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My guest today is Annette McCleave

Draw Into Darkness

Serving a five-hundred-year sentence as a Soul Gatherer—one who battles demons for the souls of the dead—Lachlan MacGregor keeps his distance from humans. That is, until the lovely Rachel Lewis knocks on his door, begging for help.

As they struggle to rescue her daughter from the clutches of a powerful demon, Lachlan finds himself increasingly drawn to the artistic single mother. But when Death assigns him an unbearable task, he’s left wondering who will provide more for his soul.

Annette, Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my blog.

Thanks very much for having me and allowing me to share the excitement of my debut release!

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

Let’s see. I’m a mom and an animal lover—we have both a dog and a cat at home. I love movie theater popcorn, even though I know it’s bad for me. I drink far too much coffee, and I’m known to get so caught up in my writing that I forget appointments. Perhaps a little more exciting, I won the RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart award last year for Best Paranormal Romance—with the manuscript now published as Drawn into Darkness.

How long have you been writing?

All my life. 🙂 When I was younger, I started many a story that never got completed, and even completed a very bad mystery novel. But I only started writing seriously about six years ago.

What is your writing process like?

I’m an early-morning writer. I get up before dawn, make myself a pot of coffee, and start writing. I love those early hours when the house is dark and silent and my imagination can run wild. Depending on where I am with regard to my deadline, I either stop around 2pm, or plow right through until 6pm. I also fit contract writing jobs—not fiction—in between.

Can you tell us about your newest release Drawn Into Darkness?

Drawn into Darkness is my debut novel. It’s the story of a Scottish-born Soul Gatherer who battles demon thieves for the souls of the dead and a single mom desperate to save her teenage daughter from a dark influence. As an immortal, Lachlan MacGregor likes to keep his distance from humans, but when Rachel Lewis, the graphic artist who lives in the apartment below him begs him for help, he can’t help but aid her. But fighting demons isn’t the hardest thing Lachlan has to do. He finds himself in a horrible spot when he’s assigned his next task–to gather her daughter’s soul.

Drawn Into Darkness sounds like the beginning of a series, is it and if so how many books will there be in the series?

It’s definitely a series. There’s at least three books contracted, and there could be more. The second book, Bound by Darkness, will be released in May of 2010. There’s a sneak peak at Bound at the back of Drawn into Darkness. Stay tuned to my website—I’ll be posting more information about Bound as it becomes available.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on revisions to Bound by Darkness and I’m finishing up a proposal for book 3.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

I’m not really sure. The characters pop into my head fully formed, begging to have their story told. I then imagine the worst possible things that could happen to them. I put my characters in a dozen difficult situations they must struggle to get out of—basically, I torture them. Then I reward them with love. 🙂

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What genre of books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

I’m a huge reader—although I must confess that since becoming a writer, I’ve slowed down a bit. It’s far too easy to fall into the latest book from a favorite author and avoid working on my own manuscripts. 🙂 I read across the romance genres, including historicals, contemporary romances and paranormal/urban fantasy. And I also read thrillers.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

Whoa, that’s a long shelf. A sampling of what you’d find on it? Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning.  

What was the first romance book you read or the book that has stood the test of time for you?

I read romances from an early age because my mother had a subscription to Harlequin, but the first romance novel to really make an impact on me was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove. I read my first copy so often it fell apart. I bought another, and it’s still a book I re-read again and again.

If your book was made into a movie which actors would you like to see as the lead characters?

Oooh…that’s a good question. I can easily imagine Clive Owen playing Lachlan. His accent wouldn’t be quite right, but I could forgive that every time I looked at him. 😉 Rachel Weiss would make a great Rachel. Gorgeous, yet approachable and down-to-earth.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?

Rachel. Heck, she got Lachlan. What more could a girl want? Plus, she’s artistic, and I can’t draw a good stick figure, let alone paint a landscape.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

I love the movies. And I’m an avid fan of some current television programs, including Dexter and True Blood. My one outdoor activity is walking my dog several times a day, rain or shine. Not only do I get quality time with my pal, Lucky, I get inspired by the constantly-changing moods of Mother Nature.

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?

What keeps you hooked to a paranormal romance series—what keeps you reading? Is it the over-arching conflict, the characters, or something else?

Where can readers find you on the internet?

You can find me all over the place on the webs: at my author website (http://www.annettemccleave.com/), at the group blog I share with several other talented NAL authors (http://www.silkandshadows.com/), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/annette.mccleave), or on Twitter (twitter.com/annettemccleave). Please stop by for a visit! I’d love to hear from you.


This is also a stop on my “Cross into Darkness” blog tour, and I invite you to visit my website for a chance to win the tour grand prize. If you’ve been following the tour from the beginning, here’s the clue….

idonotwanttowaitiwantthebooknow clue: The village in the heart of this region is called Fortingall.


****Leave a comment answering Annette’s question about what keeps you hooked and reading a paranormal romance series and one commenter will win a signed copy of Drawn Into Darkness to be announced Friday. Good Luck!!!!


41 Responses

  1. Hum, i would have to say what keeps me is the ways that the author comes up with thier powers. There are so many stories out there for vampires for example, some drink human blood, some don’t, some are born some are created by another vampire. Plus there are so many different concepts on what is paranormal, I just heard about a book with shape shifting aliens!

  2. Good Morning Annette and Greta!

    Great interview, Congrats on the debut release and the Golden Heart award Annette!!! This looks like a great book, very nice cover too! 🙂

    What keeps me hooked?………..I tend to get drawn in by characters, especially in series! I love the main characters but more often than not there will be secondary characters that catch my attention and I want to read more about them!!

  3. […] My guest today is Annette McCleave « I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want The Book Now idonotwanttowaitiwantthebooknow.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/my-guest-today-is-annette-mccleave – view page – cached #I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want The Book Now RSS Feed I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want The Book Now » My guest today is Annette McCleave Comments Feed I Do Not Want to Wait, I Want The Book Now My first experience into blogging Winner: Terry Spear guest blog — From the page […]

  4. Book Junkie — I think the variety of twists on the vampire mythos and other creatures is a wonderful part of the paranormal genre. So creative.

    Blanche – Thanks! Secondary characters can be so much fun! Even if they never get their own book, if done well they can add tremendous depth to a story.

  5. As in any genre, it’s hard to choose because IMO the story-line and the characters are equally important. But then, any interesting secondary characters lend a lot to the story and make me want more of them in their own stories! I haven’t read much in the paranormal genre..just dipping in for a taste to see if I like it. I’m leaning more to the vampires right now.

    kkhaas AT bellsouth DOT net

  6. Hi! Love the interview, very interesting.
    For me the main thing why I love paranormal is just that it is paranormal. It’s a world where everything and anything is possible. Everything feels magical and new. You never know how the things will end up because the ‘real’ rules don’t apply.
    Congratulations on the debut release and the award Annette!

  7. Great post 🙂

    The question, well likeable characters, that I want to know more about and what happens to them, and of course will they get together. But I also need a good storyline that I can believe in

  8. I love a fast moving plot and I have to fall in love with the characters. If I get to laugh, thats a bonus. I am a sucker for a hot book cover too.

  9. This sheer variety of characters and the differecesin world building. Heck you can sexy dropdead gorgeous vamps and then you can tstl vamp villians who are so arragant the can’t keep their heads. whatever I am intereested in I can find and there is usually a good romance to go along with a fantastic story.

  10. Karen H – I hope you enjoy the taste of paranormal and come back for the rest of the banquet! 😉

    Frana – Thanks! I like the magical ride of paranormal, too. You never know what to expect.

    Blodeudd – Thank you! The hard part of any story is making it ‘believable’. As readers, we all go in prepared to suspend our disbelief and it’s up to the author to keep us bought in.

    Jen E. – So, you like a rollercoaster. 🙂 Screaming and laughter combined. Sounds goo to me!

  11. PamK – I confess, I’m always eager to see what’s going on with the primary romantic couple. If one or both of them is off stage too long, I have a tendency to skip ahead.

  12. Congrats on the new book, and what a great interview.
    What keep’s me hooked is the world building and the characters. Sometimes I tend to fall in love with the secondary characters than with the leading man and woman.
    Have a great week.

  13. Ann Marie — Great world building sucks me in, too. I love to fall into a book.

  14. Good morning Annette! This book sounds so good and the world you created sounds very intriguing. And it’s the world building that helps keep me invested in a series. There needs to be strong characters, both primary and secondary, and I like to see some imperfections with the characters too. My biggest necessity is that an author stay true to the world they create.

  15. what keeps me hook is suspense and the romance..if those two are good then I know I will being buying more books from the series.

    kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

  16. Hi Joder! – Complex characters you can care about definitely make for a good series. I particularly enjoy seeing new depths to the characters as the series progresses.

    Majana – Creating powerful suspense is hard to master but so worthwhile when done well. That delicious tension makes us keep turning those pages long after we know we should turn out the light. 🙂

  17. I have many series that I follow and I guess what keeps me interested is the future development of characters!

  18. Congrats, Annette! I enjoyed this interview!

    The romance keeps me hooked and also loyalty to an author who has never disappointed, for example Kresley Cole and her Immortals After Dark series!

  19. Congratulations, Annette, on all your success!

    Though I love escaping into a well-constructed fantasy universe, world-building mustn’t get in the way of — or substitute for — sympathetic, multi-dimensional characters driving a compelling yet organic plot. I prefer “gray” characters to black-and-white cutouts. I love villains with hearts of gold. I don’t enjoy books in which I can guess what will happen, especially in paranormal or fantasy. What’s the point of basing your book in an alternate reality if you don’t keep your readers on the edges of their seats?

    Looking forward to reading your work!

  20. I would definitely say interesting and captivating characters that make me want to read their story. Also the storyline also keeps me reading a book, especially one with romance and I can see that there are definitely some good results in the end.

  21. I would say diverse characters that have chemistry and
    interesting, involved plots have me coming back for the next in a series. I do enjoy series which updates and develops characters from previous books vs. just focusing on a couple.

  22. Teresa W — I agree. I can get frustrated with a series character if they never seem to grow.

    etirv — Thanks!! My favorite series all have some romance in them, if they’re not full blown romances. I’ll stick with a series so long as there’s a sizzle between the main leads–even if it’s never acted on.

    Jeanette Juan — Hi! The characters can make or break the book/series. I’ve read stories with plots that don’t seem all that unique, but the characters make it fresh and exciting.

  23. First priority are the characters – they could make a story fantastic or ruin it…
    Have a nice day!

  24. Jamie Michele — Cardboard cutout characters turn me off, too. I especially love it when an author somehow manages to turn the villain into a good guy. Karen Marie Moning and Adam Black, for example.

    Anne — The only time I don’t enjoy seeing the old characters come back is when they steal the show! That doesn’t work for series that always have the same leads, of course, but when the H/h is a new couple, that’s who I want to see. Are you the same way?

    Ina — Hi! I agree. Nice to ‘see’ you!

  25. Great interview, congrats on your new release! First off let me say I love the cover of this book. This is one that would catch my eye right off the bat. Your book sounds like an awesome read and I would love to read it.

  26. Thanks, Quilt Lady! Good luck in the draw!

  27. The paranormal element itself is what keeps me interested! I love reading about things you wouldn’t find in the real world-though it is fun to think that maybe one day you will!

    And I love True Blood! Its a very addicting show! Though alot of people tell me the books are better, but I havn’t read them….

  28. I guess it’sthe fact that I’ve had so many bad things happen to me and disappointments in my life, that I keep reading paranormal. It helps me escape.
    Plus, I swear I must have been a vampire in a past life. I’ve loved them practically since I was a babe on the bottle. lol


  29. As long as the book stays suspenseful I will keep reading the book!

  30. When I am reading a paranormal book I want to get drawn into their psyche. Sure he is a vampire but he is misunderstood. Yes she has psychic abilities but she uses them for good. I like the struggle to maintain their humanity. How they find love and acceptance. The human interest side of it as well as the action.

  31. Congrats on the release, sounds like a great book.

    Its the characters and the storylines that keep me reading. If I dont like the characters I wont keep reading the book. And if the story gets boring, I wont want to know what happens to them and therefore wont keep reading either.

  32. Hi Annette and Greta~

    Great interview and I love the cover.

    For me it is the characters and their stories. There is just something about paranormal…the great characters, the action, and the amazing storylines that just keep pulling you in.

    I would love to be entered.

  33. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE is on my keeper shelf too. The trailer for your book is very well done.
    Paranormal series offer so many more options for the author to explore. The characters can have whatever ability you want to give them and the situation possibilities are endless. I guess I come back to a series when the story thread is strong and the main characters have a unifying bond.

  34. Great interview and I can’t wait to read the book it sounds really intriguing.

    For me the way an author turns some paranormal element, like vampires and demons and creates their own take on that elements and brings amazing stories and worlds come to life.

    I really would love to be entered!

  35. Its definitely the characters that keep me hooked
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  36. There is so much that keeps me hooked on a paranormal series. The characters play a big part, but it’s also the world building and history behind it that can really draw me in, especially if it touches on something I’m interested in. One really good example of that is Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series that not only has fantastic characters but uses Greek mythology, which has kept my interest since I was 11.

  37. Believable characters and an interesting plot keep me hooked

  38. The characters and the setting keep you wanting more!


  39. What keeps me hooked is the characters, especially the ones with wit and humor. I like snarky characters…


  40. Awesome plots and good characters are keepers.

  41. What keeps me hooked…the fact that it involves elements like witches, demons, vamps, weres! Its the one genre I turn to all the time. I like to escape reality when I read and this genre does it for me.

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