Miranda Owen: What is it about vampires that capture your imagination?
Kate Baxter: I’ve always been a fan of vampires! I read Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE when I was 17, and after that, I was hooked. I love the aura of darkness that surrounds them, the intensity of their emotions, and the potential for so much self-inflicted torture. I love to write internal conflict and with vampires, there is so much opportunity to explore their angst. It’s fun to shed a little light on characters who are condemned to live in darkness!
Miranda Owen: The mercenary and morally ambiguous character Christian pops up in THE LOST VAMPIRE. After writing about him, and including him in the past books, is he a character you really enjoy writing for – perhaps more so than when he first appeared?
Kate Baxter: I absolutely LOVE Christian. Along with Siobhan, he’s one of my favorite characters to write. I definitely consider him a bit of an antihero and with each book, I fall a little more in love with him! He’s flawed and self-destructive and a little selfish. His character has room to grow and at the same time, his character traits have made him street-wise and more than capable to handle anything that comes his way. He’s strong, but he’ll find out soon enough that he’s not an island. The allure of the antihero for me is that despite their insistence on being bad, they’re truly good at their cores. Christian and Siobhan both have histories that have forced them into the antihero role. It’s definitely my intention to give them a book of their own, but it will be down the road a bit. Their story is pretty involved and will need a lot of build-up before they can have their own story.
Miranda Owen: Can you reveal any of your plans for Sasha, Diego, or Lucas?
Kate Baxter: Sasha’s story will be revealed in December with THE WICKED VAMPIRE. I really enjoyed telling her story and pairing her with a hero who is suited for her wild nature. Diego has a cameo or two in the book as well as Lucas, though we get to see a lot more of Lucas and get to know him a little better. His character fascinates me and I love his guileless nature. I can’t wait to get into his head and see more of what he’s about!
Miranda Owen: What can you tell readers about who the bad guys are in your “Last True Vampire” world, and what do they want?
Kate Baxter: There are two main factions of antagonists in the True Vampire world. First, are the Sortiari (Sore-tee-are-ee) AKA, the bad guys. Or are they…? In the true vampire world, I like to think that there are no truly good or bad characters. Rather, they serve their own agendas. How the reader chooses to interpret their actions is up to them. I’m a fan of that gray moral area. The Sortiari is a secret society of mundane and supernatural creatures who’ve appointed themselves the guardians of fate. They do what they can to shape the world around them for the better. At least, they think it’s for the better. But just like all of us, they’re not without fault.
The second faction of antagonists is the berserkers. These immortal warlords are the bad-asses of the true vampire world. Immortal, and virtually unkillable, the only way to send them to the afterlife is by lopping off their heads. They share the least in common with humans and are more in touch with their animal natures than even vampires or werewolves are. Without giving too much about their history away, I will say that the only berserkers in existence are male, making reproduction a tricky issue. They’ve got a serious grudge about that, too and are bound and determined to make someone pay for it. I can’t wait to reveal more about their history and backstory to readers!
Miranda Owen: Once again, we see a wide spectrum of “bad guy” in THE LOST VAMPIRE. Who was your favorite to write in this particular book, and why?
Kate Baxter: Oh man, this is a tough one! I have to admit that I really enjoy writing protagonists. Especially because I love the concept of the villain being the hero of his own story, which is really the case when it comes to Ian Gregor. But there was definitely something about Rin that I really enjoyed writing in this book. He’s so arrogant and morally ambiguous. He’s out for himself and doesn’t mind stepping on anyone who gets in the way of what he wants. There’s something completely cavalier about him and it makes him an even better protagonist. He finds himself in over his head in THE LOST VAMPIRE, though, and he’s going to find out what it’s like to be at someone else’s mercy.
Miranda Owen: I feel like, in THE LOST VAMPIRE, you’re trying to add some depth or added interest to Tristan and Ian. Not that they’re necessarily potential heroes, but it feels like the characters have really spoken to you, and perhaps you’ve changed their trajectories. Is that correct?
Kate Baxter: This is such a great question!! I’ve actually never considered Tristan McAlister a villain. The Sortiari feel as though they’re doing what’s right for the world and they don’t have any qualms about doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Tristan has definitely made some bad calls but he also has a detailed backstory that affects his decision-making process as well. As for Ian Gregor, he’s a more clear-cut bad guy. But, like I mentioned above, the villain needs to be the hero of his own story. The Berserkers’ history has shaped them as well. Especially Ian who feels the loss he’s experienced every day of his existence. He’s a creature driven by vengeance and whether or not his need for retribution is misguided, in his heart, he feels as though he’s following the righteous path.
Miranda Owen: Magic and visions play a part in this love story. Which type of love story do you prefer to write – a fated love between virtual strangers, or a romance that develops between two characters who have some degree of familiarity or history?
Kate Baxter: I think it’s possible to have both and that’s what I prefer to write. Sometimes in life, we meet people that we just “click” with. It’s so immediate and you feel instantly at ease with that person. Like you’ve known them forever. I liken those encounters to a fated pairing. But being immediately connected to someone doesn’t guarantee love or even affection. I think that love grows over time as you get to know someone. But on the flipside, with characters like Siobhan and Christian, I have an opportunity to give them familiarity and history. It complicates the love story and makes it a little tougher to navigate. Both scenarios have their benefits and I love to explore all of those many facets of relationships.
Miranda Owen: What is your favorite part of the pairing of Saeed and Cerys?
Kate Baxter: Saeed’s certainty despite the uncertainty was my favorite part of their pairing. In the True Vampire world, the tether leaves no doubt in the character’s mind that they’re with their intended mate. In Saeed’s case, because of Cerys’s unique situation, there is no tether. That certainty is gone and he has no actual proof that she’s who he’s meant to be with. But that doesn’t deter him at all. His faith is unwavering and he trusts in his feelings. They fall in love organically without the safety net of the tether to guide them.
Miranda Owen: What is your favorite type of heroine to write? Who are some of your favorite heroines?
Kate Baxter: A feisty heroine is essential to my writing. I’m a HUGE fan of the “unlikeable heroine.” I admire strong female characters and I like to write them as being as complex as their male counterparts. I love strong heroines, but to be strong, I think it’s important to write a heroine who’s flawed. Claire is a con artist, Naya is stubborn and refuses to accept help, Bria can be reckless and her naivety can certainly be seen as a flaw. I like tough heroines, but I also like relatable heroines. And no one is perfect.
Miranda Owen: Naya, the heroine from THE WARRIOR VAMPIRE and recurring character, is such a fascinating character with all her witchy ways – have you considered doing a spin-off series either with her and Ronan, or another magic user themed series?
Kate Baxter: I’m definitely a fan of the magic wielders! I’d love to do a spin-off or even create a new world that focuses on witches. If I was going to do a spin-off, I’d follow Luz, Naya’s cousin, and the Bororo shifters. I’d love to explore their culture and create some myths and legends for them. The world building could be really fun! Plus, I love that Luz is sort of a snarky pain in the butt. Though vampires are the focus of the True Vampire world, I’ll be introducing more magic wielders. Specifically, mages. I’m excited to start working on their history and mythology as well!
Miranda Owen: One of the things I like so much about your paranormal romances, is that you maintain a balance between the romance and the action sequences. Is that important to you to maintain that balance?
Kate Baxter: I’m a huge action fan! I love action movies fight scenes are one of my favorite things to write. I think it’s important to have a good balance of action to romance because it keeps the pace of the book moving along. Too much romance can get boring and too much action can dilute the emotional journey of the characters. A little bit of both helps keep the story moving along and helps to keep the reader engaged. Plus, I love to write tough heroines who know how to hold their own in a scuffle!