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Hello, my name is Valorie. I have a Master's Degree in History and a license to teach-- I have been both university professor and public school teacher. Currently, I am a middle school social studies teacher. I love horror movies and spooky things. Every day is Halloween. I am also a passionate book blogger.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blog Tour & Author Interview: Dark Hunger (Demonborn, #2) by Rita Herron

About Rita Herron

Rita Herron is an award-winning author of more than 30 romantic suspense novels for Harlequin and Dorchester. In 2007 alone, she was nominated for two Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, including a Career Achievement Award. Five fun facts about Rita Herron: 1. I set Dark Hunger in three of my favorite cites, Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans because they’re all haunted and possess an eerie atmosphere -- perfect places for the Death Angel. The B & B with the outdoor garden where Annabelle stays in Savannah is fashioned after a B & B where my husband and I stayed. And Shayla Larue is modeled after a voodoo priestess I met at the RWA conference in New Orleans. 2. Emily Nelson, the social worker in the book, is named after my daughter who’s a dedicated social worker in real life. 3. The idea of the Death Angel taking a vulture’s form came from a brainstorming session with two author friends at a writer’s retreat near Charleston. I’d been flirting with other forms but, when the vulture idea came up, I knew it was perfect--creepy and symbolic of bad luck, evil and death. 4. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds inspired me as I was writing Dark Hunger. I also envisioned David Gray’s song “One With the Birds” as the soundtrack for the movie. 5. When I was a child, I knew a preacher who inspired me to create Reverend Narius. He was a hellfire and damnation type who yelled and stalked up and down the aisles during his sermon. It was as if he was singling you out to let you know you were going to hell. I was terrified of him! For more information about Rita Herron, visit her official webpage.

About Dark Hunger

Reporter Annabelle Armstrong will go to any lengths to deliver a story, even track down Quinton Valtrez, a man she believes is a coldhearted assassin. Yet the truth about the darkly sensual Quinton is even more shocking...and the overwhelming desire he ignites is one she vows to resist. Quinton has fought his demonic powers since he was a child. Now using his gifts for the good of national security, he can't let himself be distracted by the beautiful, determined Annabelle. But his need for her is sudden, fierce--and could soon cost Annabelle her life. For a wicked enemy is out for vengeance, a demon who wants to draw Quinton into a life of pure evil and is willing to use Annabelle as bait. To save her, Quinton must achieve the near impossible: tame the sinister force that is both his inheritance and his curse before it claims him forever. 

Enjoy the book trailer:
For more information, visit The Demonborn website. Watch out for my review next!

Interview With Rita Herron

Q: What do you think draws readers to the paranormal? What is the appeal?
A: I think readers are drawn to the paranormal because it presents a mystery and delves into the unknown. How many of us haven’t wondered if there is more to life than our life on earth? If there is truth to reincarnation? If ghosts exist? If there are extra terrestrial creatures out in space?
Also, the dark sexy vampire represents the alpha male to the upteenth degree. He’s sexy, mysterious, tortured, and exudes masculinity and sexual prowess. 
The paranormal also offers new, different and creative story lines. Even if we don’t believe in fairies, vampires, werewolves, witches, etc., it’s just plain fun to visit a world of make-believe where virtually anything is possible. 

Q: Why do you choose to write your characters the way they are rather than make them average every day people?
A: Hmm, this sounds like a trick question. I do write some every day normal people, LOL. In fact, I chose to plant my demon characters into the real world because I think it’s actually more frightening to think that these evil creatures might exist among real people in a real town.
That said, I’m writing fiction, so writing “larger than life”, unique characters is much more interesting to write -- and read -- about than the average person. After all, most of us lead fairly normal, lives, and on a daily basis, fairly boring lives. That’s not bad, it’s just not the stuff that holds the reader’s attention! A: For fiction, we want drama, action, comedy, stories to make us escape, to entertain and take us out of our real world, stories to make us think: what if I was in that situation? What would I do? 

Q: What do you do to prepare to write? What is the process that gets you ready to sit down a lay out a story? 
A: Physically writing and laying out a story are two different processes for me, just as revising and editing are. To physically sit down and write, I set daily goals (page count) and try to stick to it. But at that point, I have a synopsis and an idea where my story is going. In the beginning, I write slower because I’m setting things up, working out plot points, getting to know my characters. Midway, I seem to hit my stride and write much faster because I’m mentally into the story, seeing the scenes in my head, and can’t wait to get to the end. 
As far as laying out the story, that’s a different tune. I spend a lot of time “thinking” about the story ahead of time, letting the plot percolate, asking myself “what ifs”, making notes on characters, scenes, twists and turns, suspects, and doing some research (although I’m not a research junkie. I research on a need to know basis.) I also have to spend time thinking about the setting, what place will most enhance and help drive the plot and add to the story. I’m not exactly organized, but have a yellow legal pad (I love the sight of a new blank pad of paper!). On the pad, I make notes, draw lines to indicate plot points, etc. 
I really love this creative part of writing -- there are so many possibilities, it’s like working a puzzle to see how to fit the pieces together. 

Q: How much of yourself do you put in your characters? Are they extensions of you, or are they independent creations that take on a life of their own after coming from your imagination?
A: Most of my characters are composites -- not in looks necessarily, but I do draw character traits, mannerisms, speech patterns, values, strengths, flaws, likes and dislikes, job choices, etc. from various people I’ve met or known. As far as putting myself into the character, sometimes certain characters reflect my values or views on life, even represent questions and issues that I might have. Mostly though, the characters are born from my imagination, and I actually have fun getting into their heads. It’s interesting to stop and put yourself into the mind of someone who might not think like you. A: And with every main character I write, I try to put some “heart” into the character. That doesn’t mean that character can’t be evil; it just means I try to portray how he or she might actually think and feel. And even though the characters may not be your average Joe, I try to give them conflicts and problems which the reader or average person can relate to.

Q: What is the most valuable piece of knowledge that you’ve picked up after becoming a published author that you wish you knew from the start?
A: I wish I’d known how important marketing was to both selling a book to a publisher and to selling it in a bookstore. I came from an education background, and had to learn the business side of writing fast. Unfortunately it’s not always about the best book; sometimes marketing or lack of can make or break a deal or a book’s success. 
Then again, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know all this -- I might have given up! 

Q: What is one thing you’ve never done but would love to do?
A: I’ve never traveled extensively and would love to visit Sweden, Italy, Japan, Australia, Argentina...the list is endless. 

Q: Say your books were being made into a movie or TV show, who would you want to play them?
A: I’d love to see the Demonborn made into a series or movie. I picture Alex O’Loughlin (from Moonlighting) as one of the brothers. Other male actors who would be great in the roles: Clive Owen, Bailey Chase, Eric Bana, Brad Pitt, Dylan McDermont...
I also have imagined David Grey’s song “One With the Birds” playing during the opening scenes. 

Q: What have you always wanted to write about but have yet to? Any particular setting? Creature? Historical era?
A: Having grown up in the South, I’ve always wanted to write a southern women’s fiction novel, and have actually started one book already and have some other ideas. Maybe some day... 

Q: What would your ‘theme’ song be on the soundtrack of your life?
Everyone has obstacles to overcome, and I had those in my personal life growing up and definitely in my career. So far, I’ve survived, and love the positive attitude that song exudes.

Q: Finally, could you share with all of us a quote that you love?
A: Hmm, this is not from a famous person but someone who is famous and special to me: my mother. She always said, “Can’t Never Did Anything.” 
That’s my favorite quote of all time and the motto I try to live by. So never say never or that you can’t do something. If you try, you’re a success.

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