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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Author Interview: If You Were My Vampire by L.J.K.Oliva





If You Were My Vampire
A Shades Below Novel
Book 2.5
L.J.K. Oliva

Genre:  Paranormal romance

Word Count:  approx. 100,000

Cover Artist:  L.J.K. Oliva

Book Description:

Sometimes, your life begins the day you die…

Asher Evans is a man haunted by history. Turned vampire in the concentration camp that claimed his family, he has never recovered from the loss of his humanity. Removed from the mundane world and resigned to facing eternity alone, he’s completely unprepared when the unthinkable happens: he meets a girl.

As the youngest daughter of San Francisco’s most prestigious psychic family, Grace Alan has always known about the things that go bump in the night. She especially knows about monsters…including the fact that she is one. Grace has spent her entire life trying to be normal, and finally, things seem to be looking up. There’s only one problem.

She’s just been murdered.

When Asher stumbles upon a dying Grace, he knows he should leave her to her fate. But in a world that looks at him and sees only a monster, Grace reminds him what it feels like to be human. He can’t bring himself to let her die.

Unfortunately, rescuing her has consequences. Female vampires have been illegal for centuries. In saving Grace, Asher may have condemned them both.

Can be read as a standalone



Listen to the Playlist at YouTube and Spotify


Excerpt 1 -

He should have left days ago.
Asher Evans hesitated at the corner of Third and South Park.  If he was even half-smart, he'd turn around now.  He'd go back to his shitty studio rental, toss everything he could get his hands on into a duffel bag, and get the hell out of town.  San Francisco had made it pretty clear it didn't want him anymore.
Asher jammed his hands in the pockets of his battered leather jacket and started forward again.  Another half hour wouldn't make a difference.  In any case, he was already here.  He was already committed.
He was going to a tea shop.  At close to midnight.  Looking for a girl.
It was hands-down the most ridiculous thing he'd ever done.
Asher quickened his pace.  He couldn't even say what it was that had made him notice Grace Alan in the first place.  She wasn't overly attractive, hadn't spoken more than two words to him each time he saw her.  And she worked at a place called Cross Your Teas.  Cross Your Teas.  That by itself should have sent him running in the opposite direction.
In fact, he might not have noticed her at all except for the single, fascinating thing she'd done the first time they met.
She'd looked at him.  In the eyes.
People didn't look him in the eyes.  If they weren't too afraid of him, they mostly weren't looking at him at all.  But Grace Alan had looked, and she'd kept looking.  After the first few times, he'd started to wonder what it was she saw.
He'd tried to put it out of his mind, had told himself it probably meant nothing, but it was no use.  Lately, that one simple question had grown from a simple prick of curiosity, to a gnawing fascination, to a preoccupation bordering on obsession.
Tonight, he would have his answer.
Cross Your Teas came into view up ahead.  Asher quickened his pace.  They would be closing soon, and the last thing he wanted was to have come all this way for nothing.  He drew closer.  The lights were still on; a good sign.  He came to the large front window with the outline of a teapot on it, and peered inside.
Grace's older sister, Lena Alan, was standing behind the front counter.  The drawer of the register was open, and she appeared to be counting out the cash.  Then she stopped, a wad of bills in one hand.  She quickly swiped at her eyes.  Her mouth trembled.  Asher blinked.
She was crying.
Lena visibly sighed, and started over.  Asher scanned the rest of the shop for Grace.  There was no sign of her.  He took a deep breath and listened for movement in the back kitchen.  No use.  There wasn't so much as a mouse sneeze.  Asher ground his teeth together.
Grace wasn't there.
Now he really should leave.  He didn't have time to be trailing one girl all over the city.  But even as the thought passed through his mind, he was already turning his nose into the air.  He caught Grace's scent almost immediately; the bitter-yet-oddly-comforting smell of patchouli.  She hadn't been gone long.  Asher followed it up the street and around the next corner.
The darkness grew thicker, despite the thin light of the streetlamp overhead.  A stiff wind kicked up, buffeting him with the sharp, briny aroma of the Bay.  Asher pulled his jacket a little tighter and fought to hold onto Grace's trail.  Something cold and unsettling moved in his stomach.  A mere block or two over, there were wider streets, streets with better light and plenty of traffic.  What the hell was Grace thinking, coming this way?
What the hell was he doing, following her?
She wasn't even his type.  His type was blonde, smiling and empty-eyed.  Grace Alan was the opposite of his type.  Dark-haired, pensive.  And her eyes were anything but empty.  When she looked at him, he got the distinct feeling she could see right through him.  That alone was more than enough reason to leave now.
He had almost convinced himself to do it when he heard her scream.
Asher was running before the sound even had time to register.  Grace's scent grew stronger, and with it he smelled something else: fear.  Asher's chest hardened.  The unmistakable sounds of a struggle pricked his ears.  A second scent mingled with Grace's: male, a few days unwashed.  Sweat.  Arousal.
Asher snarled.
Suddenly, something thick and fragrant flooded his nostrils.  Reflex stopped Asher in his tracks.  Blood.  His mouth started to water.  His fangs descended from his gums.  He'd come here well-fed, but fuck, whoever's blood that was, it smelled delicious.  There was a subtle bitterness to it, a smell like...
Patchouli.
Asher took off again at a dead sprint.  Grace was in trouble.  Grace was hurt.  A small, snide voice in the back of his head questioned why he gave a shit.  Asher ignored it.  He slowed, ducked down a narrow, graffiti-plastered alley and took in a deep breath.  The male's scent had faded.  Asher squinted.  Near the end of the alley, a familiar figure sat slumped against the wall.
He drew a little closer.  "Grace?"
She didn't turn.  In the semi-darkness, he could vaguely see her lips move, but no sound came out.  Asher closed the distance between them, his footsteps unnaturally loud against the brick buildings on either side.
"Grace—oh, fuck."
Asher sank to his knees in front of her.  She was more than just hurt.  He reached out to touch her face, at the last minute thought better of it.  His fingertips hovered over the crushed area that had been her cheekbone.  Blood gushed from her obviously-broken nose.  Asher trailed his gaze lower, sucked in a breath.
Her throat had been slashed wide open.


About the Author:

L.J.K Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. L.J.K. likes monsters… and knows the darkest ones don’t live in closets.



Newsletter-  http://eepurl.com/xRJuD










Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I usually do an unholy mishmash of both, but I've found the more planning I do before I start writing, the better my writing flows. Left to its own devices, my creative brain is like a bag of cats, lol

Do your characters ever want to take over the story? 
They do, and I love when it happens! I know I'm hitting my stride when the people in my head begin to breathe on their own. That said, sometimes they want to do things that don't work for the story. When that happens, it's my job to rein them in.

What is your favourite food?
That is an impossible question, haha. I LOVE FOOD. I can't pick just one thing, but my current favorite STYLE of food is Indian. I say "current" because I'm always trying new things, so my favorite-du-jour is always changing.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I used to be a night owl, but recently I've changed my stripes. I'll probably never be a dyed-in-the-wool morning person, but these days, I'm pretty close.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
Another impossible question! I love travel, and am finally approaching a point in my life where regular travel is possible. Currently, Spain is at the top of my travel wish list. Obviously, I want to go for the food.

Do distant places feature in your books?
Some of them. My current Shades Below series is set exclusively in San Francisco, but in the companion novella series (The Shades Below Shorts), Emil and Puzzle travel far and wide. The first short, Ptolemy's Tablet, is set in Alexandria, Egypt. I really enjoyed researching that; if I went to Alexandria now, I could probably find my way around!

Do you listen to music while writing?
It depends. I definitely like background noise, but I've found that songs with lyrics can get distracting, particularly if the lyrics don't match the scene I'm working on! When I'm writing something that requires absolute concentration, I'll usually put on classical, or maybe a movie soundtrack (the ones from Practical Magic, The Mortal Instruments, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice are some favorites).

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
Sure! If You Were My Vampire follows two characters introduced in my last book, The Devil's Disease. Asher Evans is a vampire, but before that, he was a young Jewish man who was targeted by the Nazis during World War II. He was turned by the American soldier who helped liberate his concentration camp. His entire family died in the Holocaust, so needless to say, eternity hasn't been an easy pill to swallow.
Grace Alan is the youngest daughter of San Francisco's most prestigious psychic family. While the rest of her family uses their abilities to help people, Grace had the misfortune of being born a psychic vampire. She has spent her entire life trying desperately to fit in, but because her condition requires her to siphon other people's energy to survive, that's pretty much impossible.
Like I said, Asher and Grace met in my last book, but their story really begins in this one. At the beginning of this book, Asher stumbles upon Grace in an alley. She's just been attacked, and it's clear she's dying. Asher has to make a split-second decision: let her die, or save her by turning her into a vampire. You can guess which option he chooses ;-)
There's a catch, though: in the Shades Below universe, female vampires are illegal, and anyone who creates one is subject to severe consequences.
So why does Asher take the risk? How does Grace react to being turned into a monster, when all she's ever wanted was to be normal? What does it look like when two monsters fall in love? You'll have to read the book to find out...

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Whoof, lots of things. Here's a quick rundown of a few of them:
- Mentors are crucial. I once heard "mentor" defined as not just people you know, but anyone who is doing this publishing thing right who you can learn from. I have a few great ones, and they're really helping me up my game...even if they'll never know it.
- Control your own audience. Social media ads and Amazon algorithms are great, but you shouldn't be relying on them to reach readers and make sales- at least, not indefinitely. Those are things you as a writer/businessperson have no control over, so if those algorithms suddenly change, you'll be sh*t out of luck.
- Writing is solitary, but it doesn't have to be lonely. Writer friends are the greatest, particularly when you're in the valley of your WIP and need someone to remind you you're not a hack.
- Never stop educating yourself. The Indie Revolution is not over, not by a long shot, and the terrain is still in constant flux. Keep your finger on the pulse of the community, train yourself to see trends and acclimate to change, or risk being left behind.

Is there anything you would do differently?
You know, I don't think I would. Have I made decisions that set me back? Yes. But those setbacks occurred at a time when, frankly, I wasn't prepared for success.
Indie publishing is a business, and like any business, you need certain frameworks in place if you're going to be sustainable. It was only over the past 6-8 months that I really started figuring out what those frameworks were for myself. Those discoveries happened because of everything I've learned on this journey. It's all been worth it.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
I am heavily influenced by television and movies. I think that's pretty normal, considering those are arguably the most powerful storytelling mediums in our modern world. I love rewatching my favorite movies over and over, picking out what worked, what didn't, and why.
My writing tends to be very visual, and several readers have said they could easily see the Shades Below series being a TV show or movie. That ain't no accident, folks! While I don't expect it to happen anytime soon, I'm always delighted when someone makes that comment, because it means what I'm doing is working.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
HAVE FUN. I lost that for a while last year, due to outside circumstances and plain old burnout, and let me tell you, there is nothing harder than planting your butt in your chair when there is literally ANYWHERE ELSE you would rather be. If you need to, give yourself permission to fall back, regroup, and remember why you decided to do this in the first place.
For me, it was remembering that I've always loved stories, that I have a unique way of seeing the world, and that as a human on Planet Earth, it's my duty to share my truth in a way that benefits others and leaves something of value behind.
I know, sounds a little grandiose, but there it is.

What are three words that describe you?
Weird. Ambitious. Hippie.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
My favorite book is still, and will always be, Redwall by Brian Jacques. It's the first book I can remember my mom reading to me when I was a kid. I even named my son after the main character: Matthias, the warrior mouse.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Sometimes, your life begins the day you die...
Asher Evans is a man haunted by history. Turned vampire in the concentration camp that claimed his family, he has never recovered from the loss of his humanity. Removed from the mundane world and resigned to facing eternity alone, he's completely unprepared when the unthinkable happens: he meets a girl.
As the youngest daughter of San Francisco's most prestigious psychic family, Grace Alan has always known about the things that go bump in the night. Born with a terrible condition that isolates her from everyone she loves, Grace has spent her entire life trying to be normal. Finally, things seem to be looking up. There's only one problem.
She's just been murdered.
When Asher stumbles upon a dying Grace, he knows he should leave her to her fate. But in a world that looks at him and sees only a monster, Grace reminds him what it feels like to be human. He can't bring himself to let her die.
Unfortunately, rescuing her has consequences. Female vampires have been illegal for centuries. In saving Grace, Asher may have condemned them both.

List of previous books if any
A World Apart (Shades Below, #1)
Season Of The Witch (Shades Below, #1.5)
The Devil's Disease (Shades Below, #2)
Ptolemy's Tablet (Shades Below Shorts, #1)
All That Glitters
What The Body Needs

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
There are a few! Here's where you can usually find me skulking:
https://www.facebook.com/ljk.oliva
And if you're interested on staying updated about my work, as well as receiving exclusive Shades Below bonus content, you can sign up for my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/xRJuD






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