Sara: How would you describe your Blades of the Rose novels, for readers who haven’t heard of them before?
Zoe: The clinical description? Paranormal historical adventure romance. My favorite description? Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft with hot sex. Heh. The Blades of the Rose is a secret organization of men and women who travel the globe studying and protecting the world’s magic. There are powerful, ruthless enemies who want to enslave and exploit magic for their own selfish purposes, but the Blades fight on the front lines to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Every Blades of the Rose book is full of action, adventure, danger, magic, diabolical gadgets made with Victorian-era technology, sexy heroes, kickass heroines, and some hot, hot love scenes. If you’re looking for a good time, pick of a Blades of the Rose novel.
Sara: How would you describe each of your main characters in three words?
Captain Gabriel Huntley (WARRIOR): gruff, veteran, honorable
Thalia Burgess (WARRIOR): confident, determined, tomboy
Bennett Day (SCOUNDREL): clever, sensual, exuberant
London Harcourt (SCOUNDREL): intelligent, curious, eager
Nathan Lesperance (REBEL): strong-willed, passionate, isolated
Astrid Bramfield (REBEL): capable, cautious, ferocious
Catullus Graves (STRANGER): genius, dandy, reserved
Gemma Murphy (STRANGER): journalist, perceptive, independent
Sara: What sets your series apart from the rest of the Paranormal Romance genre?
Zoe: I don’t think any other books have the combination of adventure, magic and history that you’ll find in the Blades of the Rose series. They’re full of fun action, and the paranormal elements involve myths and magic from all around the world. Looking at the covers, you can tell that these books are different from other romances, and that makes them unique and refreshing. The Blades novels are new territory for romance, and I think that’s a good thing. Readers can embrace both subgenres that they know and enjoy as well as explore books that are unlike anything they’ve ever read before.
Sara: Tell us a little about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Zoe: Plotter, all the way! There’s definitely room for improvisation when I write, and I frequently do, but when I sit down to write a book, I need to know the major story beats and character arcs. Because Blades books are full of adventure and questing, it’s important that I know where I’m going so that my characters don’t just wander around. I’m kind of awed and frightened by writers who get to work and have no idea where their stories are going, and allow them to simply happen. Maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo, and Virgos like organization.
Sara: Where did the idea for the Blades of the Rose come from? Are they novels you have always wanted to write or did they sneak up on you?
Zoe: My need to write the Blades was a combination of wanting to write them and a sudden dawning of an idea. I’d written and had two historical romances published (LADY X’S COWBOY and LOVE IN A BOTTLE), and they were already a little different from most historicals. But my career reached a crossroads, and I decided to go for broke and write something I’d always wanted to read but never found on bookshelves.
I grew up watching adventure films, like the Indiana Jones films, Romancing the Stone, and Young Sherlock Holmes (to name just a few). The action thrilled me, and I loved the exotic locations, but I hated the representation of women. They were always useless, or getting into trouble and needing rescue. I wanted to see heroines that could handle themselves and didn’t scream or pass out at the first hint of danger. So I combined my love of romance, history, adventure and a need for strong female protagonists, and created the Blades of the Rose. What has been great about these books is that readers are really responding to the heroines, and like seeing them fighting side-by-side with the super-sexy heroes.
Sara: Why did you choose such interesting places to set your novels? Reading Warrior was my first time reading a novel that took place in Mongolia, and Scoundrel will be my first set in Greece. Are these places you’ve travelled to and loved, places you want to travel to in the future, or places that just felt right when righting your novel?
Zoe: Exotic locations are elements of the adventure story paradigm, and I wanted them to be part of the series. Half the fun is exploring someplace new, so that needed to be integrated into the storylines. I’ve actually never been to Mongolia, or Greece, or the Canadian Rockies (the setting for REBEL), but I either wanted to before I started writing the books or, after researching them, discovered that I wanted to go. You should Google images of Mongolia if you aren’t familiar with its landscape. It’s gorgeous, and perfect for adventure and romance. And you cannot get more beautiful and romantic than Greece. It really surprises me that varied locations aren’t used more in romance, especially historical romance, when the thrill of discovery is possible.
Sara: Can we look forward to more books in your Blades of the Rose series, after Stranger releases next month?
Zoe: I hope so! I’m already thinking about four more books, but we really need to see how well the first four do before committing to more. (That means it’s up to you, readers!) Right now, I’m working on a new paranormal historical series called THE HELLRAISERS, with the first book hitting shelves December 2011. The Hellraisers are a group of 18th century English rakes who inadvertently free the Devil from his prison and literally raise hell. The books will be sexy and much darker than the Blades books, and they’re tons of fun to write. The Hellraisers are bad, bad boys. Hee.
Sara: What are your influences both in and out of Paranormal Romance?
Zoe: As far as paranormal romance authors I enjoy reading, there’s Kresley Cole, Ava Gray, Marjorie Liu and Shana Abé’s Drakon series. But, honestly, some of my biggest influences have come from film, including the Indy pictures and some of the fantasy epics from the ‘80s, like Excalibur, Krull, Willow, Clash of the Titans (the original), and Ladyhawke. Both my parents worked, so I watched a lot of cable television—heh—and that definitely impacted the development of my imagination. Also, it’s impossible to understate how important Buffy the Vampire Slayer was for depicting powerful women. Same with Xena, Warrior Princess. Both of those television programs reinforced the idea that women could kick ass, plus they both had heavy paranormal elements in them. I know people love vampires, but something in my genetic makeup isn’t drawn to them, alas, so I don’t read many vampire romances.
Sara: What are you currently reading?
Zoe: Right now, I’m reading Shana Abé’s The Treasure Keeper, but on my TBR pile is Elizabeth Hoyt’s Wicked Intentions, Jennifer Ashley’s Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage and Judith James’s Libertine’s Kiss. I’m really looking forward to the next Ava Gray, Marjorie Liu and Kresley Cole releases, though, so my future paranormal TBR is already stacking up. I think all readers have anxiety attacks if their TBR pile gets too low.
Thanks again to Zoe for stopping by and answering some questions. She has also offered up two signed copies of Rebel, book three in her Blades of the Rose series! All you have to do is ask Zoe a question!
Author: Zoe Archer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 11/02/10
On the Canadian frontier in 1875, nature is a harsh mistress. But the supernatural can really do you in...
A Lone Wolf
Nathan Lesperance is used to being different. He's the first Native attorney in Vancouver, and welcome neither with white society nor his sometime tribe. Not to mention the powerful wildness he's always felt inside him, too dangerous to set free. Then he met Astrid Bramfield and saw his like within her piercing eyes. Now, unless she helps him through the harsh terrain and the harsher unknowns of his true abilities, it could very well get him killed...
And The Woman Who Left The Pack
Astrid has traveled this path before. Once she was a Blade of the Rose, protecting the world's magic from unscrupulous men, with her husband by her side. But she's loved and lost, and as a world-class frontierswoman, she knows all about survival. Nathan's searing gaze and long, lean muscles mean nothing but trouble. Yet something has ignited a forgotten flame inside her: a burning need for adventure, for life--and perhaps even for love...
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