It is my pleasure to present to you this week an interview with sexy vamp writer, Nicole Hadaway, on writing novels, her new book Release, the sequel, Return, and her incredible spotlight with the Queen of Vampires, Anne Rice.
I first came across the writings of Nicole Hadaway last fall and was immediately intrigued with her vampire novel, Release, which involves vampires rescuing Jewish children in the heart of WWII. She fluently crafted character and plot, and weaved them into a unique vampire story—proving it can still be done. Her flair for conflict and intimate struggle draws suspense and keeps the reader enthused for resolution, which absolutely packs a twist at the end.
Please welcome my guest, Nicole Hadaway:
COLE: I read your novel, Release, thoroughly enjoyed it, and would like to know what drove you to write Release and was it the same drive throughout writing the book, or did your motivation change?
HADAWAY: The character of Miranda had been in my head for over 20 years, and during that time I always wanted to write a story about her but couldn’t think of an original one in which to put her. When I finally came up with one, I wasn’t certain how to write a novel—it’s quite a daunting task, picking a voice, describing what’s going on in a character’s head, and not just writing something like, “Once upon a time there was a vampire named Miranda and during WWII she did all kinds of things like meet a guy and save children from concentration camps. The End.” Once it clicked, how to write a scene, I was off and running and the same motivation—finally getting an original story down on paper—saw me through to the end.
COLE: How did you come up with the natural conflicts between your characters—priests vs. witches, vampires vs. humans, Nazi’s vs. evil beings…okay, maybe not so different, but the tone to Release seems to be about moral struggle vs. intimate needs. Is this something you worked at or did the flow come natural?
HADAWAY: I like reading novels that have symbolism, deeper themes, and things that make you think. Not to say I don’t enjoy lighter reads, but even what I consider lighter novels, like Bridget Jones’ Diary, have tongue-in-cheek humor and comparisons to Pride and Prejudice. I wanted my story to make people think and highlight some different ideas: who are the real monsters in the world? Is there one true religion? What does one do with an entire eternity? I honestly didn’t map out a plan for the themes, rather they just came out when they did; although I did make certain when I edited that some ideas weren’t repeated (too often!).
COLE: It worked well for you. But why did you include other supernatural creatures into your story? Weren’t bloodsuckers and Nazi’s enough?
HADAWAY: I believe that supernatural creatures are akin to MTV in the 80’s—too much is never enough! Also, I found it hard to justify the existence of vampires, yet not allow any other kind of supernatural creatures to exist. While it took a lot of time to do the world-building, to create how each being came into existence, and what strengths and weaknesses they possessed, the up-side was having a host of different creatures which allowed me to showcase the different personalities of my characters—in addition to giving them a great mix of supernatural powers with which to fight the Nazis. And that’s always a good thing. [smiles…no fangs that I can see]
COLE: Which muse did you have secret connections with for the brilliant idea to set your story in WWII? I’d like to contact him or her.
HADAWAY: Tanya Huff.
COLE: Hold on…I’m googling her now…phones ringing…
HADAWAY: In a way—not directly, mind you!
COLE: Oh, well the line’s been disconnected anyhow—isn’t that just like a muse. Go ahead, please continue.
HADAWAY: When I lived in Europe, I became addicted to the TV show Blood Ties, which is based upon her Blood Books series. My addiction followed me back to the States, and in a fit of BT withdrawal, I bought a few of the books, which really delved into the main vampire’s history. She described where the character was during certain important points in history, and that lead me to wonder about Miranda’s own history, and what she had done during major historical events. I made up a tale in which she thwarted an evil plot during WWII with a host of supernatural creatures, and thus the story for Release was born.
COLE: It is an excellent plot. What is your earliest memory of vampires and how do you think that shaped your writing aspirations?
HADAWAY: Hmmm, that’s a good one. I have to say that I think it was Count von Count on Sesame Street—my dad named our first dog after his wolf, Yuba. From there I remember seeing the animated adaptation of Bunnicula on the ABC Weekend Special, and the biggest influence on my writing career was my dad taking me to see Fright Night in the movie theater when I was 12…nearly 13—yeah, it was rated R. Don’t ask me to explain what my parents were thinking on that one!
COLE: Parents usually don’t, or they have an alternative agenda, right?
HADAWAY: [smiles] There’s just something about vampires, the seductive beauty and deadly powers that captures my (and many others’) imagination.
COLE: You are working on the sequel to Release, titled Return. Is there anything you can share with us about this novel?
HADAWAY: I have a teaser posted on my blog, though it may change as the novel is edited! Return centers on Miranda’s marriage, which is scheduled to take place in New York City during the fall of 2001.
COLE: What type of research supports the creation of your novels? I’ve heard you visit New Orleans—are there any other places or books that inspire you?
HADAWAY: [rubs her chin with searching eyes]
COLE: [maybe she just makes her stuff up like I do]
HADAWAY: I’ve always had an active imagination, which has been fueled largely by books and movies—it seems with writing, all those obscure and interesting facts and stories I’ve collected through the years which made me an eccentric have finally found a home! A few of my inspirations: Fright Night and The Lost Boys (of course!), Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (Way!), Preston and Childs Agent Pendergast novels, Anne Perry’s Amelia Peabody series, ancient Egypt, Celtic myths, Wicca religion, Judeo-Christian legends and angelic lore, and French Impressionism. Facts that support my inspirations are largely found on the Internet (yay for Wikipedia!), though nothing can replace a good old-fashioned library with its stacks of reference materials, Dewey Decimal System, study desks, and the quiet. It also helps that I’ve been able to travel to many of my settings during my life—New York City, Dublin, and London—for which I am ever grateful.
COLE: I watched Lost Boys until the movie melted—could have been the television’s revenge. But back to writing, a book is a big challenge for many because there are several stories one has to spin together into a bigger story and still keep the reader tuned in and turning pages. What is your most difficult obstacle in writing a book and how do you overcome that?
HADAWAY: With Release, I had an idea of where the novel would start and end. I also knew that I needed some characters as catalysts for certain events, and while researching WWII and Nazi Occultism, I was able to locate specific individuals during that time which led me to develop fictional characters. With Release, I was lucky in that the muses sang, and the middle points and scenes came relatively easy for me. With Return, I knew the beginning, a bit of the middle and the end, but it was very hard to think of the interim scenes, and what I needed to put in them. I forced myself to write scenes down, but I wasn’t really ‘feeling’ the novel until I quit and wrote a few short stories, featuring Miranda and her brother and some of their early adventures, when I finally got my groove on for Return. I felt like I was really in the novel again. Things are clearer, and though I have to go back and revise some scenes, I’m liking it more and I think going back to Miranda and Cray’s roots helped.
COLE: I think you make a good point in regards to writing obstacles, by taking a break penning short stories for inspiration and/or to get back on track. I’m also wondering how did your former career as a bloodsu…, I mean lawyer help you with your novels?
HADAWAY: Well, I learned to suck blood in law school.
COLE: I bet you drained them fast.
HADAWAY: I received the highest scores several times. [long incisors peek beneath a grin] I also learned researching and writing techniques. Of course, anyone can learn how to do research. But I think that the amount of writing a lawyer has to do on a daily basis, not just briefs and legal memos, leases or contracts, but also communications through email—wherein you have to get your point across and communicate effectively (though often times carefully!), helps you become efficient in your writing.
COLE: Right…otherwise one might get sued.
HADAWAY: Or lose clients, and we wouldn’t want lawyers to be out of work, having to turn to writing to make a living!
COLE: Good point.
HADAWAY: It also helps me understand the relevant ‘facts’ that the reader needs to know and how to present them in a logical, yet entertaining matter. Creative writing doesn’t figure too much into law, though creative fact-presentation is quite another matter—[grins], but there are judges and lawyers who attempt to make their decisions somewhat entertaining. One bankruptcy decision I read said something like the following,
“…and that night both an assassin’s gun and the debts of a lifetime were
discharged in an instant.”
COLE: Judges and lawyers that entertain…[nods with a distant look] a market that might just get us out of the recession.
HADAWAY: Shh, Erin. Don’t give’em any ideas. I like it here without too many legal types, even though we lawyers are a very literary bunch who love to read—many of my former colleagues were members of book clubs and I’d never have to go far to find out what new releases, murder mysteries, and so forth were good or popular. When the Harry Potter craze hit, half the law firm was into it! Even the Supreme Court quotes Shakespeare in their legal decisions.
COLE: Excellent. And here is another excellence: when you discovered the famous author, Anne Rice featured you on her blog about your review of her new book, Angel Time—seriously, what did you do and who was the first person you told?
HADAWAY: I checked it for myself, and sat at the computer in disbelief for about ten minutes. Then I called my mom—Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire was one of her favorite books, and after she read it, she walked around with it for weeks in her head. She was thrilled, needless to say!
COLE: Funny, my mother is still recovering from my horror modeling on the LGP’s Howl Anthology. So, you have succeeded in publishing a great, first book—do you have any advice to give to authors regarding the publication of their first book?
HADAWAY: Keep at it, and don’t ever get discouraged by rejections. Don’t be afraid to try something off the beaten path, and while taking criticism, remember writing (and reading) is subjective—one man’s nectar is another man’s poison. Don’t be afraid to write what and how you think is best, in a style you like, and damn the ‘rules’!
COLE: Rules…who needs’em. Which brings me to publishing—I almost wish there were rules. Why did you choose small press publishing over self-publishing?
HADAWAY: I’m used to having a second set of eyes review my work and actually, I feel very ‘safe’ working that way. It was great to have an editor who had invested interest in making certain my work was the best it could be, getting a second opinion on things. I also like being a part of a team, and with my publisher, it’s certainly that way—much better and a lot less lonely than doing everything by myself!
HADAWAY: Vamplit is also British, and I was raised (by my English-teacher mother) to believe that the English were the summit of literature, having produced the likes of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dickens, Austen, the Bronte sisters, Agatha Christie, and a host of others. Having a British publisher was therefore a great compliment to my work and ‘I’m loving’ working with Vamplit.
COLE: Let’s just say you are a wicked, sexy vamp—what would go down in a dark alleyway between you and Buffy the vampire slayer?
HADAWAY: What’s going down—Buffy for sure!
HADAWAY: Although I admire her and would probably tell her so, before I turned into a fog and enveloped her, only to turn solid again with my one hand on her stake and the other on her head, about to snap her neck. My vampire sense of survival would win out and she’d be toast!
COLE: I’ll bring the butter. Nicole Hadaway, it was a great pleasure having you and I want to thank you for taking the time to answer questions and share your vamp writing world with us. Release is a fantastic read and we look forward to the sequel, Return. You rock.
HADAWAY: Thank you Mrs. Cole. If you’d like a chance at a FREE copy of my book, Release, please visit me at my blog, All Things Smart and Scary, become a follower, and leave me a comment about what you like in vampire books or what your favorite vampire movie is.
Click for a FREE download of my story New Orleans, 1842(featuring my protagonist, Miranda) at Smashwords.