Hi, I’m Elizabeth Noble and I’m here today talking a bit about my newest release from DSP Publications, Code Name Jack Rabbit (book #1 of The Vampire Guard)
Thank you for hosting me today!
I made an interesting discovery while writing Code Name Jack Rabbit, book one of The Vampire Guard. You’d think writing a series off an existing series would be fairly easy, and it is in some ways but in others, it’s really hard.
When you first begin writing a series there is a lot of what I refer to as house construction and maintenance. One of the first steps is building the world and establishing the rules of the series. Of course, those things can be expanded upon later, but the foundation is laid in book one. The main characters are introduced and in the case of The Vampire Guard, some of the important secondary characters are introduced.
There are questions that must be addressed at the beginning of a series about the characters such as do they know one another already or are they brought together in the course of book one? If they do already know each other their interpersonal relationships with each other needs to be shown. Those relationships will likely change and grow in the course of the series, but the basics are laid out in book one. In each subsequent book, the reader needs to be reminded of these facts, so many are mentioned again and again in some manner.
If there is a story arc, book one is where it begins to take shape. The story arc can be a highly detailed plot spanning X number of books (I did this in Sentries http://bit.ly/1WKv6uA) or something as simple as commonalities tying the books together (as I did in Circles http://bit.ly/1WI8Phd). Series story arcs, at least in my case, are mutable and can usually developed over the course of the series. I have a few basic ideas, but I don’t necessarily write them in stone. That way if a different idea comes along I am free to take advantage of it.
So, what does all this have to do with writing a spin-off?
As it turns out, lots.
The Vampire Guard is a spin-off series of The Sleepless City (http://bit.ly/29DrCXc ) which I co-wrote with Anne Barwell. I took four (well five if you count the dog) of the characters and spun a tale that would put them in a different set of circumstances and viola: The Vampire Guard was born. I’ve jokingly told my senior editor it’s like writing my own fanfic!
There were issues and new discoveries the characters were faced with about the world of The Sleepless City that had to be reconciled to create The Vampire Guard. The Sleepless City series is a romance. The Vampire Guard is not, though there are romantic elements to the individual stories, romance is not the focus and most have a lower heat rating.
Because The Vampire Guard is published by DSP Publications, an imprint of Dreamspinner Press featuring books where romance is not the focal point, it was almost as if I switched publisher.
So far none of these facts where terribly difficult to deal with.
Now comes the hard part.
Readers of The Sleepless City are going to begin The Vampire Guard with certain expectations and questions about the characters. They’ll also have knowledge of prior events and will expect at least some of those events to be referenced and acknowledged. To not recognize readers of the previous series in such a way would be a terrible disservice to those fans.
However, I hope The Vampire Guard will gain new fans too. Since this series isn’t romance there are other readers who may (hopefully) pick up the series for its thriller/espionage elements.
The really difficult part of all this is balancing and explaining certain facts and events to new readers without boring the returning reader.
Yeah, that’s fun.
The thing is, there really is no perfect way to do that. Returning fans will read a sentence or two and get a giggle or a shiver depending on the situation. That same phrase may be slightly confusing to new fans. Some will take it as the first blocks of world building and expect more to come out in subsequent books—which it will. Others may feel they’ve missed something, and they sort of have.
This is the third book I’ve written with these four characters. Frankly, I’ve gotten to the point where I know them so well I can’t be objective about what to include in detail about their pasts and what to leave as a passing mention, or what to leave out completely. I’m fortunate in that my senior editor has a large pool of editors to draw from and found editors who haven’t read any of the books.
As a reader (and TV series watcher) I’m pretty tolerant. I’ve read and watched many series that originated with something else without knowing details from the original and enjoyed them very much. Generally if one is patient all those niggling questions about references are answered. There were some jokes and nods in series such as The Flash and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. that I didn’t catch because I’ve never read the comic books. That very thing added to my fun and enjoyment, being allowed to discover those little facts in the course of the series. I don’t need to know every Nth detail right from the beginning and that influences how I write. Sometimes that’s good, other times not so much.
If you have a question about this series or any others, please feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com I’m always more than happy to provide answers. If you want spoilers join my private Facebook group, On the Patio with Elizabeth Noble ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/1551582581800123/ ) and ask away, I’ll sing like that proverbial bird!
I hope all my readers, new and returning will enjoy The Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.
Code Name Jack Rabbit (book #1 of The Vampire Guard) by Elizabeth Noble
Release: July 12, 2016
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: TL Bland
Meet the newest members of the Vampire Guard, where legend and myth meet science and technology.
Jonas Forge, vampire. Once a spy and soldier, now a cop, Forge enjoys the life he’s built with his friends in Flint, Ohio.
Blair Turner, PhD. Blair, a vampire and computer hacker with exceptional skills, shares a powerful empathic bond with Forge, his soulmate.
Declan, vampire, ex-pirate, ex-fur trapper, thief, and con man. Declan is Forge’s former lover and soulmate to Lucas Coate.
Lucas Coate, MD, Flint’s medical examiner. A werewolf living amongst vampires, Lucas is also one of Forge’s best friends.
Their lives become complicated when an impending presidential visit throws them headlong into a world of high tech vampire spies and espionage. Recruited into the Vampire Guard by the secret society of the Akhkharu Nasaru, they uncover a werewolf terrorist organization known as the Qiguan.
Together they must thwart a murder attempt on the open waters of Lake Superior while tracking a previously unknown biological weapon controlled by the Qiquan—a weapon that may very well mean death for one of them.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1XiojqQ
Forge jerked out the chair beside Blair and dropped into it, looking up when Declan sat beside him. Lucas sat beside Declan. Lucas pointed at a stack of folders sitting at the middle of the table. “What are those?”
“All in good time, Dr. Coate. First let me reintroduce Kai Richter. His affiliation this century has been the BND, among other things,” Samuels said.
Kai nodded to them and sat beside the other man. “It’s a pleasure.” His voice was deep, smooth, and melodic, with a Germanic accent.
“The Bundesnachrichtendienst,” Declan explained. “German Federal Intelligence Service. They’re among the world’s leading experts in electronic surveillance.” He faced the other man. “And you’re what—Mossad?”
“How do you even know that?” Lucas asked.
Declan patted Lucas’s knee. The corner of his mouth twitched up. “You have your skills, mon cher, and I have mine.”
Samuels smiled. “This is Ori Bier. He and Kai have been bonded, what, seventy years or so? Though they’re both much older.”
Forge leaned forward. “You bonded during World War II?”
“We did,” Kai confirmed.
“You’re German.” Forge used one finger to indicate Kai then Ori. “And you’re…?”
“Jewish, and later Israeli, yes,” Ori confirmed.
Forge sat back and dropped his hands to his lap. “Oh.”
Ori laughed. It was a deep, hearty sound that set Lucas at ease. “That about sums it up. We discovered one another on a train transporting prisoners to a concentration camp.”
“Hitler was an asshole. I met him once. That’s all I have to say about that time,” Kai said. Without really knowing the man, Lucas could tell the subject was closed.
“I was born in 1841 and was one of the original Secret Service agents,” Samuels said. “My wife, Sophia, and I married and later became vampires. Happily, she and I are also bonded soul mates.” Samuels stood up a moment before the conference room door opened. “And here she is now.”
The smiling woman who swept into the room was nice looking, but not what anyone would call gorgeous. She had a mane of curly red hair that hung to her waist, a face full of freckles, and a straight, almost boyish, figure. Lucas noticed immediately that she wore bright red nail polish, a dark green smock, and jeans. Any strides Forge and Declan had made toward relaxing vanished the second Sophie
Review by Debbie Attenborough
Forge, Blair, Declan and Lucas are kidnapped and invited to join The Vampire Guard, a secret task force working to keep humans safe. Their joining this task force allows them to use their own particular skill sets in ways they are not in their current daily lives. It also brings them into contact with another secret society, one with much darker plans.
SO!! I always say different is good, and this is no exception. What’s different about it, is that Forge and Blair, and Lucas and Declan are already mated to each other, and this is NOT about their meetings and pairings. It’s about their recruitment to Akhkharu Nasaru, and their discovery of a plot to remove a huge number of werewolves who are more forward thinking and progressive in their packs. It’s about the Akhkharu Nasaru and what they do, what they have been doing for many centuries.
You are not fully aware of that bigger picture immediately, and I do like being kept waiting. I did love the being that was used for the “accidents” because we don’t get any (or none I have come across) with that supernatural being. I’m not saying what it is because that might give too much away!
The relationship between Forge, Declan and Blair (all vampires) and Lucas (who is a werewolf) is very close knit, and at times it did almost seem that Forge and Declan had a pairing, rather than Lucas and Declan, it’s really that close a thing. Forge and Declan have shared a home together for almost a hundred years and have a longer a history than that, so it makes sense they should be close.
The story moves along at an even pace and is well written from all four men’s POV. It’s not overly explicit, for a vampire/werewolf book and I am NOT filing it on the romance shelf. There is love, yes, but as I said at the beginning, these guys are already paired and fully bonded. A little bit of gore, when dealing with a captive wolf who does not wanna play nice, but not too much.
There were some things mentioned in the book, that happen many years previously. I would like to have known more about those things, but maybe that information will come out in future books.
This is the first in this series, and also the first I have read of this author. I should like to read more of both.
Star Rating: ★★★★
Meet Elizabeth Noble
Elizabeth Noble lives by the adage “I can’t not write”. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to write them down. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. Using a real love of scifi and urban fantasy highlighted by twisty plots she crafts stories taking place in a slightly altered version of our world.
When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She shares her little brick house with an adorable canine princess and her tabby cat side-kick. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians!) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotting her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.
Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.
Please visit Elizabeth Noble at:
Emotion in Motion: http://www.elizabeth-noble.com
Facebook group: On the Patio with Elizabeth Noble: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1551582581800123/
Elizabeth’s direct email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit The Vampire Guard:
The Vampire Guard website: http://elizabeth-noble-thevampireguard.weebly.com/
Email members of The Vampire Guard: email@example.com