Recently, I got ahold of Declan Finn and interrogated, er I mean interviewed him to find out more about Honor At Stake, his writing and what we can expect from him in the future. (There may or may not have been a little persuasion involved in getting this information.)
Honor At Stake is billed as a vampire romance. Tell me about the relationship between the two main characters, Amanda and Marco.
Imagine two people who are almost perfectly functional. I said almost because one is more or less terminally shy, and the other is so smart, imagine Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock – most of the rest of the world seems too stupid to live sometimes. (But then again, with those of us who have common sense, how many people is that? Show of hands please?)
Now, throw these two together. The brilliant one finds someone who might just be his equal. The shy one sees someone who will understand her before doing anything rash. Now, the two of them have an even bigger problem – they have to learn how to open up and share with another person.
Oh, and did I mention that one is a bloodthirsty monster and the other is a vampire? That complicates things too.
That is Marco and Amanda. He is a genius. She’s pretty damn smart, and pretty damn stunning – but no one looks past the stunning, except for Marco. Marco’s problem is a little bigger.
Why did you decide to write a book where the romance plays a big part? All of your previous books have been all about the action.
Because romance sells?
Originally, Honor At Stake was one book called UN Dead – maybe a few other titles – and Marco and Amanda had been together for a while, fighting the good fight and making goo-goo eyes at each other so hard that even relative newcomers wonder what’s going on. When I rewrote it into a quartet (because I like me some plot in a small space), I wanted to show how they met and how they revealed their secrets to each other, and then, we see the relationship develop. And then I just let the two of them take over the book.
What kind of response have you been getting from readers? Has there been a different response from women readers compared to men?
The response has been death threats mostly. Somewhere between WHY IS THERE NOT ANOTHER BOOK!? I NEED MORE NOOOOWWW; “there better be a book two OR ELSE,” and “Oooh, I can’t wait.”
Most of the reviewers have been women, yes, but the men who’ve read it have enjoyed it. One is author Jack July who said it was a great book period, regardless of the genre. I’ve got a retired petty officer who wrote my editor and suggested that the next book needs to come out ASAP, even if they had to manacle me to a chair and have an ill-tempered man with a whip standing behind me.
So, overall, pretty positive.
One of the stranger reviews had someone quibbling about the line that “No one really believes in Adam and Eve anymore” – it was a statement against literalist tendencies reading the Bible, but the reviewer seems to have read it as a statement against doctrine.
This is not a stand-alone book. How many more are in the works and what can we expect to see in regards to the relationship between Amanda and Marco?
There are at least four books already written. These four have their own arc, both with the major plotline as well as the relationship between Marco and Amanda. Do they end up together? Do they die at the end? Does one die and the other keep going? Do they ride off into the moonrise?
I’ve considered a book five in which there is a necromantic Chicago alderman, but that may or may not happen. And there is a definite spin-off book with Merle Kraft, a government agent who appears in Honor At Stake. He has to hook up with “normal” government agents as they deal with something that involves Wiccans, vampires, zombies, and Merle’s brother Dalf.
In short: the cast of Honor At Stake will return. And will continue to return as long as the sales keep up.
Note from Dawn: I have gotten a sneak peek at book 2. Book 2 is so much fun to read. And in true Declan style, the ending leaves you wanting more.
What can we expect from you next?
What is your writing schedule like?
Sit down, write, watch TV at a scheduled time … unless there’s nothing recorded, in which case I go until I go to bed. Repeat as needed. Saturdays are for friends, Sunday is for church. Anytime I get a new review is a day spent marketing as I plaster the review all OVER Facebook groups designed for such a thing.
I keep Facebook open in order to talk with the handful of people who I find interesting enough to talk with.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
Technically, a pantser. I let the characters navigate and I drive. However, I have a general idea of where I’m going, mainly because I’ve been there before, and I have enough of it play out in my head that I can see the how of getting from point A to point B.
But there are things I never really planned. A cop gets involved in this vampire mishegas and I didn’t expect it. A character important to our heroes figured out about vampires through deduction – I believe the chapter was Elementary, My Dear Dracula.
So, mostly pantser. Outlines are for wimps. Heh.
What program do you write with?
Open Office. Because I’m cheap and because that’s all I need. I’m sure it makes me sound like I’d use a typewriter, but you can’t email pages that way.
What is your one piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Ahem. Well, after years of writers asking “I’ve got this great idea for a book, what should I do,” the main piece of advice is WRITE THE DAMN BOOK. Sit on your ass, belt yourself into the chair in front of the medium of your choice, and write it.
You have written a number of other books, what are they and where can we find out more information about them?
I am …. an almost exclusively online commodity. I’m on Amazon, like everyone else. But, you can harass and harangue your local indie bookstores and / or library to stock me, which would be awesome if you did. I’m also on Barnes and Noble dot-com. If you ask at the front desk of an actual store, they’ll order a copy for you.