ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell about yourself and how you became an author?
Honestly, it was an escape. Between the ages of six and sixteen I was really badly ‘bullied’. I was emotionally and physically attacked so regularly that I avoided leaving the house if possible, so I read and wrote stories instead. I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. Then after the 2008 economic crash, and the austerity of 2010/2011, I found myself out of work. I was made redundant from a job I loved, losing my career, on the same day as I gave birth to my daughter. After that, I started writing on Wattpad to escape how hard things were. I gained fans there who encouraged me to publish. More importantly, I forged some really close friendships with people who mean the world to me; people who also support my journey to becoming an author.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
The way I think. Not everyone gets me, but that’s ok. It’s good to see the world through different lenses, right?
Where did you grow up?
Pegswood, it’s a little pit village in Northumberland, the most northern county in England. I was born during the Thatcher years when the northern coalfields were struggling to recover after being gutted and abandoned without alternative industry. I’m a northerner through and through. From the real north, beyond the wall.
Who is your hero and why?
My grandfather. He was Polish-Ukrainian. As a boy, he was taken from home by the Nazis as slave labour and sent to Germany. He never saw his family again. He learned so many languages, faced adversity, came to Britain, found love, raised a family, worked, and even volunteered at the village Miners’ Welfare Hall right until his death. He helped keep a community centre open and running. He was constantly learning new skills, and just got on with life despite all he’d been through. He’s my hero.
What are you passionate about these days?
Politics. I’m a bi, socialist, working class, disabled, grand-daughter of a refugee, living in an ever more right-wing, capitalist, xenophobic, ableist world. I have to be passionate about politics because I want my children to have a better world than the one that has deprived me and those like me of opportunity.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read, write, draw, and play computer games. I’ve also started growing herbs and vegetables. I also spend a bit of time researching and writing about my gods. I’m pagan/heathen.
How do you find time to write as a parent?
My kids are both at school now, so I have time when they are out.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I’ve always considered myself a writer. An author, only since 2013ish, but I’ve always been a writer.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Just one? I can’t pick just one. Empire Strikes Back. Rogue One. Lord of the Rings. Coyote Ugly. The Devil Wears Prada. Gladiator. The Eagle. Interview with the Vampire. I have a lot of favourites.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Wolf, raven, or cat. I’m very into my Norse mythology.
ABOUT THE BOOKS:
What inspired you to write Vampire Cohorts/Another Bite?
Woden/Odin. That is the simple, honest answer. Woden/Odin, Fríge/Frigg, Fenrir, and Ragnarök are a huge inspiration for the series, and I’ve mixed their myths with vampires because I am a huge vampire fan. I grew up on Buffy, and was a goth for quite a while (and still have my moments now). Writing urban fantasy based on vampires and werewolves let me share Norse mythology in a new way to a new audience, whilst also letting me live out the goth dream of writing a vampire novel.
What can we expect from you in the future?
The Vampire Cohorts series will have nine books in total, and possibly some spin-offs for side characters. But I also have several other vampire and fantasy collections in the works which I may publish eventually. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
In my head, yes, but not currently on paper.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters?
They are tortured. I am not nice to my characters. There is joy, love, and accomplishment, but I put them through hell on the journey. They are strong, but troubled. They have dark pasts which interconnect in unexpected ways, and some of them start out as not very nice people because of their history. There are things they need to make up for, and challenges to be overcome, and how they all fit together is part of the journey the story takes readers on. It was a journey for me too.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The first book in the series, I just started writing. It just flowed out of me. It’s inspired by Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires, because I loved that series, but always had a problem with how she portrayed British Vampires. I wanted to explore what British houses would really be like, and then the characters and story took on lives of there own. It went somewhere even I didn’t predict, and the mythology aspect became so integral that it is now in a vastly different place to Chicagoland. In a different world altogether, if I’m honest.
Where did you come up with the names in the story
They’re based on their roles in the story, in many cases. Conn means chief, and he is head of the Newcastle cohort. His other name, Cyneweard, means king’s guard/warden, which was his job when he was still human. Darcy and Dunthryth are both related to darkness.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book
The friends I’ve made during the process. I have friends who are more like sisters to me than my own biological half-sister. My kids know them to. In fact. Auntie Rebecca comes to stay with us fairly regularly. A friend I made through writing has become so much a part of my family that she’s even spent Christmas with us.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Love is the biggest driver for Darcy. Duty us a huge driver for Conn, and for Fenn, as they want nothing more than to protect their people.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
It’s a line from the book, as well as a prediction.
Who designed your book covers?
I design my own covers.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would release book two sooner after book one, but unfortunately my dad died just after book one’s launch and things got pretty dark for me for a while. I actually attempted suicide. Then I developed a few disabilities and illnesses. At one point I started going blind and needed an operation to fit a shunt that drains cerebrospinal fluid to relieve pressure on my optic disks. It’s taken a long time to get myself back into a position to edit my books, design my covers, and do everything that goes into a release. Thankfully, now I’m here, book three and four should both come out soon after two. The covers are already designed and the editing process is underway, and both should be released in 2021.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
A lot about Norse mythology. Lol.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Obviously hanging out with Conn and Darcy at Milbank House would be fun, although they tend to sleep during the day, being vampires...
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
There are aspects of me in Darcy, and aspects of my husband in Conn, but generally they became their own unique characters with their own lives and their own stories. A few friends cameo in the series too.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
They hijack the story, definitely. It is their story and I’m just a humble scribe.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Sometimes none, if it’s set in a time and place I know well. At other times I need to research places, historic battles, historic figures, mythology, and even other languages.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Many. Alongside the 8.99 cohort books currently written, there’s a three part Vampire Alliance series. Half a book about immortal demon fighting warriors of the goddess Bellona, half of a werewolf book set in a fantasy realm, 1.5 books of the Comhairle vampire series. 1.25 books in a elf x vampire series. The beginnings of several fantasy books, and the beginnings of several serial killer and historic books. I write a lot.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
It depends. Sometimes I need silence, but often I write better with quiet music on. I have a cohort playlist on Spotify that is my writing go-to.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I focus on finishing one at a time, though I might have the starts of several on the go. I have to write my ideas down before I lose them, but then I’ll eventually settle on one to run with.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
I don’t think I can keep it to just ten...
Rebecca Anne Stewart (Wulvers)
J R R Tolkien (Lord of the Rings)
Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires)
Lloyd Alexander (Prydain)
Cecilia Dart-Thornton (Bitterbynde)
Charlie Huston (Joe Pitt Casebooks)
Jan Siegel (Fern Capel)
Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising)
Helen Dunmore (Ingo)
Dr Jackson Crawford (Poetic Edda)
C S Lewis (Narnia)
Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher)
What book do you think everyone should read?
Everyone should read Lord of the Rings at least once. It can be a bit heavy going at times, but it’s a must read.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Urban fantasy and fantasy. Anything from Lord of the rings and Bitterbynde to Ingo, to grittier vampire books like the Joe Pitt Casebooks. I’m a sucker for urban fantasy like Chicagoland, and Black Dagger Brotherhood too.