|Shopgirl and the Vampire|
Ciar Cullen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Shop Girl and the Vampire*.
Genre: Paranormal Historical
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Boroughs Publishing http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/shopgirl-vampire
Length: 35p, 11,000 words
Heat rating: sweet
Tagline: At the cusp of the 19th century, a penniless lass learns her dashing guardian angel is a bloodsucking devil.
This book was the winner of the Boroughs Publishing Group @FirstSight short story contest.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Kitty Twamley, Irish scullery turned talented artist, 24
Phillip Orleans, socialite/vampire
Kitty squeezed her eyes closed, cursed, and turned to stare into the eyes of her angel. He looked devilishly dashing in his evening rags.
“Oh! It’s you!” His gaze took in the full height of her, more than once, before he inclined his head and coughed back a reaction that seemed complete shock.
“Aye. The shop girl. At your service, sir.”
“So, you did find employment with the Langhan sisters after all. I did wonder.”
“I have no way to thank you, Mr. Orleans, for your kindness that day.” The words clogged her throat, mixed with remembered emotions a half year old. “Truly, you are…”
“What am I? A man who made you lose your job the day after you buried your brother. That much we know. Still, I hope the Misses Langhan are treating you well? Indeed, I am impressed that they have…invited their maid to attend an art showing. They are progressive, are they not?”
“I am very fortunate that they are. Yes, sir.”
Phillip smiled and let out a deep sigh. “That makes me very happy.”
He is more beautiful than my portrait, she realized. But his eyes are sad tonight. What dismal events wound such a handsome, wealthy fellow? He bears the weight of the world on those broad shoulders.
Those bright eyes saw to her soul and gave her chills, that kind smile hid a secret. Again she thought of her grandmother’s tales of the dark creatures who’d walked the land for centuries, doomed to Purgatory on earth. Kitty had listened with half an ear to the stories, but the pull Phillip had on her seemed inhuman. A dark longing, Maimeó once warned. What a strange, strange man. Some spirit holds him in enchantment.
“You are a sean anam,” Kitty whispered.
“Am I now? And what does that mean? Please do not tell me it is another curse of yours.”
“You remember that?” Kitty relaxed and let go of the breath she was holding. “Aye, I did
curse you, but I blessed you later. And every day since.”
“You did not answer me,” Phillip chided, reaching out.
She pulled away and held her hand to her chest; he owned too much of her already.
“Grandma used to say that some have walked this earth before, perhaps many times. Some are very good and some are very, very bad. ‘Old souls,’ she said. That is what I called you, sir. An old soul.”
His pale face hardened. “Did she say that, now? And what do you think it means, to be an old soul? Would you categorize me as good or bad, Kitty?”
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
It’s taken me about 7 years to actually know how to “write from the heart.” I used to hear that phrase and thought I knew what it meant—with passion and verve. It’s akin to “write what you know”. Write what you know in your heart; write your own psychological journey onto the page, and don’t assume that no one will understand it. Be authentic. When you write your version of “junk food,” it comes out the intellectual equivalent of junk food. Write with abandon.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
Just about everything. I wrote every high fantasy trope into that book: the journey, the unavailable royal, the brothers, the bad wizard’s fortress, the heroine who feels bad about herself until the hero loves her, the campfire meal on the journey… oy vey. Lord of the Rings “lite”. Shudder.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I think the thing I enjoy most about life is the mysterious nature of life itself. Hmmn, enjoy might be the wrong word. But as I get older, I find that the trivial really falls away and you’re left with questions about yourself, and how you fit into the Universe.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
For writing, hands down, Mark Twain. While he had some great sadness in his life, his wit and unorthodox (for the time) way of looking at his world were genius.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I’d tell young Ciar that she deserved good things, as we all do, that she was entitled to look out for herself, and that she didn’t have to spend her life trying to take care of others who would not accept responsibility for themselves. Oh, and not to wear pale blue eye shadow. And that 118 pounds wasn’t fat. (I’d scream that last part).
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I really like nonfiction. Books like “Devil in the White City.” I love Victorian settings, exotic settings. For fiction, I don’t much like the Oprah Book Club type “women’s literature.” I’m more likely to reach for something on my “great books” list, which I’m trying to work through. 200 books that my high school and college didn’t make me read. Thackery, etc.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I am a low-maintenance gal. I’m opening a rucksack, throwing in jeans and cargo pants, a swimsuit (and 100 SPF sunscreen), a hat, shorts and tank tops, some underwear, and headed for the Amazon. Oh, pretty heavy hiking boots.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
My go-to hobby is knitting. Everyone I know has an afghan from me; a few have lace shawls. I’m now making a coat of many colors!
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
I can’t picture a single moment of my life being movie-worthy, except perhaps when I was an archaeologist, but of course, the great ones come to mind—Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, etc.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
“American Beauty Rose” my mom used to call it. Not in-your-face red, but with just enough subtlety to take the edge off. But noticeable, for sure. I share a birthday with Lucille Ball, and that pretty much sums me up!
Which statement is more like you:
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."
I’m a “do the world in a month” person. Fast, fast, fast. Except for writing. Snail-like.
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with lots of cheese.
I'm always ready for sleep.
When I'm alone, I daydream.
You'd never be able to tell, but I’m very religious.
If I had a halo it would be rusty.
If I could do it over I'd become a surgeon.
I can never stray because I’m very loyal.
Erotic Romance: Fish Out of Water, Three Nights in Greece, Out of My League, The Biggest Kahuna, The Prince’s Bride, Unholy Vows, Wizard of Time
Paranormal Romance: Love’s Alchemy, Mayan Nights, Mayan Secrets, The Egyptian Demon’s Keeper, The Egyptian Demon’s Daughter, Key West Magic
Steampunk: Steamside Chronicles
Fantasy Romance: Lords of Ch’i, The Princes of Anfall, Dark Prince of Anfall
Gay: Private Dancer (male/male)
Books Coming Soon
Lillian Holmes and the Mysterious Leaping Man (sequel to The Shop Girl and the Vampire)
Teenage Ninjas Take Manhattan (Young Adult)
One person commenting will win two titles, their choice from my backlist (electronic), NOT including The Shop Girl and the Vampire.
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