Today I am hosting Allison Kraft, author of Destined, for an interview and giveaway. Enjoy!
Why did you make the setting for Destined on the Titanic?
I’ve been fascinated (more like obsessed) with the ship since I was young. I first got interested when the wreck was found in 1985, and have devoured everything I can find about it ever since. There aren’t a lot of novels set there, and even fewer time travel stories. Time travel’s another interest of mine, and the idea came to me one day of writing a time travel romance that featured the ship. I suppose it came from the “what if” idea of how I’d react if I found myself on the ship, knowing what I do about its fate. Would I try to change history? Could it be changed? Should it?
Which came first the characters or the plot?
The plot. The initial idea was to write a novel about a vampire slayer in 2012 who gets sent back 100 years into the past and onto the Titanic. I know “vampires on the Titanic” sounds a little wacky, but I never imagined Destined any other way. One aspect of the story is that the vampire Apolline blames for her mother’s death is on board. She has the opportunity to get off at the final port and save herself, but stays because he’s there: if she kills him in the past, she might save her mother’s life in the future.
What is it about paranormal creatures that you love to read/write about?
I’ve always been intrigued by the paranormal, starting with ghost stories when I was younger. (Christopher Pike was one of my favorites.) As I got older, I got really into vampire fiction (Anne Rice, then the Anita Blake series), and have been hooked ever since. I love the magical aspect of the paranormal: that they’re stronger and faster than we are, that they’re immortal (in some cases), that they can do things we as humans can never do. And okay, I admit I also like that they tend to be written as incredibly attractive. ;)
What do you think are important attributes of a strong female main character?
A strong heroine should be independent and unafraid to speak her mind. Even better if she’s a little snarky – I love a good sense of humor, and I tend to write that into most of my heroines. But most important, especially in romances, I feel a strong female character shouldn’t need a man to survive. Falling in love is great, and there’s nothing wrong with needing the other person, but that need shouldn’t become the be-all, end-all of her life. A character is more interesting if there’s a good balance of strength and vulnerability. One of the things that makes a person strong is how they handle their weaknesses.
What makes your vampires different/similar to those in other pop culture vampire books, TV shows, and movies?
I stuck pretty closely to the traditional idea of vampires. I wasn’t looking to write a new mythology with this book, so I kept to what most people expect. They drink blood, avoid the sun, are faster and stronger, live for hundreds of years and are killed by a stake to the heart. I’ve written other books where I twist that around some, but in Destined I kept it simple because I wanted the focus to be on the Titanic and the romance that develops. The one big difference is that, in most paranormal romances, one half of the couple is a vampire or werewolf or some other supernatural creature. In Destined, the romance is between two humans (vampire hunters, but still humans)
Did you research the events of the Titanic before writing?
Oh yes, most definitely. In a way, I’ve been researching the disaster most of my life, but once I decided to write Destined, I got online and researched the hell out of it. I bought every book I could find, read every website, stalked research message boards and set TiVo wishlists to record every documentary that aired. I’m a fan of the Titanic above all (if you can be a fan of something so tragic), and my primary goal was to write something that would not only entertain the reader, but would honor the ship and the people who lived and died on it. The only fictional characters in the 1912 portion of Destined are the two main characters and the vampires: everyone else is a real historical figure that sailed on the ship. I set the book primarily in Second Class, something that isn’t done very often, so I wanted to be sure my research was as accurate as possible. I had deck plans, menus, clothing photos, etiquette books, timelines, biographies, ... I was a big nerd, basically.
What are you currently working on?
I’m editing two different books right now, with the aim to release at least one by early 2012. One is the start to an urban fantasy series (vampires again – they’ve always been my go-to paranormal creature) and the other is a light mystery romance (this time with ghosts - think Janet Evanovich meets Medium).
Thanks for stopping by Allison!
While flying across the Atlantic on the centennial anniversary of the Titanic's tragic maiden voyage, Apolline Greer, last in a long line of vampire hunters, finds herself suddenly transported from her airliner cabin to an eerily familiar ocean liner cabin—as well as the entirely unfamiliar body of her ancestor, Noelle Greer. Upon learning that she is, in fact, on board the very ship she’s been fascinated with all her life, she knows there's only one thing to do: get off as soon as possible.
But whether by destiny, freak coincidence or a really vivid dream, Apolline finds that her trip back in time comes with three very good reasons to stay on board: Alexander Walker, a handsome and charming fellow vampire hunter; Cristof, the vampire that has tormented her family for generations and very likely killed her own mother; and Sasha, the vampire Noelle was sent to kill.
Time, however, is not on Apolline's side. The Titanic is on a collision course with destiny, and she only has four days to complete her quest. Sasha and Cristof become more elusive as each day passes, while her feelings for Alexander become increasingly complicated. With the iceberg looming ahead, Apolline finds herself not only racing against time to save her mother, but falling deeper for a man who probably won't survive the disaster.
Author bio: Allison Kraft lives in west central Florida with her family and four cats. She taught herself how to read at the age of three (with a little help from PBS) and has been a devourer of books ever since. In college, she discovered that, as much as she loved to read about vampires, witches, ghosts and time travel, writing about them was even more fun. In addition to writing and reading, she’s a TV junkie, technology fanatic, crazy cat lady, music lover and amateur designer/photographer.
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