Last week when I was coming back to the UK from the States, I entered an alternate dimension in which I, along with approximately ten thousand other travelers, attempted to make it through the Border Control line at Heathrow. Of course, being England, they all queued up in orderly fashion extending back to somewhere near Twickenham, I think, only turning in feral mass if someone attempted to jump the queue. (Okay, actually nobody said a thing to the queue jumpers except for a couple of indignant American grandmas. But the rest did give them Very Severe Looks.)
Since it was clear that we’d be spending quality time together, I decided to get a start on writing this review. In a highly scientific poll I took of the people standing around me in line, I reached the following conclusions. Six people—all women— liked vampire stories. Seven people—all men—liked zombie stories. Each of them liked werewolves, of course because hey… werewolves. (The other 9986 seemed to think they were there to catch a flight in this millennium. Weird…)
One woman remarked that she lives in the north of England where they only have a few hours of daylight this time of year, everyone is pasty white, and they eat blood pudding on a regular basis. She figures they’re mostly vampires already. But, she added, with the exception of her husband’s gym clothes, she pretty much avoids touching rotting things, so she didn’t really get zombies at all. Another lady added that she wouldn’t mind werewolves, and everyone nodded in agreement. Because, well…werewolves.
Why is there such a (now scientifically documented) gender divide? Along with pictures of our kids/grands, tips on good tax accountants, and promises to add each other to our Christmas card lists, we exchanged theories on this. Some said it was because vampires are the ultimate bad boys—what with the whole fluids exchange, smoldering/tortured/brooding sex, and eternal life without ever needing botox—and what woman doesn’t like that? Some said that when you get zombies, then guys who normally don’t do anything more aggressive than mow the lawn all of a sudden get to wield chain saws and really big guns and basically blow/chop stuff to bits.
Being firmly in the non-zombie camp myself, I am delighted to welcome L.T. Kelly, the author of two 100% zombie-free novels featuring vampires and werewolves. She joins us to discuss her debut series as well as writing and life.
What was your first car? It was a short lived red Rover. Ugh, British engineering isn’t all that great. The head gasket went on it before I even passed my driving test. You live…you learn.
Who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane? Alexander Skarsgard. Do you think the airline would mind if we shared a seat though? I don’t mind sitting on his lap.
Best guilty pleasure ever? Okay, (clears throat and blushes)…I love Simon Cowell. I can’t put my finger on why, he just does something to me.
As a child (or now!), what did you want to be when you grew up? I think I went through wanting to be everything, a nurse, a singer, a model, a ballerina, an actress. It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind! Now I’m just happy with what I’m doing, I have two great jobs. The one that pays the bills is being an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the Ambulance Service and of course writing books.
Are the names of the characters in your novels significant? I pick the name that suits each character the best based on the visual appearance of them in my minds eye as well as their behaviour.
What is the single biggest challenge of creating the settings in your novels? I like all of my settings to be realistic. My first book, Falling to Pieces was set in London, having been to London I found it easy to work on the atmosphere and setting of the places I wrote about. The sequel Falling into You was set in New York. I’ve only ever visited the USA once, I went to Miami. If I spoke specifically about a place a lot of research went into it. That can sometimes draw away from your time being creative, however, it’s well worth being factually correct. I’d be so embarrassed if I was caught out by a reader if something was wrong.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard? Don’t give up. You can do it.
Contact Links for L.T. Kelly
- Facebook: http://goo.gl/uWDDiw
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LTKelly2
- Website/blog: http://ltkelly.com
- Book Titles: Falling to Pieces & Falling Into You
- Author: L.T. Kelly
- Genre: Paranormal Romance
- Length: 222 pages (Book 1), and 214 pages (Book 2)
Release Date: 26 July, 2013 (Book 1) and 9 May 2014 (Book 2)
I was delighted to receive L.T. Kelly’s new paranormal series with plenty of vampires and (yay!) werewolves. Her debut first volume, Falling to Pieces, tells the story of Tegan Lewis, a lovely and passionate vampire who has spent much of her 150 years living quietly with her maker, Thomas. But when Thomas is called back to London to take up an important position in the vampire world, Teagan meets Marc Romano and her quiet existence is turned upside down. Not only does she discover that he’s not human, but it soon becomes clear that their romance carries a death sentence from both of their worlds. In the second volume, Falling Into You, a devastated Teagan is left alone after Marc disappears. Accompanied by young party-vamp Alex, she carves a bloody path across Europe. Returning to New York, Teagan is infatuated by Marc’s brother, unwillingly attracted to an old enemy, and endangered by the new enemy threatening her and those she loves.
This is a big story, full of complex twists and unexpected turns. The plot was well-structured, although for me there might have been just a little too much of it. When the first book’s story arc ended, it felt a bit like I had reached the end of a chapter, and not the conclusion of a book. Luckily, I had the next book in hand, and could just start reading right away.
One of the strengths of the story was that the nonhuman creatures were often unapologetically and inhumanly brutal. When Teagan is separated from Marc, she goes on a bloody rampage for which she never expresses guilt or apology. As gorgeous and brooding as they are, we’re reminded that vampires are also monsters. But a negative was the instant attraction/love between Teagan and Marc. Don’t get me wrong—their romance is hot. But it would, I think, have felt deeper if it had taken longer than one sniff for their relationship to grow and develop. Also, I just have to say, although Teagan is a gorgeous, sympathetic, and clearly passionate character, she’s also dumb as a post. I mean really—how was it possible that she lived for 150 years without finding out a damn thing about the real or supernatural worlds in general, and vampires in particular? Even in darkest Montana, you can still get the News Hour and (presumably) its vampiric equivalent.
There are a few typos and editorial errors, but L.T.Kelly has done an excellent job of presenting her story with style and polish. The twists, well-developed secondary characters, and fast pace made it an enjoyable read and one that was difficult to put down. I’d give four stars to this terrific debut effort, and I’ll be looking to read more from such a talented writer. Kelly certainly knows how to write sexy, slightly unconventional vampires and werewolves. I think it would be a lot of fun to wait in line with her at Heathrow Airport.*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Falling to Pieces Excerpt
My heels clicked across the metal flooring of the loading dock before arriving in front of the rounded capsule made of glass with thin steel struts as support.
“The full rotation takes thirty minutes, Mr. Romano,” said the guy at the entrance, with narrowed eyes and a hand on his hip as we stepped inside.
The centre of the capsule boasted a polished lightwood, oval shaped bench. A pair of shiny long stemmed glasses and a beautifully presented box of truffles rested on a starched tablecloth. Next to them sat a silver bucket brimming with ice. A bottle poked out from between the cubes, the top encased with golden foil.
I turned to watch him entering. “Wow! I didn’t realise The London Eye was open so late.
“It’s not,” he said with a smug grin. “I have a friend at EDF. He owed me a favour.”
“EDF?” I cocked my head.
“Yeah, they sponsor The London Eye.”
“Ahh. Good thing I showed up tonight then, right.” I narrowed my eyes in his direction. He knew damn straight that I’d come back to the bar tonight. I inwardly chastised myself for being so transparent.
He dipped his head in what I took as a display of shame for being so sure of himself.
The door to the glass capsule slid shut. All that could be heard inside was the whir of the huge wheel ascending and the sound of our breathing.Marc remained by the entrance with both his hands in the pockets of his pants, his feet planted apart.I stood next to the midsection of the bench where the champagne was, not quite comfortable with how to stand or what to say next. I must have appeared as awkward too, so I tried to relax.
Marc stood silently and appeared to admire every inch of me, consuming me with his glossy gaze. I gulped, rapidly blinking whilst surveying his smouldering golden brown eyes. This was the first time we’d ever been alone, and this was an entirely different type of alone, it was impossible for us to be disturbed.
“Impressive for a first date,” I muttered, keeping my expression blank and my voice even.
I imagined myself walking over to him, tracing my palm down his solid chest, planting kisses down his neck.
My gaze flicked to his throat in time with the vision in my head as his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. His expression and stance made him appear cool, calm and collected—this small detail provided me with the knowledge he wasn’t.
He stepped towards me slowly, as if he feared startling me, his eyes glued to mine. I sucked a breath through my teeth, his glance moved towards the champagne in response—as if I’d told him I was off limits.
Perhaps I’d overreacted to his self-assured actions? ‘Get over it, Teagan and just enjoy yourself,’ I scolded myself. He was stunning, why would anyone turn him down?
“You want some?” he asked, cocking his head to one side as he lifted the bottle out of the ice.
“Yes, please,” I said, still gritting my teeth against the image of sinking my fangs into his throat, smooth and sun-kissed.
“Are you scared of heights?” His eyebrows squished together for a moment.
I snorted. He’d noticed my tension and associated it with the ride. I was capable of smashing out of here and climbing down the structure before anyone even noticed. Being alone with him was the only thing causing my apprehension.
“No, I love this. Thank you for thinking of it,” I said, smiling at him.
He raised an eyebrow at me and a lopsided grin appeared as he popped the cork from the bottle not spilling a drop of liquid. A man after my own heart.
The capsule held both of our scents. His was intoxicating, almost overpowering. I felt as though it was carrying me away to a place that was designed to possess so many elements of how he smelled—perhaps a kitchen in the countryside. Floral tones reminiscent of wildflower fields drifted in through an open window on rays of sunshine, flooding me with warmth that I hadn’t felt since being a child.
He’d poured us both a glass of the golden tinged liquid and placed the stem of the champagne glass in my hand before raising his index finger to my eyebrow, brushing his finger over it. My lips parted at the contact, and I mirrored his furrowed brow. My insides squirmed and my skin buzzed as he traced his finger down my cheekbone and across my parted lips before cupping my chin.
“You are so beautiful, Teagan.”
“Thank you,” I murmured, unable to break the intense gaze between us. My stomach somersaulted and I wanted to glance down at his lips but I realised if I did I’d be unable to refrain from kissing him. I wanted him to kiss me first, call it womanly pride—I still had that, despite all my years of life.
He dropped his hand away from my face and took a deep breath as if he were trying to hold back just like I was.
“We’re going to miss the view,” he said.
‘I think the view I’ve got in here beats the one outside.’
I smiled at my thought and turned to look out of the convex window. I bent over and rested my forearms on the cool metal railing that ran around the inside of the capsule, sipping my champagne and enjoying the bubbles popping in my mouth before swallowing. The Eye was lit up in blue that night, casting a magnificent reflection on the murky black waters of the Thames.
Marc stood beside me, his thigh pressed against mine. My heartbeat throbbed in my throat as he started running his fingers up and down my exposed back. My fangs started to peek out, and I willed them back in as I concentrated on the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben’s glowing face as a distraction.
As we reached the top, the dim light from inside blinked out making lit-up London seem that much brighter. I inhaled a deep noisy breath. I was in the darkness with the most exhilarating man I’d ever met in my long life, and he was touching me.
My insides swirled, the only sounds were the thundering sound of my heartbeat and Marc’s ragged breathing. His fingers rested on my elbow, lightly tugging at me. I turned my head to meet his burning gaze. I placed the champagne flute on the floor.
I missed the split second before he grabbed my hips and pulled me towards him. His lips found mine like he’d spent an eternity mapping out the route. His mouth tasted of champagne, sweet and intoxicating. His excited tongue probed my mouth. My insides hummed and turned into dampness between my thighs. My entire body was a mass of wanton nerve endings begging to be touched, stroked and caressed. His soft full lips burned against mine, but all I could think about was them trailing over every inch of me.
For this week’s Lie-dar, please choose how you think L.T. Kelly would have finished the statement—”I can’t believe I once…”
- Streaked across a Rugby pitch during an international game.
- Made it backstage at Britain’s got talent by pretending to have Simon Cowell’s bottled water delivery.
- Provided emergency medical treatment for Prince Harry following a volleyball injury.
For a chance to win a copy of the two-volume Falling series, please add your guess about the correct answer to the Comments section below. (OR let us know if you prefer vampire, zombie, and/or werewolf stories.)
CONTEST UPDATE FROM BARB: OOPS! I blew it. I misread the truth/lies from L.T. Kelly, and 1-3 are ALL lies. So anyone who comments—on my stupid or any other topic—gets their name entered in the contest. So sorry!