the story. I like weres paired with weres but when paired with vamps some interesting complications can occur.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

6:32 AM  
Blogger Diana Cosby said...

Hi Nancy,
I'm reading La Vida Vampire now, and last night in my dreams, Pandora was stalking me in my car. Then, she sprang, had me in a hold, I pushed her back and woke up. Holy cow! So, maybe I'm submersed in your book. *G* Should I freak about a panther stalking dream? *G*
I tend to be a story purist. I prefer to chose a group, vampires, enhanced 'X', or whatever, then focus the story around them. When an author starts tossing in a ton of different varities of stuff, I find the pleasure of reading story lost to trying to remember all of the species.
I can't wait to read Last Vampire Standing. Will it give me um . . . dreams as well? *G* Have a great day!

Diana Cosby
www.dianacosby.com
Romance Edged With Danger

6:32 AM  
Blogger Edie said...

Nancy, very interesting post! I read across genres and not solely paranormal, so it's more the story and how it's told than which creatures are in it.

I just got Last Vampire Standing, so don't include my name in the contest. It's sitting on my counter next to the frig and I'm so eager to read it!

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy:
I'm looking forward to getting and reading a copy of your latest. Too many questions for me, but I think in the end, my answer about weres, etc. is that "it depends." If the story calls for one or more, go for it. If it feels contrived, however, I'm less inclined to enjoy the story.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Cybercliper said...

Hi Nancy - Great post!

I’m a huge fan of paranormal and urban fantasy as long as it has an element of romance.

I like the more supernaturals the better – they all don’t have to play a major part. But that way, there is a greater chance that more stories will evolve around other characters in the book.

I’m not picky about which kinds of supernaturals that weres are paired with – humans, vampires, witches, demons, other weres as long as the plot can support the pairing and an explanation is given on how they can be together. Such as how a human’s life cycle can be expanded to meet his/her vampire partner's by sharing blood, energy, lifeforce, etc.

I like to see some resolution of the two main characters. They may not have to get married, or save the world entirely, but I want to see the current crisis resolved or at least on its way to completion.

I love to see characters from previous stories show up in the next book or series. When you become involved in a good book or series, seeing previous characters is like seeing old friends again.

Hi Lynda ~waves~

8:11 AM  
Blogger Writer and Cat said...

I think it's great that you don't include every paranormal character under the sun...and moon. There are series that do that--worldbuilding where if one paranormal type exists, automatically the others do too. Having access to series that have more streamlined worldbuilding just increases variety. Thanks!

8:16 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Good morning, and forgive my tardiness! Launrdy didn't call today - it choked me for attention.

Wow, you each have contributed wonderful comments to the discusion!

Ali, Amy, and Donnas it's great that you're open to seeing sequels evolve with more supernatural characters.

Lady Vampire, Ellen and Diana, you make an excellent point about so many supers in a story that one needs a program to remember who's who.

Chris, wonderful comment about an author starting a new series with new super characters - rather than over-crowding an existing one. Can you name an example ... purely out of curiosity? Well, okay, curiosity and adding to our TBR piles. :)

Edie, Anonymous and LadyVampire also mentioned that the saturation of supernaturals depends on the author and the story. I agree!

Lynda, you and other also made the point that, when there are more supers in a series, there are more possibilities for storylines and complications. I hadn't thought about that aspect, but it's true!

Writer and Cat, you made a great point that, in having some series loaded with supers and some not, the reader has access to a great deal of variety in paranormal romance / urban fantasy. And the way we read, that's a GOOD thing!

This post is getting long, so I'll close this one and pick up on a few more things in the next.

Light,
Nancy

9:41 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Diana! I'm both laughing and feeling awful that you had a dream of Pandora stalking you. Yep, I'd say you were rather involved in La Vida Vampire. But take heart, Pandora is a good panther ... unless you're an enemy. Since you're not, you have nothing to fear by reading Last Vampire Standing.

Pandora even cracks a small joke or two in LVS. *G*

To those who have read La Vida, thank you! For those who said you're eager to read Last Vampire Standing, thank you! I appreciate your support, and my characters will appreciate continuing their adventures into future books! *G*

Seriously, I hope you'll enjoy the sequel. Jo-Jo the Jester was fun to write, and I did have to pull the reins a bit to keep him from being too dominate a character.

The books held other surprises for me as I wrote it, and I hope you'll be surprised and pleased by new revelations.

BTW, Ellen, I am enjoying a nice day in sunny St. Augustine, yet I'm hoping we get some of the rain the weather folks are predicting. We need it!

Thank you - all of you - for taking time out of your Monday to visit and contribute your insights!Be back later!

Light,
Nancy

9:54 AM  
Blogger Diana Cosby said...

Nancy wrote:

Diana! I'm both laughing and feeling awful that you had a dream of Pandora stalking you. Yep, I'd say you were rather involved in La Vida Vampire.

~Yeah, it was definitely freaky.*G*

But take heart, Pandora is a good panther ... unless you're an enemy. Since you're not, you have nothing to fear by reading Last Vampire Standing.

~:) Phew, bullet dodged. Enjoy your day!

Diana Cosby
www.dianacosby.com
Romance Edged With Danger

10:03 AM  
Blogger bridget3420 said...

I like for there to be a few supernaturals. I don't want to forget who's who but I also don't want a story with just one person in it. Vampires are and always will be my favorite supernatural characters.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Diana, I just have to say this.

What a compliment that you dreamed about my character / book. I do that when I've dug myself deep into reading a book, and it tells me much about my connection to the story and its characters.

Now to be on the other side - to have had someone dream about my book? Wow! I have chills!

Have a happy, panther-stalker free day!

Light,
Nancy

11:20 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Hi Bridget! Thank you so much for stopping by today!

I agree there must always be a balance of characters. In life we intereact with a mix of people, and I want to do that in books, too.

A toast to the vampires you prefer! May you always have plenty to read!

Light,
Nancy

11:23 AM  
Blogger Vickie said...

What is your reading pleasure in paranormal and urban fantasy – the more supernaturals the better, or do you prefer a cast of fewer?
~~I like having fewer paranormals and then watch how they interact with the 'normal' people.

Which kinds of supernaturals do you most like to see Weres paired with – vampires, witches, other Weres?
~~I like seeing the interaction of Weres with other supernaturals. The antagonism, intrigue, possible mixing it up makes for a very good story to read and imagine.

Do you like to see new supernatural characters and elements brought into sequels, or do you like all the ingredients in the soup from the get go?
~~I like being introduced to new characters as I go in a series. Keep some mainstays, but add a little ingredient to the soup to make it spicey.....

3:21 PM  
Blogger JSB said...

I love a world where many creatures are possible, but I like to see the number dealt with in a given book be more limited.

Nancy, this sounds like a great read! More for the TBR pile.

~Jana

3:22 PM  
Blogger Lori T said...

Hi Nancy~

I love reading paranormal and urban fantasy, and I love all the possibilities that they offer. So, I do enjoy when there are different elements thrown into a story, but I do like the focus to be on the main characters.

Great post!

4:05 PM  
Blogger Karen W. said...

I'm a huge fan of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and I like a nice mix of all different kinds of supernatural beings and seeing how they interact with each other, as well as "normal" humans.

Yes, I usually enjoy new elements being introduced in sequels to keep everything fresh.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Hi, Nancy! Thanks for blogging at Paranormality today! I'm pretty much in agreement with you: I decided not to have weres in my books. I love reading other authors' books about the furry folks, but since I know nothing about them, I figured I'd leave the werewolves, weretigers, werelions, werewhatzits to the experts and simply enjoy their stories. I'm a vampire fanatic, so bloodsuckers have always been my main interest. I decided (for now -- who knows what I'll decide later!) to allow vampires to be the only completely fictional characters in my books (but don't get me started on how badly I wish I'd encounter a gorgeous vampire in my waiting room someday! Lucky Kismet!). The other characters: ghosts, psychics, witches, wizards and humans with expanded-consciousness abilities are all reality based in my quirky, everyday universe. If I do decide to use weres or demons or zombies (I still can't relate to a zombie love scene, but I'm happy to be educated!), I'll have to spin them in a unique way. Great post!
Lynda

4:40 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Vickie, thanks so much for contributing to the discussion! I love your statement: "Keep some mainstays, but add a little ingredient to the soup to make it spicey....." I also grinned that you like watching the supers interact with the normals.

Jana, wonderful insight about having a world of wide possibilities but limiting the number of supers in a book.

You are an amazing group of readers!

Light,
Nancy

5:14 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Lori, you're a wise woman! Yes on keeping the focus to the main characters!

Karen W, I appreciate your view that bringing in new elements to sequels helps keep them fresh!

Lynda, your vamps are so amazing, you don't need no stinkin' werewolves. (I always wanted to used that line. :)) As for zombies, I have read them as characters and been entertained by some antics - if not feeding habits. I have a hard time relating to and truly rooting for them, but I'd be happy to see that change. I can't read enough!

BTW, your phrase "happy to be educated" reminded me of an audiology prof I adored at the University of Tulsa. I picked up the phrase, "Educate me about that," from Dr. M.

Light,
Nancy

5:27 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Lori, you're a wise woman! Yes on keeping the focus to the main characters!

Karen W, I appreciate your view that bringing in new elements to sequels helps keep them fresh!

Lynda, your vamps are so amazing, you don't need no stinkin' werewolves. (I always wanted to used that line. :)) As for zombies, I have read them as characters and been entertained by some antics - if not feeding habits. I have a hard time relating to and truly rooting for them, but I'd be happy to see that change. I can't read enough!

BTW, your phrase "happy to be educated" reminded me of an audiology prof I adored at the University of Tulsa. I picked up the phrase, "Educate me about that," from Dr. M.

Light,
Nancy

5:28 PM  
Blogger tetewa said...

When a friend introduced me to The Dark-Hunter series many years ago I became addicted to reading the Paranormal genre. I'm always looking for new authors and series to read. My favorites are the vamps. I enjoyed your first book and I've been looking forward to this release!

6:36 PM  
Blogger Kerri Nelson said...

Hey Nancy!

I'll tell you what I like...I like the heroine to have some sort of newly developing paranormal ability and the hero to be an "age old" experienced character. I like the idea of him being able to teach her by experience and her being able to show him how and old dog can still learn new tricks.

Great to see you here!

6:48 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Hi Nancy! I like when there is enough cast and not too many where I get lost in who is who. I do like to see like a dictionary and/or cast of characters before the book begins. Its a great guide especially when we trying to be patient between books, LOL

6:57 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Hi Tetewa! I'm so glad you enjoyed La Vida Vampire, and hope ou'll like Last Vampire Standing. I'm addicted to paranormals and urban fantasy, too. (Um, and just darn near anything else.) I love having a habit that's good for me! :)

Kerri, you have added an interesting take on likes in paranormals - the newbie to abilities mentored by the old dog. Very cool!

Caffey, you like the cast of characters, and I skip over those. Well, I skip it if it's my first book by an author. I like the introduction process. However, I understand how that can come in handy when there's a long time between books.

Everyone, thank you again for coming by to visit! I've learned a lot from you, and hope I'll always do right by readers as well as by my characters and myself.

Have a terrific week!

Light,
Nancy

7:53 PM  
Blogger Pam P said...

Hi Nancy good post. I'm a big fan of paranormal, and like both, those focuses on the one supernatural being, some with a cast of various beings, though usually with the one being the main focus. All depends on the author and worldbuilding. I like Kresley Cole's Immortals, mainly centered on the Valkyries, with witches, vamps and wolfs. Nalini Singh does a good job mixing her shifters with cold pyschics, and even a Net Mind.

12:38 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Hey Nancy, one of your questions (whether or not to give all the information from the beginning) is one that I've always pondered. I do not mind if the information comes in bits and pieces; in fact, I prefer it. A big information dump to set up the series is difficult to digest and I forget bits and pieces of information. I rather like learning things as the books progress. But there has to be a balance, and the new material needs to be introduced just right- I really can't stand it when out of the blue something pops up that sends me reeling because it is so unexpected and doesn't fit into the book. It can't be introduced as a side-note, or afterthought, like "oh and by the way he's a werewolf, now what were you saying about dinner the other night?" It needs to be there for a reason, and not introduced into the story just for the sake of putting it in the story.

2:08 AM  
Blogger danetteb said...

Hi Nancy ,

La Vida Vampire had me burning the midnight hour. I'm so happy that the sequel has arrived :D

To answer the question about too much or too little para/urban fantasy characters. I have read a few books that had too many different kinds of characters and I wasn't to interested because I ended up wondering about all the characters and didn't focus on what happened in the story.
I like a minimal mix of characters.

I think that answer was confusing,I hope it made sense to some.

Hugs, Danette

2:23 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Pam, you named two of my fav paranormal authors, and I'm wild about how Kelley Armstrong blends her supers. P.C. and Kristin Cast, and oh so many other fabulous authors! Sigh!

You and Candace both echoed other posters, too, on the topic of careful world building. Great points!

Candace, your "oh and by the way he's a werewolf, now what were you saying about dinner the other night?" had me rolling! Yeah, not the way to introduce an element or character!

Danette B, your answer wasn't at all confusing. It makes sense that too many characters can obscure the story itself. Also, I'm so glad you enjoy La Vida Vampire, and I hope you'll like Last Vampire Standing just as much.

Happy week!

Light,
Nancy

10:41 AM  
Blogger Diana Cosby said...

Eureka!

Nancy, I remembered my epiphany last night. Your voice reminds me of Janet Evanovich! Not the same, but you have that same fun, quirky sense. :) Okay, I'm slow to remember, but I did. *G*

Diana
www.dianacosby.com
Romance Edged With Danger

10:51 AM  
Blogger Margie Lawson said...

Hello Nancy -- and Lynda and Edie and Diana :-)

Cesca is the coolest character!

Nancy - I think you were smart to go were-free. I love the way both your books read now. Like you said, your world-wide options are open if you decide to treat Cesca to some were action.

Regarding Zombies, I didn't think I was a zombie fan, until I read chapters from one of my genius critique buddies. Mario Acevedo's JAILBAIT ZOMBIES is dynamite.

Hmm -- Cesca could hook up with Felix Gomez and go vampire wild. ;-)

Nancy -- Hope to see you in Florida sometime!

All smiles........Margie

12:41 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

Thanks for coming by, Nancy!

(And hi, Margie! I did your workshop last year at RWAust in Melbourne. You rock! I am a big zombie fan too.)

I like it when the early series books at least hint at the range of beasties that are out there. Otherwise it can kinda seem like the author's making it up as they go :D not that we'd ever do that, right?

I wanna see some new were-creatures, too. Only so many cats and dogs we need. Go the wererats! Snakes, spiders, insects... such wonderful potential. Icky creatures need love too!

Erica Hayes
www.shadowfae.net

5:37 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Congratulations, Kerry! Thanks for participating. And thanks to everyone who commented here! Hugs to you, Nancy.
Lynda

8:07 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Diana, that my voice reminds you of Evanovich's is a massive compliment indeed! Thank you!

Margie! Thanks so much for coming by! Zombies are the new thing for sure, and I have Mario's book on my to buy list. It would be fun to be won over!

Erica, Margie's an incredible teacher, isn't she? I nearly choked on you wanting to stir up the variety of Weres. Werespiders and snakes? Very interesting!

Hmmm. I think Kathryne Kennedy did a weresnake in her last book -- I'm blanking on the title. She has an awesome historical series set in an England where magic still exists openly. At any rate, you make a good point about expanding the types of Weres!

Light,
Nancy

9:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Lynda, hugs back! Your vampires rock, and I hope everyone who hasn't read you soon will!

Light,
Nancy

9:20 PM  

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