Author Interview With Jeaniene Frost
Fan favorite paranormal author Jeaniene Frost stole readers' hearts with her Night Huntress series (dubbed the "Cat and Bones" books by fans), and we were delighted to learn that one of our favorite sizzling vampires from the series, Vlad Tepesh, was getting his own spin-off series starting with this month's release Once Burned. If you can't wait to sink your teeth into Vlad's story, read on to discover more about this fiery hero and high-voltage heroine, find out what Cat and Bones think of Vlad's latest adventure and learn what's next for the author!
RT BOOK REVIEWS: Once Burned starts your new Cat & Bones spin-off series, The Night Prince, with a familiar face, Vlad. If readers are new to your world, what do they need to know about Vlad before diving into his first story?
Jeaniene Frost: If you’re looking for a sulky, angst-filled vampire, this isn’t the book for you. Vlad has no regrets about being a vampire or about much else, either. He also hates to be called Dracula, so use the “D” word at your own risk. And if you see him grab a long wooden pole or you smell smoke…well, I’d tell you to run, but it would already be too late.
RT: The cover of Once Burned shows off Vlad’s commanding and “don’t mess with me” side, how is this the same (and different) from how you imagined him in your head?
JF: I love the attitude the cover conveys because Vlad is very much a take-no-prisoners character. I had also begged the art department to show his scars, his long hair, that eight o’clock shadow on his jawline, and his ripped physique. The model isn’t quite how I picture Vlad since for starters, Vlad’s hair is dark brown, not black, and he has chest hair. Also, he has a lot more scars. Of course, it’s impossible for anyone to exactly duplicate the mental image I have of my characters, so overall, I’m delighted with how the cover turned out.
RT: Vlad isn’t the only fantastically layered character in these books, heroine Leila is literally “high voltage” — how did she come to have the ability to channel electricity?
JF: Leila accidentally touched a downed power line when she was thirteen. It should have killed her, but instead, she woke up from a coma with a long scar and frightening new abilities. One was that her entire body began to give off electricity, especially the hand she touched the power line with. The other ability is that Leila could “see” someone’s worst sin when she touched them, as well as get glimpses of the past, present, and even the future.
RT: Leila gift of psychometry can also be seen as a bit of a curse. Can you share your top three reasons why it would be a good skill to have and three why it would be bad?
JF: Leila’s psychometry is an asset because she can immediately tell the type of person she’s dealing with. When the first thing you “see” is someone’s worst sin, that’s a strong indicator of whether the person is good or bad. She can also find people in the present, which makes her able to “spy” on anyone who’s left a strong impression on an object. Her occasional glimpses of the future through psychometry have also saved lives, including her own.
The downside is that when Leila “sees” someone’s worst sin, it’s as though she’s reliving it herself. Think of all the terrible things people do to each other. Would you want to relive those things as though they’re happening to you? Probably not, and neither does Leila, but if she touches someone, she has no choice. Her ability to find people in the present also gets her into trouble because there are those who want to use Leila’s “spying” for their own nefarious purposes. Her glimpses of the future have saved lives, but not always, and when you know something terrible is going to happen yet you can’t stop it, that’s a heavy burden to carry.
RT: When Once Burned opens, Leila works with a vampire, then she gets kidnapped by vampires and then saved and falls in lust (and eventually love) with a vampire. What is it that makes Leila such fang-bait?
JF: Her abilities. She can’t touch regular humans without harming them, but vampires can withstand limited amounts of her voltage. This is why her closest friend is a vampire named Marty. Leila doesn’t have to worry about hurting Marty and as a dwarf vampire, Marty knows what it’s like to be an outcast. Leila’s ability to spy in the present and see the future makes her irresistible to unscrupulous vampires trying to kill an enemy, and what kind of enemy would a vampire have? Another vampire. So yes, Leila is soon up to her ears in fangs whether she wants to be or not.
RT: If you had to explain the chemistry between Leila and Vlad in one tweet, what would it say?
JF: Instead of me describing it (as you can imagine, I’m biased ), I’d rather quote what readers have had to say about Vlad and Leila’s chemistry: “steaming and electric” “overwhelming and heart-stopping and real” “It would almost seem they were made for each other” “Scintillating romance.” (Okay, so I went three characters over for a Tweet!) Links to the full reviews for these quotes are on my website.
RT: If Cat and Bones could weigh in on Vlad’s latest adventure in one word each, what would they say, respectively?
JF: Bones: Payback!
RT: In Once Burned, Vlad takes Leila off to his fabulous Romanian Castle. If you were to hang out there, what room would you spend all your time in?
JF: It would be a toss-up between the library and the weapon’s room. One is filled with thousands of books, many of which are very rare, yet the other is filled with centuries-old battle memorabilia from Vlad the Impaler. How could I choose?!
RT: We know that this series has been contracted for at least two books, so we’ve got to ask, why did you feel it would take two full books to tell their story?
JF: From the beginning, I had more than one story in my head with Vlad and Leila. That’s only happened before with Cat and Bones, so I was very eager to expand things beyond one book. Happily, my publisher agreed with me.
RT BOOK REVIEWS: And because this wouldn’t be an interview with the RT Webteam without us asking: can you share a detail from the book that will be out AFTER Once Burned?
Jeaniene Frost: The next book will be Twice Tempted, out in March 2013. As you may be able to tell from the title, Twice Tempted is book two in the Night Prince series and it picks up right after the end of Once Burned. After that is Cat and Bones #7, tentatively titled Up from the Grave, expected release winter 2013.
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