Thanks Tim for agreeing to this interview. I found Vampire Shift on Amazon for free during one of your promotions, and I read it incredibly fast. I think it may have been what even changed my mind about e-readers! Like other fans, I’m anxiously awaiting the last two *tear* books in Kiera’s adventures, so to pass the time I’ve come up with some questions for you. (Feel free to elaborate as much as you want!!)
Kiera is one of the strongest women I’ve read, especially recently (last couple years or so), and I read a lot! It’s not just her physical strength and determination, but her love and vulnerability. What made you decide to write a series based on such a strong female character?
I wanted to move away from the typical female leads you see in so much vampire fiction today. I wanted Kiera to be strong, determined but without losing her femininity. Kiera works as young police recruit in a male dominated environment. Kiera needs to be strong if she is going to be heard. I wanted Kiera to be the real smart one and someone young women could aspire to be like.
What’s your favourite aspect about Kiera? Her biggest flaw? I think she’s strikingly gorgeous (tremendous kudos to Suzi Midnight’s talents as well, with her covers and illustrations she’s provided), but I really love her courage and intelligence. At the same time, she seems to have the makings of a tragic figure.
I love the fact that Kiera is selfless – she always puts her friends first. I think this will ultimately be Kiera’s downfall though. Kiera always strives to do the right thing. She is incredibly loyal and smart – but I feel that sometimes she only ever sees the good in people and this again might be what destroys her in the end.
Your books contain some light sexual content (nothing too graphic, since it is generally YA). Was it a decision you had to make because of the genre and its marketing to a generally YA audience?
It was decision I had to make to keep the sexual content light, although I’ve had feedback that I do push the envelope sometimes. I want to write responsibly though. I did want to explore more adult fiction so this year I started on a new series called Samantha Carter – Vampire Seeker which is far more graphic in its sexual content and horror.
Where did you first get the idea for the Vampyrus and their world? What about their mythology and how it ties to the more traditionally accepted mythos of the Vampire?
Again I wanted to try something different from the other Vampire books which are currently out there. I wanted to do some world building so I created the Hollows. It had to be important that my Vampires, when in vampire form, are more creature-like than beautiful. That’s not to say that my vampyrus aren’t beautiful in their own right, but more rugged and rough around the edges. However, I wanted to keep my vampire true to the traditional vampire legends, so I kept in a lot of the mythology like crucifixes and holy water, etc.
What is your schedule or writing process like? Do you set yourself to a specific number of words or revisions a day?
I write from 9-5 each day. I take Saturday and Sunday off. I write between 4,000-6,500 words a day. I am very obsessive and very strict about with myself. If I do take a week day off from writing then I write over the weekend to make up for lost time. I have written 11 books in 2012.
Kiera isn’t your only strong female that you’ve written. What draws you to these types of characters?
I love strong-willed and independent women. I like women who don’t hang off a guy’s every word and have strong opinions of their own. I’ve always liked films where there is a strong female lead with a feisty character. I remember as a boy going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark and absolutely loving Marion Ravenwood (the name Ravenwood features in some of my books Lol!). She in so many ways was equal to Indy but had a vulnerability too. That stayed with me. I always found characters like Marion Ravenwood far more interesting than the Bond girls who threw themselves at James Bond within five seconds of seeing him. That’s why I enjoy writing the relationship between Kiera and Potter. Kiera doesn’t give into Potter’s charms easily.
For those who are familiar with the Kiera Hudson series, you’ll understand this last question. If you’re not, well, get out there and read it!!! Anyway, when did you know how things would turn out with the triangle in the first series? There are clues all along the way, especially in the first book, of who Kiera’s ultimate battle is going to be against. Intentional or happy accident?
To be honest, I wrote Vampire Shift in 15 days while recovering from an operation. At first I had no idea how many books there would be in the series – perhaps three. I had no idea I would have just written the 12th Kiera Hudson book. When I got to the end of the first book, I knew that I wanted to take the characters I had created on further, so I went back and added hooks that I knew I could use in later stories. I always knew who the bad person was going to be right from the outset, but I had to write it in such a way that I left clues which at the end would all fit together like a jigsaw.
On a related note to that, which relationship do you enjoy most and why?
There are two relationships I like writing about in the Kiera Hudson Series and can’t really choose between them. I love writing the relationship between Kiera and Potter, and Murphy and Potter. I love writing about them because it gives me a chance to write a lot of humour and some feisty dialogue. There is a lot of love between all of those characters but sometimes they have difficulty in showing it for each other. As a writer that gives me a chance to write some really interesting scenes.
You brought Kayla and Isidor into Kiera’s world – I think Kiera was a little slower than normal on picking up the truth about Kayla – and currently things are precarious. Did the characters keep nudging you to let them into the story and action?
Once I knew that the series would go on for more than three books, I had to bring some other interesting characters in. I wanted to bring in another strong female character and another male. So I made them younger than Kiera and Potter and a little more naive – a bit like a younger sister and brother to Kiera and Potter. Both Kayla and Isidor come across as being quite strong when we first meet them, but as we look beneath their skin we discover that both are quite lost and vulnerable. As the first series progressed, it felt quite natural for me to explore their characters and make them more of the story.
Can you give us any more hints about this pushed world and what that means? Or any departing clues about the statues? I have a theory there, but you’ve surprised me plenty, so I don’t know how close I am 🙂
The world has been pushed for a reason that’s all I can say at the moment as I don’t want to spoil the last two books for you. As for the statues, their identity will be revealed in the next Kiera Hudson book, Dead Waters.
Any tidbits about yourself to share? I collect Indiana Jones action figures and memorabilia. I know that sounds sad – doesn’t it? 😉
What are you currently reading? The Magic Cottage by James Herbert.
What would you recommend to those who enjoy your writing? Have a read of anything by James Herbert, Clive Barker and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.