For those who “don’t usually read fantasy” – Yes you do!

“I don’t usually read fantasy.” I’ve head this a lot lately, especially from the people who’ve had a chance to read my upcoming novel, The Darkness of Light.

To be truthful, when I sat down to write it, I hadn’t intended to write a fantasy novel at all- it just happened. Before I wrote it, I probably would have said that I don’t read fantasy either. And if we’re talking about sword-wielding  dragon slayers, that’s definitely not my first choice. I’m more of a paranormal, horror, historical kind of reader. If anything falls within those definitions, I’m on it!

So how did I end up writing a fantasy novel and why do my “non-fantasy” readers like it so much?

Well, while my novel is certainly labeled fantasy, it was constructed in such a way that it reads like the novels I love to read. I wrote the book I wanted to read. If I changed my characters to let’s say…vampires, then my book might be called a historical paranormal novel. But because I used mythology instead of folklore (there is a difference  between the two), my book is automatically considered fantasy.

There are many sub-genres within the fantasy genre. When we think of the sword-wielding dragon slayers or completely made up worlds, we are talking about Epic Fantasy. In epic fantasy there’s usually some kind of major threat to the world and the protagonist must overcome the villain in order to save their race…usually.

My novel is more of a Low Fantasy, in that the storyline revolves more around the characters struggles and development. The threat centers on the characters and not the entire race of beings, and the setting is mostly real world.

Then we have to consider the labels. If you say you don’t read fantasy, but you love Twilight, Werewolves are your new obsession, or Anne Rice is your favorite author (like she is mine), then guess what? You DO read fantasy! If you like any kind of paranormal anything, you DO read fantasy! BOOM! You’ve just been mind blown.

That’s right. While the industry has attached the label of “Paranormal” to these kinds of books, they are actually fantasy. Anne Rice has been labeled many things: Gothic horror writer, Paranormal writer, Dark Fantasy writer….Wait!, What? It’s true, Anne Rice writes dark fantasy, as in, it involves dark, supernatural characters that live in our world. The Twilight series is also a Paranormal Fantasy…any kind of paranormal, supernatural, ghosts, witches, werewolves, bagpipe people…(you get the point)…is fantasy.

Now that we’ve settled that, I would also like to point out that millions of readers world-wide have read the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings. What do you think those are? Kitten tales…NOPE! That’s fantasy as well.

So you see folks, while you think you might not read fantasy, you really do, you just didn’t know it. And as far as my book goes, I wrote it because it was a book I wanted to read, but it didn’t exist. You won’t find dragons in my book, or any other kind of strange creature. But you will find a sword wielding hottie, and supernatural characters in a real historical setting… hence the label: Historical Fantasy


Interview with Kristen Strassel, Author of Because the Night

A few weeks ago I did a spotlight on Kristen Strassel’s debut novel, Because The Night, which you can find here

Well, folks! Because The Night has officially been released and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kristen about her debut novel, which I simply LOVED!

Interview with the lovely Kristen Strassel

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Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross.  She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are.  She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and aspiring author.  She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.  Kristen is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.

T: What inspired you to create a vampire rock band? Since it wasn’t a vampire pop group, is it safe to assume that you have an affinity for rock music?

K: When I started envisioning Because the Night, there was always a band.  But they weren’t always vampires.  The more I thought about what drew me to rockers—the dark, sensual allure, the ability to make their own rules, to have anything they wanted any time they wanted, I saw a direct correlation to vampires. That’s when I realized they couldn’t be anything but a vampire rock band. I wanted my vampires to be dangerous, and that’s something else they have in common with rock stars. The ones worth lusting over, anyway. If I wanted to write about safe guys, the book would have taken place at an accountant convention.

Rock music and musicians have been a part of my life since I was old enough to think boys didn’t have cooties. My first crush: Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran. My tastes got a little heavier from there on out.  I’ve been to hundreds of concerts all over the country and in Canada.  My friends are musicians and musician’s girlfriends. It’s just my world.

T: I thought the concept of a reality show attached to this vampire rock band was genius!  Did you base this concept off of a real show and if Immortal Dilemma was in a reality show, what channel would they be on? Bravo, E!, or MTV?  

K: Immortal Forever, the reality show mentioned in the book, is on a channel called Music Plus One, which reminds me of a MTV (when MTV still had balls) or Fuse. I don’t watch a lot of reality shows other than the singing competitions or the tattoo shows, so I guess Immortal Dilemma might be The Osbournes meets The Girls Next Door. God, I miss GND.  The spin offs are just not the same.

T: As a Canadian, I was thrilled that your sweet and sexy character, Blade, is from Canada. What motivated you to have a Canadian character in your story?

K: I love Canada!  I’m a descendant of French Canadians. My mom’s first language was French. Sadly, I can barely speak it.  There’s so much about Canada that Americans don’t know.  It’s a great country.  If it wasn’t for all the international mumbo jumbo, I would strongly consider moving to Toronto.  I love that city.

T: Will we see any more Canadian’s in upcoming novels? Cough…I’m from Ontario, so you can totally name one Tammy if you want…but no pressure.

K There are definitely more Canadians in my stories.  Talis, the clan leader, is from Quebec City.  We don’t learn much about her background in Because the Night, but it is coming.  With that, there will be a few more Canadians…but I can’t spoil the fun, right?

T: How does your career as a professional makeup artist influence your writing? Do you ever end up working on a model and think: this could be one of my characters!

K: I work on a lot of films, television shows, and commercials, so I get to work with a lot of different personalities.  I was able to infuse my work experience in when Callie goes behind the scenes at the filming of Immortal Forever. I worked on a commercial last weekend and there was a little girl, about 10, in the background who had the exact coloring of Callie.  The tan skin, the super curly blonde hair.  I had the other makeup artist working with me go up and take her picture!

T: In your novel, Blade and Callie play the hooker card game. For those of us who’ve never been to Vegas, do prostitutes really hand out cards, and have you played this game?

K: The Hooker Card Game is a THING. Prostitution is illegal in Clark County, but legal in neighboring Nye county.  However, people, usually Mexicans, stand on the Strip and do this weird rhythmic clap and hand your business cards advertising girls’ services.  A lot of my guy friends love it when I bring back the cards as souvenirs.  I have actually played Go Fish with the hooker cards with some random dudes I met on the Strip, just like Callie and Blade do.

T: Are you ever tempted to base a character off a person  you are less than fond of in real life, and have you done that in Because the Night?

K: Me?  Of course.  I can’t tell you who though.

T: If you could be any character in your novel, who would you be and why?

K: Callie. Without a doubt. All those hot guys.

T: I can’t decide between Blade and Tristan! They’re both so tempting in their own unique way. Do you have a favorite between the two?

K: I never planned on having Blade in the story, but he waltzed in and sat down and not only did he stick around, Callie and I both fell in love with him.  I had such a crush on Blade when I wrote Because the Night.  I based the look of his character off of country singer Casey James, and any time a Casey song came on the radio I’d get all flustered. But Tristan is that rock and roll bad boy that makes you forget to breathe when he looks in your eyes.  Simply put, Blade’s the guy you grow old with, but Tristan’s the guy you’re still talking about when you’re old.

T: If all of your characters were on survivor, who would get voted off first?

K: Tristan.  He brings very little to the table in the way of manual labor.

T: Assuming you were stuck on a desert island, which character would you like to be stuck with and why? (The character can’t get you off the island).

K: Blade would keep me alive, but Tristan would keep me entertained.

T: Which of your characters would join dancing with the stars?

K: Lennon would do the best on it, but Tristan would probably get asked for the celebrity status.

T: What can we expect in the future for Callie, Tristan, and Blade? Any teasers you want to share…PLEASE!

K: Good try. No spoilers. The three of them are hopelessly intertwined now, and they all have their own ways of dealing with it.  They have to figure out how to live with…or without each other.  It’s hard to answer this question without giving the ending of Because the Night away!  You’ll just have to stay tuned! 😉

You can follow the writing adventures of Kristen and her partner in crime and fellow author, Julie Hutchings at

Because the Night is Available NOW! So be sure to check it out


Sex, Blood, and Rock n’ Roll.

Immortal Dilemma is the hottest band in the Las Vegas vampire rock scene. They draw insatiable fans from around the globe, thanks to a supernatural attraction called Bloodlust. Tristan craved such an opportunity to fill his empty mortal life, and now he has eternity to earn his place along the legends of rock n roll debauchery.

Callie always feared that Tristan’s excesses would get him into trouble, but she never thought they’d lead him to immortality. To reconnect with him, she must weave her way through a world not only she had no idea existed, but does not welcome her.

Blade turned down a spot in Immortal Dilemma after learning what he must sacrifice for that lifestyle. He finds Callie a refreshing change from the girls in the vampire rock scene. When Callie drags Blade back into the world of Immortal Dilemma, his resistance drives her into the waiting arms of Tristan, who shows her the true meaning of Bloodlust.

But the very things that Callie fights so hard to save are the very things that fight to destroy her.