Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Date published: July 28, 2014
Thirty-year-old redhead Josephine Berendt has everything under control. She’s finally over her ex, Max Spencer; her third novel is about to hit the shelves; and she’s living happily alone in a quiet Denver suburb. So what if her life is missing a little action? She gets all she needs by writing about vampires – and at least her furniture won’t run away to Paris just to prove how much it doesn’t love her.
600-year-old businessman Grant Black thinks he’s just doing a favor for an old friend by keeping an eye on Josephine and her dangerously accurate storytelling. Keeping out of her life is no trouble at all – until Max shows up on her doorstep with a case of fangs and Grant is forced to meet Josephine in the fearless, foul-mouthed flesh.
Soon Josephine finds herself at the center of an undead incident of international proportions. Now every day is a test of how long she can balance her need for independence with her growing affection for a killer, and stay alive – or, at least, not dead.
Featuring some of the most famous and ruthless vampires from history and literature, BLACK interweaves traditional vampire canons with an entirely new race of vampires with its own laws and mores. Told in Josephine’s thoroughly modern voice, the book is a witty, allusive tour of the vampire world’s upper echelons and hubs of power.
I was warned; I'll admit that.
I'd been in Denver – and he'd been in Paris – for nearly three years when the letter showed up in the box, no postmark, no stamp. My name in that familiar, cramped hand, the address that he shouldn't have known. I laid it on the kitchen counter with the junk, unopened, intending to throw it out. I had nothing to say to Max Spencer, nothing that hadn't been said before he fled the country to prove how much he didn't love me.
Trash day came and went, and I passed that letter every time I went for a glass of water. I didn't want to open it – it may as well have been round and labeled "WORMS" – but I couldn't bear to get rid of it. It felt too much like throwing him away.
Part of me knew who it was when the bell rang that night. The house was cold; March hadn't come in like a lion so much as like another snowstorm, and colder air rushed in as I opened the door. I don't know what I expected after ten on a weeknight, but I didn't expect him to look so unchanged and yet so utterly different. He was the same body, ostensibly the same man who'd left me three years ago, but it seemed my bitterness had made him less than that in my head. I stared at him, hale, healthy, beautiful, and not in Paris, and promptly dropped my water glass.
"Max." I stared down at my feet; a dozen shallow cuts welled blood in scattered beads. I didn't feel them, and started to move. He touched my arm.
"Don't – you'll make it worse. I'll fix it." He eased past me in the entryway, and bent to pick up the glass around my white little feet. "You're bleeding," and he touched the cuts so gently before he went after the broom he knew I'd keep in the kitchen.
"Why are you here?"
"Didn't you get my letter? I told you I would be."
"I didn't read it." He started to sweep; I leapt for the area rug so he wouldn't touch me again.
"Any of it?"
I shook my head. He sighed as he walked around the corner to the kitchen and tipped the dustpan into the bin. "It would have been easier if you had. I'd counted on your curiosity."
"To do what?" I closed the door.
"Prepare you for me." He settled onto my sofa, adjusting the crease in his pants.
"I rather thought if I didn't answer, you'd stay away."
He was silent for a moment, his pale eyes so like mine, closed, cold. Impossible, even for one who knew him well, to guess what he might be thinking. "Unfortunately, I felt I must impose upon your hospitality. I have – stories to tell, and you're the only audience for them."
About the Author
In addition to writing, Ms. Winters is the Social Media Director for the Gatsby Theatre Company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is employed as the principal mezzo-soprano for the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.
She lives in Denver with with her husband, daughter, and one demanding cat.
When did you start writing?
When I was 10. My fifth-grade teacher assigned a short story every week. After a few weeks, my classmates all just wanted to hear mine.
Oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip?
Chocolate chip. Occasionally, oatmeal chocolate chip.
Do you ever write characters you hate?
All the time. If I don't hate a villain, my readers won't.
What's your favorite pie?
What do you enjoy, outside of writing?
I love TV, and podcasts (Night Vale, Radiolab, etc.)
Were there any scenes in it that were difficult for you to write?
I hate writing sex scenes. They always take forever for me.
Do you prefer your books in print or e-book format?
I prefer e-book, simply because they're easier to tote and read in bed. But I'm not picky.
Batman or Superman?
What is your favorite book?
It's easier to pick a favorite child (well, I only have one of those). I go back again and again to "Possession" by A.S. Byatt, and the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.
How do you get over writer's block?
I'll switch to another manuscript, or I'll wait it out and "fill the tank" - I'll read a lot, I'll see a bunch of movies. Basically, I find I'm blocked either by a character who refuses to talk - so I switch to another character - or by being burnt out, in which case I just have to take a vacation.
Who is your favorite character that you've written?
Josephine. We're basically the same person, but I don't attract handsome billionaire vampires. *sigh*
What song do you sing in the shower?
I don't, actually. I save all my singing for my day job - and the car. I'll sing anything in the car.
Who is your favorite author?
Again with the favorites! ;) It's a big list. Wharton, Hamilton, King, Rice, MaryJanice Davidson - and me, of course.
Do you ever feel frustrated with your work?
How do you handle negative reviews of your books?
If they're well-thought-out, I will consider them and if there's anything I can take for my next book. If they're not, I ignore them. It's not worth the space in my head. I won't appeal to everyone, and that's fine.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I was born in Alaska, on Christmas Day.
What are you currently reading?
So, I was at Reading Until Dawn Con last weekend (you guys should come next year, it was so fun!), and I got like 40,000 free books (see? COME.), so I'm reading "The Duke Can Go to the Devil" by Erin Knightley. It's a Regency romance, which I do read occasionally, and I like it so far.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?
Urban Fantasy, hands down.
Is there a type of genre you refuse to write?
I don't know that I'd refuse to write anything, but I doubt I'll come up with, say, the next best-selling Christian romance anytime soon, you know?
There's a lot of distractions around, especially with social media, how do you block it all out and write?
I make myself go to a separate study I set up, and I turn my wifi off, and I'm not allowed to come out until I have 1,000 words. I just treat it like another job. I clock in, do my work, clock out.
Humor me, because this is my favorite (mythical) animal: Would you ever consider putting a platypire in one of your books?
Absolutely. I can see Josephine talking about one now....