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Thursday, September 16, 2010

VBT Bond With Me

Where do you hail from? What do you love most about your hometown?

I grew up in Vermont and then later came out to California to go to school—and am still here. One of the things I love most about my new hometown? No one’s been shot on my doorstep yet (three nights after we bought our second house, we looked out the window and saw someone get shot to death) and there is greenery. I have trees—mature trees!—all around our house and I’ve done nothing but dig holes and plant plants since we moved in.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
I distinctly recall bouncing back and forth between wanting to be a social worker and wanting to be a fashion designer. Fortunately, instead, I went the dot-com techie route, so my penchant for jeans and flip-flops fit right in. I don’t think I ever considered “writer” to be a career choice—a passion, absolutely. Something I always wanted to do—yes. But something that I could get paid to do? That hadn’t occurred to me.

What do you do for fun?
I garden every chance I get and, when the stars align, I love traveling. I’m a warm weather, beach and coral reef addict—so I’m happiest when I’m either baking like a lizard or gliding over fish with a snorkel. Not shockingly, gardening seems to happen much more often than the snorkel adventures do, but I’m looking forward to November and exploring the reefs off Tulum in Mexico.

How has your environment/ upbringing colored your writing?
My parents always had books around and nothing was off-limits. I was one of those kids who walk home from the bus stop, reading and stumbling along. We read everything we could get our hands on and spent hours exploring book sales and used book stores (and, eventually, new book stores—there was a dearth of those where I grew up in Vermont).

Tell us about your latest book.  Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
For me, fallen angels are the ultimate alpha bad boys and I’ve always had a serious soft spot for bad boys. Good looks helped, but it’s the attitude, the you-can-kick-me-but-I’ll-come-back-stronger mindset. I love a man who is strong inside and out, who has the courage of his convictions—but who is still open to meeting a life-changing woman and redemption at her hands. The hero of BOND WITH ME, Brends Duranov, is a fallen angel who believes he rebelled against the Heavens for the right reasons. Whether he’s right or wrong in that belief, he accepts that there’s a price to pay for his rebellion and he’s not whining about his exile to Earth or his lost wings. He’s paying and he’s shouldering ahead.

Three thousand years after his Fall, however, Brends discovers that he may have a shot at redemption. Just one shot. What, I wondered, would he be willing to do for that redemption? If he could regain his wings and the Heavens, where would he draw the line? Particularly if his redemption meant that he could prove the fallen angels were right and their rebellion was justified? Mischka Baran is the key to that redemption—and she turns Brends’ world upside down and inside out when she temporarily sells him her soul in exchange for a much-needed favor. If he had to choose between redemption and the sexy, strong woman he’s falling in love with, which would he choose? That’s the appeal of the bad boy and that’s why we want so very much to redeem him ourselves—sexy, strong, full of attitude and, when we look past that dark and devilish exterior, with a bone-deep honor that he’s hidden from us and from the rest of the world.

 I’m absolutely delighted that the next books in both my Bond series and my Hunter’s Mate series will be published by Kensington Brava in early 2012. I’m actually putting the finishing touches on the next Bond book right now. Tentatively titled His Dark Bond, this is Zer’s story and he merits a very sexy, very stubborn soul mate of his own.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
BOND WITH ME’s title reflects the hero’s seduction of the heroine. He’s a Fallen angel, has lost his soul. The only way he can truly feel now is vicariously, through a bond mate—a human who exchanges his or her soul for a favor. Brends wants Mischka and he’ll stop at nothing to have her—he desperately wants her to bond with him and that need stuns him.

Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
I find that places really resonate with me, but I haven’t used contemporary events or headlines in my books. What I’ve loved most about writing sexy paranormals is the whole make-it-up-as-you-go-along bit. In my day job, I’m a technical writer—which means I translate Engineering into English. Strangely enough, the day job frowns on my making stuff up (can’t imagine why!), so it’s very liberating to come home, sit down, and just write. Fantasy worlds have rules, of course, but they’re my rules. I love that.

How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
One hundred percent pure fantasy. I get asked this question quite a bit—my husband (cough) gets asked it even more. In my first book, THE HUNT, the hero and the heroine are trying to escape an ancient tunnel. They’re swinging on a rope, beset by various perils, and engage in a little erotic fantasy while they’re there. One hundred percent pure fantasy… if it had been me, I a) wouldn’t have had the upper body strength to scale a rope and b) would have been more “Get me out of here!” than “This is sexy!” But that’s why fantasy is so much fun!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Sex scenes. My editor generally likes the book to be about half action and adventure and half action and adventure—in bed. The challenge is to make sure that the intimacy between the hero and the heroine reflects both their physical desire and their growing relationship.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write. Someone told me that you have to write a half million words of complete dreck before you get to the good stuff. I laughed at that notion at the time (because my first novel would, of course, be fabulously brilliant). But I have a horrible, sneaking suspicion it’s true. When I add up the word count of the books lurking beneath my bed… the ones that will never, ever see the light of day… that’s almost exactly what I have there. Writers need to practice. We need to learn.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
All the time. First, I do book promo. Then, I glue my butt to the chair. That’s all you can really do. Eventually, the words come. The ideas come.

Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
I’ve met very few authors I didn’t enjoy and I really read all over the map. Right now, for example, I’m devouring Wendy Holden. She’s hilarious, there are so many delicious details of English life, and I love her characters. In terms of paranormal romance, however, I’d say Angela Knight. She is one of the most stunning craftswomen I have ever read.

How did you deal with rejection letters?
Whenever I got a rejection letter, the rule was I turned the project around and sent it right back out. I remember reading that Kresley Cole advocated always having twenty irons in the fire—when NYC sent one of her submissions flying back to her, she immediately sent it somewhere else. I loved that philosophy and I still love by it. What appeals most to me is always having something positive, always having a possibility out there. If you don’t get your project back out there, there’s no possibility of anything happening. So you just have to keep trying because, eventually, if you’ve honed your craft, you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Of course, I also gave myself permission to consume mass quantities of cheetos whenever I got an R ;)

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A laptop. Notebooks. And a library card—after buying way too many books from Amazon, I’ve learned to go borrow craft books from the library first. Fortunately, my area seems to be full of aspiring writers, so my library has a gorgeous collection of writing books.

Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
I’ve never consciously thought about this. I like sexy, so no problem there, although my books really focus on the hero and the heroine. Gory descriptions… again, whatever’s appropriate for the book. In terms of graphic violence, I definitely don’t exceed Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?
Absolutely, although research is probably not the right word. I read along and ideas start sparking and I go from there. Bond with Me came about because I was reading a medieval Slavic description of the Fall. Those medieval writers don’t pull any punches—they’re graphic, blunt and pretty damn bloody. So, I was reading about a battle in Heaven between the archangel Mikhail (Michael) and a cohort of angels. The rebel angels lost (of course) and were literally thrown out of Heaven—after Mikhail ripped their wings from their backs. There then follows a fabulous description of what happened to the Fallen—who became the bogeymen of Slavic mythology. Some of the Fallen became the Goblins, cursed to live with dark faces and forms as an eternal reminder of their sin. Since I’ve always been a fan of the underdog—I always root for the Grendals and Calibans—I started wondering. What if the rebel angels had a good reason for that rebellion?  (Hint: in Bond with Me, they do). My starting point therefore focuses on Michael and not the other archangels—but I could certainly imagine them making an appearance later on!

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?
Whichever one I’ve just finished.

Where can we find you on the net? Where can we find out more about your books?
You can find me at http:///www.herfallenangel.com. The site has more information about my books, BOND WITH ME and THE HUNT, excerpts, news—the usual stuff. THE HUNT is currently both a mass market paperback release (which means Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, your airport bookstore… they all should be good) and an ebook release (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, allromanceebooks.com). BOND WITH ME is, due to a few changes at my publisher’s, currently an ebook release (Amazon and Barnes & Noble), with a trade paperback scheduled to follow in the spring.

Blurb:  They rule Moscow’s seedy underworld, promising untold pleasure to the females who dare to mate them.  That promise – and Brends Duranov’s own raw sexual power – has hopefuls mobbing the velvet rope outside his elite club G2’s.

But Mischka Baran has no intention of hooking up with one of the Fallen.  Not even after Brends gives her an unforgettable taste of the sin and seduction he can deliver with those wicked lips.  She’s after information, not a stint as some Goblin’s toy of the month.  What she doesn’t know is that with a sadistic killer carving up his brethren, Brends is playing for keeps, hunting the one woman whose bloodline can end the mayhem, whose bond can restore his lost wings.

“You let me in,” he promised, “and I’ll make it good. I’ll give you whatever you want, dushka. No questions. No explanations.” He trailed the sword-roughened pads of his fingers down the bare skin of her arm and leaned forward. The hair she’d unbound slid around them, sealing them into a dark, decadent world of pleasure. The spicy scent of male and sex surrounded them
            “For a price,” she said, desperate to shake off his erotic spell.
            “Everything has its price, dushka,” Brends whispered against her ear.
            She needed this. She needed him. She wasn’t going to find her cousin on her own, not before the killer did. Brends, on the other hand, could. She wished she wasn’t so attracted to him. If they bonded, he’d have an inside track straight into her head. He’d be able to connect to her. Communicate with her.
            “And?” Her voice sounded dry. As if her throat was closing up.
            “If the killer were to come for you,” he eyed her closely, “I’d know. I’d be right there.”  
            “You want to use me as bait.”
            To give him credit, he didn’t hesitate. He gave her the truth, although she supposed it only helped his cause. “Yes.”
            She might be able to help stop this. And stopping this was the right thing to do. Before she could rethink her decision, she said it. “Yes. Bond with me, Brends.”

Excerpted from Bond with Me. Copyright © 2010 by Anne Marsh. All rights reserved.

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