Today it’s my pleasure to interview Charity Santiago, author of Blood Lust (Rapid City Wolves, Book 1), a Paranormal Romance.
Number of pages: 95
Word Count: 37,550
Cover Artist: Charity Santiago
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Eve came to Rapid City to escape her parents' messy divorce, but what she finds in South Dakota exceeds her wildest dreams- and nightmares. After Eve is attacked by a wolf outside her grandmother's house, she stumbles into a new and frightening existence as an alpha werewolf. Fated to lead the pack and obligated to choose a beta to lead beside her, Eve still cannot bring herself to forget Jericho, the mysterious vampire who saved her life. Will the wolves force Eve to choose between her destiny and her soulmate?
SKY: What inspired you to write this book?
CHARITY: I knew I wanted to write a new series involving either vampires or werewolves, but I couldn’t make up my mind. My dad suggested I write a story about a vampire falling in love with a werewolf, and even though the concept immediately brought to mind other stories like Underworld and Twilight, I figured I could give this series enough originality of its own to stand apart from similar themes we’ve seen in the past.
SKY: How did you come up with the title?
CHARITY: My brainstorming buddy, Tim, and I were trying to find a title that would grab people’s attention, and we settled on Blood Lust before we even knew what the book would be about! We wanted the title to convey the premise of the story, and attract those who were already fans of paranormal romance. Some alternate titles we considered were Vampire’s Lust and Immortal Lust, but in the end, there was just something about Blood Lust that felt right.
SKY: What made you choose the main setting for your book?
CHARITY: The setting for Blood Lust actually gave the series its name- Rapid City Wolves. I knew that werewolves would need a large forest to hunt in undetected, so I went through a list of national forests and tried to pick out the ones that would work best with my story. Rapid City, South Dakota appealed to me because it’s a fairly small town of only 70,000 people and it’s right in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest.
SKY: Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
CHARITY: Right now I’m working on Blood Oath, the sequel to Blood Lust. It’s set to release June 1st and we still have a lot of editing to do! Blood Lust was more about setting the tone for the conflict and getting the story rolling along, while Blood Oath intensifies the conflict and sets clear boundaries as far as which side characters stand on. I’m enjoying being able to delve deeper into Eve’s world. I can focus on more characters and develop their personalities, and I feel like readers will fall even more in love with Jericho in the second book.
SKY: What sort of personality does your heroine have?
CHARITY: Eve is an alpha, but in Blood Lust she has to kind of ease into the role, because she’s only just found out she’s a werewolf. One of my favorite scenes in Blood Lust is the part where Eve is attacked by the wolf that bites her and turns her into a werewolf. It would have been easy for Eve to play the helpless, screaming victim, but instead she fought back with everything she had. She takes all these new developments in her life in stride. Some people mistake her kindness and calmness for weakness, but that’s not the case at all. Just because Eve isn’t standing on tabletops, shouting out orders, doesn’t make her a less capable leader. I like her style and the way she adapts seamlessly to any new situation.
SKY: Tell us about your favorite writing environment. Is it indoors, outdoors, a special room, etc.
CHARITY: I feel like such a diva when it comes to writing! Everyone thinks I should just be able to write for an hour, put my work aside to go feed the kids, and then get right back into the writing groove, but that’s not the case at all. The more interruptions to my writing, the more likely I am to get writer’s block. As a result, I do a lot of my writing at night after everyone else has already gone to bed. I have a computer desk, but I prefer the couch in our living room, and I tend to use my Neo for writing more than my laptop. I find it so much easier to write when I don’t have the distraction of the internet or Facebook.
SKY: What sources do you use for research?
CHARITY: The internet is the best resource a writer could ever hope for. For the Rapid City Wolves series, I did a lot of research on South Dakota and Rapid City in particular. Rapid City has one of the best networks of websites I’ve ever seen! I was able to view maps of the city so I could realistically plan my characters’ travels, and many actual, real-life businesses in Rapid City make an appearance in Blood Lust, to include the Delmonico Grill, Firehouse Brewing Company, and Ifrit’s Hookah Lounge. I did research on various real estate websites before I decided where Eve’s house would be located, and I even looked up the weather in Rapid City before deciding what time of year to set the book. I couldn’t be more happy with the results of all my research.
SKY: Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
CHARITY: I do write books in series, and Blood Lust is the first book in the Rapid City Wolves series. I’ll be focusing on Rapid City Wolves for a while, what with the second book, Blood Oath, coming out on June 1st. But later this year, I do plan to start another fantasy trilogy that runs along the same lines as the Mortal Instruments series- young adult urban fantasy with a touch of romance.
SKY: Great interview, Charity! Thanks for joining me today.
As I pulled into the driveway, my headlights illuminated the barn door, which was unlatched and standing open. I frowned and stopped the car. Gram usually kept the barn locked up tight at night. There were too many bears, mountain lions and various other predators prowling the Black Hills to leave the horses without protection.
After some hesitation, I moved my foot back to the gas pedal and turned the steering wheel, driving up to the barn and angling the car so that the lights were shining on the double doors. I shifted the car into park and leaned forward, trying to see inside. The barn door wasn’t opened wide enough for me to see anything, so I sat there for a moment.
I was very likely overreacting. Gram probably just forgot to latch the door, and it had drifted open after she’d already gone to bed.
I grabbed my cell phone and got out of the car. As I walked closer to the barn, I knew immediately that something was wrong. The horses inside were milling around, the sound of their hoof beats frantic in the cool night air.
I pulled the barn door open, trying to remember which side the light switch was on, and froze as I saw two glowing eyes in the darkness.
There was a muck rake leaning up against the opposite barn door, and my hand went to it instinctively. I backed away, slowly, trying not to draw any attention to myself. Gram had always said that the worst thing to do when encountering a wild animal was to run.
As the creature moved into the beam of my headlights, I could see that it was a wolf- the biggest wolf I’d ever seen, with startling green eyes so vivid that they almost didn’t look real.
My first thought was, This isn’t happening.
It was impossible for a wolf to be that big- and I was pretty sure wolves didn’t have green eyes, either. Was I dreaming? Was this just another cabin-in-the-woods nightmare?
My hand tightened on the rake, and the wood was rough against my fingers. The wolf stalked me, advancing as I backed away, the hackles on its neck rising.
It suddenly lunged at me, without any warning whatsoever.
I had no time to think- I just grabbed the rake in both hands and thrust it out in front of me, the handle colliding with the wolf’s muzzle mid-leap. I fell backwards onto the hood of my car, my cell phone spurting from beneath my fingers as I fought to maintain my grip on the rake.
The wolf was half on top of me, scrabbling at my legs as he snapped his jaws repeatedly. I shoved the rake handle into the wolf’s mouth and pushed as hard as I could. I heard it gag as its jaws were forced open by the wooden handle.
Summoning my strength, I forced the wolf off me, sending it sprawling in the grass, and ran for the driver’s side door. I managed to yank it open, but as I was climbing inside, the wolf’s teeth closed on my leg through the denim of my jeans. I screamed and kicked at the animal, but he only gripped tighter and pulled, dragging me from the car. Still kicking, I grabbed onto the steering wheel and held on for dear life. With one fist I pounded on the steering wheel, sounding the horn in short, sharp bursts, praying that somebody would hear. I could feel the wolf’s fangs sinking deeper into my leg, and I started screaming, still clutching the steering wheel like a lifeline.
When the wolf finally let go of my leg, my entire lower half hit the ground with a spine-jarring impact. I lost my grip on the steering wheel and fell to the ground beside the car. Far from defeated, I grabbed the rake again and swung it awkwardly, missing the wolf and hitting the car door.
The wolf leaped at me again, and for the second time, I wedged the rake inside its jaws, narrowly preventing it from biting me.
In one abrupt, breathless moment, a black blur slashed across my vision, and suddenly the weight of the wolf was off me and the rake was clattering to the ground by my feet. I’d been screaming so loud that the sudden stillness rang in my ears. I scrambled upright, wincing at the pain that shot through my injured leg. Although they were outside of the illumination of my headlights, I could see two dark shapes- the wolf, which was slightly lighter in color, and the black blur, rolling around on the ground together. I was too far away to tell what kind of animal the second creature was, or if it was an animal at all- although the growls and snarls it was emitting certainly indicated it wasn’t human.
I knew I had no time to waste, and I used the steering wheel to pull myself upright. I was about to fall into the car when I hesitated. If I got into my car, the horses would still be unprotected. I couldn’t leave them like that.
I yanked my keys free from the ignition, then grabbed the rake and hobbled towards the barn. At any moment I expected the wolf to attack me from behind, but I managed to reach the barn door without incident, and pulled it shut behind me, bolting it from the inside.
About the Author
I first discovered the world of self-publishing in February 2011, when my 7-month-old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. During his stay in the hospital, I tried to keep us both entertained by downloading several books on my Kindle and reading them out loud.
I read a number of self-published books and realized that I had an opportunity to share my writings with the world. I soon decided to quit my full-time job in the insurance and financial services industry, stay home with my son and write. It was the best decision I've ever made. My son's health has improved drastically, and I've never been happier.
I prefer to read and write YA fantasy, romance, and paranormal romance. The next book in my Rapid City Wolves series, “Blood Oath,” will be released for Amazon Kindle on June 1, 2013.
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