Today is the release date for Colleen Gleason’s next installation in her paranormal romance series: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles. While I’ve been complaining for a while that I think vampires series are a bit played out, this series features fabulous vampire slayers a la Buffy Summers, AND this trilogy is set in the 1920’s, a unique and fascinating time period. Here is Colleen to tell us a little about this new trilogy and the Gardella family legacy:
1 – Tell us a little bit about the Gardella family. Who are they? What is their legacy?
The Gardellas are a family of vampire hunters. Unlike the mythology of another vampire slayer of well-known repute, the Gardella legacy isn’t quite as discriminating–there are many Venators, or vampire hunters, at any given time, rather than one “Chosen” one.
Not everyone in the family is called to be a vampire hunter. And each person can either accept or reject the calling.
The branches of the family are far-flung, and a “born” Gardella Venator can pop up anywhere. However, the direct line of descendants from Gardeleus–the first vampire hunter, who originated in Rome during the first century–are the most powerful of the Venators, and one is always the figurehead and leader of the group
2 – What was the inspiration for the Gardellas? What’s the hook?
I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer years ago, and I loved the juxtaposition of her normal life versus that of her calling–just as we see over and over again in other superhero mythology. I’m also very attracted to historical settings and characters.
So, one night, when I put on Cinderella with my daughters, I had the thought…what if, when the clock was striking midnight, Cinderella had to leave…not because her magic spell was breaking, but for a much more interesting reason: she had sensed the presence of a vampire and had to go take care of it?
All I could think was…how much fun would that be??
That was how the initial five-book Gardella Vampire Chronicles series was born. I always intended to write several sets of connected books–each set in a different time period, each focusing on a different female Venator.
3- The first five books were set in Regency-era England. What made you decide on the Roaring 20’s for this new chapter in the series?
I’d always wanted to write something set in the Roaring Twenties. What a fascinating, visually-beautiful time period. I love the intrigue of the speakeasies, the music, the fashion–the hats!–and thought it would be a great mashup to have vampire hunting among the gangsters.
Although I have another trilogy plotted out as well (set in Elizabethan England), and will someday write that one, I chose to move to the ‘20s right after ending the Victoria series because of some loose threads/beloved characters. People wanted to know what happened after As Shadows Fade (#5 of the Victoria Chronicles), and this was one way of answering those questions.
4- Sebastian Vioget, one of my favorite characters from the first series makes an appearance in the series. What do you think make Sebastian such a favorite among Gardella readers?
And he’s also mysterious, charming, disreputable…and by the end of the original series…more than a little angsty. He’s the consummate bad boy, and we never knew what to expect from him.
5- How did you research the time period?
I read and read and read. I got several pieces of documentation and literature that were written and printed during the time period. I went nuts buying books about the Twenties–including a book on millinery.
One of the things I really enjoy doing for research, aside from reading, is looking at photos and advertisements from the time period. Obviously, this is much easier to do for the 1920s than it was for the early 19th century…and so a lot of my research was visual. Studying images helped me better imagine my characters and setting
Thank you! I constantly remind myself that the characters are in a different place and time–with different clothing, different surroundings, different limitations, different culture and mores. And whenever I can, I remind the reader–subtly I hope–of how the characters’ lives are so different from ours. Also, the smallest details, when used lightly and judiciously, I think help to set the scene and create a strong sense of world.
7- The sensibility in this novel is much different from the first series. Of course, the time has changed. How did the evolution of women’s rights, mindset, attitudes impact the way you approached writing Macey?
You’re right–the entire feel and culture is very different in this novel than in the Victoria books. In Regency-era England, Society women were, of course, meant to marry…and that’s it. There wasn’t really any other acceptable options for an upper class woman. And for those of the lower classes, many of the same restrictions were in place–legally, a woman was hardly her own person.
However, as we know, the culture of the flapper really changed the way women of the early 20th century were perceived and acted. We’re talking about a time where women are no longer wearing restrictive clothing, where they are smoking and drinking and working jobs, going to college, having sex, and hanging out in nightclubs–both legal and illegal ones. They lived in their own rooms or flats at boarding houses, they drove their own cars, they even got the right to vote!
Macey is a completely different character than Victoria. One of the things that was important to me when writing this spin-off series was not to make her “Victoria Reincarnated.” Having the trilogy set in the ‘20s helps–because Macey’s very environment, and what’s acceptable and what isn’t, is so utterly different from that of Victoria’s.
That’s not to say she won’t have some of the same sorts of conflict. All superheroes have many elements of conflict that are the same. And most women have the same sorts of conflict in their lives as well–regardless of when they lived.
8- How many books are planned in this series?
There will be three books about Macey: Roaring Midnight, Roaring Shadows, and Roaring Dawn.
9 – The covers of the first series, and this one as well, are so striking and beautiful. Do you work with a particular artist?
Thank you. The artist did an amazing job with the concept of these covers. For the Roaring trilogy, we wanted them to have the same feel as the original covers–but also to clearly indicate the time period. Since the ‘20s are so easily recognizable by the fashion, it wasn’t difficult to do.
10 – What’s next for Macey Gardella?
Well, she’s got to settle in to her new role–which she accepts at the very end of Roaring Midnight. There will be repercussions for her decision, and probably some people will be hurt by it. And then we have to attend to Sebastian Vioget and his legacy as well.
ETA: Colleen has agreed to give one lucky US based winner a signed copy of any of her backlist. Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter!