Hi Fatima, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, I originally began my career as an archaeologist. I worked in the Middle East, southern Europe and Britain, before taking on teaching. I’ve always loved writing, although it was almost impossible for me to dedicate my time to it while working in a busy secondary school. Only four years ago I took the massive leap into the unknown by resigning and taking up the pen. Actually, I’d enrolled full time back into university to complete my postgrad studies – a Master of Philosophy in Ancient History (I’m a Roman specialist) – when during the summer break this incredible story popped into my head. It comes out in print at the end of August. So, for the time being, my MPhil is on hold.
What do you think makes your genre special?
I’ve always loved vampire lit. Since I was a teen; maybe even before. There’s something enticing about these cursed nocturnal beings, that’s it’s held the world bewitched for over a century, ever since the regency gothic horror, ‘Vampyr,’ was published. But I believe Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’ really took hold of the popular imagination. It’s the unknown, the forbidden (drinking the blood of another human), the terrifying that attracts. And that doesn’t show signs of abating. Just walk into any bookstore and you’ll see an entire aisle dedicated to vampire lit, let alone the spate of movies and TV series – Twilight, True Blood, Moonlight, The Vampire Diaries, Vampire Knight, Dark Shadows…
What do you think makes a great story?
Great characters. They must have substance, as if you’d expect them to walk in the door any minute. They could actually exist. Didn’t JRR Tolkien make us all believe in elves?
And, of course, a plot which keeps you turning the page; a mix of romance, suspense, intrigue and adventure, with a climax which leaves the reader begging for more!
What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
‘Bloodgifted’ is my debut novel. It’s a modern vampire story set in Sydney. The premise is unusual in that the main character, Laura, carries a rare gene that allows vampires the ability to walk about during the day. As such, her blood is coveted by two rival groups, each who try to claim her for themselves.
Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
Anyone who loves vampire lit and from YA up. It’s one of those cross-the-board- books. It’s a fun read, as Laura is quite a feisty character, yet it does have its dark moments. I had fun writing the sexy scenes between Laura and her romantic interest – Alec Munro, leader of the most powerful vampire group. He’s a real alpha male!
Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it’s the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
‘Bloodgifted’ is the first in a series entitled, ‘The Dantonville Legacy.’ I’m already a third of the way into the second book, ‘Bloodpledge.’
At the moment, I see three to four books coming out of this, including several spinoffs based on other characters in the book. In all, there might be at least seven to eight books by the time I’m finished.
What influenced or inspired you writing it?
I simply wanted to write an Australian vampire story. There’ve been too many set elsewhere, especially in the USA, Britain and Europe. I believe it’s Australia’s turn now. My story particularly showcases the beautiful city of Sydney, and people who live there will recognize certain landmarks and suburbs.
Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
I toyed with several other titles before finally settling on ‘Bloodgifted.’ Originally it was entitled ‘Legacy’ until I realized there were quite a few other books out there with a similar, if not identical, title. So, to avoid confusion, I came up with that one. And, it really does some up the storyline far better than my original title, anyway.
What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
Time. I happen to be a full time carer as well, so, finding the time to sit at my PC to transmit the story from my head and onto the screen was a challenge. It still is.
Was there a scene that you didn’t add or remove in your finished work?
Oh, there were a few. My wonderful writers group could always spot the holes I was totally blind to! So, yes, I did have to modify scenes and even keep some for ‘Bloodpledge’. For example, there’s a scene in the book, toward the end, where Laura’s family comes to visit her in hospital (you have to read the book to find out why!). It wasn’t in my original manuscript. I had to add it for character consistency and it works really well.
Do you already know what to do next?
Absolutely! I’m currently working on ‘Bloodpledge,’ Book 2 in The Dantonville Legacy series. Hopefully, it should be out by August 2013. My aim is to release a book a year, so people don’t forget about me!
Where can we find more about you and your books?
I’m on Goodreads. Readers are welcome to go there and check out the teaser. Please leave a comment if you do.
There’s also my blog. I’ve placed a teaser on there as well. But, unlike the limited content you’re allowed to place on Goodreads, I’ve included an extra chapter. It’s especially for those who’d like to know a little bit more.
And, of course, I’m on Facebook. My author page can be found at:
Recently I’ve joined Twitter. So, if anyone would like to follow my tweets or connect with me there, I’d be thrilled.
Any last words?
Thanks, Patrick, for giving me this great opportunity to discuss my new book. And, for everyone reading this, please buy a copy of ‘Bloodgifted’ when it’s released toward the end of August. It’ll be on Amazon.com both as an Ebook and Print-on-Demand.
Descended from a cursed Roman soldier, Laura Dantonville has inherited the ability to delay aging, but much of her past is unknown to her. That includes knowledge of her true parentage and the fact her unique blood is coveted by the secret community of vampires who reside in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. She later learns that it's her blood alone that provides these creatures with the ability to tolerate daylight. As such, she is the epicentre of a power struggle between two rival vampire groups who want to claim her. The oldest and most powerful of these factions is led by Alec Munro, whose position as leader, or Princeps, gives him sole claim to Laura. Has she any other choice but to accept her destiny?