Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the delightful Monica Knightley about her debut novel The Vampire’s Passion.
After a lifetime of saying ‘someday’, Monica Knightley is finally fulfilling her dream of being a writer. She writes both adult and young adult paranormal and historical novels. Like the heroine in her debut novel, Monica is an anglophile who loves to travel to Great Britain whenever possible, and England seems to show up in just about everything she writes. She recently left a long career as a primary school teacher, but still shows up occasionally as a substitute. Monica and her husband make their home in Oregon.
Kylie: Welcome, Monica! One of my favorite things to do is interview a newly published author and share in the excitement over their book release!
Monica: Thank you, Kylie, for having me on your blog today.
Kylie: First off, I love the title of your book. The Vampire’s Passion sounds intriguing, so tell us a little about your story.
Monica: Claire Seymour has had her heart shattered by her faithless fiancé, and decides to run away and live out a long-held dream of taking a summer class on Jane Austen at the Oxford University. She has no thoughts of falling in love again, and not even in her wildest nightmares would the object of her desire be her vampiric professor who at turns repulses and attracts her. But just as Claire is opening her heart to Gabriel Augustine she learns he is hiding an even greater secret than the fact that he is a vampire—a secret that has haunted him for centuries. A secret that could break Claire’s heart, just as it is beginning to heal.
Kylie: Jane Austen, Oxford University and a vampire – wow! Your character, Claire Seymour, has certainly landed herself in quite a situation, hasn’t she? Here’s a challenge for you – describe your heroine in one sentence.
Monica: Claire is tired of allowing her broken heart to rule her, and forces herself to make choices that pull her outside her comfort zone and that reflect her new philosophy of Carpe Diem—seize the day!
Kylie: It sounds like a philosophy she will need to embrace in order to navigate the challenges she faces, right? But, what traits attracted the heroine to the hero?
Monica: You mean, besides the fact that he is drop-dead gorgeous and makes Mr. Darcy look like pond scum? No, Claire is attracted to the fact that Gabriel is a gentleman—he has the manners of a bygone era—and that he is intelligent, and caring, and loves all things Jane Austen. But while she is first realizing that she is indeed attracted to Gabriel, she also discovers that he is a vampire, which repulses her. Being both attracted and repulsed by the man causes Claire some angst for a while.
Kylie: Okay, you seriously made me laugh when you said Gabriel makes Mr. Darcy look like pond scum! Love the description 🙂 Let’s shift gears a little away from your story and on to you as the author. Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you decide on the name?
Monica: I do use a pen name. Because of my particular day job, I knew I needed one. A friend who knew I was writing, and what I was writing, went to Happy Hour with me to help me pick a name. For some reason, he thought I was writing some kind of very smutty book, so as the evening and the drinks went on, the names he came up with started sounding like pole dancer names! Dismissing his creative ideas, I decided I wanted the name to pay homage to my favorite author, Jane Austen, and came up with Knightley, for Mr. Knightley in Emma.
Kylie: Some day you and I are going to have to get together so you can tell me what names your friend suggested. I promise not to tell, but I can’t guarantee I won’t giggle a lot. Every writer I know is also an avid reader, so what is your favorite book and why?
Monica: Picking ONE favorite book is like picking a favorite child! I can never limit myself to just one favorite book, but if forced under duress I would say Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Her depictions of characters are so true and clear, and feel like people you might know. And her humor is as amusing today as it was when she wrote it. When I’m laughing at something in P and P, I forget I’m reading a book that was written at the turn of the Nineteenth Century—it feels so contemporary.
Kylie: Did you spend much time on research for your story? If so, what did you like most about it?
Monica: Research for this book was minimal, as I was using places and information I was already familiar with. There were a few times when I had to look something up, or had to verify a fact, but not as often as I like. I love doing research, and most of my other projects are either set in historical times, or have historical aspects to them. I gleefully go down the research rabbit holes. Of course, then the writing doesn’t always get done! It’s a fine line I have to walk.
Kylie: It seems like you have walked that line just fine. It has been a delight to chat with you today. Best wishes on your release! If you would like to learn more about Monica you can find her through these sites.
THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION
The enigmatic, ethereally handsome, aristocratic Gabriel Augustine, professor of Nineteenth Century English Literature at St. Giles College in Oxford, England, is a man with many secrets. And it is not his vampiric nature that is his most deeply held secret. Though few know he is vampire, not human, none know the horror that has haunted him throughout his long existence. He has spent centuries attempting to atone for his greatest sin.
Claire Seymour needs to forget her past. She is ready to embark on any journey that will move her away from the pain that has been her constant companion since discovering her fiancé with her best friend. Four weeks at the University of Oxford, in a class on her favorite author, Jane Austen, seems like a good place to start.
Neither is prepared for the other.