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Interview with Rosemary A. JohnsWhat group did you hang out with in high school?
Firstly – thanks for having me on your site today!
English schools are different to US. For one: no High School. We have secondary schools. I think they’re growing more like your schools now but when I was a kid (one of those phrases I swore never to say!), it wasn’t divided. There weren’t cliques. Jocks don’t exist in the UK! But if I had to say what my friends were into… I was one of those butterfly people. I had several really close friends. You know the type you still have now and will do when you’re 95? Then I drifted happily between groups. I didn’t have a set seat. Girls would call me over to sit with them.
There was a gigging group. They were fun. I’m a music fanatic, so I loved going to music gigs.
Friends are more important to me now than they were then. You appreciate family can be created. No one shapes your life but you. In Blood Shackles , which is like Taken but with vampires, one of the first things stripped from Light is love. But he finds it again. And friendship. Family. In the most unlikely of places. That’s what gives him the hope and power to fight to set them – and himself – free.
What are you passionate about these days?
Everything! That’s writers for you… I’m a passionate type of person. If I get involved with something, I’m in hundred percent. Life feels too short not to be passionate about the world… OK pseudo-rant over.
Narrowing it down – writing. That’s my passion/obsession. If I’m not writing, I’m usually daydreaming ABOUT writing.
I love fantasy: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, fantasy romance and straight up fantasy. I’m a member of the British Fantasy Society. Books, movies, TV – I don’t care the medium if the writing’s great. That’s the key. It’s why when I decided to move from being a traditionally published short story writer and playwright to novelist I chose a fantasy series: Rebel Vampires.
In a hidden paranormal London where death drives desire, vampires are both predator and prey. The first standalone book in Rebel Vampires is Blood Dragons. After a century of love with a savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer (vampire) Light - my British Rocker Blood Lifer with a photographic memory - falls in love for the first time with a human in the wild 1960s music scene. Because my other passion?
Music. Huge music fanatic here. The Stones, The Beatles, The Who (ever noticed how many ‘60s bands start with ‘The’?). Light’s soundtrack was my soundtrack. No hardship there.
Blood Dragons is out now (e-book and paperback). Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodDragons
Blood Shackles – the second standalone book in the series - is like Taken. But with vampires. With added romance. And I love psychology. How our minds work. I had to study both how to break – and rebuild – a slave’s mind for Blood Shackles. It was fascinating.
Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodShackles
If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?
I’m not one for regrets. You are who you are because of your choices. Decisions. But in the world of magic wands…
I was first published when I was fourteen. My short story was published by a magazine, who didn’t know I was a kid. No search engines then. We were all anonymous…
Then I wrote plays. I loved running a theatre too. And I still wrote short stories. There’s a skill to that. Brevity. Flash fiction – that’s the hardest of all.
One thing I’d do differently? I’d write a series sooner. I didn’t realize I’d love it as much as I do. Or fall in love as hard. But then characters like Light come to you in their own time. As he says himself, he’s ‘not a slave, mate’. You can’t force them. I’m their puppet.
Ebook or print? And why?
I’m greedy. Both! Look, it’s like this: I love my Kindle. Love it. Hug it. Kiss it… OK, went too far there. But I love it. All those books in one place? So much cheaper than in print? A library at my fingertips? What’s not to love? That’s why my series Rebel Vampires is in Kindle Unlimited, so it’s free to borrow. I love this feature. I consume – totally devour – books every night on this. Why not? They’re free.
I love paperbacks. The feel. The look. The smell. If I like the author? If I love the cover? Then I want to own the book. Hold it in my hand. Lie in my garden or bed with something…real.
That’s why I’m so lucky to have JD Smith as my book cover designer. She’s a UK based award winning designer of a whole bunch of bestsellers. And she just got the series. And me. Dark. Hidden paranormal London. Iconic and unique. The whole series fits together: stunning. They’re the reasons I buy a paperback over Kindle.
What is your favorite scene in this book?
My favorite scene – I can’t tell you because…spoilers! You’ll have to buy Blood Shackles – read it – and then message me and we’ll chat…
But one of the scenes I love is between Light (the Blood Lifer) and Grayse (the human daughter of the slaver). I write vampires for adults. And love that’s passionate, destructive, and obsessive – the type we’ve all felt at some time in our life. In some form. Maybe not healthy. Certainly not perfect. But it’s burning and it’s real. Now that’s romance. The path to it though? Never straight. Like in this scene:
‘At last you stopped, shoving me up against a brick wall at the back entrance to a butcher’s.
‘Look,’ I said hurriedly, ‘I’m sorry about--’
Questioningly, I tilted my nut. Your lips were close to mine. All I’d need to do was…
You pulled back (of course you bloody did), even if you were still clutching onto me, as if my body was yours.
Because no matter what other nasties you might do with it, you’d never kiss your slave, would you?
Then you suddenly hauled me closer, and we were snogging.
At that moment, none of it meant anything.
Slave or Mistress. First Lifer or Blood.
It never does when skin meets skin. It was just Light and Grayse.
So it was a good kiss. To me, it changed everything. But to you..?
‘If you would be so kind, some of us are trying to feed in peace.’ A nasal but polite Turkish Blood Lifer popped his nut up from further down the alley. He licked down the neck of a twitching First Lifer bird, who was propped up against a skip.
When you shrieked and tried to jerk away, I held you still by the wrist.
I shrugged. ‘Yeah, my mistake.’
Your peepers were now flint.
I started edging you backwards out of the shadows.
If I hadn’t been so – distracted - I’d have sensed this gentlemanly Blood Lifer earlier. But now wasn’t the time to give you a crash course on Blood Lifer dinner etiquette.’Blood Shackles (Rebel Vampires Volume 2)What are your favorite TV shows?
Ones that grab you by the throat and don’t let go. You know the ones? You’re up to 1am because you just have to watch the next one..? I love it when characters are central. You can fall in love with them and alongside them.I write fantasy so… no surprises. I love fantasy. And lucky me TV is the King – here, I’m giving it a Crown right now – of fantasy. Urban fantasy is living on TV. And people are watching it. Game of Thrones anyone?
My favorite urban fantasy TV show? Being Human. There’s an American version of the UK show. I don’t know what it’s like. Maybe you could email and tell me? That would be cool. But the UK version? It gets everything right. And vampires. Did I mention it has two of the best vampires in recent years? Mitchell and Hal?
It showed what it would be like to struggle as a vampire in our modern world. I wanted to show that in my new fantasy series Rebel Vampires. In the first book Blood Dragons Light (a 150 years old British Rocker vampire with a photographic memory) dates a human for the first time. It doesn’t go…smoothly. In Blood Shackles, which is the second book in the series, Light has been enslaved and defanged by a secretive group of humans, called the Blood Club. He finds a ragtag family there for the first time. But fitting into the modern world of smoothies, gyms and the business world – isn’t exactly his thing.What is your favorite meal?
Lasagna. Or anything Italian. My mum’s family are part Italian. I love Italy. Blood Shackles is like Taken. With vampires.And whilst Light is being held captive by the slaver’s daughter Grayse, he cooks for her.
‘You sucked the pasta off your fork: from the orgasmic expression on your mush, I figured it was good. ‘So, maybe you can do, like, more of the cooking?’
I raised my eyebrow. ‘Anyone would reckon I was your slave.’
You flushed, hurriedly munching another forkful.’
Blood Shackles(Rebel Vampires Volume 2)Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodShacklesIf you’d said favorite food…then it’s chocolate. I always say please feed me reviews because they’re better than chocolate. Well – now you know how much I love to read your reviews!
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
Already have done!
Rebel Vampires is my new fantasy series for people who love vampires. Or fantasy. Or romance. Because it’s set in a hidden paranormal London, where vampires are both predator – and prey. Where death drives desire. There are vampires, romance and rebels. And a whole new twist on the vampire myth.
Blood Dragons is the first book in the Rebel Vampires series.5* “Compelling” – Margarita Morris, The Good Writer 5* “…a very unique paranormal romance…” - SHL Reviews 5* “Completely gripping” – Silver Dagger ScriptoriumThere are three people in this affair – and two of them aren’t human…1960s London. Light is a rebel Rocker Blood Lifer with a photographic memory. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows. Both predator and prey. His venom is deadly. He feeds on blood. Human, of course. But when he discovers his ruthless family’s horrifying secret experiments, he questions whether he should be slaying or saving the humans he’s always feared.Ruby is a sexy but savage Elizabethan Blood Lifer. She burns with a destructive love for Light. But he’s keeping something from her. Something that breaks every rule in Blood Life. When she discovers the truth, things take a terrifying turn.Kathy is a seductive singer. But she’s also human. Light knows his passionate love for her is reckless but he’s enchanted. Yet such a romance is forbidden. When the two worlds collide, it could mean the end. For both species.What dark revelations will Light reveal at the heart of the experiments? Will he be able to stop them in time? The consequences of failure are unimaginable. Unless Light plays the part of hero, he risks losing everything. Including the two women he loves.A rebel, a red-haired devil and a Moon Girl battle to save the world – or tear it apart.Click here to read it before Blood Shackles: http://viewbook.at/BloodDragonsBlood Shackles is the standalone second book in the series. Out now at the promotional price of $0.99.
What happens when Spartacus meets vampires? Welcome to Blood Club. Where the predators…become the prey.
Click here now: http://viewbook.at/BloodShacklesThe third book – Blood Renegades – will be released spring 2017. Light has only two weeks to give his witness, on trial for his life, before he’s burnt at the stake – because who wants to hear the truth?
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
I admire a lot of writers. In fact, I admire MOST writers. Can I say the writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer just for making my teenage years not…suck? Books wise… Neil Gaiman. Genius. Here’s one: Bulgakov. Whoever thought he’d be in the same paragraph as Buffy? His The Master and Margarita is satire at its most powerful. And add in vampire attacks.
How did you come up for the title of this book?Titles…like a kid leaves their crusts to last, so I leave naming my books…
I love my titles. But they’re the heart. How long do I spend on them? Longer than anything else.
Rebel? That’s the guts. The core concept of the whole series. Individuality. Not conforming. Acceptance of difference and the power of the misfit – plus Light is like a modern day James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (if he’d somehow morphed into a young Michael Caine).
Vampires? The world is divided into humans (First Lifers) and Blood Lifers (vampires). The vampires aren’t fantastical creatures; they’re camouflaged predators. Except in this world? They’re both predator. And prey.
Blood? Blood is everything. Second life – their hidden world in London– is Blood Life. The secret slavers club is the Blood Club…
To say more would give away spoilers – you’ll have to read each book to discover why it’s: Dragons, Shackles and Renegades!Blood Shackles is out now at the promotional price of $0.99. Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodShacklesWant to read Blood Dragons first? Click here: http://viewbook.at/BloodDragons
By Rosemary A. Johns
Rebel Vampires, Book 2
Publisher: Fantasy Rebel Limited
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Length: 368 Pages
About the book:
WELCOME TO THE BLOOD CLUB
Light is a Rocker Blood Lifer with a talent for remembering things. He’s meant to be the predator. It’s been that way since Victorian times. But not now. Not since someone hunted him. Enslaved him. Ripped out his fangs. Who are these ruthless humans? Who’s their violent leader? And who betrayed the secret of the Blood Lifer world?
WHERE THE PREDATORS
London, Primrose Hill. Grayse is the commanding but alluring slaver’s daughter. The enemy. She buys Light, like he’s a pair of designer shoes. So why does Light feel so drawn to her? Especially when his family is still in chains. Will he risk everything – even his new love – to save them?
BECOME THE PREY
Does a chilling conspiracy lie behind it all? A stunning revelation leads Light to an inconceivable truth. If he can face his worst terrors, he can save his family and his whole species from slavery.
Maybe he can even save himself.
The third book in the series, BLOOD RENEGADES, will be out Spring 2017
EXCERPT‘So I’m behind the times because I died a Victorian?’Your cool gaze seemed to be sussing me out. ‘You don’t look Victorian.’‘Didn’t exactly stay dead.’ I pushed away from the fireplace, jumping up to sit on the arm of the leather sofa. I scrutinized your serious features and those intent grey peepers. ‘You really don’t know anything about us Blood Lifers, do you? How we evolved or--’‘I know enough.’Surprised, I drew back. ‘As in, only good Blood Lifer’s a dead Blood Lifer?’You shot me a sharp look. ‘You wouldn’t be here, if that’s what I thought.’‘Alright then, as in, only good Blood Lifer’s one in shackles?’Your mouth tightened into a thin line. ‘And what about humans? Do we come in small, medium or large?’‘In America you can supersize.’ I grinned, but you didn’t return it: some birds have no sense of humour. Of course, Ruby would’ve clocked me for that comment. ‘Look, that’s not who I am now. I’ve been on blood abstention for fifty years.’Your voice was so cold it could’ve given frost bite. ‘Good for you.’‘Not asking for a medal, sweetheart. I just wanted you to know I don’t… Not First Lifers. Not for a long time.’‘Makes no difference to me.’‘It does to me. You’ve no idea how much.’‘OK.’ You turned back to your laptop, opening it with an air of indifference. Then there was that blasted clack clacking.I listened for a moment in silence. Then I couldn’t hack it any longer. ‘What does?’‘What?’ You didn’t stop typing or look away from the screen.‘Make a difference to you?’You didn’t even pause. ‘The profit margin.’
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
ROSEMARY A JOHNS is a traditionally published author of short stories under the name R. A. Johns. She is the author of Blood Dragons the compelling first instalment of the Rebel Vampires series.
Rosemary A Johns wrote her first fantasy novel at the age of ten, when she discovered the weird worlds inside her head were more exciting than double swimming. Since then she’s studied history at Oxford University, run a theatre company (her critically acclaimed plays have been described as "uncomfortable, unsettling and uneasily true to life"), and worked with disability charities.
When Rosemary’s not falling in love with the rebels fighting their way onto the page, she heads the Oxford writing group Dreaming Spires
Rosemary is a Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31348711-blood-dragons
To sign up to Rosemary A Johns’ VIP Email Newsletter with news of hot releases, promotions and the free short story “All the Tin Soldiers”, click here: http://eepurl.com/bQ0kMX
First Book in Rebel Vampire Series