Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Blog Q&A with Tessa Dawn, Author of Blood Shadows - the latest installment in the Blood Curse series!!

Author Bio:
Tessa Dawn grew up in Colorado where she developed a deep affinity for the Rocky Mountains. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she worked for several years in criminal justice and mental health before returning to get her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management.
Tessa began writing as a child and composed her first full-length novel at the age of eleven. By the time she graduated high-school, she had a banker’s box full of short-stories and books. Since then, she has published works as diverse as poetry, greeting cards, workbooks for kids with autism, and academic curricula. The Blood Curse Series marks her long-desired return to her creative-writing roots and her first foray into the Dark Fantasy world of vampire fiction.
Tessa currently splits her time between the Colorado suburbs and mountains with her husband, two children, and “one very crazy cat.” She hopes to one day move to the country where she can own horses and what she considers “the most beautiful creature ever created” -- a German Shepherd.
Writing is her bliss.

Blood Shadows:
Nachari Silivasi is a bright light in a Dark World. As the youngest vampire in a family of warriors, he has studied Magick for four-hundred years and acquired a rare mastery of the universe around him. He is beloved by his family; legendary for his good-looks; and known for his uncommon valor. Unfortunately, he has just made the ultimate sacrifice – he has traded his immortal life for the life of the Vampyr King.

Deanna Dubois is as talented as she is independent, but she has developed a strange and terrifying habit: Night after night, day after day, she sketches one horrifying scene after another -- the body of a gorgeous male being tortured in hell by demons. Disturbed by her ever growing obsession, she sets out to Dark Moon Vale to uncover the truth. Only, what she finds is a web of danger, destruction, and deceit.

Separated by space and time, yet drawn together by fate, Nachari and Deanna find themselves in an epic battle against evil: Nachari is forced to forge a path in a world of shadows, where torture and lust rule the night; while Deanna struggles to decide between two polar opposites – to flee from the truth or trade her mortal soul for the possibility
of a stranger’s salvation.

The stakes could not be higher.
The enemy could not be more lethal.
And the only way to reach the light
is to, first, enter the Blood Shadows.

And now for the interview!!

Hi Chad,
Thanks for having me on your blog. I’m looking forward to the interview!
·         How did you come up with the very creative foundation for your series, the Blood curse? Did the specifics evolve as you wrote Blood Destiny or did you have everything pretty much nailed down up front?
Many years ago, when I was still a teenager, I watched a documentary about an ancient civilization that went extinct after sacrificing all of their females to “male” gods (don’t remember the name). Needless to say, it left an impact (I was glad they all died, and I was appalled that they could’ve been so calloused and power-hungry). When I began the Blood Curse Series, I knew that I wanted to do two things: First, reinvent the mythology and origin of vampires (explain the what, how, and why of vampirism); and second, utilize the history I saw in that documentary. The Blood Curse allowed me to both.

·         Your compelling series formula – with the shifting central character, primary romantic plot, and good vs. evil ongoing subplot (with some Vamps on the side of good) – shares some similarities with the Dark Hunter and Black Dagger brotherhood series (which I also love). Have you had an opportunity to read either series? If so, did you enjoy them?
I have not read the Dark Hunter series; I have, however, read BDB by JR Ward. And just like you, I love it!

·         I read that you penned your first full length novel at the incredibly young age of 11. What was the story about? Do you still have it with you?
I have no idea what it was about… lol. I wrote SO MUCH…so often. I think that was just the age when I finally finished something full length. Luckily, those “books” never saw the light of day (I hope they still exist in a box somewhere, but trust me, they were pretty darn bad!) LOL

·         I’m thinking with your background in criminal justice, there’s more than a little of yourself in Jocelyn Levi. What else do you have in common with the heroine from the first book in the series (Blood Destiny)?
Hmm, let me see: maybe her heart and some of her analytical qualities. Otherwise, not a whole lot. **Spoiler Alert** I would have felt great sympathy for Braden, too; and I would have made the same calculation in the shed about the Dark One (the enemy of my enemy is my friend – go for it). But I would not have tried to jump over the rail on the balcony; I would not have run out to help Nathaniel in the clearing (I would’ve hidden in a closet somewhere, under blankets, in a box…dialing 911…and praying); and it’s doubtful I would’ve been in that first cave to begin with…that depends. J

·         In Blood Awakening , which happens to be my favorite book in the series so far, we are treated to a surprising twist, with the immergence of the daughters of King Sakarias (who was ruler of the Celestial Beings before the Blood Curse). Was this a part of the original series story arc in your mind or an ingenious addition? 
This was not part of the original series. To develop the series, I created the history and mythology; I went into great detail about who the vampires would be (dark v. light) and why. Then, I fleshed them out into 3D color so to speak, breathed life into them, and gave them the reigns. From that moment forward, I’ve followed their characters and the story – most of the time, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. Except for in the epilogue of book four (which will be the main story in book five); I saw that happening early on – just didn’t know when or how.

·         Your diverse publishing history (poetry, greeting cards, academic texts, workbooks for Autistic children and novels) is extremely unique. Which of these did you do first? Which types of media do you still work in?
I wrote poetry (for many years) and greeting cards first, and I think that background is evident in my writing style. I have to really concentrate on not going too far into the nuance and rhythm of the words: remind myself, “this is fiction!”

·         While I’m eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting Nachari and Deanna’s story in Blood Shadows (2/28 release), I’m also curious about the fifth installment. By process of elimination, I assume book #5 will feature the Ancient Master Healer Kagen. Do you know who his female interest will be yet? Have you started working on the manuscript?
Well, let’s see: All I can say is your “assumption” is…not happening. LOL (However, if it’s any consolation, that’s what most of my reader’s assume). Book five is a surprise. It is something I saw happening before I finished book one, but I just didn’t know when or how I would write it.

And yes, as Kagen steps forward just a little bit more in each book, I’m beginning to get a deeper feel for him and where his character may need to go. While envisioning book five, I saw his destiny emerge in my imagination (for the FIRST time). As always, there will be a slight twist – but it won’t be in book five. Smiles.

·         Will the series wrap up with Braden’s story (the apprentice) or will additional characters be introduced?
Again, I have no idea. I do know that a lot of readers are really interested in Braden and would like to see his character mature…and his story unfold. There is a lot of possibility with Braden because he’s so multi-layered. Right now, I don’t have any specific plans…

·         Do you have your own favorite book in the series so far? If so, which is it and why is it your favorite?
Favorite book so far (and it was a total surprise) is Blood Possession. Favorite character: Nachari (so his book runs a close second).

·         Who is your favorite author all-time? Why? Who are some of your current favorites?
I would have to take a month to think about my all-time favorite author, lol. However, I will say that Robert Masello (Blood and Ice) is the best “writer” I have ever seen. I don’t know if his books are great or not because I just get lost in his craft and sentence structure – the flow of his words and the easy perfection with which he wields them. It’s like staring at the Sistine chapel and wondering, how does anyone do that??? Ever? Really!

Some current favorites are Kim Harrison and Anne Bishop.

·         How long did it take you to write Blood Destiny? What was the hardest part for you? Do you start out with a detailed outline or use more of a free flowing style?
I start out with a not-so-detailed outline (like a skeleton), and then I fill in the “flesh and bones” in layers. However, it always changes as I write – sometimes significantly. Have you ever seen someone try to move a donkey that doesn’t want to budge? That’s what my characters do to me when I try to take them somewhere they don’t want to go – or that isn’t entirely authentic for them. They dig in and refuse to go. Surprisingly, even if it’s a “bad” or painful scene, if that’s where they’re going -- that’s where they’re going.

·         Do you track online reviews, rankings and sales figures closely? How do you handle less than complimentary reviews? Are you able to dismiss them and move on or do they get under your skin?
During the first two weeks of a release, I will look at many (but not all) of the early reviews to see how the book is doing as a whole. After that, and as surprising as this sounds, I don’t read them! Really, I don’t. If I (or my publisher) have requested a specific review, then of course, I read every word. And many of my readers will contact me directly to share their reactions, reviews, or questions & concerns (if they have them) – I always read EVERY word my readers write to me, even if it takes me a while to respond.

With respect to negative reviews, every author approaches this differently, so there’s more than one way to go about it. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to single-out and read negative reviews (just as it would be a mistake to single out and read positive reviews). Maybe it’s because I studied so much statistics in college, but for me, I see reviews as a snapshot of the whole, where overall patterns and trends tell us much more than individual postings. Don’t get me wrong, I pay close attention to my editor’s notes; I use a BETA reading group for feedback, and if I noticed a negative theme, trend, or problem from readers (on a bell curve, that would be over 10%), I would definitely take a look to see what’s going on.

Release Date: February 28, 2013
Title: BLOOD SHADOWS by Tessa Dawn (Blood Curse Series, #4)
Availability: Paperback and eBook

Barnes & Noble:


  1. Your series sounds fascinating! I love vampaires, mythology and ancient civiliations. I can't wait to read them. congrats on Blodd Shadows and your success =)

  2. I LOVE LOVE his series. I have been patiently waiting for this book to come out. Nachari is my favorite and I know Tessa will not disappoint.

  3. Thanks Terri and Christine for stopping by :)

  4. Thanks for having me, Chad. Love your blog and appreciate you sharing my series with your readers :-) :-) :-)

    1. I had a great time doing the interview with you, Tessa. Thanks!!

      It's taking every ounce of discipline I can muster to make myself write two more chapters before I pick up Blood Shadows, because I know once I do I wont put it down :)