We’re so pleased to welcome the writing team of Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt to TNA today, on the tour for their new novel, Vespers. Enjoy and be sure to check out the great giveaway at the end.
Welcome, Irene and Liv!
The Accidental Partnership…
First I’d like to thank The Novel Approach for having Irene and me as guests today. We really appreciate the chance to talk about our new release!
Vespers is the first project we’ve worked on together, and honestly, neither of us had ever co-written anything before. We didn’t research “how to do the co-author thing” either, but we didn’t let our lack of experience stop us. We started with a story idea, took a learn-by-doing approach, and I think both of us are pretty darned satisfied with the outcome.
We really started over Facebook messenger. We were chatting one night last summer, and Irene suggested I should write another vampire story. She didn’t have to “suggest” too many times before I was brainstorming a list of plot ideas. But even that list didn’t entirely satisfy her, and after a couple more “suggestions”, I said something like, “sounds like the bee’s in your bonnet. Why don’t YOU write the vampire story, or even better….
…why don’t we write it together?”
My friends, those were the magic words. She took a look at my plot ideas and picked the one she liked best. It was a pretty high-level thing: contemporary retelling of Beauty & the Beast but with two guys and the Beast is a vampire. I’d also had the rough idea that the human hero was a new college grad who scores a job working for the reclusive vampire hero.
And that was it.
Starting with such limited information worked to our advantage because it gave us so much room for brainstorming. Also, I wasn’t completely committed to a bunch of details that might not work, so I didn’t mind when things got cut. I thought we should look for a man’s name that could be mistaken for a woman’s, and Irene thought we should move all the whole shenanigans to New Orleans. We ended up with a hero whose family came from the Punjab region of India, a Garden District address, and a house in the Bayou.
I just loved how Irene took two facts – ‘recent college grad’ and ‘Sarasija Mishra’ – and built a whole character from them. For me, the best part of working as a team was sending off my pages, then stalking my in-box because I was dying to see what she’d come up with next. Irene says she knew by about the third chapter that we were going to publish Vespers, and she also said,
We were discussing co-writing and it just – happened. Then Thad walked onto the page
and you couldn’t have stopped me if you’d tried.
At the start of this post, I said we approached this with a learn-by-doing attitude, and I wasn’t exaggerating. We wrote Vespers by sending pages back and forth, and when one or the other of us would get stuck, we’d have long chats over FB messenger, trying to figure out what happens next.
We even managed to get the thing edited without killing each other, though there were some moments…
We learned (painfully) how to mesh our styles – Irene’s a pantser and I’m…not. Her edits are much more focused than mine. I’m the one screaming “do-over” every time someone points out a scene’s not quite working – because I’ve never met a scene I couldn’t re-write.
In fact, just last night I reworked a scene that was bugging me, only to realize later Irene had built at least two more scenes off the original. So yeah, we’re still climbing up the learning curve.
Overall, though, writing Vespers has been one a grand adventure. We’re almost finished drafting Bonfire, a holiday novella in the same world, and then we’ll move on to book two. We’ve got at least two more novels planned, plus one more novella, so we should be plenty busy over the next few months.
Good thing we like each other.
Thanks again to Lisa and the rest of the TNA peeps for having us as guests. We’ve got a giveaway running until a week after our release, so use the widget below or follow the link to enter. We’re pretty excited about Vespers, and appreciate your help in celebrating our release week!
About the Book
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Series: Hours of the Night: Book One
Length: 295 Pages (Kindle)
Purchase Links: Amazon | ARe | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | More Stores
Blurb: Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.
Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.
Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.
Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.
Sara filled the silence between us with a hard slurp on the straw in his bon rien drink. “Might as well get really, really hammered,” he said under his breath.
I had a sudden longing for a glass of bourbon. We’d drunk beer in the monastery, though I’d had nothing alcoholic since 1925. January twelfth, 1925. The warmth, the relaxation, the release had some appeal. I eased back, stretched my legs, and my eyelids slid shut.
No. I jerked upright and grabbed Sara’s arm. “What do you hear?” I whispered. “What do you sense?”
I never drank bourbon, and I never fell asleep in public.
“What are you talking about?” Sara’s words were crisp despite his befuddled expression.
I half dragged him to standing. “We’re not safe.”
“Well, by all means, let’s get the hell out of Dodge.” He took a staggering step toward the door. “It’s been a good half hour since you said anything truly batshit, anyway. You were due.”
The club was still virtually empty, except for the poor skeleton gyrating on the stage, our two waiter friends, and a bartender.
A bartender who had very dark eyes and a foul odor. Rancid roses. Cheap perfume left too long in the bottle. “Now, Sara. We need to leave now.”
“Be nice if we had a car nearby.”
I dropped his arm before I snapped it off his body. “Please. If you cannot say anything helpful, fermez la bouche.” I stalked off, hoping he had the good sense to keep up. And stopped three strides later. I could not let him die.
“Fairmay lah boosh? Did you just call me a cow?”
The rancid rose scent grew stronger. I had no choice. I scooped him up, stifling his squeal of protest with a hand over his mouth, and dropped into the shadows. Roses. Strong enough to make me dizzy. On my own, I could take two demons. Sara’s vulnerability was my weakness. I lowered him to the ground. “Get your arms around my shoulders.”
“Dude, you’re crazy, you know?” He shifted out of my grasp. “Oh wait. Not crazy. Vampire.”
We had no time left. The demon bartender came out, aimed toward us, and I could sense his partner down the street. I ducked, put my shoulder in Sara’s midsection, and grasped his hips. He flopped over me, hollering a string of curses.
I took off running, knowing the demons would follow. The streets of the French Quarter were narrow and nearly empty of people. Half a block up, I spied an ornate balcony with the French doors open and no lights on in the room beyond. I leapt for it, grasping the wrought iron with my free hand and pulling both of us up.
I thrust Sara into the room. He landed on his butt and immediately crab-walked away from me, his dark eyes huge and his mouth working. I pulled out a small vial of holy water. “Invite me in.”
No time to explain. I pushed more conviction into my words. “Invite me in.”
He opened his mouth. Shut it. “Come in.” I stepped across the threshold, sprinkling holy water behind me. Once I had entered a home, nothing could keep me out. The first time, however, required an overture. After locking the door, I faced my assistant. “Listen to me,” I said, adding as much persuasion as possible without rolling his mind. “The blessing won’t hold them for much longer than the lock on those doors.”
“Julio, is that you?” a young woman called from the room next door.
“Oh man oh man oh man,” Sara muttered to himself. Short of knocking him out, I didn’t know how to make him calm down.
The door opened, silhouetting a young girl in the hall’s light. “Who the hell are you?”
Short and plump, she wore too much makeup and not enough fabric in her dress.
“Our names are irrelevant. Do you have a car?”
“I’m Sara, and this is Mr. Dupont.” Sara found his feet and his voice in the same moment. “We’re so sorry to intrude on you. We’ll be going now. Have a good night.”
“We can’t leave her, Sara.” I raised my hand to stop his protest. A thump behind me said the demons had reached the balcony. If we left the young woman alone, she was as good as dead. “Miss…”
“Rayna, but I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“I apologize for the inconvenience, Miss Rayna. For your own protection, you must accompany us. If you had a car, things would be much more efficient.”
“So you’re, like, carjacking me from my living room.” She grabbed a purse off a nearby bookcase. “And yet somehow I’m going along with it.”
She led us down a narrow hallway with overbright fluorescent fixtures and a squeaking floor that had been in place since the year 1820. We followed her out to an alley, where a tiny Fiat sat under an awning. Soon we were loaded in, easing down the narrow streets. Sara sat in back, continuing his litany of complaints, while I kept a lookout for our pursuers.
“Oh man oh man oh man.”
“Sara.” I leaned over the seat and grasped him by the chin. “I need you to call someone for me.” He stopped muttering only long enough to pull out his phone. I gave him a phone number for the monks. “Tell whoever answers I need a representative at my First Street house, and I’ll need a team to repair whatever damage happens to Miss Rayna’s home.”
“Damage to my home!” She jerked the wheel to the right. I covered her hand with mine, calming her so she could focus on the work of driving.
Sara did as I asked as if I had compelled him, though I had not.
“So, we’re going to stop and get my car, right?” Sara interrupted my murmured directions to our driver.
“I’ll make arrangements for it.”
“What?” He threw himself against the door. “That’s like, the only thing I own, and all my stuff is in it. We have got to go get it right now.”
“Where is it?” Rayna asked. “Maybe we can swing by on the way to—”
“Stop!” I all but cracked the tiny vehicle’s front window with my roar. “We are going to one-two-three-seven First Street. When we get there, there will be men who will assist us in all we need to accomplish. Until then, we will all sit quietly and let Miss Rayna concentrate on her driving.”
The eastern edge of the sky had turned a soft purple, the first sign of the coming dawn. In the privacy of my own mind, I began the chant for Lauds.
Deus in adiutorium meum intende.
Dominum, ad adjuvandum me festina.
About the Authors
About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.
Prize pack includes $25 Gift Card to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or AllRomanceEbooks.com plus seven free books from top LGBT paranormal romance authors (Alexis Hall, Claire Cray, Jax Garren, Jordan Castillo Price, Kelly Jensen, Santino Hassell, Tal Bauer)
The giveaway will open be thru 09/24/2016