I want to welcome Margo Bond Collins. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Hi! I am the author of the new urban fantasy book, Sanguinary. I also write contemporary romance and paranormal mysteries. In my day job, I'm a college English professor and I teach online, though writing fiction is my first love. I live in Texas with my husband, our daughter, and several ridiculous cats.
Tell us about your latest release.
In Sanguinary, there are only fifty years left before vampires rule the world.
When Dallas police detective Cami Davis joined the city's vampire unit, she planned to use the job as a stepping-stone to a better position in the department.
But she didn't know then what she knows now: there's a silent war raging between humans and vampires, and the vampires are winning.
So with the help of a disaffected vampire and an ex-cop addict, Cami is going undercover, determined to solve a series of recent murders, discover a way to overthrow the local Sanguinary government, and, in the process, help win the war for the human race.
But can she maintain her own humanity in the process? Or will Cami find herself, along with the rest of the world, pulled under a darkness she cannot oppose?
You can order copies here:
Also available in paperback.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Grendel's mother in Beowulf—she's so horrible that she doesn't even get her own name, and she is so protective of her son that she goes out to avenge his death by being even more horribly violent than he was, thereby both participating in and violating the rules of what was a very masculine warrior culture. She's hideous, and I adore her.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
That's a difficult question! I like all my characters in different ways—even the villains in my books are real to me, and because I understand them, I love them just a little bit. In Sanguinary, I adore Reese, the sarcastic cowboy-turned-vampire, for his heart and wit. And Cami, the detective and narrator, is analytical and professional, but she's moving through a world she doesn't really understand, and she's often at a loss, as I think most of us have been at one point or another.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
Urban fantasy, romance, and mystery. I've always been drawn to the supernatural and paranormal in my own reading. As a literature professor, I love to teach the old tales of the supernatural: The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Dracula. When reading for pleasure, I prefer fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance. So I guess it was inevitable that I would end up writing supernatural characters.
4.)What are you working on now?
This is the year of the sequel for me! I'm writing the second Night Shift novel (a sequel to Sanguinary), as well as sequels to several other books (Waking Up Dead, Legally Undead, and Fairy, Texas). I'm also writing a couple of novellas for anthologies. This week in particular, I'm working on the second Hometown Heroes contemporary romance novel, the sequel to Taming the Country Star.
5.) What got you to start writing?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making up stories. The first story I remember actually writing down was basically fan-fiction of The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it in long-hand in a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing ever since. But about ten years ago, a friend suggested I join in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Until then, I had always written short stories. That year, I finished the first draft of what would eventually become Legally Undead—it was my third published novel, but it’s the first one I wrote.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Most of my ideas come to me almost in passing, when I see something that catches my attention. In the case of Sanguinary, it was a color. My husband and I have season tickets to the Dallas Opera, and the interior walls of the Winspear Opera House—the ones that separate the lobby from the theater itself—are a gorgeous dark red. As we were walking out one night, I glanced back and saw that the tint of the outer glass walls turned the inner walls to a blood-red. At the same time, I saw a woman in a dark red dress of the same color. And of course that led to thoughts of vampires and murder (doesn't that happen with everyone?! Or is it just sicko writers?)—and the story spun out from there.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
That I am terribly shy in person—at least at first. (Readers would probably be less surprised to discover how snarky I am inside my own head.)
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I can recite all the monarchs of England in order . . . (not all that exciting, I know, but it's what I've got).
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
The very best advice I ever got was just this: keep writing new things. Always have a work in progress. Finish writing a piece, do a quick edit, and submit it somewhere for publication. Then move on to the next project. Don’t wait to hear back—that way lies madness! If it’s rejected (and often it will be; that’s the nature of writing for publication), don’t let it get you down. Just send it out again and go back to your work in progress.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
Aphra Behn (d. 1688) was the first woman to make a living writing in English. She was also an actress and a spy for the King Charles II. Virginia Woolf once said that every woman writer should leave a flower on Behn's grave (and sentimentalist that I am, I've done just that). I would love to tell Behn that she changed the world, and that 350 years later, people are still reading her works and performing her plays and learning about and from her.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A jaguar. I love their languor and grace, and I respect those claws.
"Hey, Bradley." I beckoned the crime-scene tech, who had finally arrived and was snapping on gloves. "Is that a piece of paper under the vic's head?"
He bent down over my shoulder to get a clearer view from my line of sight. "Looks like it's tangled in her hair," he said. He pulled a pair of long tweezers out of his kit and snagged the sliver. "Yep. Looks like it has a word written on it . . ." We both peered at the brownish, spidery writing.
"Sanguinary," I said. "Is that written in blood?"
"Maybe. I'll get the lab to run a basic analysis on it. If it's blood, we'll be able to let you know pretty quick if it's human and if so, what type. DNA will take longer."
"Sounds good." I stared at the woman a little longer. Her dark hair—almost the same color as mine—spilled out around her, matted with dark, coagulating blood. The two bloody marks on her neck shone like black stars on a white background.
I knew that if I lifted her dress, there would be other puncture wounds all over the body, and strange symbols carved across her skin—pentagrams within circles and other ritualistic signs. Exactly like the others. Ten murders in the four weeks since the beginning of September—all centered in downtown Dallas, and many with affluent victims whose families demanded action.
The department had been in a barely suppressed uproar.
I stood up, my knees popping a little. Five years ago, they wouldn't have done that.
And five years before that? Vampires hadn't existed, except in books and B-movies.
It took time for the world to believe. We hadn't even realized how to fight back when they'd first shown up.
This victim's ragged, bloody fingernails suggested that she had tried to resist, but obviously failed.
The red dress she wore would have originally matched the color of the relatively scant splashes of blood surrounding her, but those stains had dried to a muddy brown, the same color as the writing on the paper caught in her hair.
Her clothing suggested that she'd been at the opera that evening, though the manager, roused from her bed, swore that the building had been cleared and empty when she left.
One black, high-heel shoe lay several feet away, toppled over onto its side, the heel broken, as if she had stumbled out of it when it failed her as she ran from a pursuer.
I'd heard the word before from vampires I had taken down—whispered as a threat, shouted as a warning: the Sanguinary is coming, the Sanguinary will kill you all.
The Sanguinary is here.
It was why I was about to go undercover among the vampires.