Friday, May 11, 2012

Better Off Dead Book Tour

Better Off Dead, The Vamp Saga Book Two
by Danielle Blanchard
Genre: Paranormal romance

Blurb: Welcome to Western Europe in 2020.

The International Vampire Council are in the middle of intense negotiations with the Global 6 when a mysterious plot is revealed to end Manon's life and thinly veiled lies Mikkel has told his wife will be exposed once and for all.

Manon is sent into hiding with Emmerik as her protector while a deal can be negotiated to spare her life.

As the clock ticks toward a catastrophic outbreak of new virus which seeks to destroy not only the Lycan population but millions of humans along with it, two ancient vampires return prematurely from their time in the ground, and their mood is less than receptive.

What will happen? Who will live? Who will face betrayal? Who will die? Sometimes, the most devastating secrets are better off dead and buried.

This novel is not YA friendly, contains plenty of snark, supernatural creatures included, but not limited to, vampires and Lycans, not to mention a few choice scenes of sex and death. It is not for the faint of heart.

An interview with Danielle Blanchard
First off, I would like to thank you Danielle for taking the time to answer my questions
You are quite welcome and thank you for hosting me as it is quite an honor and a pleasure.

Why vampires? can you share with us why vampires are still so appealing for authors to write about?
I can only think about their sheer allure. They are such the opposite of real life: a species who can indulge in violence, sex and blood lust at their leisure with practically no consequences. Okay, am I talking about vampires, politicians or billionaires? Seriously, I still believe there is room for a well crafted vampire story even if the genre is beyond saturated.

Can you share your vampire world with us?
My vampire world is a bit different as vamps were given their rights when the Civil Rights Act of 2014 passed and they were allowed the same freedoms as humans and homosexuals. They pretty much decided to buy up everything and control the pharmaceutical world, business, gaming and politicians (but then of course, they have always been easy to buy…lol).

Political alliances have changed and the Global Six is now made up of the Anglophone Union, the Francophone Union, the Greater Nordic Regional Union, China, India and Japan. There is also an International Vampire Council, the ruling political body that works hand-in-hand with the G-6.

This is the world my main character, Manon Mourey, finds herself to be in and this is the world she accepts when she marries her very powerful vampire husband, Mikkel Damgaard, and becomes a vampire herself.

What she doesn’t realize is this has always been her world and vampires have always been her people. I can freely admit she starts off as somewhat of a Mary Sue in Death Wish but by Better Off Dead, she is questioning her motives and her decisions. I find that fascinating because it allows her to grow as a person and a character.

Oh yeah, there is also the tiny little subject of Manon holds the key to vampires becoming Day Walkers and living in the sunlight again but surely that doesn’t make my vampire series too unique.

During the creative process, where there any characters who were difficult to bring to fruition and which ones were easy?
Definitely but that is the creative process itself. I loved writing Manon’s character though some readers felt she was a bit bi-polar in Death Wish. There was a method to my madness and the fact remains Manon did not know herself because one day, she was human and the next day, she wasn’t. Not only that but she was turned into a sub-species no one had a clue about and not even her husband, a thirteen hundred year old vampire, could help her with the transition. I believe that would make most people a bit bi-polar.

Other characters were a bit difficult because although I loathed them, I kept having to remind myself of the golden rule: every character, no matter how loathesome, has redeeming qualities. Although they aren’t human, it is true of everyone because there is someone out there a person, no matter how depraved, cares about and feels something for. I think when we, as authors, keep this in mind, it is easier to create and shape three dimensional characters.

Better Off Dead is the second book in the series. Can one read it as a standalone?
Absolutely. I have done a serial and I much prefer to do a series. I refer to some of the instances which occurred in Death Wish, the first novel, but I don’t beat my readers over the head with it either. Better Off Dead can be enjoyed as a stand alone and what’s more, if it prompts a reader to buy Death Wish, Death Lair (a prequel novella to Death Wish I decided to write) or both, it might help the reader develop a fuller picture but I truly believe their understanding of what is going on won’t be diminished if they decide not to read the first book or the novella.

Are there other books to come and can you give us a hint of what you have planned for Manon?
Oh, yes! The Vamp Saga was always meant to be around ten full length novels and I plan to continue with this ambitious project. Queen of the Undead: Book III, is completed and will be released either late June or early July of this year. I will begin Dawn of Death: Book IV sometime this autumn and it should be released winter of 2013.

Manon is in for a lot of changes. Let’s just say some readers might be a bit disappointed with the way Better Off Dead ends because there isn’t a HEA (happily ever after) but a HFN (happy for now). This is deliberate on my part because so many lingering questions will be answered when Queen of the Undead premieres. However, just to let readers know ahead of time, there are NO cliffhangers. My editor hates them so I don’t do them. If one is satisfied with the way Better Off Dead ends then they can take it for what it is worth and leave it at that. Readers are under no obligation to read Queen of the Undead (unless they want to)!

An excerpt from Better Off Dead:

Hervé and Irene sat next to one another in a grand and opulent former palace in Geneva which had been transformed into the Global Six government offices.

Although physical opposites—Hervé with his light brown hair, alabaster skin, typical Northern French features and steel blue eyes while Irene possessed classically Scandinavian features despite her skin being the color of rich mocha and her eyes, a deep amber-brown—they were more alike than different in terms of the philosophical and political outlook on vampire life along with the powerful positions they held within the IVC.

Though Zahara was President, most of The Council looked toward Irene and Hervé for moral guidance. The President, currently held under the leadership of the volatile old vampire might as well have been a figurehead position as far as most of the twenty-member Council was concerned.

The G-6 Conference had yet to start but they had purposefully arrived early just to talk shop. Something needed to be done about the rogues in their midst. The IVC was a legitimate and civilized organization; since when did members decide to play vigilantes and try to murder one another over silly blood feuds and supremacy? The behavior had to be brought under control lest the whole organization be dragged down along with it.

“Seriously, what can we do?” Irene asked. “Zahara is President but her behavior...the attempted murder of Mikkel and Manon. We cannot allow her to get away with such madness. Imagine the implications if she goes unpunished.”

Hervé sipped from his Sang Pur. “Believe me, I have thought about this and at the moment, I truly don’t know what to do. She is so out of control. Perhaps we should give some thought to resurrecting Kristoff. I am against it under normal circumstances of course, but even though she is his maker he’s the only one who could truly control her.”

“I think that will lead to nothing but trouble. Kristoff knows too much about Manon’s true heritage. He’s always been a live wire. It is not our place to interfere with a matter that has nothing to do with the IVC.”

“You don’t think Manon’s paternity has anything to do with the IVC? My God...”

“It’s a bit too late to be asking for His help.” Irene stood and grabbed her second Sang Pur. She was particularly thirsty today. “Right or wrong, that truly is Mikkel and Manon’s issue to work out. He must have his reasons for not telling her and who are we to second guess his motives? It’s obvious he loves her very much and they are truly perfect for one another.”

“Good grief, Irene, they are prototypes and we can never forget that. Manon needs to be studied and that is going to be an outright mess. Mengele will begin his testing and Mikkel will blow a gasket. He will hate for her to be in pain. These kinds of emotions—we as vampires were never supposed to feel them. I don’t know which is worse...the fact that they are Day Walkers or their emotions. They are much closer to human beings in an emotional capacity than we are. Hasn’t that ever given you food for thought?”

“Of course it has, Hervé. Their range of emotions is a bit frightening as we are supposed to be so cold and detached. I sometimes miss that aspect of my humanity, but at the same time, it colors the situation and takes away from the big picture. We will be asked to do something very barbaric today and I don’t think either one of them truly has the capacity to stand it. That is not only a problem but an issue. This isn’t about how we feel about humanity...this is merely about shedding the herd and making room for vampire growth...cementing our hold on the mortals and letting them know who’s in charge of whom.”

“True. The big picture is all that matters. Humans and slaughter have been synonymous for decades, centuries. We cannot change this; we can only make it that much more humane. It isn’t like we’re sending anyone to the gas chamber. Regardless, we will hear them out and pretend to contemplate our answer. It is never a good idea to show our hand right away. We can never allow letting our guard down around the humans.”

“Agreed,” Irene mused softly, “but in the meantime, we will gauge their behavior. If Geoff, Anastasiya, Filipp and Zahara can control themselves and show an air of leadership, we shan’t punish them too harshly. After all, they were only doing what all of us were thinking but were too chickenshit to act upon due to our own fears.”

“’Tis true but I would have never pulled a stunt like that. I have known from the beginning they were both stronger than we could ever be. I treasure my life as much as you treasure yours. I have no wish to meet my maker at this point in my life.”

Irene turned toward Hervé and laughed out loud. “Neither do I, my love. Neither do I.”

About the author: Danielle Blanchard Benson is a world traveler and author of several different series.

Ms. Blanchard Benson is the author of Beginnings: Book I (The Plague), Death Wish: Book I, Better off Dead: Book II and Death Lair: A Novella (all from The Vamp Saga), The Catalyst: Book One (The Pop Stars) and The Beautiful People series.

She is currently working on Love Voodoo: Book I (DeGeneration), Apocalypse 2012: Book II (The Plague), Hart Attack: Book I (The Hart Family Saga), The Making of a Star: Book Two (The Pop Stars) and Queen of the Undead: Book III (The Vamp Saga).

Ms. Blanchard Benson has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Links: Blog |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Email Me:

Ten Things About Danielle
1. Your genre(s)?

My genre will always be romance or some form thereof though I have been known to do contemporary, erotic (not erotica as there is a difference), paranormal, dystopian and even -- grasp! -- horror. I am an artist so I don't limit myself and as a reader you don't have to buy everything I write. I assume most of y'all will cherry-pick anyway.

2. How many books have you completed?

I love serials and series so I have completed one long damn serial, The Beautiful People (which consisted of eight novellas), Death Wish and Better Off Dead in The Vamp Saga (and a novella, Death Lair), Beginnings inThe Plague series, Love Voodoo in the DeGeneration series, The Catalyst in my other serial, The Pop Stars, and Forever 27, a novelette in The 27 Club series. 

3. How many books are you working on now?

*Breathe* Okay, I am almost finished writing Queen of the Undead in The Vamp Saga (72k and counting),Hart Attack, the first novel in The Hart Family Saga (another paranormal series), Apocalypse 2012 in The Plague series, The Making of a Star in The Pop Stars serial and Love Game in the DeGeneration series. Plus, I am co-writing a novel with a writer friend of mine, a horror-thriller, Ties That Unbind. I'm tired just thinking about my year...

4. Are you a linear or chunk writer?

I try to work on one project at a time so it makes it easier for me to maintain consistency. That list above, that is the order of the books with the exception of the one I am co-writing. I write that one when I get it back from my co-author, write my part and then send it to him via email and Drop Box.

5. The POV (= Point of View) you’re most partial to?

I'm not. I love first person though it can definitely have its limitations. I usually stick with third person though. The HUGE exception to this rule is The Vamp Saga. The first novel is written in first person but the rest are a mix of first and third person. There are some people out there this irks but what can I say? I love Manon and I *can't* write her in third but I also love some of the other characters and thought they should get a word in too. Hence the bastard project it has become involving both POVs.

6. The themes that keep cropping up in your books?

Female empowerment, strength, change and staying true to one's self. None of these are ever easy but nothing in life worth fighting for ever is so there you have it.

7. How many days a week do you write?

Everyday. There is no such thing as writer's block for me. I began Apocalypse 2012 but my Vamp Saga muse didn't want to let go so I began the third novel. Due to my schedule, I write at least 2k each day and can finish a first draft in anywhere between four and six weeks. 

8. What time of day do you get your best writing done?

The evening. I have two children under the age of ten so when they are sleeping or are about to go down, I find myself most creative. Plus, I can have a glass of wine while I write... yes, I sometimes write toasted but I do all my revisions dead sober and I have an editor just to make sure she catches all the mistakes I don't. Plus, I have some great writers who act as beta readers and guinea pigs for those other pesky mistakes neither of us catch. I will upload and re-do a book that isn't perfect countless times. I do it all the time as it is a bit easier with the e-books than print but there is no such thing as "done" for me if mistakes are found.

9. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

I'm a child of Generation X and I listen to everything but when I write paranormal/horror, I need some hard rocking music. My favorites: Deftones (Diamond Eyes and Best Of albums are classics), Marilyn Manson (Mechanical Animals, and Eat Me, Drink Me are two of my faves but I have every album ever made), Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein...I also listen to a lot of French hip-hop (Sinik, Diam's, MC Solaar) and French music in general (too many artists to count!). And I love some good pop music so Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Madonna are never far away...neither is Mylene Farmer for the matter, my favorite French pop star.

10. What the hell is up with your love affair with France?

Yeah, la Belle France gets mentioned a lot in a myriad of my novels. Better Off Dead and Queen of the Undead take place there as does most of Beginnings and Apocalypse 2012 will be a revisit (yet again). TheDeGeneration series takes place almost entirely in France. My other love affair is French influenced even if it is in the States. Hart Attack takes place in New Orleans. 

I just love France, French culture, the language and desperately can't wait until I can live there for a couple of years and write. I have lots of French friends and am partial to the Ile-de-France area of the country (though it is often cold, rainy and overcast). Plus, who wouldn't want their children to be bi-lingual? And did I mention the wine and the cheese and the food? Everything is better with a French accent! ;-) 

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