Interview With Annette McCleave
I met Annette in 2008 when we both finaled in the Golden Heart contest. She went on to win the award for Best Paranormal Romance with DRAWN INTO DARKNESS, a book that became the first in the Soul Gatherer series and was published by Signet Eclipse. Book two, BOUND BY DARKNESS, comes out next month. I'm so excited about this series! Annette breathes fresh life into the paranormal genre with her fascinating tales of demon-fighting Soul Gatherers and a collection of evil, ancient relics threatening to unleash Hell on Earth. Literally. I adore Annette's writing. It moves. Fast-paced and action-packed, her characters come to life from the first sentence and her plot will keep you reading long into the night. Here's a peek at BOUND BY DARKNESS:
Soul Gatherer Brian Webster has long lived with the guilt of his failure to save his teenage sister. When another girl dies in his arms as she protects an ancient coin from a demon, he takes up her cause. The coin is one of thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas. United, the coins are a dark relic of immense power, and in the wrong hands, they could destroy civilization.
Lena Sharpe is on her own mission to find the Judas coins. A Soul Gatherer by day and a thief by night, she’s negotiated the most important deal of her life. When Brian intervenes and kidnaps her to obtain the coins, she attempts to escape. But the brazen warrior is unrelenting, as he is fearful that the beautiful felon has made a pact with the devil himself. And he’s not entirely wrong.
Bound together by burning desire and a similar darkness in their hearts, they race against time to recover the missing coins. But as the truth behind Lena’s bargain surfaces, Brian is faced with a desperate choice—save one or save many.
Annette chose to be interviewed by the always-savvy Captain Jack Sparrow.
Now that you know who's who, let's dive into the interview and reveal the gorgeous cupcake my hubby made for Annette. In the Soul Gatherer series, a pearly spiral is the Mark of Death. Annette asked for a cupcake with a pearly spiral. Hubby obliged. The was just one teeny problem. The Mark of Death likes to be a secret known only to a few. Also, the Mark of Death thinks it's funny to seem like it's cooperating, only to completely fall apart at the very last second, thus causing wailing and gnashing of teeth. Since the first version of the cupcake was apparently too close to the truth for the Mark of Death (a pox upon it!), and my hubby had already spent two hours crafting the cupcake, he was forced to improvise at the last minute. I still think the cupcake is adorable. Also, for putting my hubby through such torture, I've now put the Mark of Death on my LIST. MoD should tremble. It isn't the only creature around with a vindictive sense of humor. *insert evil cackle here* Now, without further ado, I give you the almost-realistic Mark of Death cupcake and Annette's interview with Captain Jack.
1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?
Much as I hate to admit it, ya blasted pirate, I side with the Navy. I, too wear a uniform (pajamas, slippers, and a bloody awful bathrobe), and like any self-respecting naval officer, I’ve been known to wear a hat to cover a bad hair day.
2. Your appreciation of fine haberdashery almost makes up for your questionable decision to side with the Navy. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?
Slay pirates. Ooops. I mean, slay demons. The filthy wretches are able to get their hooks in almost anyone, but their favorite prey is the non-devout. Sadly, there are very few god-fearing souls on Tortuga, and a demon slayer’s job in never done.
3. *looks around* Well, you seem to have things well in hand here. I'll take this particular non-devout soul and find the nearest jug of rum. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?
New York. After Tortuga, the financial district has the most demon-possessed humans per capita.
4. The financial district also has the most fools waiting to be parted from their treasure per capita. Lead on, fair lady! Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?
Brian Webster is rather like you, I’m afraid. A shady past, a smart mouth, and an aversion to being a hero. But, also like you, he never shirks from danger, and he always delivers the goods.
5. Sounds like a man worth knowing. Rum? Or more rum?
Always more rum. There’s never enough to float the Navy.
6. FLOAT THE NAVY? What an egregious waste of perfectly good rum! Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?
Well, you can’t blame the disappearance on Brian, lad. He’s a teetotaler, if you can imagine. Several of his Soul Gatherer chums, on the other hand, are wild enough to make off with the rum…
7. If any of your precious little demon slayers have been giving my rum to the Navy, I'll drive the lot of them through with my sword. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve dived for treasure off the coast of Mexico. And I’ve killed a man. Oh, all right, it was only a character in a book, but that still counts.
8. Indeed. You may have the soul of a pirate lurking beneath your bloody awful bathrobe yet. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?
Even in the Navy they’re only guidelines. A wise Navy officer makes the rules work for her not against her, if you know what I mean. Wink ,wink.
9. You aren't fooling anyone, you pirate. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?
Plenty of undead in my stories, truth be told. Death herself plays a part. A few ghouls and a whole rack of demons. Heck, even the hero of Bound by Darkness is undead. Come to think of it, so is the heroine, Lena Sharpe. You’re not uncomfortable around the undead, are you, Jack?
10. Not as long as I have my sword handy and they steer clear of my rum. And my ship. And whatever patch of Earth I might be inhabiting at that particular moment. Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?
Spells, charms, and dark magic abound. One heartless demi-goddess, three creepy monsters with the power to possess, and an epic battle for souls. Will that do?
11. Hm. Perhaps you should tell me more about this demi-goddess. Is she beautiful? Does she enjoy rum? One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?
Auspicious. I certainly feel favored by fortune to be interviewed by you today, Jack. I wonder what mischief you’ve got up your sleeve to be so free with your time, though. Not planning to rob me of a copy of my book, are you?
12. *tucks book behind back and whistles* You wound me with your accusations, my dear. Parlay? Or draw your sword?
Draw your sword and raise your shield, mate. Otherwise, the battle is over and your soul is destined for hell.
13. A woman of action! Actually, you're beginning to remind me a bit of Elizabeth. I'm not sure how I feel about that. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?
Toss a bind spell at the sailors. It’s only temporary, but it ought to be enough to knock ‘em into the sea. The sea monster will stop to have a snack, and we’ll race away like the wind. Hoist the jib, lads!
14. I've re-thought the resemblance to Elizabeth. Welcome aboard, my darling! I'll steer the ship, you dispatch the nasties. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?
Adventure on the high seas, no debate. Romance is the stars shining over a dark sea, the lacy white wake of a ship in the water, and the salty scent of danger in the air. On the high seas, we can have it all. And partake of the rum at the same time.
15. Darling, you truly are a pirate after my own heart. Ditch the bloody awful bathrobe and grab the rum. We have places to go! My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?
Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead! Ramming the other ship is always a good option, wouldn’t you agree?
Agreed. Shall we? *holds out hand*
I think Captain Jack may have met his match! Thank you, Annette, for such a fabulous interview. And for writing such fantastic stories. To learn more about Annette and her books, go to her website.
Now for more FUN! Annette is giving away two signed ARCs of BOUND BY DARKNESS! Trust me, you want to get your hands on this book. I promise you'll be hooked from the very first sentence. Here's how to enter:
1. Earn entries:
*Comment on this post = 1 entry
*Be a follower of this blog = 2 entries
*Tweet the link to this interview = 3 entries (Use @cjredwine or leave url to tweet in your comment so I can see it.)
*Post the contest on your blog = 3 entries (Leave a link here)
2. Tally it up: Please tally up your entries and leave the total in your comment.
3. Check back: The contest is open until 8 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!
Good luck to all, and happy reading!