INTERVIEW WITH THE WRITER
What inspires you?
While reading should be fun, good messages should be sent. Writers, whether fiction or non-fiction, have a unique power to influence not only pop culture, but what society deems acceptable and ideal. I've taken a long, hard look at the world around me and have observed some harmful trends. These trends have inspired me, but not to promote them. Instead I am trying to do my part to change them by writing books with women who are strong and take control of their lives.
How do you come up with descriptions of your characters?
This one wasn't so easy. For Juliette, I decided to have her be so pale to emphasize her lack of power in the beginning. Her slight build comes into play in the second book. Tristan is loosely based on my own ideal man. The rest of the characters are just a mishmash of people I found doing a google search to dream-cast my novel. Most authors have probably done this at some point.
As far as their personalities, I wanted a diverse cast. Among the main players, one couple is interracial and married, one is gay, one is fairly promiscuous, and one is content being single with no desire to meet anyone. I didn't want a homogenous group.
How long did you research for your novels?
Tricky question. I could say a month for the first one, and a couple months for the second. But this doesn't capture the time. I don't think a single day went by without at least a few hours of research. My day job was put on hold so I could stay up all night. Everything from the wine eaten with their dinner in Ojai to the road conditions were researched.
The Sacred trilogy opens in spring 2009. From there, every day and every activity has been calendared out. Each day, each location, is as correct to life as possible. In the second book, the accident Juliette passed on the Grapevine was a real accident. The hotels are real, and the descriptions of the rooms are based on online photos. The same goes with the restaurants, and even the small grocery store in Canada.
As far as the history of the characters goes, those are absolutely real events. There was an earthquake in Chamonix, France, in 1817 that killed four people. It's obscure, true, and the reason Tristan is from that exact location. The event that resulted in Emma's change still happened in her time. I can't give many more examples without giving away plot points. But as you read, you can be assured that. aside from people turning into vampires, the events could have, or did, happen.
How did you research?
Some of it was online. For a few things, I asked friends who knew more in certain areas, or areas that were subject to opinion. When I had doubt, I'd call up hotels to find out their policies on large groups dropping in, or to find out if a menu changed regularly.
Why did you go so in depth?
I am aware that few people, if any, would realize or even care if a classroom was made up entirely in my head, or if there is no veterinary clinic where Libby took her dog. But if I am going to hope that people will eventually pay to own copies of my work, then I owe it to them to make the non-paranormal elements as accurate as possible. Over time venues will close and new ones will open. That's okay. This trilogy is set in a definite time period, and as of the time it's set, those based on real locations are correct.
Are there any settings that are completely made up?
Yes. The private residences are complete fiction. I gave then general locations, but I didn't want to risk people flocking to see the private places in these books. I'm sure that five-star hotels would welcome visitors, especially those willing to pay five figures per night, but most residents of private dwellings would not appreciate random people traipsing through the yard trying to imagine Juliette's escape.
I considered basing the chateau in Chamonix, France, on a real one. Many of them are used as rentals. But I didn't want one that had been entirely modernized, nor could I find one with the elements I needed. So that is based, on the exterior, on several chateaux throughout Europe.
Why was so much music used throughout the Sacred trilogy?
No matter where someone is from, most people can tell the emotion behind a song. Listen to the tracks as they're mentioned and you'll be transported to the moment with them. The music choices also reflect Tristan's high-class European childhood and Juliette's desire for both love and to be taken away from her earlier situation.
Why didn't you let the man save the day?
Early on, Juliette believed that she had no power to control the direction of her own life. Abused women often don't feel they have any. By the end, the tables had turned, she had complete domination, and we're cheering for her for her newly-realized strength. Having someone else save her would have taken her most empowering moment from her.
Rest assured, there will be times that Tristan saves her too. They are partners, not the controller and the controlled. Their relationship is a lot more equal.
What do you enjoy in your off time?
Art! Drawing, sewing, poetry, making jewelry, you name it. One of my favorite places is the Portland Art Museum, of which I am a member. I also enjoy reading. From children's books to the classics, I will read anything and everything that piques my interest. I also take ballet and sing. My ballet background helped with the second book. Juliette's love of singing inspired me to take it back up.
I've also got a great group of friends. Most of our activities center around one of the above. We are an artistic bunch, and I'm lucky to have them.