Thursday, July 31, 2014
Interview with Sara Reinke
What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always written stories, even when I was a very young child. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and a love of words, and the two came together in a very big way for me. I think the first time I realized that I could possibly do something with these passions and talents for a living came when I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a child. I fell in love with the worlds and characters that Tolkien had created, and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.
Do you write in different genres?
I have written many different genres in the past, ranging from historical fiction set in ancient Greece, to science fiction thrillers set in deep space. For me the appeal comes more from the characters than the setting or genre. My stories are all very character-driven, and no matter where they are, or what kind of situation I thrust them into, I want to make them as believable and likable to readers as possible.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
Despite having written in multiple genres in the past, I’ve found myself most comfortable when writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance. A lot of times, especially with the Brethren books, my stories swing back and forth between the two. Some, like “Dark Thirst” are very much paranormal romance stories, while others, while containing romantic elements, don’t fall so neatly into that “romance novel” category. “Dark Vengeance Part 1” and “Dark Vengeance Part 2” are definitely in this latter category. Brandon and Lina are working through problems in their relationship in these books, and both are forced to face difficult challenges and obstacles.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on the next installment of the Brethren Series. Tentatively titled “In the Heart of Darkness,” it’s my first M/M paranormal, and focuses on two characters who appear in “Dark Vengeance, Part 2”: Julien Davenant and Mason Morin. I’ve been wanting to write a book featuring Mason for a while and there were some scenes featuring him and Julien in “Dark Vengeance Part 2” that really moved me. There was a natural chemistry between them, and a real tenderness evoked in the scenes. I knew I had to write about them next.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’d love to! “Dark Vengeance Part 1” and “Part 2” focus primarily on Lina Jones and Brandon Noble, the heroine and hero from the “Dark Thirst,” the first book in the series. Although Brandon and Lina go on to play significant roles in most of the other books in the series, the “Dark Vengeance” titles are the first ones to again thrust them into the spotlight as the main protagonists.
From “Dark Vengeance Part 1”:
“I don’t think we should tell my family you’re a vampire,” Lina said as she straddled Brandon in the aftermath lovemaking.
With a curious expression, he signed to her in reply, first curling his fingertips in toward the tip of his thumb, then extending them out again, keeping his middle finger touching his thumb: OK…?
Although he couldn’t speak, there was no mistaking the inquisitive tone of his response. “I think it’s going to be enough of a surprise, your family helping me out and all, without adding that into the mix,” Lina tried to explain, sitting back again, balancing atop him.
Brandon was one of an ancient sect of vampires called the Brethren. Raised in seclusion on a communal estate in Kentucky, he and his family had lived apart from humans, yet hidden among them. A brutal attack in Brandon’s childhood had left him deaf and mute, despite the otherwise extraordinary healing capabilities with which his species was endowed. Lina’s older brother Jackson, who himself had been rendered deaf as the result of illness in his youth, had been hired as a tutor for Brandon during the younger man’s adolescence. She’d first met Brandon then; gangly, shy and hopelessly uncertain about himself, he’d been the epitome of teen-age awkwardness. She’d been five years his senior, charmed by his youthful ingenuity, but otherwise oblivious to his existence.
Had things changed since then. Just weeks past his twenty-second birthday, Brandon was now without question the most strikingly handsome man she’d ever seen, with a body so lean and sculpted, he could have been a portrait study for Michelangelo himself.
“Mom pretty much hates your grandfather because of Jackson getting fired all those years ago,” she told him pointedly. His eyes were fixed on her mouth as he watched her speak, reading her lips. When he nodded once in comprehension, she added, “And that’s not even counting how Jackie feels about the whole thing.”
Augustus can be an asshole, Brandon conceded, signing again. With a pointed look, he added, But he’s changed now. And when she rolled her eyes, he added, I keep telling you. He has.
Splaying her fingers, she touched her thumb to her sternum, then pivoted her hand forward. Fine, the gesture said. Her body language, however, told another story altogether as she shifted her weight, leaning to the side and swinging her left leg around, abruptly dismounting from him.
Lina… With his left forefinger and thumb, he formed the letter L, then tapped it against his heart—his pet-sign for her.
Ignoring him, she climbed out of bed and padded across the shadow-draped room toward the bathroom. Without closing the door, she stood over the sink and splashed water on her face. When she looked up, dripping, she saw him in the mirror, standing in the doorway, his brows lifted unhappily.
We’ve already talked about this, he said.
Talk was putting it mildly. Not even six full months into their fledgling relationship, and in that week alone, Lina and Brandon had two fights. Not disagreements, discussions or differences of opinions, but arguments, full blown and angry.
How can you think that Augustus Noble is going to somehow take your father’s place? she’d demanded hotly of him in sign language. Stricken with grief and deeply depressed, his father, Sebastian Noble, had committed suicide earlier that year. Brandon and Sebastian had always been close, and his death had, in Lina’s opinion, left Brandon emotionally vulnerable to his grandfather’s manipulation. Why the hell would you want that?
That’s not what I think, he’d shot back. How can you even ask me that, Lina? He’d finger-spelled her name, as sure a sign as any that he’d been pissed off. No one can replace my dad. Not ever. Augustus only wants to make up for the past—and maybe I want that, too. Maybe I need that right now.
Need what? she’d asked. To have a monster in your life?
No, he’d snapped. To have a family, Lina, the one thing I never felt like I had outside of Tessa and my dad, the only goddamn thing I’ve ever really wanted. To feel like I belong.
His words had stung her to the quick, although her hands had fallen to her sides at this and she’d offered him no retort. I thought I made you feel that way, she’d thought.
In this scene from “Dark Vengeance, Part 2” however, Lina and Augustus have established a tentative truce. Brandon has gone missing, and Lina sets off to find him, fearing that he may be in danger. She enlists help from a very unlikely person—Augustus Noble, Brandon’s grandfather. Augustus is the patriarch of the Noble clan and the man Lina holds pretty much responsible for all of the troubles in her romance with Brandon:
Lina tried but was unable to stifle a yawn with the back of her hand. It was nearly morning; she’d been up all night, and all at once, despite her fascination with the topic of conversation, the weight of her exhaustion seemed overwhelming.
Augustus smiled. “You need to rest.”
Lina shook her head. “No. We need to get back out and start searching for Brandon.”
Augustus arched his eyebrow. “And where should we begin? You told me that you and your police partner had been unable to track down Tejano Cervantes’s whereabouts in Bayshore to date.”
She folded her arms. “Maybe you could sense him if we drove around enough, hit as much of town as we can before dawn.” It was a ridiculous notion and she knew it, like suggesting they search for a needle in a haystack using a refrigerator magnet.
“I’m as anxious to find Brandon as you are,” Augustus told her. “And as worried about him. But I think it would be prudent to rest before we begin again, to review our evidence and…as you call them in your line of work…our leads with fresh eyes in the morning. Neither one of us will be doing Brandon—or ourselves—any good if we’re exhausted.”
He had a point, Lina realized. Goddamn it.
“Fine. I'll get my keys.” She'd played chauffeur for the evening, in part because she knew her way around town and Augustus didn't, and in part because she'd still worried about him being drunk when they'd left the hotel. He'd insisted that he was fine—and he'd seemed fine, his accelerated metabolism having eliminated any hint of the brandy's effects—but she still hadn't wanted to take any chances.
“I can call for a cab.”
“Are you kidding? They'll rip you off blind. You have rich-and-from-out-of-town written all over you.”
Augustus glanced down at the front of his shirt, his brow raised speculatively. “It’s probably not safe for you to be driving when you’re fatigued,” he said. “Statistically, isn’t it as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol?”
He sounded innocent enough, but she didn’t miss his pointed gaze. She’d used the alcohol argument against him earlier at his hotel, when he’d insisted he was alright to drive. And she knew he was right; she’d been a cop long enough to be well familiarized with the statistics. Letting him win the argument, however, and get a cab, was out of the question.
“Fine.” Reaching for a nearby rocking chair that had belonged to her Granddaddy Clarence, she snagged a crocheted throw blanket and did as the name implied—threw it at him. “I’ll get you a pillow. You can crash on the couch. I know it’s hardly the Bayshore Grand, but…”
“It will be fine,” he interjected mildly—and as she yawned again, he added, “And undoubtedly safer.” He tipped his head in a genteel nod. “I appreciate your hospitality.”
“Yeah, well…it doesn’t mean we’re friends or anything,” Lina mumbled. Frowning slightly, she headed for Latisha’s bedroom to grab an extra pillow, still not quite believing she’d just invited him to spend the night at her mother’s home. Somebody pinch me, she thought.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I think the biggest challenge I’ve had to face in my writing is finding the time to do it. That’s probably a universal lament among authors, though. Two years passed between the publication of “Dark Vengeance Part 1” and “Part 2,” which was way more time than I’d intended to come between them. In that time, I completed my Associate’s degree online in Nursing, and started working full-time as an RN. I also went back to school to pursue my Bachelor’s in Nursing. In addition to that, I’m a mom, a wife, a pet owner and homemaker, so there’s always something new to clean or juggle around here. I have to admit that the stress in my life became a little overwhelming, and unfortunately my writing took a backseat to all of the other demands I was facing. But I’ve cut back on my work and school hours and am trying to give myself and my family a little more time and attention—and in the “me” category, this includes writing. It’s been refreshing to get back into the habit again, and I’ve loved diving back into the world of the Brethren.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
I don’t physically travel, per se, but I love to do research, and before beginning any new manuscript, I dive into Google. A long time ago, I aspired to learn something new with every book I complete. In a series like the Brethren books, where I’m very familiar with their world, and it’s been well-established, that can be a challenge. But as some examples, I’ve incorporated characters like Brandon, who is deaf and mute, with physical disabilities so I can learn more about those disabilities in the course of my writing. I like to incorporate characters from different cultures and nationalities—for example, Pilar Cadana and her brother, Valien, who appear in both of the “Dark Vengeance” books are Puerto Rican, and I tried to learn more about their language and culture when writing about them. In some of the Brethren books, I include flashbacks to historical periods. You’ll see this in “Dark Vengeance Part 2,” for example, and I love learning about the way people dressed, talked, what they ate and drank, what holidays they celebrated and how, etc. for these scenes. Incorporating research into my books helps keep the characters and stories new and fresh to me as a writer and, I hope, to my readers.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
I actually did it myself. I’ve worked in the past as a graphic artist, so I’m somewhat familiar with Photoshop. I’ve used professional cover designers in the past, including Kimberly Killion at Hot Damn! Designs and Robin Ludwig at Go Book Cover Design, but even though I’m nowhere near as good as they are, I still enjoy the process, and make most for myself now. I recently discovered photographer/graphic artist Taria Reed’s site, The Reed Files, for stock photography, and she’s proven to be an invaluable resource for my cover art muse!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write to please yourself, to make yourself happy. It’s harder than it sounds. When the first two books in the Brethren series were released from Kensington, I found an agent and tried writing what I thought would sell. I followed her every suggestion for revision, to the point where I lost confidence in myself, my ability to judge what worked for my characters and stories. And in the end, she still wasn’t satisfied. I don’t have an agent now, and I no longer try to necessarily follow genre trends when I’m writing. Yes, it’s important to write something marketable, and to be savvy about what is currently “hot,” but it’s more important to trust your instincts as a writer, to enjoy what you’re doing, to feel passionate and enthusiastic about it.
Dark Vengeance Part 1
The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 11/2011
Number of pages: 155
Word Count: 62,640
Brandon Noble thinks the worst is behind him and is ready to begin a new life with the woman he loves. Lina Jones is more reluctant to let bygones be bygones, but agrees to try for Brandon's sake. But just as they look forward to a promising future together, new danger arises -- and Brandon's very nature could threaten to tear them ruthlessly apart.
Dark Vengeance Part 2
The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 6/2014
Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 130,860
From the beginning, it's been the two of them: Brandon Noble and Lina Jones, against the world...against all odds. But in the end, Brandon couldn't resist his true vampire nature, and the relentless pull of the blood lust drove them apart. Now he's disappeared without a trace and his life may very well be in danger. Can Lina put aside her broken heart to help find the man she loves? Or does Brandon's salvation lie in the hands of the most unlikely hero of all?
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/3KIlWNhpZmk
Smashwords Amazon BN
About the Author:
“Definitely an author to watch.” That’s how Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine describes Sara Reinke.
New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards calls Reinke “a new paranormal star” and Love Romances and More hails her as “a fresh new voice to a genre that has grown stale.”
Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger, the first two books in The Brethren Series of vampire romance are available from Kensington/Zebra Books, while the third installment, Dark Passion, is available from Double Dragon Publishing.
The series continued with Dark Passages: Tristan & Karen, Dark Passages 2: Pilar & Elías and Dark Vengeance Parts 1 and 2, from Bloodhorse Press.
Learn more about Sara and her available titles at www.sarareinke.com