First a bit of background on our author.
Regina Morris is the author of the humorous paranormal romances that make up The Colony series. She loves paranormal romances featuring vampires, but her personal taste is lighthearted and humorous – not horrific and gory. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children. She enjoys meeting with her monthly critique writing groups and meeting other writers in the Austin area through the WLT events.
She has lived in many different parts of the world. She graduated high school in Germany and she attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a degree in computer science with a minor in math.
Besides writing, she is an amateur portrait and sports photographer. After enjoying a career in the software engineering business, she discovered that writing was in her blood, and had to put pen to paper!
Thank you for joining us at Scribbler’s today, Regina!
What would you most like your reader’s to know about you that they might not read in your official bio?
Family means everything to me. This includes the furry little family members we have.
What do you want to tell the Scribbler readers about your book; The Colony.
It’s humorous and is different from other vampire romances since the vampires can alter their age. I also feel that the President, Washington DC, and the White House gives the romances a bit of a suspenseful feel to them.
What inspired this story?
I love paranormal romances, but ones that are lighthearted and humorous (like Kerrelyn Sparks and Lynsay Sands). One day I thought it would be so cool to have a story where the vampires were hidden, but in plain sight. The White House is the best known house in America, so why not have them work there?
With the strong mix of paranormal, humor, romance and suspense, what genre do you consider this story to fall into?
Totally romance. I have hot scenes in the novels, but my stories have that nice romantic feel of the stolen glances, the hopeful monologues of ‘what if’, and the excitement of that first kiss (and other firsts).
I loved how your stories vampire world has co-existed within the human one without most humans having a clue. Was it difficult to design a world within a world?
The hidden secret of their existence fell in nicely with the idea of a covert group of vampires protecting the president. I liked writing vampires and humans as having evolved in parallel with humans having wisdom teeth, vampires having fangs, etc. I also have some science involved with genetics and what being a half-breed actually means. I’ve had many fans comment that they like the reasoning behind my world and it seems as if vampires could easily live among humans.
What are your strongest influences when it comes to character creation?
My vampires work a group and every group needs certain roles to be fulfilled. Raymond is the ethical leader, Sterling the rebel, Sulie the strong warrior, Daniel the caregiver, etc. I assign each of my characters a role and build their internal voice around it.
Do you develop deep backstory for all your characters before ever sitting down to write or do you just have a general idea of who they are?
Deep backstory. I have a novella coming out soon where the main character, William, was a Freedom Rider and an activist from the 1960’s. He always wears vintage t-shirts and has a laid back attitude in my novels. In my mind, he was always this person. I just have to flesh him out.
Your Heroine Alex Brennan is very much a warrior in her own right. Do you feel the days of the heroine needing to be somehow at some point the damsel in distress in a romance story is over for good?
I don’t think the “damsel in distress” is an outdated view for romances. I just think what the women need help with has changed. For example, we no longer have romances where the woman is being swindled financially just because she’s a woman. More and more the women need help because they’re CEOs of major corporations who fly to Paris to close a deal and find love along the way because they can’t speak French.
Which secondary character was your favorite to write and will they warrant their own story?
By far my favorite was Sterling. He’s such a bad boy with a snarky attitude in book #1 that he is the main character in book #2, “United Service”, which was released Sept 2013.
Can we have an excerpt from The Colony?
In this excerpt, Alex knows of the existence of vampires and has been asking Raymond questions about the vampire culture:
Raymond smiled at Alex. It was a beautiful smile, not fake or forced. You can always tell when it’s real. His black colored eyes held the smile, not just his luscious, full lips. She noticed his hair was a bit damp, probably due to a last minute shower on his way over. His hair was parted tonight, and a curl of gave him a Superman appearance. She always did like Superman.
Alex knew her pulse sped up as she took in the visual strip tease in her mind. She thought back to their earlier conversation. Humans and vampires could have sex together. Sex. She swallowed hard. She hadn’t thought of having sex with a man in a long time. Her heart sped up even faster. She wondered if he could hear it. If he did, he didn’t show it. He just sat sipping his wine, looking sexy as hell.
Her glass was in her hands, and she took a gulp of wine hoping to squelch the heat she was feeling. Instead it fueled the flame. Would sex with a vampire be different than with a human? If it was, she was betting it would be better. The sexual relationships she had in the past, if she could remember that far back, were moderately satisfying. Definitely not romance novel, page turning, steamy … but satisfying.
Blinking a few times, she realized she was staring at his crotch. Could she be more obvious? She knew in her heart that she was going to take this promotion. She couldn’t start a romance with a team member, it wasn’t professional. She wasn’t that type of woman. Plus, there was no guarantee that he was interested in her that way. He had treated her with nothing but respect.
His black eyes beheld hers, and her breath caught. The glass she held suddenly seemed slippery in her hands due to her now sweaty palms. He was clean shaven today. The last few days he had a scruffy, rogue look about him, which was a great look for him. Today, with not a whisker in sight, he looked down-right sinful. Actually, the blackened eyes gave him a mysterious quality. Maybe she could be that type of woman? Perhaps an exception could be made this one time. She stared at his lips, wanting so desperately to taste them.
“Alex?” he asked.
Alex looked up, making eye contact. “What?”
“Are you okay? You’ve been quiet for several minutes.”
Do you write by the seat of your pants or are you an outliner?
I’m a complete outliner. I have two novels already outlined for 2015.
Do you use a pen name/pseudo name? If so, why? If not, why did you decide to write under your own name?
I write under my real name. I thought it would be easier to promote myself than a pen name. I’ve had family/friends I haven’t spoken to in years contact me and tell me that they didn’t know I was an author, but bought my book because they knew I wrote it. Next year I want to introduce a YA time travel murder mystery series. Since the target audience is YA, and my vampire romances are erotic, I’ll be marketing the new series under a pen name of Lillian Kendall. Why? Because I don’t want a young teenager (or pre-teen) finding my other novels and thinking they are age appropriate.
When brainstorming a story idea do you begin with character or plot?
Character. I see my characters as being alive in my mind. I then think of situations for them, and then the story unfolds.
What is the writing process like for you? If you were to describe your process in one word, what would it be?
“Detailed.” I have two beta readers, content editor, line editor, four editing programs, and five proof readers who help me with writing the novel. I do the cover work and ebook/paperback formatting myself about 2 weeks before release date. About 3 months before a release I will start marketing the book. I do all this while still working on my author platform and other projects.
Do you write at the same time, same place every day? Do you write every day?
I have a full-time job outside the home, two teenagers heavily involved in sports, a husband, and two little puppies. I write whenever and wherever I can.
How do you balance the need for self-promotion vs. your writing time?
It’s a 3:1 split. I spend more time promoting than writing.
What writer has most influenced your work?
Kerrelyn Sparks. I love her “Love at Stake” series.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading “The Devil’s Third” by Rebekkah Ford, “Wicked Souls” by Sabrina Samples, and I’m beta reading the start of two novels.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Do not go where the path may lead. Go where there is no path and leave a trail,” by Emerson. I believe we can be in control of our own destiny.
What is your favorite word?
“Mom.” It’s a title many women have, but when I hear my kids call out to me, it warms my heart.
Least favorite word?
It’s a phrase, “shut up.”
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
Best – Hire professional editing.
Worst – There’s no need to advertise your books.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in the future?
Book: An Avid Reader’s Guide to Authors –Release Date: February 1, 2014
A workbook for avid readers and book reviewer/bloggers to help them keep track of the authors they read. Only in paperback.
Novel #3: Enduring Service -Released Date: March 2014
Novella #1: The Colony: William – Released Date: April 2014
Novel #4: Reliant Service – Release Date: Sept 2014
Novella #2: The Colony: A Sterling Christmas
Novel #5: Specter of Service (2015)
Novella #3: The Colony: A Haunting Halloween (2015)
To Keep up with Regina:
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