Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Interview and Review: Bite the Bullet, Vampire Cohorts Book One by Angela Louise McGurk

What made you decide to be an author?My unrelenting need to write drove me to it. I write daily. It’s essential to me. I love exploring fictional worlds, which I can do by reading, but I also love creating worlds. I have stories to tell, and if I wasn’t writing for others I’d still be writing for myself.  It’s nice to be able to explore my fears and experience things that I never will in real life through literature.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?I love exploring other worlds and possibilities, but in all honesty the best part about writing and then sharing stories is touching the minds and hearts of others. I’m not a famous author. I may never been one. But words I’ve strung together have made thousands of people laugh or cry. How awe-inspiring is that? That has to be the best thing about writing for an audience.
The worst thing about writing are those days when every word is a struggle. With the current series I’ve developed some ability to write through writer’s block, with the knowledge I can go back and fix what isn’t right later. Some days it’s hard, though.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?I think I’ve felt a lot. Things haven’t always been easy. I’m told I write emotion quite well, and I think that’s possibly why.

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? This current release, Bite the Bullet. I wrote the first chapter and sat on it for a year, then I picked it up again and it wrote itself. Most of the series has been that way (I’m currently writing book six). There are sections I struggled with, but for the most part, this story wanted out and I just pressed the keys on the keyboard.

You’ve written eight novels and are working on a ninth novel. What’s your favorite time management tip?Not all eight are published yet, but as they’re part of this and my last series, they all will be. I think it’s important to set realistic goals. I aim for a chapter a week, and try to stick to that. I write every day, which helps. It’s been tough running up to Bite the Bullet’s release as promotion has taken up some time, as well as getting covers sorted, etc. I’m managing about a chapter a week all the same though, so it’s not too bad, even though I also work full time.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Bite the Bullet was a seat of the pants job, but the later books in the series are planned. There is too much to remember and too much to tie up now to avoid having at least a basic plan. I love writing organically, just letting it flow, but I also like knowing every question I’ve left my readers with has been answered.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?Don’t be defeated by writer’s block. Write through it, write past it. Get back to point where you know where you are going, because the bit’s you’ve had to force out can be fixed later.

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote?Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. That song is really important for the book and the series.

Angela, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.
Amazon     Amazon UK    Smashword 
Book Description: Let me tell you what it was to be made vampire. It wasn’t birth. Birth implies pushing, tearing forth into the light, screaming. Becoming immortal was to be pulled, to be tugged irrevocably into darkness, and it was silent.

I should have fought, any person should fight, but my mind had been filled with a hazy calm which forbade any battle. Struggling had been the last thing on my mind, even when my bus arrived and my assailant waved it on, dismissing my last hope of escape.

Yet my lack of rebellion was far from the most unsettling part of the stranger’s control over me. The truth was that the man could’ve asked anything of me and I would’ve complied, but he didn’t need to vocalise his request. I knew instinctively what he wanted. I sighed and surrendered myself as he held me against his front in a lover’s embrace, tipping my head and willingly giving him access to my throat.

“One day you’ll understand,” he whispered, his tone subdued. I’ve often wondered since if he was really talking to me. Perhaps he’d been talking to himself, persuading himself that one day I’d know and accept his reasons for what he’d planned for me.

I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. Because when my fangs came in, my world altered irrevocably. It became somewhere dark, somewhere filled with murder and blood, where magic was sinister and where even my closest ally seemed more like an enemy... Even if he did make my heart skip a beat.
Amazon     Amazon UK    Smashwords
About the Author: Angela grew up in a small pit village in the county of Northumberland in England. Currently she lives in an entirely different pit village in the same county, along with her husband and their two children. She qualified in Architectural Technology and has worked in construction, as well as running her own wedding stationery and graphic design business. Currently Angela's time is taken up with chasing a three year old, a four year old and a kid in his thirties who really should know better. Between that she works, writes and draws.

She is currently writing the final book in the Vampire Cohort series while editing the first book in the series for publication, as well as trying to store up the hundred other stories which are always racing around in her mind! While a love of writing has always been part of Angela's life, in recent years it has become a daily requirement. The vampires, werewolves, gods and fae just won't leave her alone!

Among Angela's other loves are camping, kayaking, the Lake District and history. She is a bit of a sci-fi geek, a bit of a Joss Whedon fan, and has such an eclectic taste in music it would take pages to write down what she likes.

My Rating: Five Firecrackers out of Five!
My Review: Author Angela McGurk has created a refreshingly new world of vampires who co-exist with humans peacefully. Treaties have been signed, laws enacted, the weaker humans protected with respect. Part of this world requires that humans who wish to be turned do so with consent. The consent is a legal document, witnessed and signed so no one can say "I didn't ask to be turned" and sue the very wealthy vampire houses. The heroine of the story, Darcy Francis Elizabeth Salix, goes to sleep a human and awakes as a vampire in a very painful way. She doesn't recall giving consent--except in a dream like state--and certainly never signed a contract! Her Sire and his underlings seek to assure her she did, indeed, but when she sees the paperwork, it is a forgery. Reluctantly, and only because her life depends on it, she moves into the big mansion that belongs to the Newcastle Cohort, where things grow even stranger as she transitions to full vampire.

Darcy is a feisty, kick ass heroine, who is quite capable of defending herself--except when she is around Conn, her Sire. She is beyond angry with him, but cannot stop thinking about him. She is pulled to him in ways she does not understand or want. Tall, dark, and dangerous, an inexplicable, even in vampire terms, bond holds her to him. She fights the attraction at every turn, in every definition, but that pull...

Into this world is thrust a murder mystery. Who would kill a vampire related to such a powerful Sire? Why butcher the victim in such a particular way? What old hurt did Conn inflict that his relatives are now being stalked by this heinous killer?

When I read a paranormal novel, in addition to good writing, I pay particular attention to world building, characterization, and plot. Angela McGurk delighted me with all four criteria and threw in some nerd humor, to boot. A delightful read which earned five firecrackers out of five from me!

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