Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Guest Appearance: Colleen Gleason, Author

I have Carl V of Stainless Steel Droppings to thank for first introducing me to author Colleen Gleason's books. I read the first book in her four book series, The Gardella Vampire Chronicles in January of 2007 and was hooked from then on. The series continues to get better and better with each book, and it is with a mixture of excitement and regret that I look forward to the final book in the series, When Twilight Burns, which was released this past month.

Please welcome Colleen Gleason!

I love writing paranormal historicals.

One reason I like the historical setting is that it gives the heroine (and other characters) a different set of restrictions than they have in today’s world. It makes it more challenging for them—and for me.

Such as? Well, obviously, no cell phones, no texting, no Internet and email. Makes communication that much more difficult, and it makes it easier for things like swapping or taking on new identities. It also allows me to build in more tension because, again, it’s harder to get places, to contact people, to find out things.

And then there’s the whole fashion aspect. While, I admit, there are times when I wish I could put my Victoria Gardella Grantworth into some serious high-heel boots, or a glittery cocktail dress, or Max into a leather duster, or Sebastian into some tight suede jeans…I also get to use the styles of dress at that time to my advantage.

It’s a lot harder for a young woman attending a Society ball to find a place to hide her stake than it was for Buffy, who just slipped it up her sleeve. I’ve had to get creative with my heroine and find ways for her to secret weapons on her person, and even to have to change in the carriage and need help from someone to unlace her corset!

Another reason I love writing historical paranormals is because I get to play with history. I get to take events that actually happened and give them a paranormal twist or otherworldly explanation.

For example, when I was researching the second book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, Rises the Night, I learned that John Polidori, the author of The Vampyre, died a somewhat mysterious death. There were differing explanations as to why/how he’d died. Well, heck, I thought...I’m certain it had to do with his exposing vampire secrets in his book The Vampyre, and they came after him for revenge.

And voila! I had a plot twist that I was able to build upon.

I also learned that secret societies like the Carbonari were very common in Italy at the time, and so I figured there had to be a secret society of vampire protectors that also existed—and thus I created The Tutela, which is just that: a society that protects and serves the undead, and appear in my books.

For my third Gardella book, I wanted to base part of the plot around something in Rome. I kept Googling things like “Rome 19th century legend” “Rome 18th century secret” “Rome myth” “Rome legend.” And while I got a lot of things about Remus and Romulus, I also found out about The Door of Alchemy (La Porta Alchemica), which is a real door that still exists today, and is described in my book The Bleeding Dusk.

Interestingly enough, the door really was part of the Villa Palombara, and it really was sealed and locked to protect a mysterious alchemical lab in about 1650. The Villa Palombara was destroyed in the mid-19th century…just about the time Victoria and her friends would have been in Rome.

How could I not use that as the basis for The Bleeding Dusk?

When I was working on the fourth Gardella Vampire Chronicles book, When Twilight Burns (just released in August 2008), I found out that during the time the book was set the former Prince Regent of England was crowned king, and that the coronation was a huge, elaborate, expensive affair…and that he refused to let his estranged wife, Queen Caroline, enter Westminster Abbey for the coronation.

I had to use that tidbit in my book, and I knew just how to build that paranormal aspect around it.

These kind of serendipitous research results are what make it so much fun to write paranormal novels set during historical time periods.

Colleen Gleason is the author of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. You can learn more about the author and her series at her website and on her blog, For All the World to See.


  1. Thanks for putting up this post, Wendy! I really enjoyed reading Colleen Gleason's thoughts on her Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I love it that she created them with a historical setting and this has made her series more outstanding because there're just too many urban themes in the market (not that they're not good, but it's something different).

    After hearing all the raves from most readers, I want to read her series soon. :)

  2. Thanks, Wendy for featuring Colleen Gleason! (Hi, Colleen!)

    I've not read any of her books before and I think now is the best time. I think I've mentioned in your related reviews earlier that I've placed all the four books in my wish list. Looks like they have to be 'transferred' to the future TBR pile soon. :D

  3. I swear these sound more and more appealing every time I hear about them. For some reason my library has two and three but not The Rest Falls Away :( I'll have to ILL it.

  4. I really do need to read these books. They sound like they are "right up my alley." I enjoyed her descriptions of serendipitous research. Being a librarian, I actually like following research trails to see where they lead.

  5. The history aspects are one of my favorite parts of this book. One thing that struck me when I was reading this post is how you remember where you heard about Colleen from. Now I want to remember myself. I preordered her first book, so I was around for a while... Maybe I blogged about it!

  6. The whole set of books has arrived. Yippee! :)

  7. Thank you to everyone for stopping in and visiting with Colleen!

    Melody - I think the setting is very fitting as well. I wouldn't mind reading books about the other Gardella women someday if Colleen gets the urge to write about them. :-)

    Alice - I do hope you enjoy them! They are fun books. :-)

    Jen - I hope you are able to snag a copy of the first book! I think you will like this series, Jen.

    Terri - I enjoyed Colleen's post as well. I think serendipitous research is just like unraveling a little mystery. It can be quite exciting! I like how Colleen is able to add some of the tidbits she uncovers in her books.

    Kailana - I agree! I do love the historical aspect of the books. :-)


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