I recently finished reading LOVE IS DARKNESS by Caroline Hanson and really enjoyed the relationship between its heroine, the snarky Valerie Dearborn, and her dark and mysterious vampire…blackmailer? It’s sexy and dysfunctional and intriguing all at the same time. I jumped at the chance to ask Caroline some questions about the book and series as part of her Bewitching Book Tour.
Please welcome Caroline to the blog as she discusses the first book in her Valerie Dearborn series,
LOVE IS DARKNESS.
1. For those who haven’t yet read LOVE IS DARKNESS, can you tell us a bit about the story and the Valerie Dearborn series as a whole?
Id love to! My goal was for Valerie to be relatable. I had read a lot of urban fantasy where the heroines were always brave and willing to die and that didnt seem to bother them. To me that didnt make any sense because I wouldnt react that way. If a vampire threatened me Id be terrified and probably wet myself. I’d own stock in Depends if vamps were real.
Anyway, Val is a normal girl who is expected to join the family business of hunting vampires. She has no desire to do that and leaves for graduate school which pisses off her father and the guy she’s been in love with for years. That’s when Lucas shows up. He’s hot, afraid of the sun and emotionally unavailable.
He also blackmails her and tells her hell kill her family if she doesnt help him. She gets drawn into vampire politics and learns that she has a little bit of her own supernatural ability. Shes part empath which means that if a vampire drinks her blood hell feel emotions. Empaths scared the crap out of vampires and Lucas spent centuries killing them all. Hes drawn to her because he hasnt felt anything in a very long time and yet hes also enough of a realist to know that the best thing to do would be to kill her.
I wanted him to have a weakness because he is the King of all vamps and basically indestructible. She’s his weakness. There’s action, sex and swearing. It was the book I was waiting to read having exhausted all the vampire books.
2. Do you already know the arc of the series? How many books are planned or are you keeping it open?
Ugh. I had hoped I was done with the main series after completing the trilogy, but its no longer looking that way. There will be another book and from what little of it I have written, I think the fans are gonna be happy.
3. What was your inspiration for the world and what came first – the world or the characters?
The initial idea was Lucas as the vampire villain and he had Valerie and Jack in a dungeon. The story that emerged had absolutely nothing to do with that scenario, but that was the image I saw first.
4. I loved Lucas. Hot, cold, mysterious, dangerous and hard to trust in a very real way. What do you think are the ingredients for a strong vampire-hero-love interest and why does Lucas stand apart from the pack?
Thats a great question! I like my vampires Anne Rice style. Smart, ruthless, worldly, maybe even wise but amoral. Theyre not heroes or good. Whenever someone has to die so that they can live, that has ethical murkiness. I love that. They’re monsters but deep and tortured. I love exploring that.
5. Roanoke. This really intrigued me. How did you come to the idea of including the lost colony in your storyline and will it play a larger role in the next books?
Ive always been fascinated by the idea of the Lost Colony and it just made sense in my mind. It’s one of those weird things where my brain sorted it out and I was just kind of taken by surprise. Oh yes, we see more of Roanoke.
6. Who would be in your dream cast for the Valerie Dearborn TV series or feature film?
The tricky character for me is Valerie. For Marion I’d love Florence Welch. Lucas would be Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones (Jamie Lannister) That’s all I got. The fans keep suggesting Chris Hemsworth. Obviously, I wouldn’t kick him off the casting couch if you know what I mean 😉
7. LOVE IS DARKNESS is your first published full-length novel. How long did it take to write from conception to publication and what did it feel like to finally let your baby out into the world?
That book took me about a year. I wasnt working but my kids were in school and it became a full-time job. I gave up hobbies and anything else I could to work on it. When I finished Love is Darkness publishers were no longer buying vampire books. It sucked. So I self published it. Ive sold about a hundred thousand copies now, so its been a great experience.
8. How did a California girl find herself in London and what about the city made you want to set Valerie’s story in it?
This might be shallow but I loved English music and wanted to move there so I could dance and meet Englishmen. Valeries story is about figuring herself out and learning what’s important in life and to her. What, if anything, is actually worth dying for. I think I started to figure myself out when I was in London so it just made sense. I also love history and London has so much of it that it was a great setting.
9. What’s the last book you read that you would recommend to a friend?
Im a big fan of the cliffhanger. They make me miserable and angry but it also means that something super-exciting is happening. I just finished SE Pacat’s Captive Prince and was smiling when I read the last page. That was a hell of a cliffhanger.
10. I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones where every family has a motto – the Starks have “Winter is coming” and the Lannisters have “Hear me roar!” What is the Caroline Hanson motto?
I thought the Lannister’s was ‘Lannister’s always pay their debts.’ J I’m a huge GOT fan too! Can I steal ‘the night is dark and full of terrors?’ If I have to come up with my own it’d probably be something like, ‘Never out of the woods.’ Neither characters nor authors should ever be complacent, theres always something around the corner and the goal of every author has to be to put their soul on the page and just keep running.
Valerie Dearborn wants a cotton candy life, but it’s more like a puffer fish: pointy, unusual, and—if not prepared exactly right—deadly.
In London for graduate school, Val knows she’s finally free. Her father and ex-almost-boyfriend are back in California and she’s out of the Vampire hunting biz for good. Or is she?
She draws the attention of Lucas, a 1600 year old Vampire, and King to his kind. He’s also wicked hot. As golden as Lucifer, and just as tempting, he makes Valerie an offer she can’t refuse— help him find out if the Others (Empaths, Fey and Werewolves) still exist or he’ll stop protecting those she loves.
Lucas tells her that Empaths were a Vampire’s biggest weakness before going extinct hundreds of years ago. While the Fey or a Werewolf might kill a Vampire, an Empath could enslave them, seducing or harming with emotions at will. The one detail he leaves out? Valerie is an Empath.
And after 1600 years of an emotionless existence, Lucas wants Valerie like a recovering alcoholic wants a wine cooler.
Can she keep those she loves alive, stop Lucas from munching on her, survive a fanged revolution and still find a way to have that boring, normal life she’s always wanted? Probably not, but boy is she gonna try!