Thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions. Full disclosure, I’ve been a fan for pretty much ever and your Love at Stake series is at the tippy top of my rec list when folks ask me about paranormal. Your books always make me laugh, and think, and swoon – it’s the perfect trifecta of reading!
Donna: Your latest book, How to Love Your Elf releases at the end of February but I’d like to take a quick minute to ask you about the series that introduced me to you, Love at Stake. I should tell you, after reading just the first few chapters of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire I gently closed the book, wiped the laughter tears from my eyes and set about telling every single person I encountered about a vampire in need of an all night dentist because he broke his fang biting an experimental blood bag type blow up sex doll. That series and its clever titles earned a top spot on my favorite series list before I could even finish book #1. What fever dream inspired that book? And the bleer? And how much fun did you have writing it? Also, Eat, Prey, Love solidified my undying love of all things shifters. Boy howdy, that’s good stuff. Please share just one, little known crazy fact about that series or one of its characters. And will we ever get more from that series?
Kerrelyn Sparks: I actually started my career by writing historical romance. But when that failed to excite publishers or readers, I figured it was time for a change. I realized, then, that my favorite historical romances all had a touch of paranormal in them. So I decided to give paranormal romance a try. I wasn’t ready, though, to part from my love for historical heroes—and that is why I decided on vampires. They can be hundreds of years old, yet they are living in today’s world. That meant I could pair up my old vamp with a feisty, modern woman! I was gung-ho to try this new endeavor, but I feared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. In my fear, I procrastinated until I came down with the flu. While under the influence of Nyquil, I wrote the first three chapters of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire and sent them to my agent. Within a week, the book had three offers and sold to HarperCollins. Then the real question remained—could I finish the book without medication? Luckily I did, and as you know, the series took off. It wasn’t until I was writing the third book, Be Still My Vampire Heart, that I realized I was writing a series, and it needed a name. So that’s when my critique partners and I came up with Love at Stake.
Crazy fact: While I was writing Robby’s story (book 8), the cover artist who had done all the artwork for the previous books, came up with the title, The Vampire and the Virgin. My editor decided to go with it, even though at the time, my heroine was not a virgin. So I did some rewriting to revirginize Olivia, and I think the story worked really well with the title.
Future plans: I do plan on returning to the Love at Stake gang, but with a time jump into the future so the kids will be grown enough to take an active part.
Donna: Now, moving on to Elves! The Isle of Moon, what was your inspiration for this place and how did you research the world it resides in?
KS: As much as I adore the Love at Stake gang, I eventually grew tired of the fact that all the vamps and shifters had the same powers. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to invent a cast of characters where each one could have a different power? Also, I had learned from writing paranormal books that I really loved world-building. So I thought why not challenge myself with the ultimate in world-building—an entirely new world! But I needed a reason why this world would have only a few supernatural people. That is when I came up with the idea of two moons. Twice a year, the moons eclipse, or as the local people call it, they embrace. On those nights, any child born will have some sort of magical power. They are called The Embraced. The setting is a medieval-type world, so I had to do research on castles and medieval-type weaponry. And I had great fun coming up with different kinds of magical powers.
Donna: The girls/women become sisters in a found family sort of circumstance was one sister easier to write than the others? Does one reflect your personality? Where does Sorcha fit on this spectrum? What makes her tick?
KS: I think Sorcha was the easiest for me to write, mostly because I enjoyed her sense of humor. Sorcha never intended to fall in love or even be a heroine of her own story. She fell into it by accident, trying to protect her sister Gwennore and then trying to protect the dragon shifter, Aleksi. Sorcha’s power is the ability to start a fire. The mysterious Woodsman is able to control wood and communicate with trees. His power relies on wood, while her power destroys wood. Together, they are combustible!
Donna: Do you have a particular elf in history or lore that is a favorite for you?
KS: While writing the Woodsman, I was imagining Legolas from The Lord of the Rings. I wanted my elf to be very calm and in control, not to mention gorgeous. And of course, Sorcha is fiery and unpredictable. She will turn his world upside down, and maybe even set it on fire.
Donna: When you write a series as fantastical as this one, do you have the story fully mapped out in your head from the beginning or do you let the characters take you on a journey of their choosing? I would imagine embracing the magic can be a tricky, daunting task.
KS: I started the series only knowing a few things: that the five sisters were all Embraced and that they would end up bringing peace to a war-torn world. I knew there would be five books, one for each sister. I knew their future husbands would also have some sort of magical power and become kings. And I knew that the Chameleon would be the bad guy. That’s about it! So, each book has been a journey into the unknown. That makes it a bit scary, but also exciting!
Donna: Maeve is the next sister to find her HEA in this series and I sense a shifter love in her future (YAY!). What can we expect from this book? What magical ability would you like to have at your disposal?
KS: You’re right!! Maeve and Brody will finally come together as they struggle to defeat the Chameleon and the last remaining members of the Circle of Five. This will be the grand finale of the series, answering all the questions, revealing all the secrets, and ending with an epic battle that will involve all the main characters from the previous books. It’s called The Siren and the Deep Blue Sea, and it releases August 25, 2020.
I think I would prefer to be like Brody and able to shift into any animal. Especially an eagle, so I could fly anywhere I want. Unfortunately, you arrive without any clothes!
Donna: You’ve been writing for a long time, what is the biggest change you’ve noticed in the industry and your style over the years?
KS: Yep, my first published book, For Love or Country, released in 2002. Since then, the industry has gone through enormous changes. There are more options and more freedom. If one of the major publishers doesn’t want to buy your book, you can go to one of many smaller presses, or you can publish it yourself. That said, the amount of competition has also skyrocketed, so it can be extremely hard for a new author to get noticed. As for the writing itself, that remains the same—it is always hard work, but always a thrill whenever you finish a new book.
Donna: Has your idea of success changed since you started writing?
KS: Yes. At first, a new writer wants to get published. Once you succeed at that, you want to remain published. (That isn’t easy, by the way.) Then, you hope to be able to make a living from your writing. I’ve been very lucky to have the amount of success that I have enjoyed—thank you, readers!! I’m at a place now where I could retire, but I keep on writing anyway. I do it partly for my own health (to keep my mind active and working) and more and more, I do it simply because I enjoy the relationship I have with my readers. It makes me happy when my stories bring some joy to the world. Readers can find me on Facebook (where I run a contest every month), Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, and my website at www.kerrelynsparks.com.
How to Love Your Elf
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Raised in isolation on the magic-shrouded Isle of the Moon, five girls became five sisters. Now women, they are ready to claim their places in the world—and perhaps change it forever . . .
FLAME AND FORTUNE
Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage.
Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .
About the Author:
Kerrelyn Sparks apparently has issues with reality. After writing sixteen books (and two novellas) about vampires, she has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet. But how thrilling that she can share this magical new world with her readers! Although she is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters. To learn more about her paranormal, historical, and new out-of-this-world fantasy romances, please visit Kerrelyn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or her website at www.kerrelynsparks.com.