Today, BLI’s very pleased to welcome author Regan Summers for a chat about her new book, Don’t Bite the Messenger. Regan talks for a bit about the adventures of her feisty protagonist, Sydney Kildare, and describes the dangerous environment found in her version of Anchorage, Alaska. Please give her a very warm welcome, and stay tuned at the end of this post for a special treat from Regan. ^_^
Alisha: Greetings Regan! Thank you so much for taking time out to visit BLI!
Regan: Thank you so much for having me! I’m so happy to be here.
Alisha: Can you please tell us a bit about Don’t Bite the Messenger–twitterstyle (140 characters or fewer)?
Regan: Messenger is the simple story of a hard-working girl and the handsome distraction and feuding vampires that stand between her and her dream.
Alisha: Rock on. Here’s a full description of the book for those whose interest has been piqued ^__^:
The vampire population may have created an economic boom in Alaska, but their altered energy field fries most technology. They rely on hard-living—and short-lived—couriers to get business done…couriers like Sydney Kildare. Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She’s careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island.
Her attitude—and immunity to vampires’ allure—have made her the target of a faction of vampires trying to reclaim their territory. Her only ally is Malcolm Kelly, a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she’s in trouble. Caught in the middle of a vampire turf war, Sydney has to count on Malcolm to help her survive, or the only place she’ll retire is her grave…
Alisha: Messenger has a very unique take on the setup of vampire society; for one thing, they must necessarily rely on human services to not only survive (e.g., be a blood source), but to thrive socially and financially. Which makes runners–human couriers for the vamps–both lucky and unlucky to be in a position to provide such important services. What types of people do you imagine end up as runners (or what kinds of circumstances lead them) in your world?
Regan: Runners value freedom above all else. They’re physical – you can hardly stop some of them from moving – and they can glide through their city like they’re operating on sonar. Beyond the standard dangers of the road, there are added risks to being a vampire courier, such as hijacking or falling victim to manipulate suckers.
It’s not a glamorous job, and you’ve got to win every night for years to make money at it. No parent dreams of their child growing up to be a runner, but ambitious, skilled kids at the loose ends of society can make a place for themselves in the ranks of a shop.
Alisha: Your protagonist, Sydney Kildare, is intense, independent, deadly, meticulous–and also witty and wry. Does any of her nature reflect your own? Are there major differences?
Regan: Oh, Syd’s far from an autobiographical character. We’re both focused, and I’d say we rely on our senses of humor to get through life, but she’s high energy and physically confident, where I’m more likely to step back and think through situations. Neither of us like to be backed into a corner, though.
Alisha: What kinds of protagonists draw you as a reader and as a writer?
Regan: I like confident, competent characters. People who’ve made something of themselves, even if it’s only a little due to their circumstances. I want to read about these determined people being taken out of their comfort zones or having what they love or have built threatened. I guess I like a fighter who has something they feel is worth fighting for.
Alisha: For a story featuring vampires, the far northern conditions of a place like Alaska make perfect sense. But it’s still so rare to see such! What interested you in setting your story in Anchorage?
Regan: Part of it is the old adage of writing what you know. I’m from Alaska, and it’s a colorful place even before you add vampires. The other part is that it just makes sense to me. I don’t like being housebound for a day due to bad weather. I can’t imagine being a powerful creature stuck behind drawn shades for half of every day for all eternity no matter how nice the house is.
Alisha: So very true. How do *you* spend those long, dark (vampire friendly!) Alaskan winters?
Regan: Daydreaming, mostly. A strong imagination can get you through an awful lot of gloom. And nothing beats a good game of Parcheesi. Strip Parcheesi, that is. Just kidding! (maybe)
Alisha: So, Don’t Bite the Messenger is the first in a brand new series of books. Do you have story arcs already in mind, or is the series direction pretty free-flowing?
Regan: I have the next few installments outlined, though I outline pretty loosely. I just finished the second story, and it unfurled more or less according to plan. A few more things got broken than I’d intended, and a certain charming somebody’s past turned out more complicated than I’d expected.
Alisha: Are there any other types of genres and tropes that you might like to work with in the future?
Regan: I have outlines for both a supernatural (not quite the same as paranormal) that spans several centuries, and a romantic epic fantasy. Oh, and there’s a demon-infested Western that’s been nagging at the back of my brain for awhile.
Alisha: Ooooh! Sounds like fun! ^_^ Regan, thank you for answering my questions! We very much appreciate your visit.
Regan: Happy to be here. Thank you for your time and for the great questions!
All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about Regan’s interview or tell us what you think are necessary qualities in a vampire courier (runner).
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, February 4th, 2012; and we will announce the winner on Sunday.