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Dear readers,

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-- Rhi


Interview: Jeannie Holmes, Debut Author of Blood Law

As you dear readers know, I loooove strong heroines. I'm always looking for the next big name in urban fantasy. It's a tough group to get into with butt-kicking ladies like Rachel Morgan, Faythe Sanders and Allie Beckstrom to stand up against. Naturally when I see a new book coming out featuring a female who can be her own hero I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Okay and I am a sucker for great cover art... bite me! :P

When I saw the original cover art for Blood Law months ago I knew I HAD to have it.

No offense to my blonde readership but as a brunette I dig darker haired heroines most of the time. Even so I have a confession... when I was in middle school there was a girl a couple years older than me who had the most amazing auburn-red hair and I wanted it. I'd have traded any of my likable features to have hair so strikingly beautiful. So every once in a while I still find myself loving a red haired heroine and daydreaming of calling my hair stylist to discuss the unleashing of my inner flamemaned vixen.

I wasn't so shallow as to think I shouldn't at least see if the content sounded good. I had originally planned on this major project for the blog this summer. I was literally going to sit down with a map and do a summer urban fantasy road trip. Start at once corner of the map (my home state of Washington is prime UF real estate) and work my way through around the country from June to August where the South was going to be final destination. Alas time does not keep in bottles and the project is on hold for a summer when I don't have a baby who needs quite so much of my undivided attention.

Meanwhile, I was ambitious enough to think that maybe Jeannie Holmes would send me an ARC of Blood Law and even grant me an interview if I asked politely. (If only every author I contact was as cool and cordial as Jeannie has been to me). And to you my dear readers come the spoils! I tried really hard to come up with good questions (and not too many *phew*) so I hope you will enjoy the following interview with the very gracious debut author. I feel like we should be having a debutants ball or something... lol! Enjoy!
-- Rhi

Interview With Jeannie Holmes, author of Blood Law

Congratulations on your debut! Readers can check out a synopsis of Blood Law with my review or at your website but I thought I'd open up our interview with a few questions about the book. Vampires are so "in" right now. What makes the vampires in the world you've built different from those readers might find in another vampire book series? The main difference between the Blood Law vampires and other series is that my vampires are born, not created through a virus or sorcery, and are mortal although with much longer lifespans that humans. Blood Law vampires aren't human and never have been. They're actually a separate species/race that has evolved alongside humans but one that's remained secretive until recently. I've kept some of the familiar aspects of vampire mythology, such as greater than human strength, heightened senses, and the need for blood, but tried to find plausible scientific explanations for them. My quest for plausibility led to a lot of research in to genetics and evolution, most of which doesn't appear in the book, plus several e-mails to my high school biology teacher brother. In the end, I think I've created a version of the vampire that fits well within the ever expanding mythology.

Blood Law is set in Jefferson, Mississippi, territory you're personally familiar with. What about the South do you think lends itself to writers of vampire fiction? And what sets the world of Blood Law apart from others set in the South? Yes, I'm a Mississippi native even though I now live in Alabama. I think the South lends itself to vampire fiction, or any paranormal fiction, in that we have a long history of spooky tales and things that go bump in the night. There's something mystical about the ruralness that still dominates much of the South. I grew up in a rural area, twenty miles from the nearest town, and when you're walking under an expansive night sky with only the moon to guide your steps, it's easy to imagine any sort of supernatural creature lurking in the darkness.
The world of Blood Law is a world of transition. Even though vampires have been living openly for over forty years, not all humans readily accept them. The smaller towns, such as Jefferson, have the hardest time with change - that's actually true in real life as well as fiction. I think what sets the world of Blood Law apart from others are the characters and how they respond to their changing world. Some accept the changes and move on, while others react violently toward it. The conflicts come when these two groups collide.

Alexandra has a gift of psychometric powers. If you were a vampire character in the world you've built what kind of gift would you love to have? That's a tough one. I think Alex's gift of psychometry (the ability to gain information about a person or place through touch) would be cool. That way I'd know which one of our four cats to blame for the shredded furniture.

Great heroines in urban fantasy are everywhere. I think Alexandra ranks up there with Faythe Sanders from Rachel Vincent's Shifters series in her complexity. She might be one tough cookie but she has some really vulnerable moments as well. Which elements did you find more challenging to bring to the page? Both are challenging in different ways. I don't like confrontation and violence in real life, but Alex lives in a world filled with it. There are times when she needs to be the aggressor from a physical standpoint, such as when she's in a fight or arresting someone, and those scenes can be a challenge to write because I have to be able to picture the action in my head to write it. On the other hand, during the times when she's really vulnerable, that can be difficult emotionally. Alex carries around a lot of emotional baggage and dealing with her inner demons can get kind of hairy. More than once I had to walk away from the computer because I was becoming too emotionally invested in a scene. Oddly enough, those turned out to be some of the best scenes in the book so now I know if I have to walk away from a scene, I'm on the right track.

Because I am totally vain I have to ask... The first cover I saw for Blood Law was pretty darned awesome and I love the new one too. On a scale of one to ten (one being a yawn and ten being kid-on-Christmas-morning) how exciting was it to see YOUR book cover for the first time? Honestly, with the first cover, I really liked it. Until that time I hadn't been able to form a mental image of what my cover would look like. When my editor called me to say they wanted to change it, I was naturally concerned because at that point the original cover had been posted all over the internet. However, when I saw the new cover, I admit I squealed louder than a four-year-old at Disney World. The new cover perfectly captures how I picture Alex in my head and I'm totally in love with it.

You made your very own book trailer! I am really impressed. Many readers love to hear whom an author would love to see cast in a film version of their book's characters so I have to ask... any special talents you'd love to see light up the screen as Alex and Varik? I've actually discussed this with friends and even my agent. Unfortunately, I can't think of anyone to play Alex. Others have suggested everyone from Jessica Alba to Jessica Biel but none of them seem to “fit” in my head. I'll have to leave casting that role of up someone more knowledgeable. However, for Varik, I do have someone I'd love to see in the role: Ben Barnes, who played Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia. I actually discovered him as my husband and I were going into a local theater for some other movie. I saw an advance poster advertizing the new Narnia film and it featured Ben Barnes. My husband still laughs at me about it because I stopped in the middle of this huge crowd, pointed at the poster, and said (rather loudly), “Oh my god - that Varik!” He simply looks exactly like how I envisioned Varik in my head even before I saw the poster. Of course, later I found out the actor's name and he's been my ideal Varik ever since.

Blood Law officially hits the shelves on July 6th, can readers anticipate a sequel any time soon? I recently finished the sequel and it's with my editor now. Depending on how revisions go, readers can look for it to hit shelves sometime next year. I'll certainly keep everyone posted through my website and blogs on the latest developments.

I would gladly grill you for hours Jeannie but I don't wish to take up too much of your valuable writing time. Is there anything you'd love to tell readers about yourself and your writing that I haven't asked? Only that I do love to hear from readers and do my best to respond as quickly as possible to e-mails, blog comments, or Twitter messages. If I don't respond immediately, please don't take it personally. I'm probably following Alex and Varik on another adventure and will be back soon.

Thanks, Rhianna, for inviting me to hang out and chat. It's been a lot of fun, and I hope we can do it again sometime. Thanks, also, to all the readers out there! Y'all are awesome!!!

Thank you so much for giving RhiReading a little bit of your time. I certainly look forward to seeing more of your work in the near future and hope my readers will check out Blood Law when it debuts on July 6th.

credit: photo of Ben Barnes courtesy benbarnesonline.net

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