Today I’m delighted to welcome Rosemary A Johns to the blog. Rosemary is a traditionally published author of short stories under the name R. A. Johns. Her debut novel, Blood Dragons, is out today in Kindle and paperback.
Rosemary A Johns wrote her first fantasy novel at the age of ten, when she discovered the weird worlds inside her head were more exciting than double swimming. Since then she’s studied history at Oxford University, run a theatre company (her critically acclaimed plays have been described as “uncomfortable, unsettling and uneasily true to life”), and worked with disability charities.
When Rosemary’s not falling in love with the rebels fighting their way onto the page, she heads the Oxford writing group Dreaming Spires.
Here she tells us a bit about her new novel and her writing process.
Please tell us a bit about Blood Dragons and the Rebel Vampires series.
Rebel Vampires Volume 1: Blood Dragons is released today. It’s the first book in a new fantasy series.
I’m a traditionally published short story writer and a playwright. But this is my debut novel.
Blood Dragons explores a hidden paranormal world in London, where vampires are both predator and prey. It’s a story of redemption and love in a divided world beneath our own. Blood Lifers are a camouflaged species, who use venom to paralyse and mimic heart attacks in First Lifers (humans). Yet they fear the First Lifers they prey on. Until one Blood Lifer rebels – against his family, species and century old love – to save both their species.
I loved the idea of a novel, which was written from the vampire’s perspective. Dark, intelligent and subversive. But also had a British vampire front and centre. The ultimate anti-hero. A vampire book truly for adults.
The series design is by JD Smith the award winning designer. I was lucky to work with her; she’s worked on many bestsellers.
‘You know those vampire myths? Holy water, entry by invitation only and sodding crucifixes?
Bollocks to them.
Because you know what? There are no monsters and no immortals. There’s just us: the Lost.’
(Rebel Vampires Volume 1: Blood Dragons)
What do you love about fantasy fiction?
I’m a total fantasy fanatic! I have been ever since I was a kid. Tolkien was an influence but I loved American fantasy and authors from all round the world. Anything I could get my hands on.
It’s the sheer imagination. The other worlds or layers beneath our own. The way it questions our own world in a much braver way than other genres. You can be the jester, who gets away with pointing out the Emperor hasn’t got any clothes on…
How did you get into writing and which authors have influenced you the most?
I don’t remember a time I wasn’t either reading or writing. I attempted to write my first novel at eight. My first fantasy novel at ten. My first short story was published when I was fourteen (by a magazine, who didn’t know they were publishing a teenager.)
I have a distinctive voice. My work can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s.
In that way, no authors have influenced how I write. But they have inspired me.
Great female writers, for example, like Angela Carter and Kate Atkinson. Or fantasy writers like Neil Gaiman and Jim Butcher.
What are your top writing tips?
- Write as well as read. It’s a balance. Writing is a craft. You need to practise.
- Know thyself – as the Greeks would say. All writers have their own quirks. Times of day they write best. Routines. Pen or computer. Music or no music. Work out what works best for you and don’t feel pressured that somehow you’re wrong. Who knows you better than yourself?
- Don’t give up. Writing should be a passion. If it’s not – why are you writing? But if it is…keep going. Remember how many times Harry Potter was rejected?
What’s your next project? Could you share some of it with us?
Rebel Vampires Volume 2: Blood Shackles is out for pre-order now. It’s released in November 2016.
Welcome to the Blood Club – where the predators become the prey…
What happens when SPARTACUS meets VAMPIRES?
Light is a rebel Rocker Blood Lifer with a talent for remembering things. And a Triton motorbike. He’s meant to be the predator. His venom is deadly. It’s been that way since Victorian times. But not now. Not since someone hunted him. Enslaved him. Ripped out his fangs. Who are these ruthless humans? Who’s their brutal leader? And who betrayed the secret of the Blood Lifer world?
London, Primrose Hill. Grayse is the commanding but sexy slaver’s daughter. The enemy. She buys Light, like he’s a pair of designer shoes. So why does Light feel so drawn to her? Ashamed, he battles with his desire, even as he burns for her. Can a slave truly love his Mistress? Especially when his family is still in chains. Will he risk everything – even his new love – to save them?
Does a chilling conspiracy lie behind it all? A stunning revelation leads Light to an inconceivable truth. To the dark heart of the Blood Club. If he can face his worst terrors, he can save his family and his whole species from slavery.
Maybe he can even save himself.
Click here to pre-order Blood Shackles.
Rebel Vampires Volume 3: Blood Renegades is out spring 2017.
Light has only two weeks to give his witness, on trial for his life, before he’s burnt at the stake – because who wants to hear the truth?
Thanks for having me on your blog. I hope everyone has a great week!
Connect With Rosemary
To find out more, please visit Rosemary’s website.
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign up to Rosemarys’ VIP Email Newsletter with news of hot releases, promotions and the free short story All the Tin Soldiers, click here.
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