Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Colleen Gleason on Books & Blogging

Last March I got the chance to talk to Colleen Gleason about her new series, The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, which kicked off with The Rest Falls Away. At that point her second book, Rises the Night, had not yet been released. Now with the first and second book on the shelves I am waiting for the third book, The Bleeding Dusk, to be released.

I once again had the opportunity to ask her some questions. From her latest read, her blogging experiences, and her newest book she took the time to share her thoughts with us and gives us just enough hints to make the wait for the third book nearly unbearable.


I read on your blog, For All the World to See, that the Gardella Vampire Chronicles were picked up in Italy, and I loved the cover. How many countries have you been published in now? How does it feel?

I thought the Italian cover was really neat; and a very different concept than the American version. Very atmospheric and gothic (and a little bloody, too), to go along with the Italian title: The Vampire Hunter. The Italian version is being released in early November, and I expect the Spanish version will come out within the next six to eight months. There are other negotiations for foreign editions going on as I write this, and I hope within the next year, there will be more.

In addition, I’ve already heard of people seeing and buying the American version of the book in Scotland, Hong Kong, Australia, and South Korea, so it’s pretty exciting to know that people all over the world have seen and read The Rest Falls Away and Rises the Night. I get email from people from places like Brazil, Spain, and Belgium, too. It’s a wonderful experience to touch global readers.

I’ve noticed that besides the time that you must set aside to work on your novels you also blog every day, or almost every day. What do you like so much about blogging that it keeps you posting?

When I first started blogging, it was hard to come up with interesting or relevant things to write about, but I wanted to establish an Internet presence before my books were released as part of my marketing plan. I’ve made some great friends via my blog (and theirs) in the last year since I started blogging regularly, and it’s become a lot easier to maintain the blog — partly because I know who my audience is. I have regular fans who visit the blog, as well as other surfers who come by, but perhaps haven’t read the books or aren’t familiar with them.

I enjoy blogging because it gives me a chance to stay in touch with readers — to hear what they’re thinking, to find out what they’re interested in, to keep them up to date on my new releases, and to simply get to know them. The Internet has given authors the opportunity to interact with their readers in ways that we only dreamed of a decade ago, and I enjoy taking advantage of technology to do so. It’s really fun to get to know the people who read and enjoy my books, plus make friends along the way.

Authors who like to interact with their readers have Web sites, but that tends to be a one-way communication. That’s important, and of course, I have a Web site too, but I like blogging because it’s a two-way street. I don’t know that I’ll ever have message boards or an email list, so blogging is the next best thing. Plus that makes it open to anyone who happens along to my blog.

I try to make the blog an interactive place — I’m always asking for opinions, often holding contests, and I certainly do use it for self-promotion and updates. I’ve learned a lot, and solicited a lot of opinions from people over the year — from books to read, places to visit, opinions on movies, TV, and music, and other such topics. I had a Pay It Forward Contest on my blog last year, and got to see the best side of people when they posted about things they did to “pay it forward.”

Do you think that the blogs are a good place to get your book noticed?

I don’t think of my blog as a place that attracts people to my books, per se. I think my blog is a place that people find when they have already heard about my books. Either they get to it from my Web site, or from a link from another blog or site.

However, I absolutely love being interviewed or guest-posting on other peoples’ blogs! That’s one of the best ways I’ve found to get more name recognition, and to interest other people in my books — people who may not have heard about them, or who would normally not pick them up until they learn more about the books. I’m always extremely appreciative of anyone who offers to have me on their blog, or to allow me to guest-blog and answer questions about my books, being a writer, the publishing business, or anything else.

I do think that other blogs help to get my book noticed — I’ve seen it happen. Each blog has its own circle of influence, and any time one gets to be introduced to a new circle of readers, there’s a chance someone’s going to be interested. It’s the “I’ll tell two friends, they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends….” (Was that Wella Balsam? I can never remember.)

Have you read anything good lately?

Oooh! Of course. I just finished reading Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors, which I adored. This was a novel about the building of the Taj Mahal, and the (fictional) love story of Shah Jahan’s daughter, whose mother was the reason the Taj was built. It was a fabulous historical fiction novel, rich with detail and setting and custom. I loved it.

I also just reread several Barbara Michaels books that I’d read about two decades ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) — contemporary gothic romances that I just adored: Be Buried in the Rain and Shattered Silk.

And I’m just starting to read The Road to Hell, written by my friend Jackie Kessler, about a succubus who runs away from Hell and comes to New York to be a strip artist.

I remember reading somewhere, and I’m not sure where, that you were surprised that your books had been categorized as paranormal romances. Do you consider your Gardella Vampire Chronicles paranormal or historical fantasy?

I don’t think I was ever surprised that my publisher decided to market the series as paranormal romances, because I knew about it once the decision was made — but what you probably saw was my reaction to that decision. The publisher had to decide how to position the series, and from the beginning, it was a great point of discussion.

The books are technically not romances because in a romance, there is some kind of happily ever after ending between a hero and a heroine. This doesn’t happen in my books; there is an ongoing lead character, Victoria Gardella Grantworth, whose story we follow over five (planned) books — and while part of her story is her intimate, love relationships with the men in her life, the other part is her character development and the tasks and events that occur in her life. Because her story isn’t “wrapped up” until the last book, the series doesn’t perfectly fit into the paranormal romance genre.

Most people who are familiar with urban fantasy consider my books historical urban fantasy because of this aspect, and I don’t disagree — but at the same time, I sort of try not to categorize the books too much. They really do straddle a multitude of genres: historical fiction, romance, horror, action-adventure, etc. There’s something for everyone in the books, and there’s not too much of any one thing.

Your third book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, The Bleeding Dusk, comes out February 5, 2008. You said originally that it was going to be a five-book installment with Victoria and then you would move onto a new character. Now that you are coming closer to the end of the story, do you think she will be a hard character to let go?

Victoria and all of her supporting cast — yes, they will be hard to say good-bye to. The ones that are alive anyway. ;-) But I’m also always letting other main characters perk in the back of my mind as I write Victoria’s story. One of the things I’ve always wanted to avoid doing is having everything happen to one character, which often happens in an ongoing series. Either that, or the character doesn’t grow and begins to stagnate.

I hope to avoid both of those what I consider pitfalls in a series by letting Victoria have her “happy ending” and then to move onto another female vampire hunter that I can torture — er, I mean write about.

I know it isn’t fair to ask but I have to — I’m just so desperate to know what the future holds for Victoria, Max, and Sebastian. Would you give us a hint about what happens in The Bleeding Dusk?

Hmmm…what can I tell you without giving anything big away? Well, let’s see. We find out more about Max’s background, and also about Sebastian’s other secret. Victoria takes over as the head of the Venators, and when she gets into a sticky situation, a special garment helps her to escape. Ladies Nilly and Winnie go vampire hunting. And we get to visit Lilith’s lair—twice.

How’s that for a tease?

Thank you so much Colleen for taking the time to answer some questions! I've really enjoyed getting the chance to talk to you again.

Thank you so much for having me! I always enjoy your questions, and enthusiasm about the books.


Angela/SciFiChick said...

Great interview! Thanks!

Katie said...

Glad you liked it, Angela, I always like getting a chance to talk to her.

Sevenine said...

Sweet interview! That first book cover looks so dark and mysterious...I love covers like that!

Katie said...

Sevenine, I like that cover too. Very creepy. But I think I like the US covers just as much. Plus the story is just so good!