Tonight I’d like to welcome author Evelyn Lafont to RAMBLING ON.
In her own words, Evelyn is an author and freelance writer with an addiction to Xanax and a predilection for snark. Her debut novella, The Vampire Relationship Guide Volume 1: Meeting and Mating is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.
First off, as you know from my review, I enjoyed THE VAMPIRE RELATIONSHIP GUIDE, VOL. 1. It’s just an all-around fun read. What’s the general reception to the book been like?
Thanks Anthony! So far, it’s been great. Most people are really picking up on the humor, but also finding a fun romance in there along with the satire. I am finding it interesting how many people wish the book were longer though!
Let’s talk genre for a moment. How much exposure did you have to the whole “paranormal romance” (and specifically “vampire romance”) field before you started writing VRG? Was it always a favorite genre of yours, or were you reacting mainly to the fact that we can’t walk into a bookstore without being hit with a paranormal romance these days?
I love the paranormal romance genre and I read over 100 books in the genre before writing the story. I would say it’s a combination of me showing my love for the innate silliness of the genre and making fun of its popularity right now, so it’s a good read whether you love the genre or hate it.
You’re not the first author to show us a world where vampires are an acknowledged (and in your case openly accepted) subset of society. There are laws that protect vampires and force businesses to be open 24 hours a day to accommodate them, and yet Josie, the main character, knows almost nothing about their habits despite her obsession with them. How much of the detail of that “coming out” have you worked out, and will we get more details of the timeline in later books?
I’ve worked out most of the details, and you are going to get them in about the same way you did in book 1—through Josie’s penchant for mixing pop culture myth with the occasional Nightline episode’s information.
Urban fantasy with first-person narration creates a unique challenge: how much does your main character know about the world around them, and how do you get that information across to the reader without it feeling like an “info-dump?”
My goal with this book was to help the reader see the world through Josie’s eyes. I try to avoid info dump by handling information through a combination of magazine and book excerpts (which Josie herself may or may not have read), conversation, and narration.
Josie initially comes across as a somewhat jaded, almost world-weary, 30-something but it became apparent that she really doesn’t know much about the vampire culture. It makes her seem a bit … how do I put this politely … ignorant of the world around her compared to the other human characters. Was this a conscious decision in creating the character? Or did you try other methods of working in vampire lore before deciding to have Josie learn along with the reader?
Like a real woman, Josie has a combination of personality traits. She is jaded in some respects, but I wouldn’t call her world-weary. She also isn’t the type of person who is going to methodically study anything with reference books. She’s a bit of a dreamer and one of those people that just go along with the stream of things to an extent, though she’s not afraid to take control of her life if the stream starts heading in a bad direction. Josie is matter-of-fact but not methodical or analytical so when vampires “came out” she assumed that the pop culture books she read were like an instruction manual. Sure she catches the occasional factual article in VampLure or on Nightline…but that’s not exactly a well-rounded education.
If you look at the real world, you can find many instances of this type of behavior. As an example, how many late night TV segments have you seen in which adults—old adults, even—are asked questions about current events or the workings of the government and they have no clue how to answer them correctly? Our society is filled with people who assume they understand things that they really don’t.
Now for the question I alluded to in my review. Once the “damsel in distress” portion of the plot takes over, I felt like there were some pretty large plot-holes, and a “villainous plan” that just didn’t make sense. So, the hardball question: why is the villain’s ultimate plot so poorly-thought-out?
I don’t think the plan is poorly thought out, though I agree it was poorly executed. On that point, it’s the typical villain’s trip up—hubris and greed. The villain in this book resents the hoops he must jump through to get what he wants and that resentment mixed with his greed and over-confidence work out to…well, not the best executed plan.
I picture it as a Dr. Evil sort of scenario: Threaten the White House with a powerful laser when you don’t even have said laser.
It seems to be an accepted trope that vampire romance series eventually bring in other supernatural creatures, usually starting with werewolves. Can we expect to see Josie’s world expand to include shape-shifters, witches, etc?
Oh yes, we can!
And my official Last Question for everyone I interview: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to recommend it to someone who hasn’t read it yet?
This has got to be an impossible question…single favorite? Yikes. I love Tess of the D’Urbervilles, she’s my old standby, so yeah–Tess. To recommend it I would tell the person that it is the quintissential and most perfect romance novel ever.
Thanks again for agreeing to “sit down” for this email interview, Evelyn! Best of luck with the book and the series.