Today, the Write Way Café welcomes Crimson Romance author Andrea Cooper.
When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I’ve always had stories and characters running through my mind. As early as I can remember, I had kids ask me what we were going to play. I set the plot, characters, etc. However, I didn’t start writing novels until my late twenties. I wrote poetry from my teens until my mid-twenties. It was after reading a Christian historical romance, which to me was illogical, that I tossed the book across the room, frustrated. Then I decided to write a story I would like to read; and to give the characters and story ideas in my head a place to manifest.
What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
I wrote this book and the second book, Son of Dragons, and third book, War of Darkness in this trilogy within months after watching the movie Underworld in the theaters. These three books are the fastest of anything I’ve written so far.My path getting this book published was a long one. I was not aggressive in sending it out to publishers. I would send out an inquiry once or twice a year—sometimes waiting another year before trying again.
I didn’t do any extra research for this novel. Since this is a fantasy/paranormal world, I let my imagination have free rein. On my historical romance, I had pages of research and still had to look up a few things during the editing process.
Where did the idea for your story come from?
The character, Brock, came after I watched the movie Underworld in the theater. The tone and combining of werewolves and vampires just got my imagination going. I thought, everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human (or in the case of the movie a werewolf), but what if the victim is Elvin? From the answer, Brock came to me. He repeated lines that are in the book over and over in my head while I was at work until I had to take a break and write down what he was saying—so he’d stop repeating and say something new.
Shortly after this, the premise of the story came to me. Everything else in the story developed as I wrote it. I don’t outline (unless the characters and I are lost) since both of us hate it. Besides, either me or my characters will get us unstuck before the outline is done.
Why did you pick the setting you did?
I created the world of The Garnet Dagger as a fantasy story. I love history and fantasy novels, so it was the perfect way for me to combine the two. Although, I do like contemporary novels and love some Urban Fantasies (like Kim Harrison, Yasmine Galenorn, etc.), I am drawn to older time periods.
Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My main characters are completely imaginary. They may have slivers of me, either the good parts or the parts I’d rather not admit. The few times I have tried to base a character on a real person in fragments, they take on a life of their own and no longer resemble the original blueprint.
Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
This trilogy flowed out of me. The second book, Son of Dragons, I wrote in less than three months while working fulltime. At the time, my secret for not hitting blocks was only being able to write on my lunch and breaks while working, at home late at night, and on the weekends. My job took little mental capacity, since I’d done it for years, so I let my mind wander while I worked. Before long, I’d have a scene, dialogue, or character that would make me want to take a break early.
Now, since I’m a stay-at-home mom, I have even less time. And my four-year-old and ten-month-old don’t understand the concept of a coffee break. So I write whenever I have time. If I do get stuck, I find something else to do that I do not enjoy. I dislike cleaning (but love a clean house) so by the time I’ve finished, the story is begging to take over.
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
Every time I write, I’m surprised. I know the beginning, basic idea, and the ending (ish), but the journey there is new. Whenever a character learns something, 98% of the time, I’m discovering it too as I write. To me, it’s one of the best parts of writing. After writing this trilogy, I was surprised that so many people have liked the characters and their story. So much so, that I’ve gotten lots of questions on when book two and three will come out. Although I have all the books written, I’m working on revisions and with beta readers now.
What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world, and about the paranormal activity of vampires and witches?
I learned that I need feedback from others (readers and other writers) to make my stories better. I revised The Garnet Dagger for years, but there came a point when I felt like I was going in circles and did not know how/what would make the story better. It wasn’t until I received the first edits back that I saw some of my weaknesses and some of my strengths. I learned through this process that I’m blind to my writing, but can find ways to improve another’s easily.
Since Brock was an Elvin, instead of a human, before he was bitten by a vampire, I merged attributes of both. Vampires crave and live on blood, but to tweak this, I had Brock be sustained by the life essence of others. However, his touch is deadly—so he struggles with harming others and self-preservation, which also means the saving of his people. He has weaknesses, he has to drain others to survive, and he is susceptible to hypothermia (which is why Celeste had to wake him when he was unconscious in the snow).
What are some of your favorite books and why?
The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, because these were the first fantasy books I had ever read. Sad thing is, I didn’t read them until I was an adult and married to my husband now (who introduced me to the books). Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to read or watch anything that had magic, paranormal, or mythical elements or creatures. Not even Disney. Needless to say, those were the books that I craved. Only this year did I read one of Tolkien’s books and I have George R.R. Martin on my TBR list as well.
The Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop. I love her world and how she explains why men are the way they are.
The Hollows series by Kim Harrison, I just love the intensity of the main characters and that they make mistakes, but somehow find a piece of Happily Ever After for now.
The House of Night series by Kristen and PC Cast. Yes, I know it’s YA, but it’s addictive. I like that it doesn’t talk down to the reader, and always increases the stakes with each book.
What are you working on now?
I am working on revisions to both the second and third books in The Garnet Dagger trilogy. A new book idea for a YA shifter (possibly a series) has taken over all the creative space in my head, so I’ll see where it takes me. It’ll be my first YA book, so I’ll see how it turns out. I also have several unfinished novels that I want to complete.
Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?
Forbidden to cross the Elvin barrier into human lands, Brock cannot sate his curiosity. Cursed by a vampyre bite that forces him to feed on the life-essence of others, he is unable to touch another without taking their life. Chained by prophesy, he must find a witch, pierce her heart, and draw her blood for his cure.
Celeste must escape the monks who have held her prisoner for years. Her magic has been kept dormant by her captors. An ancient powerful Warloc craves her powers. If he succeeds in devouring her magic, she and his world will die.
When Brock falls in love with Celeste before realizing her demise is his cure, will love triumph over his desire to be healed? Will he risk everything to save her from a Warloc, an oath breaker, who also wants her dead?
About Andrea: Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn't until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels. What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl). Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba. She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.
The Garnet Dagger Book Trailer http://youtu.be/ISi0u9LoseM
Author Website: www.AndreaRCooper.com
The Garnet Dagger Amazon: http://goo.gl/rMEJ59
The Garnet Dagger B & N: http://goo.gl/Qp5i6A
The Garnet Dagger iTunes: http://goo.gl/s1Cugp
Viking Fire Amazon: http://goo.gl/71VAsf
Viking Fire B & N: http://goo.gl/EvBxwf
Viking Fire iTunes: http://goo.gl/fQuKBd