Vampire Instinct is here!
By Joey W. Hill
One of the things I like most about writing the Vampire Queen series is each book gives me a whole new set of protagonists with personalities and stories to discover. While certain elements of the vampire world remain the same, the challenges they face differ, and the characters often take me by surprise. My muse seems to have a grab bag from which she pulls unlikely or unexpected settings, situations or pairings, and says “have at it!” That’s how I end up having books where two sexual Dominants fall in love (Ice Queen/Mirror of My Soul), an angel is saved by a mermaid (Mermaid’s Kiss), or a hardcore vampire hunter becomes the servant of not one but two vampires (Vampire Mistress). I sometimes think the muse sits back and smirks at me while I bash my head on the keyboard.
For Vampire Instinct, the newest release in the series, the surprise was both my hero/heroine and the setting. Mal is my first “made” vampire hero. Most of my vampires are “born”, the aristocracy of the vampire world. Mal is Cherokee, born right before the Trail of Tears, and was turned into a vampire as a young man. While he does not regret being a vampire, he has never had great aspirations of rising in the very political and brutal vampire hierarchy. Instead, mending some personal demons of his past, he runs a big cat sanctuary on an island off of the U.S. coast. I had the pleasure of visiting Big Cat Rescue in Tampa to research this part of the book. My past settings for this series have been an opulent estate in South America, 1950s Western Australia, a BDSM club, etc, so this was definitely a change of pace. To understand how the sanctuary figured into the plot, here’s a blurb about the book:
As servant to vampire mistress Lady Daniela, Elisa’s devotion is unwavering—until Lady D makes it clear that the children entrusted to Elisa’s care may be destroyed, if they cannot be integrated into the vampire world. Elisa’s young charges are vampires of such potent desires as to belie their youth, given to a reckless bloodlust that makes their assimilation nearly impossible. But Elisa has one desperate option.
His name is Malachi, a Native American vampire who is a legend for his work with rehabilitating feline predators. With his primal understanding of the rules of survival, he is the fledglings’ last hope. But it is Elisa who is feeling the heat of his irresistible animal instincts. Now, as Malachi struggles to control the children’s impulses, he opens himself up to those of Elisa—and the passion they all share for the night could seal their fates forever.
This gave me another research opportunity. I was fortunate that one of my readers was a child development specialist. She agreed to critique the book before submission and give me insights into how the vampire fledglings would react from the “human” side of their nature. Whereas Mal/the muse helped me with the vampire/animal side (wink).
Elisa is not your typical “kickass” heroine, but as the story unfolded, she became the type of heroine I probably enjoy writing the most. She might not have the ability to resist Mal’s will with physical or political strength, but she has a staunch sense of right and wrong, and she has built her life upon it. Therefore, she is able to influence and change those around her who have far greater power. As noted above, Elisa is basically a domestic, an Irish maid who has found herself part of a vampire female’s household, and now must travel with the fledglings and try to work with Mal, a wholly unknown quantity, to protect the fledglings she considers her personal responsibility. Whereas he, having a vampire’s typical sense of superiority over humans, endeavors to teach her what her role truly should be. And of course they both get a little off track because of the chemistry between thhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifem!
If you’d like to read an excerpt for the book, click here. That takes you to my website and the Vampire Instinct book page. However, if you’d like more of a taste, you might want to visit the JWH fan forum. There are two more exclusive excerpts there, and the graphics of the site have just been changed to celebrate the release of this book. If you’re already a fan of the Vampire Queen series and you’ve never visited, you’re in for a treat, because I write free vignettes for the site, shorts where I revisit characters from my full length works, and there are three vignettes there now, based on the characters from Beloved Vampire, Vampire Queen’s Servant and Vampire Trinity. And a couple of them are the length of novels! (Note: you do have to register/login to see the vignette areas, but it’s a quick process, only requiring a valid email to protect the site from spammers.)
Anyhow, hope you’ve enjoyed this short inside glimpse into the new book and that it will inspire you to try my vampires. If you’d like to take your first taste with Vampire Instinct, it can be read alone, though the background of the book would be enhanced by reading Vampire’s Claim first. If you visit the series page on my website, it will tell you what all the books are about, as well as if they can standalone or other books in the series need to be read first.
Now for the extra fun part. Leave a comment on the blog post and you’ll be entered for a drawing to win the book-of-your-choice from my current available titles! I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks so much for letting me visit with you today.