Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Interview with Author Lana Griffin

Blog With Bite would like to give a warm welcome to Ms. Lana Griffin, author of Dusk, our featured novel this week.

A little bit about Lana:

LANA GRIFFIN is the alter ego of a New York Times Best-Selling author. Her work has been published in approximately twenty languages. Publishers Weekly listed one of her books as a 2009 Best Seller. She's particularly fond of anything involving vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, wraiths, and other paranormal entities.

BWB: First off, Ms. Griffin, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for the readers of Blog with Bite. Your latest book, ‘DUSK’, is our BWB feature for April; can you tell us a little bit about the book?

LG: I'm delighted that you're hosting me on Blog with Bite.  It's very kind of you and a thrill for me to have DUSK as your April feature.

I wrote DUSK as the first in a series of novels.  Hence, while it stands alone as a novel, it has a cliffhanger ending and leaves plenty of room for the 2nd novel to develop everything even more. 

I've always loved vampires, so to write DUSK was a dream come true.  But I wanted my vampire to be different from all others, to have some unique twists.  I gave him a background that included my heroine as a long-lost voodoo priestess lover.  I also wanted an unusual supporting cast -- because "same old same old" is boring -- and decided on a few wraiths, a gargoyle, the original Venus de Milos, and some really fun love "situations" with the gargoyle, Venus, and my heroine and her vamp lover.  I tossed in a mystery sub-plot to give the romance added dimension.  I also gave my vamp guy a nutcase vamp father, and I really had a lot of fun with that character! 

As a reader, I like fiction that's unusual and creative, that takes risks.  I try to write unusual stories, as well, because like I said, it's more fun than doing the "same old same old." 

I don't know if I succeed at pleasing readers, but that is my #1 goal as a writer.  I want to entertain people and give them some escape from reality.  I've been a bookaholic my whole life, and many of my old books are like friends to me -- they comforted me during illnesses and when I was laid up with injuries, they took bubble baths with me and enjoyed the beach with me.  Nothing beats a good book.

I'm supposed to give you links, I suppose, where you can buy DUSK, so let me get that out of the way before we continue!  Here we go:

Buy DUSK at Ravenous Romance

Buy DUSK at Amazon
(And it's also available at fictionwise and probably other e-book outlets.)

BWB: First impressions are big when meeting someone for the first time, do you think it is equally important with book covers? How much creative input did you have in regards to DUSK?

The Ravenous Romance covers are all gorgeous.  Authors fill in a form describing our characters and general settings.  The publisher has a truly amazing guy in charge of the artwork. 

BWB: Vadim your male character is a vampire, and Alexandra/Marie is voodoo did you come up with your supernatural affiliations?

LG: This is a difficult question for me to answer.  I've written a lot of fiction over the years.  Ideas tend to hit me as I go. 

I begin with a basic idea and framework (beginning and end), and I always know my main characters before I start writing anything.  These main characters pop into my head as fully formed individuals with names.  If they don't pop into my head and I instead have to struggle to create them, they end up being dry and formless; and in this case, I tend to drop them as characters in the story. 

I liked the character of Alex/Marie from the beginning.  I identified with her and rode her story comfortably.  As for Vadim, as soon as Alex/Marie was in my mind, he popped in and assumed the role as her romantic male lead.  As soon as Alex/Marie saw him, I saw him as well. 

I've been fascinated with voodoo for quite some time.  I wrote about the subject numerous times in other books, and as a result, I've wanted to write a fictional voodoo character for years.  Alex/Marie's voodoo skills are mapped out in much greater scope within the second and third novels of the DUSK series. 

BWB: In your book, you make a lot of ROMEO AND JULIET parallels.  Would you consider DUSK a modern interpretation?

LG: Possibly.  Vadim and Alex/Marie cannot be together due to things that happened in their bloodlines in ancient times.  However, they want to be together, and desperately.  So in this way, their story parallels Romeo and Juliet.

BWB: Any particular songs or albums that inspired DUSK?

LG: I'm often asked if I listen to music while writing fiction.  The honest answer is that I never listen to anything while writing fiction.  Nor can I write in coffee shops or bus stations.  I require absolute quiet for my mind to travel into fictional zones. 

BWB: DUSK is a digital novel, available through Ravenous Romance, would you say publishing digitally is an easier task than going to print? Especially now that I hear, DUSK will be available in print.

LG: The process of e-publishing is much simpler for the author.  In the print world -- where I come from -- the author goes through edits, copyedits, galleys, proofs, etc., and this can be a lengthy process.  In the e-realm, we shift quickly from final manuscript to e-book.  So rather than waiting 3-6 months for a final manuscript to appear in print form, the author waits a few weeks for a final manuscript to appear in e-form. 

As for DUSK being available in print, Ravenous tells me the paper version will be available within days.  This is a print-on-demand version, however, which is an entirely different beast from producing a traditional paperback at a major publishing house. 

With traditional printing, the publisher determines a print run -- for example, 10,000 copies.  Following this example, after the 10,000 copies are printed, the publisher distributes them to stores.  Copies that don't sell are returned to the publisher.  For the author, traditional printing means a title makes its way to many thousands of readers. 

My print books have sold anywhere from 10,000 copies to 350,000+ copies in hardcover, paperback, and trade.  They're all over the world -- in more than 20 countries.

With print-on-demand, a reader must know about the book and find it, then order a copy.  So we won't see readers in the order of 65,000 or whatever.  Nor will we see foreign editions in 10 or more countries! 

But on the other hand, readers who prefer print books will be able to read DUSK in this format.  Personally, as an author, I'll be very happy to see the print version of DUSK. 

BWB: Is DUSK the start of a series? Any other romance books in the works?

LG: Next up from Lana Griffin is BITTEN BY LOVE, another vampire romance novel.  It's unrelated to DUSK and will be an unusual title from Ravenous. 

BITTEN BY LOVE should be available in early August 2010.  

Also coming up from Lana Griffin is SEX IN THE GALAXY, an outerspace sexcapade that I hope you all enjoy.  I've written about a fifth of it already, and it's fun stuff.  This one's crazy-wild! 

Glancing at my calendar, I see that SEX IN THE GALAXY should be available in October 2010. 

Beyond that, perhaps we'll go ahead with a DUSK sequel, but only time will tell. 

BWB: Are you also a fan of Paranormal Romances? Any favorites?

LG: I read in a lot of genres -- basically whatever strikes my fancy at a particular moment is what I'll pick up to read. 

I loved Dead Girls are Easy by Terri Garey.  Nicki Styx is hilarious.  Kerrelyn Sparks writes good escapist fiction, too - How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, for example.  Michelle Rowen also writes fun books - Bitten & Smitten is a good example.  And while it's not exactly ROMANCE (!), I never grow weary of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. 

Again, I like my dose of paranormal whether it's dark or romantic -- or both.

BWB: Lana Griffin is pseudonym, and I’m sure you’ve had a lot of inquiries into who exactly LANA akas for...any plans for a big reveal?

LG: A lot of people already know my real name, as I'm being very open about it.  If you poke around, my real identity is clear.  I'm not trying to be coy about it at all, and in fact, when DUSK first came out, I felt pretty silly having an alter-ego personna.  It didn't take me long to come clean and reveal myself!

BWB: Also, you hint on your blog that your “regular” writing might not be romance...did you enjoy writing in this genre? Anything particular give you any troubles?

Most of my fiction is in the paranormal realm.  I've always loved vampires, ghosts, shapeshifters, zombies, and all other types of paranormal entities.  So while romance is new to me with DUSK, I'm coming to it from the paranormal genres. 

In addition to Lana Griffin's 2 paranormal romances from Ravenous this year, I also have 3 traditional print book contracts under my real name. 

Under my real name, I'm currently writing a dark vampire novel (ie, another paranormal title). 

I'm also under contract for a collection featuring my already published stories with a few new stories tossed in for good measure.  Most of these stories feature dark paranormal elements. 

After I finish my own 2 books and Lana's next 2 books, I'm under contract to write what I think of as a "big" novel (under my own name).  This 5th scheduled novel is also in the dark paranormal realm. 

As you can see, I definitely lean toward the paranormal, whether I'm writing dark novels or romance novel. 

You ask if I enjoy writing in the paranormal romance genre, and of course, I have to say, Yes.  I recently found love in my own life and got married in August, so writing romance stories is something that's very close to my heart and soul now.  At this stage of my life, if I can find true love and happiness, then anyone can!  So I strongly believe in love and romance, and I wish the world had more of both.  We'd all be a lot happier.

You also ask if anything particular gave me trouble while writing DUSK.  I was uncomfortable wondering if I should inject heavy erotic sex scenes.  I chose to write a few carefully placed erotic romance scenes to bolster the developing love relationship.  I'm very comfortable writing romantic scenes and sex scenes that don't jump over the border into pure erotica.  For me, the romance, plot, and characters are key to what I'm trying to do.  The sex scenes bolster everything and contribute to the romance and plot.  I think it's a cop-out when a writer fills up word count with too many graphic sex scenes. 

Anyway, thank you for featuring DUSK and interviewing me.  I don't yet know (while doing this interview) what you think of DUSK.  I do hope you and your readers enjoy it. 

Because we're out here in the wild west of e-bookland, here are those shameless links again:

Buy DUSK at Ravenous Romance

Buy DUSK at Amazon
(And it's also available at fictionwise and probably other e-book outlets.)

In general, I hope readers will stop by and see me at:

I try to keep things informal and lively there, and I'm always open to readers' questions as well as comments from fellow writers.  Being new to e-books, Goodreads, and blogging, I've really been enjoying my new friendships with fellow bookaholics.

--Lana Griffin


Lisa Lane said...

The covers for Ravenous Romance books are all phenomenal. That was one thing, beyond the roster of great authors, that has really stood out for me.

I think you made a good choice by focusing more on the romance and less on the potential erotic aspects to DUSK. RR books cover all colors to the romance spectrum, and that is one reason the publisher can have so many vampire novels, for example, with such success.

Great interview! said...

i think this sounds like a intersting read

Anonymous said...

blackroze37 -- I hope you enjoy DUSK. If you read it, please get in touch with me and let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

Lisa -- Yes, I prefer that sex scenes add to the growing romance between the characters. In real life, anticipation is a large part of the developing romantic relationship between people.

I also prefer that novels have plots - so while romance is the main story in a romance novel, as a reader, I enjoy books that also have sub-plots.