Laurie London Talks Writing & Her Latest Release--Embraced By Blood!

>> Sunday, July 10, 2011

Laurie London’s EMBRACED BY BLOOD begins with immediate tension and ends with a race to the finish and all that conflict is sparked with sexual tension between the hero, Alfonso, and the heroine, Lily, throughout.

Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy— Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity, and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.
Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.
Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet—a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires—makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed…then left her in despair. Danger aside, Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again—until an irresistible hunger threatens to draw them back together… and into an assassin’s snare.
Several elements give EMBRACED BY BLOOD a freshness that often snags the interest agents and editors. While this is a vampire novel, Laure gives her hero and heroine unique twists. Alfonso and Lily are not just vampires, but Guardians to humans, protecting them against another type of vampire called Darkbloods. DBs don’t just feed on humans for sustenance and leave them alive; DBs hunt humans, drain them of blood and life, and sell that blood on the black market. And the DBs are particularly interested in one rare human blood: Sweet, a type which all vampires crave, but one which is addictive.

I immediately saw the multi-layered distinctiveness of this characterization: 1) Vampires protecting humans. 2) Vampires protecting humans against other vampires. 3) A Civil war of sorts, vampire against vampire, a fight which is based more on principle than on the human element. 4) Alfonso and Lily aren’t just trying to hide from human detection, but also hiding from Darkblood detection.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of a vampire blood which is addictive. It struck me like methamphetamine for humans. A very fresh concept.

Q: Laurie, you’ve designed intricate conflict into your plot with the complication of vampire against vampire. Do you plot your conflict or does it grow naturally as you write?
A: A little of both, actually. The over-arching conflict is planned out ahead of time and I usually know the villain’s immediate goals, but some of the finer nuances of the inner conflict between the hero and heroine come as I’m writing the first draft. I expand on it when I go back and revise.

Q: The idea of Sweet, a type of human blood that is addictive to vampires reminds me of how prevalent and addictive methamphetamine is in our present society and what length people will go to the get it. Where did that idea come from?
A: As I wrote the first scene of the first book, Bonded by Blood, I was trying to figure out why Dom, the hero, would attack Mackenzie. He was one of the good guys and I knew he didn’t want to, that it was against his beliefs, but he was overwhelmed by his baser instincts. As I dug deeper, I knew it had something to do with her blood. This formed the basis for the whole series, where Darkbloods, the bad guys, sell this addictive blood on the vampire black market.

Q: The sexual tension between Lily and Alfonso is strong and immediate. The conflict their relationship history and their attraction add to the story is palpable. I’m a sucker for reunion stories, but they are fraught with emotion and difficult to manage within a complicated plot, and you do it seamlessly. Do you find this added element more challenging to write or does it flow with your plot as the other conflicts do?
A: Thank you! The chronology was very tricky for me to write. Some of the timing and framework of their relationship was set in book one and I had to work within those boundaries. I had calendars and spreadsheets of major events, when and where they took place in book one as well as in their backstories. Because I only loosely plot the stories ahead of time, when I was struck with an idea, I had to ask myself if it was even possible given what we already knew had happened.

Q: I believe paranormal writers choose nether creatures who appeal to them in some way. Why do you write about vampires?
A: Ever since my sister and I saw the old movie Fright Night eight times in a row in the theater, I was hooked on vampires. Shortly afterwards, my aunt gave me an old, beat up copy of An Interview with a Vampire. It’s that deadly mystique that haunts me. He’s that guy you should stay away from but you just can’t.

Q: Every book has something unusual in its history—the origin of an idea, a particular character who keeps trying to take over, a villain who didn’t turn out to be the villain afterall. What is most unusual or memorable about EMBRACED BY BLOOD?
A: I had planned to kill off Alfonso, the hero in Embraced, when he showed up briefly in Bonded. Thankfully, he wouldn’t let me do that.

Q: In what setting do most of your ideas and/or resolutions to problems come? For example, Elisabeth Naughton get a lot of “a-ha” moments in the shower or bath. I get mine while I’m driving. Is there a location or activity where you are most enlightened?

A: I’m with Elisabeth! There’s something about the movement and sound of water and the feel of it against my skin that gets my ideas flowing. Thank goodness we live on a well, otherwise our water bills would be really expensive!

Q: Your setting in EMBRACED BY BLOOD is very well done, a solid modern world where vampire live and roam and fight. World building is one of my greatest challenges. How do you approach your world building for paranormal romances?

A: As a reader, I’m drawn to paranormal worlds that take place in our contemporary world, that exist in secret, just beyond our knowledge. Not only do I enjoy it better as an author because many of the constructs are already in place for me (like writing a historical romance set in Regency England), but as a reader, I like to feel as if I’m a character in the book. If the story is set in a city or world that’s familiar to me, it makes it easier to suspend my disbelief and step into that character. For a brief, brief moment, I did consider making the world open, where humans knew about the existence of vampires, but this went against some of the reasons I find the sub-genre so fascinating as a reader, so I squelched that idea quickly.

Q: Zoe, Lily’s daughter, is a charming surprise in EMBRACED BY BLOOD. I personally enjoy writing and reading children in novels as long as they play a part in the story’s conflict and/or enrich main characters, which Zoe does well. How do you feel about children in romance fiction?
A: I actually don’t like reading romances with children, if you can imagine that. I just don’t find those kinds of stories all that sexy. Heartwarming? Yes. But sexy? No. If things are heating up on the page, I’m always worried where the kids are. The next room? Upstairs? Will they sneak in and spoil the moment? Maybe because that is too much like my real life, I don’t like reading about it. LOL But this was Lily’s story and she came onto the pages as a single mother. I couldn’t NOT write her story because of that. I tried to handle it in such a way that this wasn’t an issue. Zoe was never under the same roof when Lily and Alfonso got romantic, so I, the reader and the author, could relax.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I just finished page proofs for the Sweetblood story I wrote in the anthology A VAMPIRE FOR CHRISTMAS, which comes out in October. And I’m also working on Tempted By Blood, Jackson’s story, which will be out early next year.

Fantastic interview, Laurie!! Thanks so much for coming and sharing your process and
Lily and Alfonso with us!

Be sure to leave a comment or ask Laurie a question to be entered
to win:
1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

**Books US/Canada only; Bookmarks International**

**MUST leave a contact email to be eligible to win!**

A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London now writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

BONDED BY BLOOD, A Sweetblood Novel comes out February 2011 from HQN. EMBRACED BY BLOOD, the second book in the series, is coming July 2011.

You can find Laurie:


Stephanie Christine,  1:08 AM  

I love Fright Night! So much so that i'm probably going to boycott the remake. Embraced by Blood was such a good read but Dom is still my Vampire:)As always the bookmark is stunning.

Karen H,  7:43 AM  

Great blog! Bonded by Blood is on my TBR pile, which is getting ahead of me, I will be moving to the top now. As always great job Joan on the book thongs.

claddagh64 at yahoo dot com

Laurie London 7:59 AM  

Thanks for having me on today, Joan. These were fun questions.

OMGosh, what gorgeous book marks!!! I love that the book cover is a charm.


Christa C 9:05 AM  

Hi Laurie!
Very intriguing storyline and characters! I love a paranormal romance with layers. I'm excited to add this one to my list.

Do you approach your novellas the same way as your full length books in terms of plotting and outlining? Do you prefer writing one over the other?



Raonaid Luckwell 9:10 AM  

Fright Night! Oh man that and Fright Night 2 brings back such wonderful memories of my childhood. Not really a fan of horror but that movie didn't frighten me. I use to like that and forever Night. Then I got to the point where vampires were cliche, stayed away from them until reintroduced.

Do you think it's beneficial on "thinking outside the norm/box" when it comes to vampires?

Myself, I like when authors break out of the mold, trying something different to make that particular branch of vampire their own. It really makes the story.

Raonaid @ gmail dot com

Laurie London 10:48 AM  

Stephanie, I'm not sure I want to see the remake either. Colin Farrell looks waaay too evil, a serial killer who imprisons women. Chris Sarandon's take on that character was much more seductively dangerous. Glad you enjoyed Embraced and Bonded!

Thanks, Karen, hope you enjoy Bonded! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi, Christa, thanks! I do approach them very similarly regarding structure. A novella just doesn't have the subplots a full-length story does, and you cut to the heart of stuff faster. No lolligagging. :-) I like to use the W-plot on all my stories: Inciting incident, change of plans, point of no return, major setback, climax/resolution. Before I start writing, I have a general idea of all of those, then I write to those turning points.

One thing that helped me with structure was to break down a short story I liked using the trial version of WriteWayPro. (I've since switched to a Mac, so I'm trying out Scrivener now.) I went through the short story and put each scene description on Write Way's digital notecards. This exercise helped me to visualize and understand the structure of a story that I loved as well as familiarize myself with the program. I wrote the first draft of the Christmas anthology story during the trial period of the software. It motivated me to write fast as I only had 30 days to use it before I had to buy it.

Laurie London 10:58 AM  

Hi Raonaid! Regarding thinking out of the box: yes and no. As I first wrote Bonded, I was writing mainly for me. I used the elements I liked about the vampire mythos as a reader and ditched the ones I didn't.

For instance, immortality was never that intriguing to me, so the vampires in the Sweetblood world, though they do live much longer than humans, can be killed and they do age. I'm sooo glad I constructed it that way as there are several "old" characters which have become some of my favorites: Chuck in Bonded by Blood and you'll meet Vik in the anthology story.

When you hear that editors want the same but different, I think that's what happened to me. I wrote a similar story (which means it's easier for them to market and easier for a reader to know if they'll like it or not), but it was different enough to make it stand out.

Danielle Gorman 11:47 AM  

Great interview! I am completely in love with this series. I loved Lily and Alfonso's HEA. I can't wait to see what's in store for Jackson. He really cracks me up.

Sheree 4:08 PM  

I love the covers of this series! Colorful, moody, and hot!

"Same but different", isn't that the mantra for so many entertainment media (books, movies, TV shows, etc.)?

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

Anna 4:30 PM  

An Ah-mazing interview I have not read this series yet but is goin on my TBR pile. Thx 4 such a fantastic giveaway


daydrmzzz 6:33 PM  

I've been seeing this book everywhere! The cover is gorgeous and the book sounds amazing. Thanks so much for the great interview and a chance to win.
Drmgrrl99 at yahoo dot com

Dr. Charley Ferrer 9:45 PM  


Your story sounds amazing. I will add it to my "read" pile.

Now, that bookmark Joan made is spectacular. Love the little teeth & drop of blood (at least that's what the little ruby looks like to me). I think I'll forget about Romantic Trading Cards and start collecting Joan's bookmarks.

Live with passion,

Doctor Charley...


Lolarific 9:56 PM  

I've drooled over this book since the first time I saw the cover, but now that I've seen Joan's bookmark with it I think I may need a mop to clean up the mess I've made!


Laurie London 10:43 PM  

Danielle, so glad you're enjoying the series!

Sheree, I'm thrilled w/ the covers, too.

Anna, thank you!

Dawn, thanks!

Doctor Charley, thanks, and I love Joan's book marks, too.

Lolarific, hahahaha. Love it!

StacieDM,  11:06 AM  

Hello Laurie!
I totally agree about wanting to read paranormal stories set in the contemporary world. I like the idea that there is something lurking in the shadows. I also like that the existence of your vampires has been kept a secret from most of the world. It's like the monster you believed to live in your closet as a child suddenly shows up in the flesh. Such a creepy feeling. Congratulations on the new release!

user1123 AT comcast DOT net

Megan 1:09 PM  

Laurie has been on my must read as soon as possible list! Thanks for the great blog.

megonski216 @ yahoo DOT com

donnas 4:34 PM  

Congrats on the release! Looking forward to reading it.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Mariee 6:49 PM  

Great interview! I can't wait to read this book. Love, love LOVE the cover!

marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

Joan Swan 3:34 PM  

WINNERS: I will email you! Congrats and I hope everyone will continue to stop by for more wonderful authors and giveaways!

#3 Christine: BONDED BY BLOOD

#11 Stacie DM
#9 Doctor Charley
#10 Lolarific
#13 Donna
#14 Mariee

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