She agreed to a fake relationship, but the rules don’t address his secrets. Teaching beachside yoga classes feels like Wylie’s California dream. When an eviction notice sends her scrambling for a new place to live, she realizes life on the streets isn’t for the faint of heart. To raise money for a deposit, she strikes a promotion deal with a food truck vendor. An impromptu kiss proves she wants more than a side of fries from the man, but she needs to put her life back together before she can claim what she wants.
Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.
Vampires are attempting to integrate into human society. When Alec MacCarthy first meets a ‘haemophile’ in the flesh, it’s not the obvious dangers that frighten him.
What surprised you the most while writing this book?
Both when writing Blood Winter and its sequel Dark Summer (due for release 27/07/21) I was surprised by how much the characters changed from my original ideas for them. As the books progressed, the story allowed me to see who they really were. Terje got toned down a lot. Alec perhaps the opposite. I got to know them so well when from the off set I thought I had them and their trajectory all figured out. But whereas the bones of the story remained the same, their journey through it changed immeasurably. And for the better, I hope.
Why did you pick the setting you used for your book?
I’ve have gone walking and hiking in Scotland for many years. The wild, rugged remoteness of the landscape is a never-ending source of inspiration. I have long desired to visit the Cairngorm National Park where Alec’s decaying mansion of Glenroe is located, though have never so far got the chance. I have read much about it’s remoteness and beauty and known many people who have adventured there, however, so I know about both the powerful draw and the sometimes devastating affects of its isolation. There is a patch of snow somewhere in the centre that never melts (though even that is now threatened by global warming) which is unique in the British Isles. It seemed like the perfect location for these two outcast characters to discover both hard and comforting truths about themselves, each other and the world they live in. The city of Edinburgh features in the sequel Dark Summer too and this is one of my favourite, most romantic places to visit, full of history, sensuality and ghosts. I could not resist including it.
What is the sexiest trait of your hero(s)?
For Alec, his Heathcliffe-like brooding melancholy, of course. Oh and the Scottish accent. For Terje his beauty, strength and remoteness, just like the mountains.
What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?
My favourite scene is their first ‘trapped together’ scene in Blood Winter, where they are first snowed in to Alec’s mansion after a traumatic escape from dreadful situation. Alec is scared and furious, trapped in a house with a vampire who he is certain wants to do him harm. When Terje only seems both sad and curious, however, he is forced to face the reality of his character. The forced proximity then begins to open up both the impossible truths and tantalising possibilities that lie between them.
What scene did you have to cut but wish could have been included?
I was very lucky. No scenes that needed cutting were ones I particularly wanted to keep.
Tropes get a bad name, but they’re often the biggest draw for readers. What tropes do you love to write and read?
This is a hard one to answer because the draw of a book, for me, lies first in the characters and the quality of the writing before the plot and the tropes. But looking back I have to say that I most enjoy a Love Against The Odds story, the more challenging the circumstances the better. Making me believe in a romance that happens despite all of fate’s attempts to scupper it gives me the most emotional satisfaction. Similarly Enemies to Lovers or Second Chance can offer the same tantalising possibilities. And, as part of that, a Forced Proximity story often allows these against-the-odds romances to germinate in the most interesting ways. Pretty much all these tropes occur in Blood Winter, my debut romance novel, possibly for this reason. The sequel, Dark Summer, explores the Love Against The Odds trope in more detail.
What are your favorite genres/sub-genres to write in? Are there any you love to read but cannot write in?
I most love writing, above everything, Dark M/M Romance. Anything that feels real, dangerous and daring. These are also my favourite romances to read. There is a line, however (I don’t like my stories too graphically violent or torturous, either emotionally or physically – I still enjoy it as escapism after all) but I find darkness and danger add a spice to a romance that is impossible for me to resist. I have never quite figured out why I prefer M/M romance storylines to M/F or F/F ones, though there are one or two exceptions, as with everything. I’ve just always loved a gritty in-depth exploration of relationships between men, plutonic as well as romantic. A lot of my favourite books, TV and film have complex and interesting relationships between men, not always romantic. I honestly couldn’t tell you why, I just find it so interesting. I want ALL my characters and their relationships interesting, not just the men, obviously. But male relationships entice me the most as the story-driver. Don’t ask me why, because I simply don’t know. So I write M/M paranormal romances, mysteries and thrillers for the most part. And these are the ones I most prefer reading too, though I do struggle to find many of the level of quality I most enjoy. There are some very worthy exceptions out there though so I never turn down the chance at discovering a new author. As for genres I love to read but can’t write in, I struggle to think of any. I read and enjoy Mysteries, Psychological Thrillers, Paranormal, SciFi and Fantasy as well as M/M Romance and over the years have tried my hands at all these. I do find I have not made any real inroads or efforts to writing fantasy since my early twenties (I won’t tell you how many years ago that is but just take my word that it’s a fair few) because that genre I do find extremely hard work to write well.
Which do you love to write best: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?
Oh dialogue, without any question. I find it so easy to write and it’s instant access, both for me and the reader, to character’s motivations, personalities and intentions, as well a a perfect and effective way of delivering exposition, backstory and plot. I wish a story could be all dialogue. Perhaps I should try script writing?
Which do you hate to write: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?
Establishing setting and describing movement I dislike the most. Where the story is set impacts on everything from plot to character development . Moving them around that space and through time is also important and though you obviously don’t need much detail, you need enough to explain what’s happened without either losing the reader because you’ve explained too little or not enough. I find it immeasurably hard to include enough detail without making it boring, slowing the plot or resorting to cliche. It often takes me a fair few edits to get a passage describing action, movement or setting to a standard I can tolerate.
Excerpt from Lost in L.A.
A vendor in his early thirties leaned out of the window and asked for their orders.
Cynthia moved forward until she stood directly beneath him. “I’ll have the veggie wrap and a side of sweet potato fries.”
The man smiled. “Big calorie splurge, Cindy?”
Cynthia looked at Wylie and smiled. “Isn’t it cute how he calls me Cindy?” Without waiting for a response, she turned back to the vendor. “It’s in honor of my friend, Wylie. She’s reminding me what it’s like to be young, ambitious and impulsive.” The woman winked. “I just hope my metabolism is on board with this plan.”
Wylie swallowed as the vendor glanced at her with bright green eyes, but he dismissed her and focused on the customer at the front of his line. “Oh, I think you could take her down.”
Cynthia laughed and handed the man a credit card to pay for her meal. “That’s why people keep coming back to you, Nolan. Your food’s good, but your sense of humor is even better.”
“It must not be a high bar,” Wylie said. She kicked a piece of gravel near the curb and thought about how she would spend the remainder of her day.
The vendor laughed.
She looked up, meeting his bright green gaze. Shit, that snide comment came out louder than I thought. Embarrassedby her retort, she blushed, intending to apologize for being rude. Common courtesy—your mother taught you to be polite to strangers. The words stalled in her throat.
His charming grin and lively gaze hummed with amusement.
The longer she stared at the man, the more she feared they would remain strangers.
Amy Craig lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her family and a small menagerie of pets. She writes contemporary romances featuring intelligent heroines. She can’t always vouch for the men. In her spare time, she plays tennis and expands her husband’s honey-do list. Before pursuing writing, she worked as an engineer, project manager, and incompetent waitress.