I’ve had the pleasure of reading her release – a paranormal romance with a unique twist (not least that she’s introduced me to my first Aussie vampire!). I do like a bit of originality. So here’s Tima to share some insight into her wonderful book. After deciding to go indie even after being offered a publishing contract, she’s one brave author!
Q) Tell us a little something about yourself.
A) Well, I’m a trained archaeologist and high school teacher who happens to write paranormal romance/adventure/thrillers. And since I’ve always been fascinated by vampires, naturally I fell intothat genre. And, since I’m a Roman-Britain specialist, I somehow had to incorporate that historical period into my debut novel, Bloodgifted. But, more about that later. I live on the Central Coast, an hour’s drive north of Sydney (in Australia). It’s where most Sydneysiders spend their summer holidays – the equivalent of Torquay in the UK. So, I don’t have far to the beach, where I can go for long walks and plot the next chapter in my Dantonville Legacy series.
Q) What attracted you to writing romance? And why Paranormal Romance as a sub-genre?
A) Who doesn’t like romance? I think most women (and quite a few men, although they won’t admit it publicly) enjoy reading romantic stories. And, (from a female perspective) there’s something strangely compelling about a man who carries a dark secret that could either destroy him or save him. Naturally, it’s the heroine’s role to do the latter. To me, nothing is darker that the vampire with his (or her) mesmerising eyes and deadly seductive charm. I can understand why PNR is so popular.
Q) Have you ever written in any other genres? Why or why not?
A) No, not yet, although this current series I’m working on does contain an element of history which I’ll be exploiting later – as a historical novel in its own right. I’ll be combining my love of history with the paranormal. Can’t think of a better marriage!
Q) How long have you been writing and what prompted you to begin?
A) I started writing Bloodgifted, Book 1 of The Dantonville Legacy series, three and half years ago. Actually, it took me only ten months to complete the first draft, and the rest of the time was spent on redrafting, editing and polishing. The story came together in my head during lunch with friends at a beachside café, when one of them asked why I looked so young for my age, and that she wanted the same moisturiser! I laughingly replied ‘vampire blood!’ And the seed was sown.
Q) Have competitions ever played a role in your writing journey?
A) Definitely! Competitions are a great way to hone your skills as a writer, for not only do they expose your work to the public (for reader-centred comps) but seasoned professionals with publications to their credit. You find out how your work compares to others – whether it’s up to standard. I was fortunate enough to have been shortlisted in both national and international competitions. Each time I received some excellent feedback that enabled me to further improve my manuscript.
Q) Can you tell us about Bloodgifted?
A) Bloodgifted is the story of primary school teacher, Laura Dantonville who stopped ageing at twenty-four. (Every woman’s dream!) She has no idea she is the granddaughter of a cursed Roman soldier who was turned into a vampire more that eighteen hundred years before, and that her slow ageing is the result of her unusual bloodline. In fact, her blood contains a rare gene coveted by vampires for it enables them to daywalk. When she does learn the truth, she becomes the epicentre of a power struggle between two rival vampire groups, each intent on claiming her for themselves. Alec Munro, the Princeps or Prime Elder of the vampire community in the city, leads one of those groups and Laura must accept him as her guardian in order to protect both her family, and humanity, from those who would use her to wipe them out.
Q) Why opt for indie-publishing rather than purse the traditional route?
A) As you know, Linds, I had a long and hard struggle with that one. Originally I intended to indie publish as I liked the idea of being in control of my own creation, but I also appreciate the amount of work that goes into publishing, publicity, marketing…etc. And, I really loved having an editor assigned to me. That’s the one thing indie writers struggle with. So, when I was offered a traditional publishing contract, the temptation to accept was enormous. After weighing up the pros and cons, I decided to go indie. I’m not sure how much to mention here, but if anyone’s interested in reading more about my exact reasons for declining that publishing contract, they can find it on my blog at http://timamarialacoba.blogspot.com
Q) Do you have a writing process?
A) Oh no, not at all. I try to write something each day – even if it’s only some editing – but I have no set regime. Since I’m a full time carer, my writing gets slotted into whatever time I have left, which can mean a late night sometimes, or very early in the morning.
Q) Where do you get your ideas from?
A) My fevered brain. I blame all the daydreaming I did at school and university during lectures, but at least now it’s come home to roost! Who says you can’t make a living from your imagination?
Q) What’s the most rewarding aspect of writing for you?
A) Living vicariously through my characters! Lol! Their lives are much more interesting than mine. But, it’s also the joy of creating a world where people face are faced with extraordinary, and sometimes frightening situations, yet come through it and reach their happily-ever-after. Real life isn’t always like that. I read somewhere, that the great English novelist, Jane Austin, once remarked that although she didn’t get her romantic happy ending, her female characters always did.
Q) What constitutes a ‘hero’ for you?
A) That’s a tough question! Mmmm… *rubbing chin, rolling eyes up to the ceiling, thinking*… For me, a hero is someone who selflessly does the right thing in spite of the temptation to do otherwise; someone who is motivated by love, rather than ambition, or greed, or their own flawed desires.
Q) Tell us about Laura and what makes her a unique heroine?
A) Laura is an ordinary young woman, thrown into an extraordinary and frightening situation. It’s how she deals with it, and with the knowledge of her strange inheritance and the difficult choice she has to make, that is the crux of the story. Will she accept her filial duty or run and hide from it? Laura’s youth and longevity comes with a price, and now the time has come for payment!
Q) Define what you understand by HEA.
A) I guess I’m the old-fashioned kind who likes the traditional happy ending, where all loose ends are tied up, all questions answered and true love conquers all, even if it takes several books to achieve it. As I see it, there’s enough sadness and tragedy in the world without subjecting our characters to it. I like to let the reader enjoy a happy and fulfilling ending; it’s good for both body and soul.
Q) What readers do you think Bloodgifted will appeal to?
A) Anyone who loves romance. But, as there are a couple of hot love scenes in the book, I’d suggest from sixteen and up. I’ve had great responses from women of all age groups who’ve read the ARCs, as each can find something in Laura with which to identify.
Q) What’s next after Bloodgifted?
A) I’m currently writing Book 2 in the series – Bloodpledge. It continues where the first book left off, and I hope to complete it by the end of this year for a possible Christmas release. Fingers crossed.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Tima – it’s been an absolute pleasure. Here’s wishing you lots of success.
The paperback of Bloodgifted is available now through Amazon.com But if you're a lover of eBooks, you've just got a short three week wait until that release.
You can also follow Tima on Twitter @FatimaLacoba