Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest blog, Interview & Giveaway: Jeannie Holmes

UFI welcomes Jeannie Holmes Author of The Alexandra Sabian Series. Thanks for Joining us!!

The Art of the Psychopath

After reading a draft for the manuscript of Blood Law, a fellow author whom I greatly admire looked at me from across the table and said, “You write crazy very well. In fact, you scare me.” Naturally, I took her statement as a huge compliment.

I’ve been accused of various forms of insanity over the years—some accusations may have been warranted but others were completely out of line—but I claim no expertise in the realms of psychology or psychiatry. All I have is a genuine curiosity in learning why someone could lose touch with reality to such a degree that he/she would resort to violent extremes as a means to exorcise their inner demons. This curiosity has led me to research all sorts of fun stuff* like serial killers, abnormal psychology, and criminal profiling.

As I said, I’m by no means an expert in these areas, nor do I want to be. I simply want to satisfy my curiosity and gather enough information and understanding to write a good book that (hopefully) provide a few chills for the reader. However, I’ve learned there is an art to “writing crazy.” It’s a delicate balance between the macabre and the believable.

Take the Dollmaker in Blood Secrets, for example. While I can’t say too much about him for obvious reasons (No spoilers here!), I admit that living inside the mind of a deranged killer for months changes your perception of the world. Obsession dominates the Dollmaker’s life and gives it order, even a purpose albeit a twisted one, and yet he has rules and boundaries that even he won’t cross. This isn’t always the case in real life, just look at Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy if proof is needed.

But why give a “psychopath” boundaries, you ask? Answer: To make him believable. As I said, there is an art to writing characters like the Dollmaker. He’s actively challenging both Alex and Varik—both of whom are vampires and cops—in Blood Secrets. He’s outnumbered, and for that reason, he must be intelligent and willing to take a few calculated risks to achieve his goals. Alex and Varik, on the other hand, are bound by the laws they’re sworn to uphold. The Dollmaker isn’t. His boundaries are of his own making. His rules are his own.

The true art is in knowing when to push the boundaries and when to break through them. Giving the Dollmaker—or any fictional bad guy—a set of rules and having him stick to them in a show of restraint while knowing how easily it would be to tip him over the edge into complete chaos makes him all the more frightening.


*I call it “fun stuff” in a somewhat sarcastic manner. While I find it interesting, I find it far from the “fun” of, say, a theme park or a day relaxing at home with my cats.
__________________________________
* What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

That’s a loaded question! Let’s see… When I was five years old, I told my mother I wanted to be a professional bellydancer when I grew up. I was set on that path until I discovered at the age of six that I have no rhythm and two left feet.

* Can you tell us a little bit about the world that the Alexandra Sabian series is set in?

The world for the series is the modern world – 2009 time frame. Vampires have been living openly among humans since the late 1960s, and have integrated into society with relative ease over the years. However, there are still pockets of intolerance throughout the world. The town – Jefferson, Mississippi – where Alex is assigned as the local vampire Enforcer has a population of roughly 6,000 with about half being vampires. Because of the large vampire population, tensions are usually running high in the town and violence often erupts as a result.

* Do you have a favorite scene in Blood Secrets?

I have a few favorite scenes. There is one scene between Alex and Varik about midway through the book where Varik is trying to make a point and uses some rather unconventional means to make it. I’m also fond of the final scene.

* In the series which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?

Alex is my favorite with Varik being a close second. When I’m writing a scene with both of them, the conversations and arguments practically write themselves. It’s also easy to slip into their points of view. The hardest character to write so far in the series has been the Dollmaker. He’s creepy, and I don’t like being in his head. It’s a dark place. I’m not afraid of the dark or of taking a story to a dark place if that’s where it needs to go, but the Dollmaker has difficult.

* What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Genres?

I love Charlaine Harris, Vicki Pettersson, and Kim Harrison. There are so many great authors in both genres it’s hard to picks favorites.
__________________________________

Author Bio: Jeannie Holmes is the author of the Alexandra Sabian series, and fears spiders, large bodies of water, and bad weather. She moved from the backwoods of southwestern Mississippi to the Alabama Gulf Coast where she now lives with her husband and four neurotic cats. She enjoys art, exploring old cemeteries, traveling, and when she isn’t writing or has her nose stuck in a book, she spends her time searching for a really good cup of coffee.
__________________________________
Find Jeannie and her books
__________________________________

 
Blood Secrets
Alexandria Sabian #2
July 5, 2011

WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancĂ©, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.
_________________________________


 
Blood Law
Alexandria Sabian #1
July 6, 2010
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.

A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.
Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancĂ©, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.

__________________________________
 

Winner will receive
- One winner will receive a signed copy of both Blood Law and Blood Secrets




 RULES
1)  Leave a question or comment for Jeannie on this post. =)
2)  Must leave an email address so I can notify you!!
3) Open to US and International Readers.


Giveaway Ends 7/6/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of random.org

45 comments:

  1. Oh, thank you for this giveaway and a great interview! I love when crazy villains are written really well, they become so much more interesting! Want to read the books even more now :))
    impy80(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great interview! I was wondering- is the model on the cover dressed the way you picture the heroine in your mind (or described in the book), or was this just the artist taking 'artistic license.'

    b(dot)cardone(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I havent had a chance to read the irst one im courious about the cover as well i love the redhead and the total badassedness just courious about the creative licences as well

    how many more books are in the works?
    please count me in would love a chance to read these great interview and post!



    mortalsinn(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. LorettaLynn/TemprenceJune 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Sorry blogger anit working for me today:)

    Thank you so much for the interview, and sharing with us!!

    elliott2668(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kara - I completely agree. I love for my "crazies" to be believable and give me chills. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  6. When I read the interview, the first question I wanted to know the answer to (not having read the books and all) was, what your favorite scene was.

    "I have a few favorite scenes. There is one scene between Alex and Varik about midway through the book where Varik is trying to make a point and uses some rather unconventional means to make it. I’m also fond of the final scene."

    Okay, the word unconventional got me. I have no idea if I should hope that I'm lucky and win a book or if should just order them right now. AAAH xD.

    But a signed copy.. As a German reader I don't have many of those. *sigh*

    Wonderfull interview! Thank you both! =)

    patricia (at) bookexhibitionism (dot) de

    Patricia

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bethany - Hi! The model on the Blood Law cover nails the look for Alex. She's a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. The artist for Blood Secrets took a few "creative liberties" with her wardrobe. Alex lives/works in southwestern Mississippi. It's far too humid, even in winter, for that much leather. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  8. SinN - There were a few creative licenses issued for the wardrobe on Blood Secrets, but Alex is definitely a redhead in the books. As for how many books are planned, I have a total of six planned for the series and hopefully, I'll get to write them all. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  9. LorettaLynn/Temprence - You're welcome and thanks for stopping by! :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  10. Patricia - Yes, Varik is a character who continues to surprise me on a daily basis. The scene in question was...interesting...to write, but I really don't want to say too much and spoil the fun. I can say that for those who have read Blood Law that you do find out more about Varik and his "mysterious" past in Blood Secrets. (That should be a good teaser. Right? lol)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  11. If the books were made into movies, what celeb would you most like to see play Alex?

    saraoflaherty@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jeannie, I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Law, and having Alex working in a small town setting adds a lot to the story. Small towns are famous for "everyone really knows your name" type of living.

    I'd love to win copies of both books.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm a big Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison fan too (I've read all of V.P.'s stuff, but I find it a bit boring and the characters not too likeable). Patricia Briggs is right up there too.

    acm05atjuno.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sara - Honestly, I have no clue who would play Alex. I've had suggestions of everyone from Rose McGowan to Jessica Biel to Felicia Day and beyond. The problem is that none of them fit the image I see in my head. However, Felicia probably comes closest in terms of appearance. If you had asked who I'd want to play Varik, that's easy: Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian). Before I even knew Ben existed, I had a picture in my head of Varik. Once I saw Ben's photo, I literally shouted (in a crowded movie theater, no less) "Oh, my god! That's Varik!" :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  15. NoraA - Thank you! I'm very happy you enjoyed Blood Law, and hope you find Blood Secrets as entertaining. :) Yes, the small town atmosphere is a huge part of the series. When you live in a town where half the population are vampires, things can get a little tense. lol

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anne - I love Charlaine, Kim, and Vicki. I will admit that I haven't read as much of Patricia's work, but what I have read, I did enjoy. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  17. Interesting that this book is set in Mississippi, did you pick that for a reason? I can see some of the South culture bleeding into this story (oh bad pun there). I normally don't read adult paranormal but I might have to make an exception here.

    valerie(at)stuckinbooks.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. StuckInBooks - Hi! I chose Mississippi for one specific reason: It's my home state. :) Growing up in a rural area with the nearest (small) town being twenty miles away had a great influence on my (overactive) imagination. It's very easy to imagine all manner of supernatural beasties running around in the dark, and yes, the Southern culture definitely factors into the series.

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would love to win these books thanks so much for this chance Jeannie :D
    Brittany
    hernameisavril@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Brittany - You're welcome! Thanks for dropping in! :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  21. When my son graduated from Kindergarden, one of the kids in the class wanted to be a dog catcher when he grew up. Your work is new to me, but it's going on the wish list. I love a butt kickin good time.

    Jnmt3@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've readthe first book and loved it! Thank you for wrighting it! I hope I will get a chanse to win this giveaway)))

    kapranova.sofija@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Awesome interview!

    What scene has been particularly hard for you to write? Or what type of scene do you find most difficult?

    natygry@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love books with vampires in them my favorite! I never get sick of them! I love the covers on your books. Thanks for the great interview enjoyed it alot.
    tishajean@ charter.net

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love author interviews! And it's so cool of you to answer the comments!

    Your books are set in Mississippi, but if you were to change the setting of the next book to any other place in the world, where would it be?

    nanniclover@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oooh, thank so much! I loved the first book and couldn't help but jump at the chance to win the second one. Signed copies to boot! July 6th can't come soon enough!

    rabidreads[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rain Maiden - Thanks for adding me to your list. I hope you enjoy! :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sofija - I'm so happy you like Blood Law! Thanks!

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  29. NatyGry - Excellent question! I find crime scenes are often difficult to write for a few reasons. The first being that I have no practical experience with law enforcement or forensics so I'm relying on my limited understanding of both. Luckily, I know people who do these things for a living so I can often run stuff past them. Heavily emotional scenes can also be very difficult. I don't want to say too much and risk a spoiler, but there are couple of scenes toward the end of Blood Secrets that were gut-wrenching to write. Lots of ugly crying involved with those.

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Latishajean - Thank you! I'm very happy with my covers as well. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  31. Nanniclover - The first two books are set in Mississippi, but the third is actually going to be largely set in Louisville, Kentucky. Alex is in trouble with her bosses and has to stand before the FBPI Tribunal--the vampire equivalent of an internal affairs committee crossed with a court martial.

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  32. Carmel - Hey! I'm very happy you enjoyed the first book and can't wait to find out what you think of the second. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  33. Great interview. I haven't had a chance to start this series yet, but I've been meaning to. Now I have to catch up, with two books out.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Barbara - Thanks! I hope you enjoy catching up. :)

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you so much for stopping by UFI Jeannie. I'm so glad your interview and guest blog had a great response =)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for inviting me, Stacy. This was a lot of fun! Good to all who entered!!

    - Jeannie

    ReplyDelete
  37. *good luck

    (stupid fumblefingers...)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I absolutely loved Blood Law. I'm currently re-reading It on my Kindle. I can't wait to read Blood Secrets.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi Jeannie
    This sounds like a very interesting series, please enter me in the contest.
    Thanks!

    Daniela.
    dany7578@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I haven't had a chance to read this series yet but I definitely need to...they sound fantastic. Even better the MC is now an enforcer in the south. WOOT!

    BookNoise at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  41. This does sound like a great series to start. I need to. The covers are really alluring to me.

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  42. Jeannie, I love Charlaine Harris too!!I love the Sookie books and the Harper Connelly books. Charlaine Harris is so creative!Each of Charlaine Harris’ characters are well-developed.

    thebookish96(at)gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great interview. Congrats on the new release! I am really looking forward to getting to read your books. Whats your favorite part of writing?

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

    ReplyDelete
  44. OMG...I think I just made the contest. Please, please count me in. I'd love to win her books. I've been wanting to read these. Thanks so much for the contest.
    Tanyaw1224(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by =)