Interview with a Vampire (Novelist): Danielle Blanchard

Welcome, Danielle!

Q: I won’t ask why you chose to write about vampires. I will ask, is there another series out there that you particularly admire? Or one so badly done, you just had to put your own spin on the bloodsucking genre?

Oh, without a doubt, there are many genres I admire. My first foray into writing was women’s literature with an entertainment-pop culture twist. It was series about Hollywood called The Beautiful People. Don’t get me wrong, I love the series but I self-edited (big mistake) and since I am not nearly as good as self-editing as many authors, I have a wonderful editor, Felicia Sullivan, who has decided to re-edit the whole series for me. It is available now but the revised editions come out in March and April of 2012.

Other than that, I absolutely adore horror and thrillers. I have dabbled in those genres as well with the upcoming The Plague (The Beginning: Book I will be released in February of 2012). I also love mystery and steampunk but I don’t see myself doing any steampunk at the moment. I am not good with straight up romance but if romance is intertwined with a thriller or mystery then I love it… nothing better than a hot sex scene in the middle of heart-pounding action.

To be honest, there are some great vampire books out there but some of the heroines truly annoyed me. Why can’t a woman be strong? Why does she always have to be subservient to a man? Perhaps that is why I have a problem with a lot of romance novels and the vampire genre in particular. I enjoyed Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and the homo-erotic aspect was thrilling to me but I wondered what would happen if I tried the relationship dynamics but between a man and a woman?

In many ways, Manon is like a man in that she has had to rely on herself her whole life until she gets stuck with her brother for a while and all of the sudden, here comes this stereotypical man sweeping in to save the day. They are bound to butt heads because it is every woman’s dream to have a man take care of her but at the same time, there are freedoms we give up when this happens and I think it is fascinating for the reader to watch as her boundaries are tested by her lover and what happens when she feels he has stepped too far into what she considers to be her territory.
Q: Most writers I know are — like you! — highly intelligent. Yet quite often female writers tend to create heroines 20-60 I.Q. points stupider than themselves. I’m talking, half Bella Swan and half the Little Mermaid. But your lead in Death Wish, Manon, is anything but stupid. She’s doesn’t apologize for her sexuality and she doesn’t narrate the story in that please-like-me tone. Was this a conscious move on your part, or did you simply write the character as she occurred to you?

That was definitely a conscious move on my part. I wanted her to be spunky and full of life; more than that, I wanted her to be a kick-ass character who didn’t have “Save Me” engraved on her forehead. She doesn’t apologize to anyone about her behavior and right or wrong, she makes no excuses for her actions. I wanted her to have a certain raw pizzazz and although she may annoy the hell out of some readers who find her too “hard”, I think there is also a very feminine side to her as well.

I just couldn’t imagine a heroine who had spent most of her life in the system being “soft”. We all know and have heard stories of what it is like to be a foster child or to grow up in a setting where a person is going to receive some hard knocks. I think you see that not only in Manon but her best friend, Eva, who also grew up in the system. They are gorgeous women but there is also a brittleness there because they weren’t allowed to grow up surrounded by fantasies. Their life was firmly in the realm of reality and I hope one can see that in their characters. 
Danielle Blanchard

Q: Did any of your own life experiences influence the book?

Nope. This was the ultimate fantasy and pure fiction. I loved creating this book because nothing about my life is showcased what so ever (except for maybe having to live with family part). My sister and I have been roommates (although we live in a big house) since we moved to Las Vegas. I love staying with her and because we are so far apart in age, we get along really well. We have our moments but more often than not, it is smooth sailing.

I have never been a foster child (I grew up with both my parents) and although I am pretty tough, I am not in Manon’s league in any stretch of the imagination. I can’t even fight (yes, I am a pathetic excuse for a grown woman as all I can use is passive aggression to my advantage… lol). 

Q: Dream casting time. Who should play Manon, Mikkel, and Nico in the movie version?

Oh, that is extremely difficult casting but let me take a stab at it… Manon would definitely be played by someone tough yet pretty… Minka Kelly could get away with playing her though I can only hope her acting skills are passable enough. If not Ms. Kelly then definitely the exotic and gorgeous Jessica Alba could play Manon no problem. Mila Kunis is also very kick-assable and gorgeous as well so she could get away with playing my leading lady too.
My blog, my choice: 100% Mila!

Mikkel… mmm, drooling here but definitely Charlie Hunnam (one of my favorite actors and one of the few blond men in Hollywood who has left his hair naturally blond) or Alexander Skarsgard but everyone associates him with True Blood so that might be a problem.
Alexander Skarsgard … never a problem    

Nico, I was definitely dreaming of Theo Rossi (Mr. Hunnam’s co-star on Sons of Anarchy). I don’t even have a back up as Vin Diesel is too old (and not tall enough) so Mr. Rossi is definitely my one and only choice. 😉

Eva, Armand and the others, we’ll have to save for interview number two. 😉
Thanks, Danielle!  On my blog I don’t do book reviews, per se, but I do shout-outs, and your book deserves one.  Check it out, folks!!

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