Please join me in welcoming the lovely Nina Bangs to our blog this week. She is the USA Today bestselling author of three series: the Mackenzie Vampires, the Castle of Dark Dreams, and the Gods of the Night. Romantic Times Book Reviews chose Eternal Craving, the second book in her Gods of the Night series, as their best shape-shifter romance of 2009.
She has been gracious enough to answer a few crazy questions for your enjoyment, so sit back and relax. Be sure to leave a comment below because Nina has several great gifts to give away!
1. If you could transform into any animal, what would you choose? Please tell us, as only an author can, why you would make this specific choice?
I did some heavy thinking (about three minutes) and decided that I’d love to be the Loch Ness Monster. Nessie has it all. She wakes up each morning surrounded by the beauty of Scotland. She is a woman of mystery, pursued by many. Men have spent their entire lives trying to get merely a glimpse of her. She is the subject of conjecture and legend. Nessie doesn’t have to worry about facelifts or growing old because she just…is. Not a bad life.
2. Please share with us your most embarrassing moment with a fan or another author.
My most embarrassing moments are inevitably when someone asks me to tell them about my books. My plots tend to be…unique, and peoples’ eyes generally glaze over when I’m about halfway through. I always hated trying to pitch my books to editors or agents in person. Their expressions usually said, “Where’s the nearest mental health facility? Get this woman some help.” Somehow, once I write the whole book it all makes sense. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, once in a while.
3. Which do you prefer to write? The hero or the villain? And why?
The villain is a lot more fun. He doesn’t have to be sensitive with an inner core of goodness. He can be as vile and miserable as he wants to be. And sensitivity is definitely not a desirable character trait for the truly evil. The best part? I don’t have to redeem him. He can go to his grave cursing and making obscene gestures. Yes, I love my villains.
4. Do you have someone in your life that you model your heroes after? What about those villains?
My heroes live only in my mind. Not that I haven’t known men who were hero material, but molding a hero in the image of someone I know makes me uncomfortable. I want my heroes to be their own men. I do admit, though, to modeling one of my villains after a real person.
I was a teacher for many years, and an official evaluator would sit in on one of my classes once or twice a year to decide how well I was doing. And of course he could tell that from a one-hour visit. Ahem. Anyway, every time he visited my class he delighted in nit-picking me to death. I took great pleasure in making him evil incarnate in one of my books.
5. I am a woman who is 43 years old and has a crush on her 25-year-old gardener. What naughty secret do you have to share?
Horrors! Shame on you! I can’t believe you’re telling me something so disgraceful. And I wouldn’t think of sharing any naughty secrets with you.
My advice is to avoid temptation by firing your gardener. Umm, and when you do, please send me your contact information for the hottie. I’ll tell him my naughty secrets.
6. I’ll go easy on you this time. What is your sinful pleasure? I have two. Gluttony: where I laze in bed all day watching HGTV (Mike Holmes…mmm yummy!) or Farscape. Please be equally specific.
I’m a slave to ice cream (any flavor). I can’t have it in the house. I’m not one of those people who can eat a few teaspoons and be satisfied. One teaspoon leads to a tablespoon which leads to a big honking bowl. Then, of course, comes the guilt. The punishment phase begins when I step on the scale the next day. It’s always been a mystery to me how one bowl of ice cream translates to three pounds of fat. Do the math.
My other sinful pleasure is “Coast to Coast AM”, a radio program that comes on at midnight in my time zone. They interview experts in many fields including the paranormal. Yes, I stay awake to hear interviews with people who believe aliens have visited Earth in the past and the latest research on time travel. The show had discussions on the 2012 ending of the Mayan long count calendar long before it came to the notice of the mainstream media, hence the idea for my Gods of the Night series.
7. Do you sing in the shower? What would Simon Cowell think of your performance? What is your favorite song choice?
I love singing in the shower or any other place where I won’t have an audience. As for Simon Cowell, he’d probably say, “I never want to hear that song again. I cannot stand it. I’m allergic to it.” That’s an actual quote from him, and I’m sure he’d break it out again for me.
Actually, I did sing publically for a short time when I was much younger. A friend and I went to Ireland and stayed for several years. It was tough to get regular jobs without a work permit, so since both of us played the guitar and had sung together for a while, we got gigs in Dublin pubs and hotel lounges singing Irish folk songs. Yes, there’s a great deal of irony in that.
My favorite song choice? Any song that doesn’t involve more than two octaves. I don’t have much range. “And the rockets’ red glare” in the “Star Spangled Banner” gets me every time.
8. If you could be any of your characters whom would you choose? Tell us why of course.
I’d have to choose Sparkle Stardust. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the queen of sexual chaos? Okay, so maybe I’m the only one. But let’s look at what it means to be Sparkle. She’s a cosmic troublemaker who’s lived for millennia, and during that time she’s brought thousands of mismatched couples together, watched them achieve sexual nirvana, and then experienced the joy of seeing their relationships wither and die. What fun! She’s utterly cool in every way. She has the sexiest wardrobe in existence, and she’s always willing to share her beauty and relationship secrets with her female victims…er friends. She’d share them with her male friends too, but most of them aren’t secure enough in their masculinity to accept her wisdom. Too bad for them. But the best thing about Sparkle is her unapologetic shallowness. She’s all about sex, sin, and her next victim. You have to admire someone that goal oriented.
Hmm, perhaps I haven’t made her seem particularly likeable. Well, she does have one weakness. She loves Ganymede, the cosmic troublemaker in charge of creating chaos throughout the universe. Perhaps in the end, love can truly redeem the irredeemable. Besides, she makes me laugh.
9. Who did it the best? Out of all of your favorite paranormal authors’ works, who wrote the BEST SCENE EVA?
This is a toughie. I’ve read so many wonderful books in my lifetime that it’s difficult to remember individual scenes. And everyone’s reading taste is different. What I find memorable might be very ordinary to someone else.
With that said, a scene that I’ve remembered over the years was from Body Electric by Susan Squires (published in 2002 by Dorchester). I won’t go into the plot, but the scene where Jodie Prime dies made me cry. Books don’t often make me cry. Movies are another thing. I was a child when I first saw Bambi. I never recovered from the death of Bambi’s mother.
10. You are now a published author, which some would say is the pinnacle for any writer. Now that you have achieved this goal, what is your new dream? What is it that you now aspire to do?
I don’t think I’ll ever reach the pinnacle. Nora Roberts is already sitting there and she doesn’t seem ready to vacate the spot. I can almost see her waving down at me now. ☺
Seriously, I’d love to create a blockbuster series, preferably in paranormal romance or urban fantasy. By blockbuster, I mean books that millions of readers wait breathlessly for each year. No, I don’t expect a Harry Potter in my future, but I’ll keep writing each book with the goal of becoming a better storyteller. And maybe someday…
That said, if I never have a blockbuster series, I’m satisfied with the privilege of writing stories that people enjoy reading. There was a time when actually getting a book published seemed like an unreachable goal. Thank you to all the readers that made it happen for me.
Nina lives in Texas with her cat and a sexy vampire who never made it into her books. She’s joking about the vampire, but she assures me that she’d be open to the concept. The paranormal world fascinates her, and when she’ s not racing the clock to meet a looming deadline, she dreams about sneaking around old houses in search of resident ghosts.
Nina Bangs, offers the next installment in her popular Gods of the Night series.
The souls of ancient predators crouch within these men. Primal instincts and barely contained savagery drive them. But in a modern world threatened with chaos and darkness, they are…
Gods of the Night.
Utah knows all about vengeance. Vampires killed his brother, and that act demands only one response. He frees his beast and destroys every bloodsucker he finds. But he never expected to meet a leader of his immortal enemies who was so beautiful, bewitching…and mortal.
Lia understands her destiny. She has a duty to stop the rogue vampires who are intent on wiping out the human race along with any nonhumans that get in their way. But she needs help dealing with the shadowy power guiding the escalating slaughter. Utah would be her last choice for a partner. Once a deadly foe, he now becomes her ally and protector. Loving him will be more dangerous than anything she’s ever done. Because when Utah releases his soul, the ultimate predator will once again stalk the earth, and death will walk with him.
USA Today bestselling author Nina Bangs once again tempts readers to enter the wickedly sensual Castle of Dark Dreams—a playground where private pleasures and devilish fantasies come true, where the men who breathe life into women’s ultimate desires burn with their own supernatural fire…
As an angel, Passion prides herself on perfection. But some mischievous part of her always goes against the godly grain. After one too many attempts to enliven the heavenly halls, she’s sent to earth to tame her naughty nature. While human, she has to bring goodness and light to the most sinful of places, the Castle of Dark Dreams. Once there, she finds herself in the role of a virgin used as bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless—until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she’s ever dreamed.
Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction—and that’s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he’s always been—cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love’s Wicked Edge.
The Castle of Dark Dreams series, Book 5 Releases March 6th, 2012!
Leave a comment below for your chance to WIN one of two prizes. Each winner will receive their choice of a signed set of either the Gods of the Night series or the Castle of Dark Dreams series, plus a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card. Wow, those are some great giveaways! Please thank Nina for being here and comment below :)