Welcome. This is L.M. David and today I am interviewing Lindsay Pryor, author of Blood Shadows – Blackthorn Book I and Blood Roses – Blackthorn Book II. I especially like having Lindsay here because this is a genre that I absolutely love, vampires. With the exception, that is, of Preston. I would love to eject him into a realm occupied by the Cybermen from Dr. Who.
Okay, let’s get started.
Q. Tell me a bit about yourself.
A. I’m a British paranormal romance author and creator of the Blackthorn series. I’ve been writing for about thirty years but was first published six months ago after being discovered by my publisher (Bookouture) through Harlequin Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition. Readers and editors voted me into the final in both 2010 and 2011 with the first two books of the series.
I’m a part-time special needs teacher and live in the South-West of England with my husband and our house rabbit. I have a passion for animal welfare, films and am addicted to TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Dexter, and Being Human (UK).
Q. Your book, Blood Shadows – Blackthorn Book I, is about a society where vampires are third class citizens. What conditions do they live in?
A. To give you some context first, when the third species ‘outed’ themselves to humankind, a new segregation system was put in place. ‘Locales’ replaced previously divisible villages, towns and cities. Every locale is made up of four districts, each district spanning out from the nucleus where the ‘third species’ reside and are contained. Each district is divided by guarded borders that become increasingly secure the further away from the nucleus they are.
When the new system was set up it was with the agreement that, once the third species proved themselves not to be a risk, a merger could ensue. Because of prophetic whispers of a vampire uprising, this has never happened.
The Blackthorn series is based around one such locale consisting of Blackthorn, Lowtown, Midtown and Summerton. Blackthorn is the polluted, over-populated, rotten core of that locale. The vampires (and the fewer numbered lycans) who are forced to live there are given the dregs in terms of location, provision, opportunities and rights. It is also used as an overflow system for law-evading humans deemed unfit to reside elsewhere. It’s an extremely dark, lethal and violent place.
Q. Caitlin Parish is part of the Vampire Control Unit. What is the primary function of the Vampire Control Unit?
A. Once the new system was set up globally, each locale was assigned a Third Species Control Division (TSCD). This is the centre of law enforcement responsible for overseeing third species matters. The Vampire Control Unit (VCU) is just one division. It’s an elite and specialist field involved in tracking and convicting known vampiric law-evaders or those with detrimental influential power.
Q. Describe Caitlin Parish and her role in Blood Shadows – Blackthorn.
A. Caitlin Parish works for the Vampire Control Unit both as an agent on the street but also as a shadow reader (I will talk about that in a moment) in the interrogation room. She’s a young woman in an all-boys’ world in terms of the job she does, so she’s got to be strong, resilient and, in many respects, outdo everyone else just to prove herself worthy. She’s a workaholic and a loner – but then she’s seen the day of her death coming for a long time.
At first, Blood Shadows can come across as “a vampire agent hunting a bad vampire” scenario, yet it’s anything but that. I’ll spoil it if I disclose too much here. Basically, you just need to know that Caitlin has lost her parents to a mysterious creature both within seven years of each other. She’s convinced she’s next which is why she gets embroiled with master vampire, Kane Malloy.
Q. Kane Malloy is a master vampire. What is he like?
A. Kane is top of the VCU’s most wanted list. He’s dangerous, focused and, according to readers and reviewers, shockingly sexy. He’s anti-the system, but his true agenda remains uncovered until later in the series.
Master vampires are different to other vampires because they’re dual feeders – they feed on blood and energy. More powerful than other vampires, they don’t adhere to the laws of the Higher Order (vampire royalty). Needless to say, he’s the thorn in the side of anyone who wants to control him.
Q. Describe the ability to read shadows which Caitlin has.
A. Shadow readers are humans with an innate ability to read and interpret third species’ shadows. Shadows are the third species equivalent of souls. As well as basic DNA, it’s what differentiates them from humans.
A shadow reader can access the inner workings of a shadow like a recording of past actions and events, thus allowing them to search and analyse information. They need a pulse to unlock what is contained because a heart beat releases concentrated energy to make the contained recordings more vivid. Shadow readers are used in the interrogation room by the Third Species Control Division as a last resort to convict those trying to evade justice. It’s a very invasive technique so is only used if a detainee refuses to co-operate or if their confession conflicts with evidence.
Q. In the second book, Blood Roses – Blackthorn Book 2, how has the lives of vampires changed?
A. The series doesn’t work like that. Each of the first four books focuses on a different couple whose forbidden love is going to have major consequences for the future. The couples and their actions become increasingly interwoven as the series progresses, with the fate of the third species and humankind dependent on the decisions they make.
Q. Leila, in Blood Roses, is a rare and powerful witch. Tell me about her.
A. Leila lives in the privileged, human-only elite district of Summerton. She was brought up prejudiced against vampires and their imminent threat of overthrowing human power. Her grandfather brought up her and her two sisters. He was the holder of several prophecy books that foretold of the vampire uprising – so she’s had insider information.
She’s a witch – or an ‘interpreter’ to be politically correct – and as such, can read the archaic languages that her grandfather’s books are written in. On top of that, she also has a rare blood strain that makes her a serryn (more of that next).
Despite her serryn nature, she has shied away from fulfilling her role, refusing to have anything to do with vampires. There’s a lot behind that but, again, I won’t disclose it here.
Q. Describe the “serryn” ability.
A. A serryn is a witch and a temptress whose blood is poisonous to vampires. They’re incredibly dangerous and seductive and, on chemical level, attract and tempt vampires to bite. They’re not a particularly pleasant species, not caring whether they kill males, females or the young. The more vampires they kill, the more addicted they become until that’s all they can focus on.
They tend to be loners, disconnecting themselves from any family ties. Leila, however, is something of an anomaly because of her convictions.
Q. Caleb Dehain is a vampire with a dark past. What is his character about?
A. Caleb is shrouded in a lot of mystery through the story, including his motivations of why he’s the way he is. He can come across as very sinister, cruel and manipulative. Caleb used to be a serryn hunter and that makes quite a merciless and brutal character, but he has his reasons. He’s extremely powerful and influential in the Blackthorn underworld.
He’s forced to bring Leila to Blackthorn to save his dying brother. He immediately suspects what she is, but can’t kill her straight away as he wants to. The story unfolds from there.
Q. Of the two books, which character is your favorite and why?
A. I get asked this a lot. I honestly don’t have a favourite character and couldn’t even begin to choose. I love them all for very different reasons.
Q. In a world such as this, where werewolves, witches, vampires, and humans all share the same planet, what was the hardest part while writing the first two books in this series?
A. The world creation has been fairly straightforward. I started creating the series and Blackthorn itself over sixteen years ago, so it’s second nature now. I know it better than I know where I live.
I think the challenge has been more since publication. I originally wrote the series for myself, so I had to rethink about the execution of the stories and the overall series development when I knew the books were going to be published. Because I know the world so well, I had to think carefully about getting the balance right between revealing what needs to be revealed and when in the series and, in many respects, writing backwards to link all the books together seamlessly. Also, I have to keep each book as a standalone for anyone who reads the books out of sync whilst not constantly repeating myself for avid readers.
Q. What about this series will appeal to readers?
A. Can I cheat on this one and just include some review quotes? I think they sum it up better than I can:
“Blood Shadows is intense and dark, unlike any other vampire novel I’ve ever read…The Blackthorn series is urban fantasy dynamite.” ~ GraveTells
“There is a ton of sexual tension throughout the book, and the sex scenes are HOT. It’s passionate and intense. Weaved around the emotional romance is an amazing plot. It has a complex storyline with twists and turns. You won’t be able to put this book down, and you’ll be wondering what is going to happen up until the last page.” ~ Paranormal Opinion
“Blood Shadows blew my mind not only because the characters were emotionally intense and complex, but also the plot was a perfectly carved creation that’s twist and suspense kept me speechless.” ~ Seeing Night Book Reviews
“If you’re looking for a new PNR series that has a dark world and complicated characters, then you’ll want to grab a copy of this.” Fiction Vixen
“Everything is so well formed with its own history and culture that it really feels like I’m living in Blackthorn whenever I’m reading…five stars aren’t nearly enough to even begin to cover it.” ~ Marked by Books
“This concept is creative and different from other paranormal books I’ve read lately.” ~ My Paranormal Book Review
“I am officially addicted to this series. Why, you ask? Because Lindsay Pryor is my kind of fearless author. She isn’t afraid to “go there”, to create characters and situations that challenge me as a reader.” ~ The Demon Librarian
“Lindsay J. Pryor…writes paranormal romance mixed with urban fantasy the way I like it – clever world-building, intense characters and no easy options for them to take.” ~ Nocturnal Book Reviews
Q. Will there be more in this series following next book Blood Torn?
A. There most definitely will be. I’ve been signed for three books at the moment – both Blood Shadows and Blood Roses are out now and Blood Torn will been out in the Autumn. But, as I’ve mentioned, there are more to come.
Q. What advice would you give writers just starting out?
A. Write first and foremost for yourself and love the stories you create – that’s what will keep you unique and authentic. It’ll also help retain your passion for your stories through the long, challenging and demanding road to publication.
L.M. David: Okay, well that does it for this interview. Thanks, again, for stopping by and doing the interview.
Lindsay J. Pryor is a British Paranormal Romance author who writes dark, intense, multi-layered stories set in the dystopian world of Blackthorn.
Blackthorn really captured the imagination of Lindsay’s publisher as a fantastically vivid and complex world, one which readers will utterly lose themselves in. She paints this multi-layered world effortlessly, and uses it as the setting for intense forbidden romances.
Combining sizzling passion and dark, sinfully seductive vampire heroes, Lindsay J. Pryor’s writing is an exciting new find for those who love paranormal romance and urban fantasy. If you’re a fan of J.R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kelley Armstrong, Christine Feehan, Kresley Cole or Felicity Heaton then you’ll love Lindsay J. Pryor’s books too.
Following the critically acclaimed Blood Shadows, Blood Roses, book two in the Blackthorn series, was launched 26/4/13. Blood Torn will follow in the Autumn of 2013.
Her first three books have been signed by Bookouture. The Lorella Belli Literary Agency are representing translation and audio rights.
Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, when she quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. She thought she’d grow out of it but hasn’t yet.
Her writing was first discovered through Mills & Boon’s New Voices competition, where she was a finalist in both 2010 and 2011.
When not writing or teaching, Lindsay indulges her fascination with mythology and is a supporter of animal welfare. She’s Welsh but lives in the South West of England with her husband and their rescue bunny.