Shivers and Sighs Week: Interview: Dianne Duvall

Paranormal romance writer Dianne Duvall is the author of the Immortal Guardians series. She’s come to talk romance. And vampires!

IFP: Hi, welcome to Innsmouth!

Thank you for having me! It’s great to be here!

IFP: Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what the Immortal Guardians series is all about?

I’m a paranormal romance author and a longtime lover of romance novels, particularly those with a paranormal bent. My series – Immortal Guardians – takes a new approach to the increasingly popular vampire romance genre. In this series, vampires are not the heroes. They are the villains…and somewhat tragic ones, at that, though it’s difficult to feel sorry for them, considering their vile actions. Neither immortals nor the vampires who war with them are undead. The vampiric traits they possess are the result of a rare symbiotic virus. But immortals differed genetically from humans even before their transformation/infection. Exceedingly powerful warriors, the Immortal Guardians will take readers with them on their journey as they endeavor to discover the truth behind their existence, encounter new preternatural beings and face increasingly complex challenges spawned by an escalating number of formidable foes.

IFP: Darkness Dawns, your first novel in the Immortal Guardians series, won several awards. Is this how it came to the attention of the folks at Zebra Imprint?

I’m not sure how great a role the awards Darkness Dawns won played in sparking my editor’s interest. She wasn’t a judge in the contests I entered. But I did mention the awards in a query letter I sent her that included a link to my website, on which I posted judges’ comments and praise. Having read many Zebra romances over the years, I was thrilled when she responded with a request, not for a partial, but for the full manuscript, then offered me a contract.

IFP: What is the hardest part about writing a series?

I’ve found the hardest part to be deciding how much information from previous novels to include in those that follow. I want each book to be a stand-alone novel, so any readers who begin the series in the middle won’t be lost or frustrated by a lack of explanations. But I also don’t want to include too many spoilers. It’s a delicate balance.

IFP: Have you always been interested in paranormal romances?

Absolutely. Paranormal romance combines my two favourite fiction genres: romance and horror. It expertly weaves all of the action-adventure and chilling moments one might find in a horror novel together with the love and happily-ever-after that is essential in romance. I began reading paranormal romances when they were very few and far between and am delighted that they’ve gained in popularity so much.

IFP: We are here for Valentine’s Day. So, let’s talk about love. What makes a good romantic lead?

Strength, intelligence, honor, and courage are the traits that immediately come to mind when I think of the perfect leading man. All brawn and no brain, as they say, just doesn’t work for me. The incredible power many paranormal heroes possess must be accompanied by wit and reason, and can actually be strengthened by hidden vulnerabilities the heroine may discover within him, vulnerabilities he himself might consider weaknesses. The same holds true for the perfect leading woman. And, while physical beauty is a common trait of romantic leads, both the hero and heroine should be eager to look beyond it to the person that lies beneath, wanting passion and companionship and actively seeking each other’s happiness.

IFP: Favourite romantic heroes? Any genre. Spill the beans.

There are so many I don’t know that I can narrow it down. In general, I tend to be drawn more to “tortured” heroes. These heroes tend to undergo such vivid character growth as they struggle to put the past behind them and move forward with the heroine. Since we’ve been discussing paranormal romance, I’ll give as examples: Jacques in Christine Feehan’s Dark series, Zarec in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series and Zsadist in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

IFP: The popularity of paranormal romances has soared in recent years. Why do you think readers enjoy this sub-genre so much?

I think readers are drawn to paranormal romances for the same reason moviegoers are drawn to horror flicks. They’re full of action and place the hero and heroine in tenuous, white-knuckle situations that seem impossible to escape and keep readers turning pages long past their bedtimes. They provide an escape from stress by drawing readers into a world that doesn’t exist outside of the book’s pages and never has. And in a society in which much of the media mocks monogamy and seems to encourage infidelity, paranormal romances furnish readers with couples who fall deeply in love, are willing to sacrifice anything for each other (even their own lives if necessary), and are eager to spend, not years, but centuries or millennia together.

IFP: What is your dream project?

When I’m not writing, I work in the independent film industry (casting coordinator, special effects make-up artist, script supervisor, film editor). So, my dream project would be Darkness Dawns being optioned for film, then my being asked to actively participate in all three stages of production.

IFP: What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on the third book in the Immortal Guardians series and thinking ahead to the fourth. I’m also already looking forward to the release of the second book in the series, which is scheduled for December 2011.

IFP: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

I hope you enjoy Darkness Dawns and the Immortal Guardians series. If you’d like to contact me or learn more about the series, upcoming releases, contests, and more, I invite you to visit my website, my blog The Immortal Realm, or find me on Facebook.

Bio: Dianne Duvall earned a BA in English from the University of St. Thomas and has won multiple awards as a romance writer. Her debut paranormal romance novel Darkness Dawns was awarded 4 1/2 stars by RT Book Reviews, received a 5-star review, and was declared a Top Pick by The Romance Reviews, and received 5-star reviews from Bitten by Paranormal Romance, Reading Between the Wines and Paranormal Romance Addict. It also won first place in the Romance Writers of America Indiana Golden Opportunity contest, then was chosen as Best of the Best. It is the first book in her Immortal Guardians series.

When she isn’t writing, Dianne is very active in the independent film industry and once even appeared onscreen as a machete-wielding maniac, not unlike the vampires she so loves to create in her novels.

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IFPShivers and Sighs Week: Interview: Dianne Duvall