Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interview and Giveaway: Werewolves of the West series by Carol Van Atta


Chloe Carpenter isn't like other women. She can communicate with animals. A gift she unwrapped following one of her frequent dances with death.

In her otherwise wacky life, she's finally found a semblance of sanity working at the Plum Beach Wildlife Park, where her unique talents can make life or death differences for the animals in her care. That semblance is shattered when a new veterinarian roars into the park in his spiffed up sports car and sets his golden gaze on her. If she had her way, he'd roar right back out. 

Problem: He's her new coworker and he's saved her life twice - in the past twenty-four hours. 

Zane Marshall, Enforcer for the Pacific Pack of purebred werewolves, has a job to do - figure out who or what is mutilating the young men of Plum Beach. 

With orders to find the woman who talks to animals, he accepts a position working alongside the fiery Chloe Carpenter, a female who ignites his interest far more than he ever expected. Remarkably, she's the one elusive female with potential to bring meaning and passion to his empty existence. 

Problem: She despises him. 

Together, they're forced to unravel a mystery of supernatural proportions, a murderous mystery with eternal implications for everyone. In the process, they discover opposites really do attract. 

Major Problem: Zane is pledged to another woman, and she'll do anything to keep him from Chloe.

Best selling author Melanie Larson’s relationship with her friend, Chloe Carpenter, is bleak. Falsely accused of murder, Chloe’s future rests in the hands of her mate, Zane Marshall, and the Pacific Pack’s purebred werewolves. In an effort to help, Melanie joins forces with the pack and soon discovers the monsters she writes about in her paranormal novels really do go bump in the night. 

As Chloe struggles with legal troubles, an unwanted blood bond with a master vampire, and a reunion with her mate, Melanie untangles the attention of multiple supernatural suitors determined to claim her as their own. Strangely attracted to a brazen vampire, she must decide if the blurred line between passion and pain is worth crossing. 

Werewolves, vampires, and fae royalty race to unearth an ancient artifact with the power to extend their existence. Can Chloe and Melanie restore their friendship in time to stop magical mayhem from ruining everything they’ve worked so hard to redeem?

Thank you, Mrs.Carol Van Atta
There are so many approaches/views of vampires and werewolves! What is yours?
You are absolutely correct! There just happens to be a ton of conflicting theories floating through books, movies, and historic myths when it comes to these two, often-at-odds (more like throats), species. 

Right away, readers of the Werewolves of the West series will discover my werewolf/vampire relations are not so black and white or us against them, a fact that might make some diehard, old school Vampire vs. Werewolf fans squeamish. Still, for the most part, vampires and werewolves are not bosom buddies, but they are not sworn enemies either. It’s far more complex. The two can indeed be friends, and are frequently required to work together to face common challenges or defeat mutual adversaries. My werewolves are not immortal like vampires and faeries, but they are stronger, faster, and way sexier than their human counterparts, and, each ‘wolf’ has varying degrees of magical skills at their disposal. They typically have the same life span as us (human beings). I’m assuming I have only human readers! 

In addition, my werewolves can take three unique forms. First, they can appear human; secondly, they can take on the appearance of a majestic, oversized wolf; and then there is the more ‘mutant’ inspired form. This is the man-beast that walks on two legs and looks like a wolf-man with its long muzzle, fang-filled mouth (slobber and spit flying) and huge paw/hands with claws. Scary! If you’ve seen the Underworld movies, that’s what I envision. There are also mutants. Mutant werewolves were bitten, not birthed, as were their purebred superiors. Their exteriors are limited to that of a human or they can shift into a scary feral ‘mutant’ form. Purebreds and mutants have become mortal enemies over the years. I Kissed a Dog offers additional back-story on their differences and history.

And where did werewolves and vampires come from initially, you ask? Well, that’s easy! They are the descendents of fallen angels having sexy time with human women; becoming the evolved Nephilim of old. 

I bet you wish you hadn’t asked the original question! Can you tell I get just a tad excited about the topic? I’ll stop. After all, there is more to discover in the books. 

You said: “I started my career writing Christian fiction, spiritual suspense and spiritual warfare stories” – how far is from them the paranormal romance genre and what made you to change the „course”? 
Another great and thought provoking question. Nothing canned about your queries and hopefully my answers.

I think I need to start off by clarifying that I continue to write Christian/Inspirational fiction, and, at some point, will have a nonfiction title released. My first book, Slaying the Shadows, was published by a smaller independent publisher back in 2003. I’d also completed and sold numerous magazine articles for the inspirational market, and was an author-contributor to several popular devotional anthologies. My primary mission has been to inspire, motivate, and be an example of change. I wanted to reflect that in my written work. However, unlike some readers/writers, I enjoy a wide (and I mean wide!) range of books, especially ones with paranormal or supernatural twists and turns, which led me to write a mainstream paranormal fantasy with romance. My Werewolves of the West series was intended for entertainment purposes, created to read, enjoy, and escape into. It is not particularly ‘soul’ searching material, whereas my Soul Defenders series clearly has a spiritual theme or message. 

Looking back, I should have probably used a pseudonym to avoid confusion as some readers are not quite as open about transitioning between different genres; though many, like me (and maybe you), are. For the more diverse audience the shift between the two genres is fairly seamless. 

In all my books readers will find:

1. Heart pumping action. 
2. Mystery and suspense. 
3. Good vs. Evil (with gray areas too!)
4. Love and blossoming romance in the midst of crisis situations. 
5. A major “Who dunnit factor.”
6. Plenty of twists, turns, and subplots with secondary characters. 

I hope this answered your question!

You write about "Good vs. Evil. Angels and Demons.” There is in your books a clean separation between them or lot of shadows? Are the shadows relevant for the plot?
Where do you come up with these awesome questions? I am so impressed! Really. I am. Blog Readers, I hope you’re as awed by your host as I am. Okay, I’ll stop my inner-applauding and answer the question. 

The answer is yes and yes. Yes there is a sparation between good and evil, and, yes, there are a lot of shadowy areas as well. I don’t want to give too much away, but in my Soul Defender’s series, I have demons that long for Heaven, and one disheartend fiend who is trying to earn his way back by performing good deeds. Does he make it? You’ll just have to read the book to find out! In the Werewolves of the West series, we’re dealing with fallen angels for the most part, and they each have their own agenda, selfish agendas for sure. Shadows are very plot-revelent in my books with several characters. You might find yourself surprised by who is who and what is what. 

There is a big difference between the covers of the series. How important is the cover for a book?
I think a cover is what initially draws a reader to a book. I know I’m always eyeballing the amazing covers I see. The market is so competitive and there are so many fantastic covers beckoning us to read, read, and more importantly, read this book. Your cover is the red carpet welcoming potential readers into the book’s pages. 

My publisher decided to change “the look” of my series for book two, She Kissed a Vampire. What ties book one and two together is the color red. With two very unique covers, we had to find a way to promote them side-by-side as part of the same series. There’s plenty of blood in both stories, so red really works. Maybe down the road the first cover will change. I know the publisher wanted something that stood out from the pack. I believe crimson, blood-stained lips do the trick!

I Kissed a Dog it was your first paranormal romance you wrote. She Kissed a Vampire was published after two years after the first volume of the series. There are many changes in the way you wrote it? How a writer can learn from his own work?
She Kissed a Vampire was supposed to be released much sooner; unfortunately, I had a series of family crisis situations, financial setbacks (lost my day job of six years), health problems, and was dealing with my mom’s horrific decline into the world of dementia. It was one of those years. Needless to say, my priorities shifted. Did I mention I’m a single parent? So … stuff happened making the wait longer than we’d hoped for. I was lucky my publisher was so flexible. 

The good news: Book two is better than book one. At least I think it is! Every book is a new opportunity learn, grow, and hone your skills. A writer should improve with time, not decline. At least that’s what I hope for. I believe book two picked up the pace and became a tighter, well-oiled machine. Less pages, but more action. In addition, I decided to do something different. Rather than one heroine and hero surrounded by secondary characters, I told the story from two equally important points of view, both written in first person. 

Readers are treated to two connected stories running parallel to the other; yet they are intertwined and crisscross back and forth like a fine woven tapestry. We have Melanie (paranormal romance author) and Chloe (the animal mind reading heroine from book one) and their supernatural shenanigans at the heart of the story. They’ve been BFF’s since childhood and have some major issues to resolve, all while trying to stay alive, find love, and save the world from falling into the clutches of an assortment of paranormal players hell bent on the human race’s enslavement. 


Melanie Larson
Back in my motel room, I paced like one of the caged cats down at the Wildlife Park. I was eager for some action, Kellen action, and I understood that my crushing desire wasn’t normal. Ordinary attractions didn’t cause a person to forget all else, even to the point of not worrying about a best friend on the brink of complete ruin. Typical romances didn’t lead to amnesia either. Not that I didn’t remember there was a supernatural world raging around me, but I just didn’t care. Knowing the truth seemed like something I’d always been aware of, not a day-old revelation. In fact, nothing about this attraction to the fae prince was normal.
As the time for our rendezvous drew closer, I could feel him in my mind, caressing my thoughts with an inhuman energy that sent jolts of erotic pleasure through me like an electrical current pulsing through a wire. I was somehow in tune to his presence; the feeling grew stronger as the minutes ticked by. It was as if he was signaling me, preparing me for his arrival. And like any good subject awaiting royalty, I was prepared to roll out the red carpet of my life for him to stroll down, and maybe, if I wasn’t careful, he’d stomp and wipe his muddy boots on it instead.
A teensy part of me warned how dangerous this magnificent male was to my health, and not just my heart health, but my overall wellbeing. His power unleashed would destroy me. Yet I was willing to risk everything to feel his hands on me.
I’d never been boy crazy growing up, or focused on sex as an adult. I’d been with one man, my former jerk of a husband. Our love life had been more than satisfying in the beginning, but as things went bad, so did our time in the bedroom. We stopped sharing a bed altogether, which only served to increase my insecurity. After all, he was finding fulfillment elsewhere. Fulfillment, he made clear in a multitude of ways, I could no longer provide. But now, with Kellen’s attention, I felt like a shy school girl who’d landed the big guy on campus’ attention, times a thousand. I was giddy with feelings and sensations I’d only written about in books, never once believing they could become a reality, especially for someone like me—plain old me.
The sudden sense of a door opening in my mind shocked my thoughts into submission.
You are beautiful, precious, worthy of love. There is no need for you to hide behind your human cosmetics, for your natural shine is what makes my heart beat for you, Melanie Larson.
I gasped as Kellen’s words found a home in my mind, soothing my fears, calming my anxious thoughts. How could I have doubted his intentions for even a moment? I was trying to sabotage an experience that would surely exceed any expectations.
Armed with renewed confidence, I silenced my inner critic and determined that I would enjoy the night, putting all notions of future love and long term relationships aside. This was my one night to be brazen, brave, and to feel beyond beautiful. I intended to embrace every moment. Tomorrow would come soon enough with its harsh realities.

 It always did. 

About the author:
Like most authors, Carol Van Atta is no stranger to the written word. She penned a short novel at age 12 (somewhat frightening illustrations included, and lots of bunnies were involved), and had a creative writing piece published in her high school newspaper (about David Bowie's Diamond Dogs LP). Yes, she's an ex-80's chick. 

Devouring books from numerous genres, Carol developed a deep thirst/hunger for more reading material, and could almost always be found with her nose in a book. 

She has contributed to several popular inspirational anthologies and devotional books, and lives in the rainy wetland of Oregon with a terrifying teen (another in college) and a small zoo of animals. She is taking an undetermined hiatus away from inspirational writing to delve into her darker side. (Though you can check out her latest spiritual suspense novel, Soul Defenders). It is rumored that this genre-jumping occurred after Carol discovered too suspicious red marks on her neck, and experienced an unquenchable urge to howl at the moon.

Author's Giveaway


davesmsperfect said...

Thank you for the giveaway & for sharing your book with us. :)

Christyna_BM said...

I think the first cover is very pretty too. I like the description, it makes me think that there's also a funny part to the writing style. At least I hope there is, but even if there's not, I'd still love to read this series. I LOVE this author! God, she's so nice and sincere. I totally understand all that she's been through. I wish her tons of good luck and awesome new ideas for books!

Unknown said...

Great interview,Mona. I'm not familiar with Carol's work but I've added her books to my TBR list. Can't wait to read them :)

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing.

Carol Van Atta said...

Thank you all so much for commenting and reading my post. This is an amazing site to be featured on. I'm so thankful! I hope you all have the opportunity to enter the world I've created in my Werewolves of the West series. Thank you Mythical Books for hosting a spot on my book tour. You've got a great thing going here. I intend to visit often.

bufnita pufoasa said...

Very interesting interview. I have not yet read a book by Carol Van Atta, but perhaps I will soon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting the description of 'I Kissed a Dog', it got my attention so I checked it on goodreads.
Thank you for the interview!