Make sure you pick up your copy of Once Burned today!
What can readers expect to find in Once Burned?
A blend of urban fantasy action and paranormal romance heat. The emphasis is also more on vampires unlike some of my other books, which have heavier ghoul, ghost, and demon subplots. What can I saw? Vlad was unwilling to share the stage with some of his other undead brethren.
What 3 words would you use to describe Vlad?
Complicated, infuriating, and mesmerizing. Vlad may have been the hardest character I’ve ever written because I didn’t always know what he was thinking. That meant later, when he deigned to reveal an important part of his psyche, I had to go back and fix previous scenes. He also enraged my feminism on more than one occasion, yet I plugged into his character in a way that I haven’t done since Bones. That’s why I immediately started writing the sequel once I was finished with Once Burned. I couldn’t get him out of my head.
How does Leila compare to the other heroines in your Night Huntress books?
Leila is strong like Cat, but less reckless, in my opinion. She’s a survivor and while she’ll risk herself for people she cares about, Leila doesn’t have a death wish. Cat did for a lot of the first two books, even if she didn’t realize it. Leila also has a unique understanding of the darkness in other people and in herself. It’s this quality that Vlad first finds interesting because it’s very much at odds with her young age.
Is Vlad ready for Leila?
Heh. He thinks he is. She’s going to prove him wrong, and that will shock the hell out of him.
Without giving too much away, what's your favorite quote or scene from Once Burned?
Hmm. For favorite quotes, I have two:
Vlad to Leila soon after they meet: "People frequently bore me, sometimes amuse me, most often irritate me, but rarely intrigue me. You do, which is why I’ll enjoy having you as a lover."
Leila to Vlad, when they’re further along in their relationship: "You’re not just versatile and complex - it’s like you’re a schizophrenic!"
Favorite scene, oh, I have many. Their first dinner together. When Leila catches Vlad trying to impale someone. Introducing Vlad to her family. Leila realizing how powerful she can be. Vlad tearing apart a mountain. Can you tell I really became plugged in to these two? *wink*
If the book came with a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
Music tastes are SO personal, I couldn’t begin to assign certain songs to Once Burned and say “These are the ones that reflect the book/characters.” They would only be the songs that reflect the book/characters to me. I do have a playlist that I listened to continuously while I wrote Once Burned, but it’s over 70 songs long, so too much to post here. I’ll put it on my website soon. To no one’s surprise, one of the songs in that playlist was Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”
When you first started the Night Huntress series, did you ever think you would write spin-off books for the supporting characters?
When I started writing Halfway to the Grave, I had only one goal: Finish a book. I’d never done that before, you see. For over a decade, I’d started and stopped with writing stories but didn’t stick with one all the way from Chapter One to The End. So no, I had no idea I’d write spinoffs. I didn’t even know Cat and Bones had more than one story in store for them. Shows that I don’t have the ability to predict the future! :-)
I will say that, soon after I sold Halfway to the Grave but well before it came out, I told my editor that I wanted to write a spinoff with Spade and Denise because I already knew they’d end up together – and Denise would be a character she’d meet in the second Night Huntress book. My editor very gently informed me that until we saw whether Halfway to the Grave sold or tanked, we couldn’t begin to plan for spinoffs. Reader support allowed me to write where my inspiration led me. I am so grateful for that.
Do you find it difficult to switch back and forth from writing Night Huntress and Night Huntress World spin-off books?
Yes and no. It’s nice to expand the world from the lens that readers see through Cat’s eyes in the Night Huntress books, yet it’s also more work getting inside other characters’ heads. Still, the payoff of showing the world through multiple perspectives, plus exploring characters more fully by giving them their own stories, has been well worth it to me.
Why give Vlad his own spin-off series while Spade and Mencheres each got one book?
Some stories are best told through a more limited scope. It’s like saying, “Why make movies when you can make TV series?” Not everything works in an extended format. With Mencheres and Kira/Spade and Denise, I had only one story in my head, so that’s what I wrote. With Vlad and Leila, I had more than one story in my head so I wanted to write more than one book about them. I don’t think that diminishes the one-book stories, just like movies aren’t diminished by TV series. They’re simply two different sides of a story coin, in my opinion.
I'm sure you’re asked a lot when Ian will get his own book. Do you think he's even ready for one?
I think Ian has the potential to be ready. He just has to find the desire. Right now, Ian is too busy being a tramp with highly questionable ethics to want to be a hero. He’ll need something to break him out of this rut, and it is a rut. Ian may be amusing to write, but his life is very empty and he knows it. That’s why he keeps trying to pile more things on top of that emptiness rather than confront it. I hope one day he does confront it, and if so, I already have a story outlined in my head for him. Cross your fingers for him, Ian fans!
Where you can find Jeaniene: