Message From The Author
The Allure of the Lore!
Kresley Cole Switches From Historicals to Paranormals With a Sexy New Series
By Cheryl A. Hoahing
Valkyrie, Lykae and vampires, oh my! This ain't the land of Oz, but the world of the Lore. All kinds of creatures coexist here, and just about anything goes.
Where can this phenomenal place be found? In the pages of Kresley Cole's April release from Pocket Star, A Hunger Like No Other.
"I was always fascinated by the paranormal," says the perky author, already known for her hot historicals. "Halloween is my favorite holiday. I'm a rabid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The idea [for my series] had been simmering for years, and I just couldn't keep it inside any longer. When I sent my editor a 'what the heck' outline, she told me to run with it."
And fans of paranormal romances are going to be thankful for that. A Hunger Like No Other, which takes place in modern times, is the story of half-Valkyrie/half-vampire Emmaline and Lachlain MacRieve, the leader of the Lykae (werewolf) Clan.
Emmaline was raised by her Valkyrie aunts and is now seeking her father. "She can't really uncover that much information on him," says Cole, adding that her heroine wants to find out how "a vampire and a Valkyrie got together, since they are mortal enemies." The Valkyrie -- female beings first found in Scandinavian mythology who are often shown as warriors, messengers or wish maidens and the daughters of Freya and Wóden -- are creatures that Cole is quite enamored of. "There's relatively little research to be found on their myths," she says. "Instead of being operatic Brünnhilde types, the Valkyrie in my tales are more Elvin. They're fey, but they can also be fierce."
Meanwhile, Lachlain, who has finally escaped after being badly tortured by vampires for 150 years in the catacombs beneath Paris, is quite confused when he finds out that his destined mate is a vamp. "It's kind of gritty and dark in the beginning," says Cole.
The author enjoyed all of the artistic freedom that creating characters and tales for a paranormal universe allowed. "I'd heard that you can make your own rules, but then you have to abide by them," explains Cole. The scribe kept track of the parameters of her new world via Post-its, dry-erase markers and even her bathroom mirror. "Post-its are my friends," she says with a laugh. "I couldn't live without them."
With the stage set, Cole began filling it with different types of paranormal creatures. "These characters can get away with so much more than humans, and you can make a lot of excuses for them," she says. "I've had a lot of fun with that. And I've tried to put my own stamp on them."
For example, the Lykae differ from traditional werewolf mythology -- they do not walk on four legs and do not grow fur. "It's more of a spirit inside that renders them immortal," details Cole. "When they turn, it's like a shaky projection over the character illuminating something that's feral and brutal."
In addition to the already mentioned beings, readers will be enchanted by phantoms, demons, witches, ghouls and many others. "Basically, any creature that is considered to be a myth isn't," says Cole about those who inhabit the Lore. "They say every time you hear a myth, you realize that some creature has made a mistake. They became known; there was exposure."
As an added bonus, Cole has created a special glossary, which can be found at the end of A Hunger Like No Other, so readers can revisit their favorite creatures. There's also an excerpt from the next title in the series, the October release No Rest for the Wicked.
The second book in the series follows Valkyrie Kaderin the Cold Hearted, a vampire assassin, and vampire Sebastian Wroth as they compete against one another (and other Lore creatures) in a scavenger-hunt type of contest.
"It's a lot like an immortal Amazing Race," says Cole. "They have to go around the world and retrieve all these talismans. It's really important to Kaderin to win, because the prize is this powerful key that would enable her to save her sisters -- and there's nothing that's going to stop her from getting it. Not even a wickedly sexy vampire who, if she let him, could distract her beyond reason."
As for Sebastian, the prize he seeks is Kaderin herself. "He wants a life with her, but he's not suave and practiced at seduction," Cole says. "He's a little rough around the edges and sees this competition as the only way to get her attention -- and he does!"
Sebastian is the brother of Nikolai Wroth, the hero in the short story that started this all for Cole, "The Warlord Wants Forever," which was featured in the February Pocket erotica anthology, Playing Easy to Get (along with novellas from Sherrilyn Kenyon and Jaid Black).
Many of the same characters reappear in each of the books in Cole's series, and each contains comedic elements, pop culture references (the Valkyrie love celebrity gossip, fashion and video games, for instance) and, of course, sizzling sex.
Cole says that if readers respond well to these books and they are successful, she may continue the series. "I've got a dozen stories plotted out," she reveals. "I just hope I get a green light on some of these because I'm dying to write them!"
While the author is a little worried that fans of her first three books -- the Pocket historicals The Captain of All Pleasures (Jul. '03), The Price of Pleasure (Jul. '04) and If You Dare (May '05) -- won't follow her to the contemporary paranormal genre, Cole is hopeful. "I think a lot of my historical readers like the steamy love scenes, since I get a lot of feedback on that, and I think that if that's part of what attracted them to my writing in the first place, they'll enjoy the same with this series," she says. "It's maybe kicking up the level of sensuality a notch, but that aspect is going to be very similar. I've had readers say that they're happy that my hero and heroine are monogamous and stay together -- that's not changing either."
And if any of her historical admirers want to stick with that genre, they only have to wait until next year to get that which they crave -- the remaining two books in the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy. Following the first title, If You Dare (Courtland's story), Cole will deliver If You Desire (focused on Hugh) and If You Deceive (centering around Ethan). "After that, it's really up to readers -- what people are buying," says Cole, who is happy writing fiction no matter the genre.
In what little downtime she has, Cole has been busy settling into her new digs -- she and her husband, Richard, recently moved from central Florida to the state's panhandle. Now living on a bay, the former world-ranked water-skier no longer gets as many opportunities to practice the sport she loves. But she still spends a lot of time near the water, crabbing and fishing.
"I have a crab trap and every day, when I pull it up, there's something new and weird," says Cole.
Maybe one day she'll find something odd enough to incorporate into her next paranormal!
Excerpt from A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER
"I'll grant you your boon, vampire. In return, I want you unclothed and in this shower with me. I want to feel you, and I'll want your hands on me."
In a voice so soft he could scarcely hear her, she asked, "Will you hurt me?"
"Touch you. No' hurt you."
Her delicate blond brows drew together as she weighed this. Then, as though in great pain, she bent down to her boots, unfastening them with a buzzing sound. She stood and grasped the first button of her blouse, but she seemed unable to proceed. She shook wildly and her blue eyes were stark.
When he loomed closer, she quickly unbuttoned and peeled the rain-soaked blouse away. She removed the undergarment beneath it, but hastily draped a thin arm over her bared breasts. "Listen. I don't know who you think I am, but -- "
"I think" -- before she could blink, he'd ripped her skirt clean from her body and tossed it to the ground -- "that I should at least know your name before I set to touchin' you." Her arm tightened protectively over her chest.
He studied her, his gaze drinking her in. Her skin was perfect alabaster covered only by her strange pantalettes, the black silk that was like a V on her body. Other men would find her exquisite. The vampires would. Human males would kill for her.
Her trembling body was too slight for one such as him, but her eyes ... wide and blue like the daytime sky she would never witness.
"M-my name is Emmaline."
"Emmaline," he growled. Lovely Emmaline with her sky-blue eyes. He slowly reached forward one claw to her remaining garment. And groaned when the sliced silk fluttered to her ankles.
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