Welcome, Emma! Thanks for talking to us today on the Chatelaines! Readers: Emma will be giving away two copies of her book, Kissing Midnight, to two lucky winners!
August sees the release of Saving Midnight, the last of Emma's trilogy begun in June with Kissing Midnight (followed by Breaking Midnight in July).
JA: Emma, please set up the trilogy a little for us. Tell us about the Fitz Clares and how this adventure begins.
EH: The “Fitz Clare Chronicles” follow the adventures of powerful vampire Edmund Fitz Clare and his adopted human family, all of whom were orphaned during World War I. All grown up now, they’re just beginning to realize that the father they adore is a bit more than eccentric . . . and that he has some dangerous supernatural enemies.
The settings range from 1930s London to Switzerland to the dustbowl in America. All the story “color” was wonderfully fun to research – sometimes surprisingly fun. The cars, the clothes, the fabulous Art Deco furnishings truly sucked me in. It was great to have the glamour of that period as a backdrop for my drama, and I’m not-so-secretly tickled with how action-y the trilogy turned out. My editor commented that this is my “biggest” story to date.
In addition to that, the series also gave me a chance to explore what makes a family a family – certainly more than blood. The Fitz Clares’ devotion to each other is larger than life, and I had a blast showing how heroic each would become in defense of the others. They really had to grow in order to make it through this trilogy alive! I also loved having Edmund face how hard it can be to let children leave the nest, especially when you’re immortal and they’re not. Plus, I had to include my usual generous amounts of kinky-romantic steam - which may explain why this family’s tale took me three books to tell.
JA: I love this time period, for some of the reasons you mention: Art Deco, the cars, and Agatha Christie. :-)
JA: What are Upyr, and how are they different from typical vampires?
EH: These days, there are so many different takes on the vampire myth that I’m not sure what’s typical any more. My upyr are somewhat traditional vampires. I chose a Slavic word to refer to them, because my first Midnight book was a Medieval, and the term “vampire” didn’t exist yet. Upyr share a number of traits with Bram Stoker’s originals. They can go out during the day, albeit briefly. They can assume an animal’s form (mine are usually wolves). Most importantly, they survive by drinking blood and not cappuccinos. In that sense, I’m a purist. I think vampires should have real fangs – and they shouldn’t just be for show!
JA: LOL, I love vampires with real fangs! How are these three books connected to previous books in the series?
EH: Edmund Fitz Clare was introduced in Catching Midnight as the older brother of the hero, Aimery Fitz Clare. He was a troubled soul but an interesting one, and I found I couldn’t let him go. He showed up again in Courting Midnight as Lucius White’s friend, still troubled and still fascinating me. In the process of figuring out how Edmund might redeem himself, the situation of the adopted orphans came to me. I loved the concept that they wouldn’t realize their own father was a vampire, and the lengths to which he’d go to hide his secret while also giving them the best childhood experience he could. Part of what drives Edmund is his need to make peace with people he thinks he’s wronged in the past, but most of all with himself. That’s kind of a theme for me in my books: that until you forgive yourself, no one else’s forgiveness really sinks in.
You don’t have to read the earlier books in the series to enjoy the Fitz Clares, but if you’d like to see where it all began, of course you should feel free *g*. Though the first three stand alone more easily than the Fitz Clare Chronicles, their order is: Catching Midnight, Hunting Midnight and Courting Midnight.
JA: I very much enjoyed Courting Midnight (and Lucien). I was excited to see more of the Fitz Clares, and I became very fond of Graham, Sally, and Ben, who made good foils for Edmund and Estelle.
JA: Will there be more in the series? What’s next for you?
EH: I’ve got two more upyr books in the works, currently titled Devil at Midnight/Angel at Noon. The story is a two-parter, involving Christian Durand, whom I introduced in Breaking Midnight. I hadn’t written a serious bad boy in a little while, so of course I wanted to do him.
JA: Emma, I love your writing—when I read one of your Black Lace books a few years ago (Cooking up a Storm), I was hooked. You have everything I love—humor; atypical characters; lots of spice; emotional development. I enjoyed the story I just read in the Beyond the Dark anthology—very cool alternate Egypt concept.
EH: Thank you! It means a lot to hear that fellow authors enjoy my work.
JA: That leads me to ask: You write several different subgenres: paranormal, contemporary, erotic. I personally like writing across subgenres because it helps keep my writing fresh, but I’m interested in why other authors do it. What do you find appealing (or unappealing) about writing several subgenres? Will you continue to do so?
EH: I love variety - learning new things for each story, tackling fresh challenges. It keeps me excited about what I do. No matter where my career leads me, I can’t imagine writing the same book or even the same kind of book over and over. My imagination just doesn’t work that way!
JA: Thanks again for joining us, and best of luck with the series! It’s intriguing, different, and well done.
EH: Thank you for having me to your blog!
JA: We'll be giving away a couple copies of Kissing Midnight, first of the trilogy to two lucky winners! Post a comment to say hi and enter the drawing. :-)