History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

16 January 2007

Welcome, Colleen Gleason!

The Rest Falls Away
Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil....

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

"A promising, enthusiastic beginning to a new paranormal historical series, Gleason's major label debut follows the adventures of a conflicted young vampire hunter in Regency England. . . Though it might seem familiar to fans of Teresa Medeiros's Regency vamp series, Gleason quickly establishes an alluring world all her own. Her Buffyesque lead (Gleason has acknowledged the inspiration) is similarly afflicted, but the change of setting makes an intriguing, witty and addictive twist." --Publishers Weekly

"Four Stars!" --Romantic Times

Welcome to History Hoydens, Colleen! The Rest Falls Away is set in Regency England. How did you become interested in this time period? What do you love about it?
Many of my favorite authors write books set in the Regency, so it was a natural setting for me (although I will admit that my first choice of historical setting would probably be Plantagenet England, during the time of Elinor of Aquitaine and her husband and sons).

What fascinates me about the Regency is the balls, the debuts, the excitement of The Season, and the oh-so-proper manners…all of which thinly veil undercurrents and tensions and intrigues. I love knowing (or pretending) that there are a lot more things going on than meets the eye.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?
The things I like least about this period is partly due to the amount of fiction set then—it’s just so overdone, it’s hard to stay fresh when writing in this time period. Also, there aren’t a lot of really exciting things happening, historically, in my opinion, in those few short years of the Regency.

Yes, there are a couple of wars (but soldiers dying can be so unromantic!), which leads to stories about spies and so on…but that, too, is a popular plot device and as much as I love it, again, it’s hard to keep it fresh.

Give me knights in shining armor, storming the castle, and jousts and melees and court drama any day!

This series blends the darkness of vampires with the glamour of Regency London. Did you find it difficult to meld the two genres? Did your vampires fit easily into nineteenth century society?
For my purposes, yes, the vampires fit in perfectly. You’re probably aware that the first depiction of the "romantic" vampire—ie, the mysterious aristocrat, aka Lord Ruthven—was actually first published in 1819 (the very year in which the first of my books takes place). It was the first time a vampire had been portrayed as something other than a horrific, blood-sucking, zombie-like creature, and it was in a serialized book by John Polidori entitled The Vampyre.

The main character, Lord Ruthven (who was a thinly-disguised Lord Byron), was handsome and romantic and was also a vampire—and he moved about in just the society in which I’ve set my books. So it was a natural fit, since that was the first time a vampire had been portrayed as a member of society. (Bram Stoker’s Dracula came along later.)

Did you have to do any major research for his book? Did you stumble across anything really intersting that you didn’t already know?
The bulk of my research actually lay in the realm of vampire legend and mythology. Yes, I had to do research about details for the time period; but as I was already quite familiar with it due to reading about it, and also having researched for an earlier novel, it wasn’t terribly time-consuming.

On the other hand, the research about the undead did take a lot more of my time—as I wasn’t as familiar with vampire mythology. I don’t read vampire books as a rule, and I haven’t seen all that many vampire movies, so that was an area that I wanted to make sure I knew all of the "accepted" information so I could figure out where and how I wanted to deviate from it.

The interesting things I learned about vampire mythology include the information I described above about the first "aristocratic vampire" being a relatively new aspect of the mythology.

Also, I found it fascinating that there are legends about vampires—or vampire-like creatures—in all cultures, in many different time periods, both before and during our Common Era. It makes me realize there must be some truth to these many variations of the same legends!

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?
What sparked this book was wondering how Cinderella might have handled herself if she’d been a vampire hunter. (I’m a big Cinderella fan, and in fact had begun to write a Regency-set historical romance as a tribute to Cinderella.)

In that big, full gown of hers, it would have been easy to hide her stake…but when I ended up setting the book in Regency-era England, where the gowns were made of much filmier material and were very clinging, I had to give it some more thought!

The other obvious connection is the fabulous Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is what really started me thinking about a woman superhero.

Any historical mea culpas to fess up? (things you found out were wrong when it was too late to change the book or things that you used knowing they were wrong or anachronistic)
Hmm…well, when I first wrote the book, I think I had a man’s shirt with buttons…but I think that’s been fixed. I’d say my heroine’s corset is probably a little more accommodating than it would have been in real life, and it was maybe a little easier to get her out of her clothes than it really was…but other than that, I think the rest of the book holds together well.

What/Who do you like to read?
I love an array of authors, but some of my favorites are J D Robb, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Roberta Gellis, Liz Carlyle, and Jane Austen.

How did your writing career take off? Was it a Zero-to-Published kind of thing? Or did you have ten finsihed books under the bed before you sold?
I’m of the I’ve-been-writing-for-too-long-to-admit club! I wrote eight books before my ninth book sold, but along with that sale was also the second in the series. Then about four months later, I sold an erotic historical (a twist on The Phantom of the Opera, due out in August), and then six months after that, I sold two more Gardella books and another twist-on-a-classic erotic historical…so once everything got going, it really took off.

I’d been working with my agent for two years before we sold the first Gardella book, and she’s been absolutely marvelous during that whole before- and after-sale time.

What are you planning to work on next?
Right now I’m working on the third Gardella book, due to be released in early 2008 (the second Gardella book, Rises the Night, will be out in June). Then I’ll get working on the second classic-twist erotica, which will be released in August 2008.

Thank you so much for coming by! Please visit Colleen at www.ColleenGleason.com! Colleen, we'll see you back here on Thursday!



Blogger Unknown said...

As everyone knows, I'm not a paranormal reader, but I've got this book tucked away in the pile of books I'm taking on the plane to Morocco on Saturday!

Can't wait to read it.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Killer cover, Colleen! ;-)

It caught my eye at the bookstore. I love the richness of vampire history, and while I don't read many straight regency historicals, I'll definitely pick yours up. The paranormal element is very appealing!

Thanks for stopping by.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

Isn't that a gorgeous cover? I noticed it even before I knew Colleen would be here. I just got my copy yesterday and i can't wait!

Btw, I didn't know that the stories of "elegant vampires" started so early. Thanks for the lesson!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

Ha! Kathrynn and I are on the exact same page!

And, Kalen, we're going to miss you while you're in exotic lands!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Great interview. I have heard a lot about this series and it sounds fascinating!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Colleen, congratulations on all your success! And I love the cover too - it's so sexy. Interesting what you said about Lord Ruthven. Byron's such an iconic figure, it's not hard to picture him taking that extra step to immortal creature with paranormal powers.

Kalen, have a lovely time in Morocco, you lucky duck!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Kristi Cook said...

Hi, Colleen! Great interview! And I've just finished the book--and it was fabulous! Very, very engrossing--hard to put down once you start reading it!


2:20 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

Sorry I've been so absent!

I've been the victim of the Midwest Ice Storm, which hit Michigan last night and closed our schools today...and screwed up my Internet connection.

But I'm here now!

7:44 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

Kalen...I hope you enjoy the read when you get to it.

I took one of your costume history classes through the Beau Monde and really learned a lot...and loved it!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

Kathrynn...thanks for letting me know you like the cover.

I hope you enjoy the book...as I said, it's not your typical horror-ish vampire novel.

Victoria--it's so funny to write TO you rather than ABOUT you, as my heroine's name is Victoria too! I hope you enjoy the book!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Colleen, I have this near the top of my TBR pile and I'm looking forward to it immensely!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Victoria Dahl said...

Victoria--it's so funny to write TO you rather than ABOUT you, as my heroine's name is Victoria too! I hope you enjoy the book!

LOL! This reminds me. . . I met a woman recently who has a little girl named Lily and I blurted out something like, "One of my heroines is named Lily!" Of course, she looked at me like i was crazy, and then I started thinking about all the things Lily had done in the book. . . Oops.

Anyway, I can't wait to see what you've got me doing in your book! *wink*

7:53 AM  

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