Thursday, 15 July 2010

Spotlight on Paranormal Romance: Author interview with Zoe Winters + GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome today the very cool paranormal romance author Zoe Winters author of the Preternaturals novellas Kept, Claimed, Mated - to be released in print under the title "Bloodlust" this summer! Give it up to Zoeee!  

1. Hey Zoe, welcome to Ex Libris! How did you discover/decide you wanted to become a writer?

I really can't remember a time I didn't want to be a writer. As soon as I was old enough to know there were such people, that's what I wanted to be.

2. And when did you write your first story, and what was it about?

I wish I could remember. I remember I completed my first novel in jr. high. I wanted to be R.L. Stine back then. It was a ghost story that scared me so much I threw it away, LOL. I know I wrote stuff before that, too. That was just one early bit of writing that sticks out in my mind.

3. Could you tell us about your Preternaturals series, the first three novellas of which (Kept, Claimed and Mated) are to be published in print this summer (under the title "Bloodlust").

My Preternaturals series exists in a world where no one knows about demons and vampires and shapeshifters. And instead of just being a series "about vampires" or "about werewolves", it's a series about this whole supernatural world and different species/breeds of preternaturals will be explored in different books. I feel like this gives me a lot of freedom to roll more with the market. Like people are starting to get a little burnt out on vampires. My vampire novella, Claimed, generally has the lowest sales of all three of the novellas.

I think vampires will be really hot again later, but right now they seem to be dying just a little bit. So with different books of the series focusing on different species, I hopefully have the ability to pull in more readers and have a more "diversified portfolio" of writing.

I released the three novellas individually as ebooks for 99 cents each, but I'm now combining them into a print release (coming out very soon), called Blood Lust, which makes up the first book in the Preternaturals series.

You are completely right. It gives you much more freedom and variety to take the story or the inspiration where your fancy guides you.

4. What inspired you to write the Preternaturals series? Any fun story about how an ordinary everyday event inspired a scene/dialogue/character from the novellas?

The second book, Save My Soul, which is a full-length novel, was inspired by a house in the historic district of my town. I've always loved that house and I was driving by it one day trying to figure out what I was going to write for NanoWrimo, when the bulk of the plot for Save My Soul just fell into my head. It was kind of creepy, actually.

Kept was originally written for a contest created by Samhain, but I didn't make the contest deadline. Then I decided to turn it into a novella trilogy, so I'd have enough for a full book-length work. (I almost typed Thrillogy which was a whole joke on a podcast I was a guest on recently, LOL)

When I was writing Mated, the third book in the novella trilogy, I figured out a way to connect it with the world of Save My Soul to create a larger series. Originally they weren't connected works.

Thrillogy is a fantastic term, will use it from now on :-D

5. Why did you choose to write paranormal romance?

I fell in love with Buffy. Then I read fanfic obsessively and realized the only thing I cared about was Spike and Buffy getting together. I'd previously been a snob about romance, but that experience caused me to seek out paranormal romance because I wanted something "sort of the same but different." Up to that point I'd tried writing many different genres and none of them clicked.

Oh, a girl after my own heart! I LOVE Buffy! And that is exactly how I discovered the paranormal genre! LOL, and just like you, the series wasn't enough so I discovered the wonderful and highly addictive universe of fanfics! :-D

6. Why did you choose to write novellas instead of full length novels? What are the advantages and difficulties of writing novella-length stories?

Kept was for a contest, just trying to get my foot in the door and some work out there. The rest of the books in the series will be full-length novels. Probably. It's possible another novella trilogy may work it's way in there. Or I may create separate novellas that are outside the main timeline and then when I have enough, combine them into volumed print releases called "Preternaturals Shorts".

I really like the novella length. I write pretty sparse anyway. I don't do a whole lot of detail because I feel like it slows down the story. The only real difficulty for me in novella-length fiction is that you need about three of them to make a print release. While I've had some success with E, there is a big portion of the population that still just reads print, so I can't reach those people with just ebooks.

7. Could you tell us about any work-in-progress, current projects, what we can expect from you in the future?

I'm hoping to release Save My Soul this winter. It involves an incubus that has been trapped in a house by a 50-year-old curse. The woman who moves into the house is dead set on getting him out of her Barbie Dream House, so to speak. The villain is an incubus named Cain who is introduced briefly in Mated. I confess I have a very wrong crush on Cain. He'll get his own book later. I can't WAIT to write his book. But then I'll be jealous because it means I have to give him up to someone else. :P

I've got about 8 books tentatively planned in the series so far, but I've created this world in such a way where I can play in it forever. And that's the plan. So probably more than 8 books.

Great to hear! :-D Once I discover a series there is few things that can make me happier than learning there will be lot more books in the series! :-)

8. As a paranormal romance author, I guess you love reading paranormal romance novels. But besides them, what other genres do you enjoy? Who are some of your favourite authors/novels?

Probably my other loves besides PR are historical romance and erotica. Favorite books: "Private Arrangements" by Sherry Thomas (historical rom), "The Price of Desire" by Jo Goodman (historical rom), "Topping from Below" by Laura Reese (erotic thriller), "Lip Service" by MJ Rose (erotic thriller).

The latter two is how I class them. A lot of erotica has other elements, and a lot of it can be quite literary.

Thank you for the recommendations, will check them out. Erotic thrillers sounds exciting ;-p

9. What are you most proud of (can be an achievement, a great quality trait, etc.)? And what is your worst fault?

I'm proud of self-publishing, deciding to take my publishing destiny in my own hands and really get out there and work to build an audience. It's all something I've built by my own work and that's something I'm very proud of. A lot of people think self-publishing is something you should hide or be ashamed of, or make excuses for. But screw that. Every other form of entertainment respects indie work as being valid. There is a lot of drek out there, but that's true with indie film and music as well. Indie authorship should be respected if the author works hard to put out a quality product.

I also make it really easy for people to try me with my first novellas in ebook for 99 cents and free samples. And I'll be doing a free podcasted reading of Blood Lust. I'm really just not that big of a risk considering how low I make the barriers for giving my work a chance, so I think that really offsets the fear of "Is this going to be crap because it wasn't vetted by a NY publisher?"

My worst fault is that I can be combative to a point that it alienates people. Or, I can be "perceived as" combative. I'm usually not all that angry, but I do have very loud emotional volume and sometimes I'm a little "too" loud for some people. It's drawn a lot of people to me who like my "plucky indie spirit" but it's also alienated people who prefer more low-key people.

Oh and sometimes I'm too ambitious. That doesn't sound like a fault, but it can get draining. And I need to learn to take more little breaks and recharge my batteries. A fellow indie author friend told me the only way I could market my work more would be if my head was wired directly into the Internet. LOL. That's just about true!

Haha, so true, seeing how active you are on your blog and on Twitter too :-p

10. I know I can't ask you to choose a favourite work of yours, but do you have a favourite character from one of your stories, someone who you either loved writing or simply love as a character?

LOL of course you can ask me to choose a fave work. So far I like Mated the best. Most readers seem to agree. It's my most recent work, and I think it shows some growth as a writer from Kept and Claimed. My fave character, of course, is Cain. He's an incubus and he kills his prey (for now), but... Cain is an interesting sort of guy (and VERY funny). Because there is reincarnation in my world, he really doesn't see killing his dinner as "ending them". He considers it "inconveniencing them". Which is so very wrong but also a very Cain-way of seeing things. Also he considers that they get about the best death one can hope for, since their last moments are absolute pleasure in the arms of a gorgeous man. I have to agree with him, that's not a bad way to go.

Yum, Cain sounds like a character I can't wait to meet! :-p

11. You built quite a unique universe, those who have read your stories know what I'm talking about when I say: Therian, but could you tell a bit more to those who haven't discovered your fictional world yet?

Actually I can't take credit for therian. Samhain introduced me to that word when they did their contest that I missed the deadline for with Kept. So I did a little research on it. In the world of fiction, it's basically a werecreature. In my world it's a more politically correct term than Were. Werecats, Werebears, Weretigers etc. etc. all prefer to be called therians. A lot of people want to capitalize it, but I don't because I wouldn't capitalize vampire or human. It's just another race. Or a politically correct term for it. Though therian covers many different races.

The rules for each breed of therian are just a little bit different. Like a cat therian can control their change almost completely and can resist changing under the full moon, at least for a little bit. A werewolf MUST shift under the full moon, though after they've fed they can stand to be in direct moonlight without shifting if they're strong enough. Well, and if there isn't a human bleeding right in front of them. Though werewolves refuse to take the PC term, therian. They revel in "Were" and werewolf. You'll really irritate them if you start calling them therians. The pack in Mated is a lot more civilized than a lot of packs. They don't hunt humans, though they still don't like the term "therian".

12. What question do you wish people would ask you in interviews?

Zoe, why are you so awesome? KIDDING! :P I really don't know. I'm sure I'll think of something later and smack myself over the head for it, but I can't think of anything right now that I sit around going: "Why do they never ask this question?????"

Well thank you Zoe for coming here and answering my questions, and congrats on being self-published! You really are awesome! :-D

Thanks for having me! I'm going to give the back cover copy for Blood Lust (individual novellas are available at Smashwords, and Amazon) and links of where to find me.

I'd also love to do a giveaway here today. All three novellas free in ebook to one commenter.
As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.

For a vampire, Anthony isn’t a picky eater, but he’s drawn to Charlee’s blood more than any other. Like a fine wine saved for a special occasion, he’s denied himself this pleasure. But one night, high from the potent magical blood of another, he claims his prize and loses control. Ashamed of almost killing the one woman who means anything to him, he wipes her memory of the event. When Charlee awakens with complete amnesia, Anthony is the only one who can clean up the mess he’s made.

Because of the vampiric blood that has run through her veins since birth, Jane has been a target for vampires who resent a human being “kindred.” She’s forced to disguise herself as a vampire groupie to appease them and safeguard her life. When she’s abruptly given to Cole, the leader of the werewolf pack, to satisfy a gambling debt, she discovers the blood running through her veins has a far greater impact on her destiny than she ever imagined.

Zoe's books can be found at:

Smashwords (If you scroll down the page you can see Zoe's list of books and the links there. Kept is free for the month of July at Smashwords if you use coupon code SW100. This will allow you to get it free in any format you like.)
You can also download Kept free in PDF from Zoe's blog

And Zoe's official website is while there is a website for a fictional company from the series:

Thank you again Zoe for the interview and for making your novellas so easily available to readers!

Now for the giveaway: Zoe has offered all 3 novellas to one lucky commenter.

To enter:

1. You have to be a follower of Ex Libris
2. Leave a question/comment for Zoe
3. Leave your e-mail address

Open worldwide, ends 22 July 2010.

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