Fresh from college and with no real work experience, Victoria Westernly considers herself lucky to land the coveted position of personal assistant to Darien Ritter, the CEO and owner of a multibillion-dollar company. His busy schedule and eccentric ways are enough to keep her on her toes. But, all is not what it seems when she discovers the handsome man employing her just happens to be the most powerful vampire in the area.
This book is fantastic. The characters behave realistically. The writing is entertaining. The story will draw you in so that you might look up and realize it's 2 AM and you still can't put the book down.
Julie is going to be one of the future's favorite authors, and I'm her biggest fan. - Goodreads
When Vicky becomes the target of a serial arsonist plaguing the city, Darien calls on the supernatural community to help. Pulling the creatures of the night together to cooperate on any project is troublesome at the best of times. The fact that the one responsible for the city’s woes is a being of fire and magic leads the reluctant groups to a truce that makes Vicky start to think that her job might be a bit more than one normal human can handle.
Thank you, Mrs. Julie Wetzel
What do you think about the changes of the vampires’ image in our day literature and how your vampires are?
To be brutally honest, I’m kind of disappointed in the way vampires have been portrayed in literature in the last few years. In some cases they’ve been watered down to laughable proportions, but I don’t want to go into details about what I dislike. It would be rude to tear into someone else’s world and point out where their imagination went wrong. It’s their world and they have the right to portray their mythical beings as they chose.
For me, I like old school vampire fiction. Ones that have a strong main lead. Maybe someone that’s a bit dark and brooding. Someone that understands that they are a blood thirsty monster and has accepted that fact. It’s ok if they don’t like it, truthfully, it makes the character more real if they dislike their need to feed off others. But if they get too self-loathing, it kills the whole enjoyment of the book. And it doesn’t matter if the vampire is tall, dark, and handsome, or if they are true monsters. A good vampire will carry the story along. I loved both Dracula and the Vampire Hunter D. Two very different portrayals of vampires, but both are strong stories.
Most of my vampires fall into the traditional group. They’ve learned to live as vampires and that suits them fine. Some of them even enjoy it. The acceptation to their rule is Darien Ritter. He would best be described as a vampire in denial. After a tragic accident, Darien shunned his life as a vampire and buried himself in the human world. He still has to play by the rules that govern his kind, but he limits himself to feeding mainly on drawn blood and not using the awesome power he’s gotten over the nine hundred years he’s lived. He plays the part of an eccentric, billionaire businessman very well. That is until Victoria Westernly comes in and turns his world upside down. But love does tend to mess people up.
I really didn’t think about the implications of writing in a worn out subject. My sister asked for a vampire story, so I wrote vampires.
The one thing I did work hard to do was keep the reactions the characters have as real to life as possible. A lot of romance stories, vampire or not, have that insta-love thing going on and that isn’t how life usually works. I’ve caught some flak over the pace that Darien and Vicky’s relationship moves, but I think it’s one of the things that draw people in. The building up of tension between the two as Vicky discovers vampires and her world view slowly comes apart. Of course, Darien is there to catch her, most of the time.
And that’s another thing I think helps keep people interested. The main characters are flawed. They make mistakes just the same way you and I do. That makes them more relatable and enjoyable to read about. If Darien was perfect and had an answer to everything, he would get stuffy. It would also mean that Vicky would have to be the weak one. Vicky is anything but weak.
Is it important and are any advantages or disadvantages for a writer to read other writers’ works of the same genre he/she writes?
It is important to read other writers’ work. It gives you perspective on what is going on in your genre. I love curling up with a good vampire or paranormal novel. Seeing how their worlds fit together. I also love reading the novels that make the top rating to see what the public likes about the genre. I don’t really let it influence what I’m writing, but it’s fun to see how close my mark has come.
I would say the biggest disadvantage of reading other people’s work while you’re writing is losing your own sense of voice. If you get entrenched in a series, you may pick up some of that author’s flare, and over time, that point will show in your final story. After finishing a good book, I usually go back and reread what I’ve written to make sure I stay true to my own form.
What aspects did you consider when you created Victoria’s characters? How is she?
Victoria Westernly. I’m not exactly sure how I came up with her. I needed a character that could stand up against Darien, a girl that was down to earth and could hold her own against anything a vampire could throw at her. As this was my first time building a character, I stuck myself in her shoes to start with. Vicky and I share a lot of the same reactions, but after the first few encounters with Darien, she grew her own personality. As the book went on, she started to take on a life of her own. I can still see myself in her if I look closely, but it’s more like a mother can see herself in her children.
Vicky is strong, level headed, and resourceful. She has the ability to take things in stride and move on. If she got hung up on every little thing, she wouldn’t last in her ever changing world. Her greatest asset is her ability to deal with Darien’s slightly insane nature. She balances out his faults and brings life back to the monotony of his existence.
Another great, yet hard question to answer. Romance novels, paranormal or otherwise, need to have two excellent characters to follow. If you can’t relate to the characters, the reader is immediately lost. It helps if one has a bit of a mysterious side to draw the reader to them. Their partner has to have enough backbone to stand up to them.
The main characters need to balance each other out. If you have one really strong and one really weak, the story gets to be tripe and you’ll lose your reader. They need to play off each other. Some kind of conflict can raise the tensions, but if you get to much misunderstanding, getting the characters back together feels unreal. If you go with angst to drive the story, you need to be careful to tread that line lightly, too much self-loathing leaves the reader wanting to smack the leads around.
There are several things that will make me drop a romance novel. I don’t mind overbearing men, but when they run their leading ladies into the ground and walk all over them, and the girl lets them, begging for more. No, I can’t stand that. Also, a woman that has held on to her virtues for all her life suddenly decided to give them up for the first hot, bad boy that walks her way. Oh, and she doesn’t bother to tell him until he’s tearing through her maidenhood. Yeah, no. You need to talk to your partners before you jump between the sheets. And last, insta-love. I understand that in paranormal romance novels you will often run into that mate thing and have an instant bond, but I hate when an author skips over the whole getting to know each other part and jumps straight into ‘I give you my sole for the rest of forever’. Give me a little realism in my books. I like romance in my romance novels, spend some time wooing the girl before you get down to the nitty gritty stuff.
Otherwise, all is fair in love and novels.
About the author:
Now a mother of a hyperactive red headed boy, what time she’s not chasing down dirty socks and unsticking toys from the ceiling is spent crafting worlds readers can get lost it. Julie is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and lover of big words. She likes hiking, frogs, interesting earrings, and a plethora of other fun things.
Julie Wetzel is the author of Kindling Flames, Book 1 in The Ancient Fire Series. Kindling Flames is scheduled to release through Crimson Tree Publishing in the Fall of 2014.