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In this Thanksgiving Day interview in 2010, John discussed his career and experiences. This is a fascinating interview! Hear the full podcast here.
Another Haven's Realm novel? Yes, and this one is, in some opinions, at least, the best one yet! It was also the hardest to call 'finished', trust me.
Believe it or not, this story came right out of the blue, and insinuated itself into the Haven saga ahead of poor Jason. Honestly, I had no idea how the story would unfold, the Community's role in this story, or how it was going to end.
This story begins in Arlington, where Tyler Jenkins is preparing to embark on a secret mission for Homeland Security. Her assignment - covertly infiltrate Courleon's Consortium in Castillo Nuevo, Nevada, recover a stolen data chip, and make sure it hasn't been accessed before getting out undiscovered. She is the youngest member of the covert team, but quite possibly the one most likely to achieve her mission successfully, and without getting herself killed in the process.
She literally bumps into Ronan, a sophisticated, Hollywood-style international spy type with an annoying habit of irritating the crap out of her. Ronan is a vampire, there on a mission of his own, and the two are discovered and captured together. What my readers know from the onset, but Tyler only learns at the end of the story, is that Ronan was asked by her boss to keep an eye on her and protect her from danger. His promise to protect her makes his own agenda impossible. They make their escape, but it costs them both - before the story progresses much further, they become blood-bonded. Now on the run from the bad guys, they must seek out the Community in the hope that the Council of Elders will agree to help, while struggling against feelings neither of them need or want.
Now for some background: Tyler is an orphan, abandoned by her mother before the age of two. Deeply traumatized by the separation, she leads a carefully rational, emotion-free life, avoiding personal relationships and refusing to trust anyone, because trusting only leads to pain. Her photographic memory allows her to recall anything she'd ever been exposed to with crystal clarity. And she always does whatever is necessary and prudent to achieve her objectives in both her professional and personal dealings. This rational approach to life allows her to accept the existence of vampires, and to submit herself to the consequences of running with one without much second guessing.
Ronan has a secret - a terrible curse that forces him to lead a secluded existence. For thousands of years, he has vicariously studied the world and its dealings, usually through prolonged meditation, and only emerges from his shelter when the need arises, either to regain his strength or to intervene when he discovers a problem large enough to attract his attention, like the current disappearance of vampire servants. No sentient being knows of his existence unless he allows it, and he keeps himself carefully separate from all of vampire-kind. Placing himself in the path of the Community will threaten his anonymity and place him in the uncomfortable position of having to trust and rely on others. Trust leads to friendship, and friendship to emotions that could cause him to lose control and destroy everything in his path.
Ronan, dear readers, became very important to me. I always get personally involved with my characters, but even Joshua, who is still very special to my heart, did not touch me as deeply as my dark and mysterious Dragon Lord. Ok, I'll say it - I fell deeply in love with him. Good thing my husband understands! Maybe it's because I understood his motivations from the start. Although he seems like an irritating ass hole with a control fixation, you'll learn that his emotions run deeper and colder than Crater Lake in Oregon, churning within the core of his being while the surface, the face he shows to the world, remains, for the most part, undisturbed. He hides from the world not out of fear of it, but fear for it; the responsibility he bears is a terrible burden, and one that takes all his strength to control.
Dragon Lord allowed me to delve more deeply into the inner workings of Haven, as well as expand on the vampire culture I'm still working to make my own. Experienced readers may, and probably will, find similarities in my stories to others they may have read. I applaud Maggie Shayne for her unique take on the vampire condition. Although my stories don't restrict the mortal ability to be turned, I have to say that the whole concept of "The Chosen" is intriguing, to say the least. Maggie, if you're out there, I've read at least a dozen of your works, but Twilight Illusions was my favorite. But again I digress..
In Twilight Destiny, I explored the vampire condition and introduced the culture of the Community. The Darker Path expanded on the Community's rules only slightly; their involvement in the whole concept of the story was minimal, but some answers left from the first book are answered in this one. Somehow, I just couldn't resist revisiting my old friends and tying my stories together. In Dragon Lord, I was able to introduce the concept of clans and identify two that will play roles in future stories: the Liberato, well known for their anarchist culture, and the mysterious and powerful Savant. I also delved into the history of vampire clans and the establishment of the Community. Hopfully, I've put enough spin on this to make it unique to my writings, or at least that was what I attempted. The Savant, of course, is my own, born from the need of a race of scholars, but the Liberato have much in common with clans identified in at least two other collections I've seen: one a popular on-line game and the other a short-lived TV series. In short, I needed a race of trouble makers intent on undoing the Community, and researched clan differences from several sources before the Liberato were born. As their name suggests, they liberated themselves from their progenitors early on, and are powerful enough to disrupt the careful, centeries-old truce between the various clans. Because they're anarchists, they chafe against authority and hate everything the Community represents.
And so, my friends, I sincerely hope you find Dragon Lord an exciting and engaging read.
~ Tamara Monteau
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