Message From The Author

Author's Message

Vampires, Werewolves and Faeries, Oh My!

Enter the Magical World of Laurell K. Hamilton

by Kathy Love

It's like you wake up one morning, and suddenly all the things that go bump in the night are real." Says Laurell of her two fan-favorite series, starring Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter and Meredith Gentry, Faerie Princess. Not only do the monsters truly exist in her novels, but they are accepted in society, right down to the fact that they have legal rights.

The heart-pounding horror started with Anita Blake's debut in Guilty Pleasures in July 1995, and Laurell's been teasing and tantalizing readers ever since. Anita is a re-animator (she raises the dead for official purposes) and also a vampire hunter. Unfortunately, vampirism is legal, which often makes her job a bit tricky. (Facing down murder charges would seriously slow down the plots!) With 10 books to date and another soon to be released in the series, Laurell has fashioned a continuing tale full of action, mystery, horror
and romance.

It is this ability to cross so many genres that makes Ms. Hamilton's work so beloved by readers. "I have fans who approach me and say 'I only read mystery, but I read your stuff' or 'I only read romance, but I read your stuff.' [My books] appeal to so many different readers, because there really is something for everyone," Laurell says.

Romance readers have devoured Hamilton's novels, thanks to the strong romantic triangles she features. The author herself is a bit surprised about her preternatural males' appealespecially
the swooning response to alpha vamp hero Jean-Claude. "I don't personally find vampires, werewolves, etc romantically attractive. But he can enter any situation and take charge," she concedes. "That idea can be very appealing."

Still, Hamilton thinks she could never be a love match for
her vampire creation. "Generally, dating a take-charge kind
of guy means you don't get to pick the restaurant or the movie.
Jean-Claude is great for an evening, but he can't be perfect every day." Like her creator, Anita wants to be the one in control, too,
and it makes for a wonderfully problematic relationship full of whip-cracking (sometimes literally!) tension between Anita and Jean-Claude.

Richard, Anita's other romantic interest, was introduced as
an ideal man for Laurell's feisty heroine and the total foil for Jean-Claude. He's the classic boy next doorexcept for that little
problem of him being a werewolf. Somehow, Laurell manages to stay aloof to his charms as well: "It's hard to feel romantic about a man who gets hairy once a month and could eat you for dinner."

Though Laurell isn't physically attracted to her heroes, she does believe that the immortality of supernatural creatures is a romantically fascinating concept. "It's nice to think a loved one could really be with you forever," says Hamilton, who suffered the loss of her mother at a young age, and was raised by her grandmother. "Originally I thought my fascination with the paranormal was due to the tragedies
of my youth, but gradually I realized it was always a part of my make-up to be intrigued by the fantastic."

Those same childhood tragedies influence Hamilton's creation of her heroines. Although both of her female leads are petite and feminine, they are also strong and self-reliant. "Because I was raised by my grandmother, there weren't any men around to do the lifting, the moving, the hard stuff. So, I write the only kind of women I know."

Merry Gentry, the heroine of her newest series, the Fey novels, may be a bit more diplomatic than Anita Blake, but she's also tough. Merry is a faerie princess with a direct line to the royal throne of the Faerie World. Hamilton blended the ordinary with the fantastic to create this new Fey world by researching real royalty (mainly the English and the French) and also
Celtic mythology.

Romance fans will also adore the love story in Merry's life. "I want a happy ending for Merry, although we all know the path of true love never runs smooth. Her story is a Princess Charming tale, where she has to choose the right man. I wanted equal time for women." But along with a very sensual romantic element, her April Fey novel, A CARESS OF TWILIGHT, carefully considers the idea of having power. "What it means to have ultimate power. What it means to be a good ruler. And the realization that to be a good ruler you need to have a planit doesn't just come as you go along."

This idea of effective planning has obviously been an important part of Laurell K. Hamilton's writing success. She has shaped exotic worlds and characters that still resonate deeply with readers. Her series feature exciting, ongoing stories, where her fans can't wait to discover what will happen next. And with her newest book, she continues to captivate with intrigue, horror and romance. "My key is to take truths, change them for fiction, and make them your own," she explains. Ms. Hamilton has done exactly that, and in the process, has invented original and fascinating places we all want to experience!

Check out Laurell's website, www.laurellkhamilton.com, for more information, or write to her in care of Ballantine Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.


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