Sunday, October 11, 2015

One With the Shadows by Susan Squires Excerpt & Interview

One with the Shadows - Banner


TITLE – One With the Shadows SERIES – The Companion Series AUTHOR – Susan Squires GENRE – Regency Vampire Paranormal Romance PUBLICATION DATE – September 15, 2015 LENGTH – 322 pages PUBLISHER – Independent COVER ARTIST – Rebecca Poole, Dreams2Media

One with the Shadows - Cover 


Bestselling author Susan Squires brings you a shadowy world of seduction and betrayal, vengeance and desire…
Kate Malone makes her living reading Tarot cards and fleecing society’s elite. With no prospect of independence, her own fate looks bleak. But Kate’s fortunes change when she steals a magnificent emerald—and is confronted by a mysterious stranger. Kate is sure the striking gentleman’s attention is a ruse to retrieve the gem. But his presence awakens her to a passion she never dreamed of… and to powers she never knew she possessed.
Gian Urbano is bound by honor to retrieve the mystical stone that can drain a vampire’s power—and drive them to madness. The willful, stunning Kate has no idea of the emerald’s dark magic, or the lengths Gian’s enemies will go to possess it. But soon Gian discovers for Kate a desire more compelling than duty—one that could save them both or lead them to their downfall…
“Squires writes a darkly compelling vampire romance.”—Affaire de Coeur
Full of colorful characters, romantic locales and vivid details of 1820’s life [One with the Shadows] has a delicious pace and plenty of thrills, and her vampire myths is both mannered—almost Victorian—and intriguingly offbeat. Bound to net a wide audience of paranormal fans, this one may even convert devotees of traditional historical.”—Publisher’s Weekly (A Best Book of the Year)



Everyone else in the room hung on her words, the men wanting something they could use to jibe him, the women hoping for something that said he would be theirs. But she couldn’t make out the story the cards told. She didn’t have any words, only an ache in her head and a feeling of... dislocation, as though she were looking at herself from far away.
Yet words came.
“You have seen blood, rivers of it, in a desert.” She blinked. The room began to swirl, the colors of the crowd melting together. “Blood you brought forth through extraordinary heroism in a cause you believed was just.” She stood. The table toppled. Surprised, she glanced down to see the cards scattering very slowly to the floor. But the crowd behind them was spinning faster. “It has left you wandering in your soul, impotent. Evil is around you even now, and may still win out.” Her voice did not seem to be her own. “Many trials are ahead. Thievery will be involved. I see a stone, an emerald. Your arrogance can still be tempered into wisdom by your trials.” She had a sensation of falling, and yet she knew she stood, looking up at him. He too stood, staring in fascinated horror. “Love can transform you.” She gazed up into those green eyes and the room receded entirely.
The green of his eyes turned into the green of a stone.
It was an emerald, as big as half her fist. It glowed in darkness. A woman’s hand with long nails held it with a pair of silver tongs. The glow of the emerald cast refracted green light on the rough stone walls and floor of a cramped room. He was there: the arrogant, beautiful one. He was naked and chained to the wall. His pale skin stood out against the dark stone on which he lay. “You are mine,” the woman said “The jewel will give you to me.” Fear shone in the man’s eyes. The woman came closer, touched the flesh of his chest with the stone. He arched and groaned. The glow brightened until it lit the cell with a blinding green light. The woman’s laughter echoed crazily back from the rock walls. And then nothing. The stone cell vanished. Kate took one breath, and collapsed.



Susan Squires is a New York Times bestselling author known for breaking the rules of romance writing. Whatever her time period, or subject, some element of the paranormal always creeps in. She has won multiple contests for published novels and reviewer's choice awards. Publisher's Weekly named Body Electric one of the year’s most influential mass market books and One with the Shadows a Best book of the Year. Time for Eternity, the first in the DaVinci time travel series, received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly.
Susan has a Masters in English literature from UCLA and once toiled as an executive for a Fortune 500 company. Now she lives at the beach in Southern California with her husband, Harry, a writer of supernatural thrillers, and two very active Belgian Sheepdogs, who like to help her write by putting their chins on the keyboarddddddddddddddddddddddd.


Where are you from?
I was born in Northern California in a town called Fairfield. I came south to go to college at UCLA. Now I live in Southern California at the beach with my husband Harry and my two Belgian Sheepdogs.
Tell us your latest news?
One With the Shadows is available now at the usual sources, and I couldn’t be happier with it.  It has three of my favorite character in it.
The follow-up book, One With the Darkness, will be out shortly. There was a character I loved so much in One With the Shadows, that I had to give her her own book. She stole several scenes, no matter how hard I tried to control her. She is Gian’s mother, the Contessa, a beautiful Italian vampire who regretted more than anything that she hadn’t made her lover and Gian’s father, a barbarian slave in Caligula’s Rome, a vampire too so they could share the centuries. Her friend, Leonardo DaVinci, builds her a time machine so she can go back and correct her mistake. Of course, it’s never that simple is it? I love the cover for this book too.
I’m also in the middle of writing the sixth in my Magic series, about the contemporary Tremaine family, who have magic in their DNA that comes alive when they meet another with the gene. This Magic Moment was supposed to be the last in the series, but I love this family so much, I was mourning the fact that the series is over, so there may be one more book. This series is the only one I’ve ever written that benefits from reading in order, so you can meet the family, and see the younger ones grow up and find love of their own. So if you haven’t yet read one, start with Do You Believe in Magic?

When and why did you begin writing?
My mom and dad always read to me. But sometimes they were busy, (they did have other obligations besides reading to me!) so I told myself stories. The stories got more intricate as I got older. Then I heard that a girl who was 11 had written a book that was published. I thought, “Maybe I can turn my stories into a book.” I was 12 at the time. I wrote a road-trip story from the point of view of my dog. Still have that somewhere. The stories never stop. It’s just whether you want to spend the time and effort to get good at writing them down. And that does take effort. I did.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I got sidetracked in writing because I didn’t think it was a practical way of earning money, so I had to get a job in the real world out of college. I rose up the ranks and was an executive at a pretty young age, which takes a lot of time. Plus you can’t just quit and decide you’ll try to make it as a writer, because you depend on the money and the benefits. So I always wrote as a secondary pursuit. That made it tough to consider myself a writer. I had a lot to learn as a writer too, so I was taking classes and going to critique groups. I think I considered myself a student at that point. I got a little closer to considering myself a writer when I got an agent. But when I got the call that my first book, Danegeld, was going to be published by a New York publishing house, then I knew I was a writer. (It’s a great feeling, by the way.)

What inspired you to write your first book?
I saw an old DVD of Frank Langella’s Dracula. And the vampire was supposed to be the evil bad guy, but in my mind he was the hero. And I thought, why shouldn’t the vampire be the hero? Around this time the AIDs epidemic was in full swing, and everyone was blaming the victims--that somehow they were bad or evil and that’s why they got the disease. I thought, what if vampirism is a disease, a parasite in your blood, and we’ve just been blaming vampires for something that isn’t their fault. And I wrote the prototype for The Companion Series, called Sacrament. (It was a really bad book in its first incarnation. Years later I rewrote it and it was published, though.) That was long before The Companion series was born, but it was a powerful idea for me, so I came back to it.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I care about language, so I am very particular about it. Some reviewers describe my style as “lush”, but I’m not sure what that means. They’re also considered “emotional,” stories and that I agree with.  I write fairly dark. There is always actual sex in the books. If the books are historical, as in The Companion series in general and One With the Shadows in particular, they are carefully researched. And the stories are fast paced with action sections. There is always an adventure as well as a love story, though the love story is paramount.

How did you come up with the title?
I’m fairly horrible at titles, so I enlist the assistance of husband, writer-friends and editors. Editors get the last say.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
In some ways, the message in all of my books is that you have to have courage to get what you want. In the vampire books the heroes and heroines have to embrace what they fear most in order to find happiness and become a whole person. In One With the Shadows, my heroine, who is a charlatan herself and doesn’t believe in the supernatural, has to accept that the world is bigger than her small view of it, and that even she herself is not what she thought. She has to reject her sad history and believe that the supernatural and happiness are both possible for her.

How much of the book is realistic?
Well, I don’t believe in vampires, so that isn’t realistic. The setting in nineteenth century Italy is as accurate as I can make it. I think people (in what ever historical period) are pretty much the same and I try very hard to make my characters feel like real people. And the book is emotionally true, in that characters react like you or I would, even if the circumstances are extreme, I hope. Does that count?

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think all books are the sum of what the author has learned about life, so in that sense, yes. Also, I went to Italy, so the experience of the Mediterranean and the quality of the light, the historical look of the cities, are based on my experience. In One with the Shadows, Michelangelo modeled his statue of David on the hero (who is a vampire, and so has lived for centuries), except that he minimized the hero’s…more intimate parts. I saw the statue in person, and it was overwhelming, so it had to go into the book. The hero’s mother lives in the Pallacio del Vecchio, which we visited. It was a good trip!

What books have influenced your life most?
I was a literature major in college, so I read a lot of books. I loved all of Jane Austen’s books. I read a lot of William Faulkner. I loved the use of a child’s point of view to illuminate adult society in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Huckleberry Finn. And when I got out of college, my husband read me a Georgette Heyer romance, These Old Shades—at which point, I ran out and read everything else she ever wrote. I began to think that I might not be Jane Austen, but I could still write romances.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Living writers who have helped me in my career include people who have become friends—Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon—there are many more.
What would you like my readers to know?
I’m very proud of One With the Shadows. I loved the heroine, Kate, who is scarred but independent, and Gian, my Italian vampire who is so beautiful Kate could never believe he would love her. This book was named a Best Book of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly, and got great reviews. I think it’s sort of like seeing your child become a success. It’s very gratifying. 


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