Interview with the author of The Descendant and giveaway

The Descendant by Kelley Grealis

Allison Carmichael wakes from a car wreck with no memory of the past three years. She doesn’t recall her husband’s death or how she alienated her friends, and she definitely doesn’t remember anything about her new boyfriend Vincent Drake – a charismatic man with a penchant for rare and unique possessions. In fact, the only things familiar to Allison are her seemingly common ailments – insomnia, lack of appetite, erratic body temperature – which have gone undiagnosed and are worsening.

But Vincent knows exactly who, and what, Allison is – a mortal descendant of the first vampire. He is a vampire who has watched over Allison and her ancestors since the Biblical times of Cain and Abel ensuring their secret is kept. Once he realizes Allison’s symptoms are accelerating and transforming her, he’ll stop at nothing to have her.

Vincent tells Allison that she is a descendant and the first of her kind to exhibit signs of vampirism. Her worsening symptoms mean that she must decide between risking her mortal death if she cannot control her symptoms or fully transforming into a vampire and damning her soul for eternity. A decision made even more difficult when Allison discovers that Vincent has manipulated her life, and everyone in it, so that he can have the one thing no one else in the world has – the first descendant-turned-vampire.

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The interview:

Firstly, tell us about your book/series.

The Descendant is my debut novel and the first book in The Descendant Vampire Series.  I’ve dubbed it ‘a vampire tale of biblical proportions’ since it reveals the vampire’s biblical origins through the experiences of a woman who discovers that she is a descendant of the first vampire.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on The Search, Book 2 in The Descendant Vampire Series.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I wrote a lot when I was younger; mostly poetry and short stories.  I got away from creative writing when I started college. Fast forward several years later, it was a culmination of events that brought me back to writing.  I was going through a ‘career mid-life crisis,’ where I felt that there had to be something else out there for me to do that made me feel more professionally fulfilled. At that time, I had also finished reading a popular series of books, the premise of which was so simple that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself.  That night I declared to my husband that I was going to write a book.  Three years later, I published The Descendant.

How long have you been writing?  

I’ve been writing novels for 4 years now.

Is there anything that you find challenging about being a writer?  

It’s challenging to find time to write.  I have a full time job, therefore I have a limited number of hours each night to work on my projects.  I’m also married and can’t completely ignore my husband for my writing!  It’s a balancing act to find the right balance while propelling my writing forward.

Do you write freehand at all or straight onto your pc?  

I do a little bit of both.  I start with an outline which I type on the computer.  I then type my entire first draft, which I print, read and handwrite my edits.  I then go back to my computer and type my edits.

Do you have a strict writing routine/word count per day?  

No, I don’t.  I find that setting such limits places a lot of unnecessary stress on me. I aim to write most nights of the week and a few hours on the weekend and if I can accomplish that, I feel good.

Is there one question that you wish that you would be asked in an interview? If so, what is it and what’s the answer?

In a literary market so saturated with vampire novels, why write a vampire book?  When I decided to write a novel, I knew that I had to write about something I was passionate about.  That passion, for me, is vampires.  I’ve loved all things vampire since I was little and my mom hooked me on the original Dark Shadows series (the re-runs).  In all of the vampire books that I’ve read, and all of the movies that I’ve seen, I noticed one thing that bothered me – the vampire was always just “there.”  I never really heard about the vampire’s origin, or those stories that tried to address it, I didn’t find the story plausible.  So I knew I wanted to write that story and the first thing that popped into my mind was Bible stories.  I linked the vampire’s origin to popular biblical stories such as the Garden of Eden, Cain & Abel, the Great Flood, the plagues, etc.  But you don’t have to be religious or know much about the Bible to relate to this book.

What do you think causes people’s enduring fascination with vampires?

This is a great question, and one that I’ve been asked a few times; I’m not quite sure what it is about vampires that keeps people wanting more.  I know for me, I love the traditional vampire stories – an old guy in a castle who wears a suit and cape and fine jewelry who falls in love with a young, beautiful woman and finds himself conflicted between his lust for her blood and his love for her.  I think it’s that conflict – life and death, love versus desire – that makes the vampire so attractive.  And these days, the vampire has morphed into a bad guy or gal that can take on many forms, yet that same conflict still always seems to be there and people don’t seem to tire of it.

Do you have any plans to write in a different genre in the future?

Yes, I have plans to write in different genres.  I have an idea for a political action thriller.  I also have another idea for a story about a guy who dies who tries to help his best friend back on earth; not sure what the genre would be considered at this point.

Are you also an avid reader?  What are you reading at the moment?  

I like to read. Actually, one of the great things about writing is that I’ve started to read more.  I just finished Love, Carry My Bags by C.R. Everett and A Test Drive to Chicago and Other Trips and Tales by David Suvak. I’m currently reading I, Alex Cross by James Patterson.  On deck:  Rogue Wave and The Vault (both by Boyd Morrison).  If you haven’t read anything by him yet, check out The Ark, it’s one of my favorite books.

The vampires are attacking!  Grab the first thing you see to your right and hit them with it!  What was it?  And how do you think you did in the ensuing fight?  

A crystal picture frame with my wedding photo in it.  I don’t think I did too well in this fight as the crystal broke and cut me in the process, making me desirable to the vampires!

 The afore mentioned vampire attack didn’t go so well and you were bitten by the vampire…now what?  

I wake up and think…oh crap!  I need to find something to eat to satisfy my cravings.  After that, I plan to travel the world to see all of the places I never thought I’d see in my human lifetime.

Can you give us five random facts about yourself?

I ride a motorcycle.

I love unicorns.

My favorite color is yellow.

I have two tattoos.

I was engaged to my husband after knowing him only 4 months.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write what you are passionate about; your passion (or lack thereof) will come out on the pages.  Use beta readers!  Hire an editor.  Hire a pro to create your cover.  Realize that not everyone is going to love your book.  If you get a bad review, determine what you can learn from it.  Take classes to learn and hone the craft.  You can find quality, affordable writing classes.  And above all else – have fun!

About Kelley

Headshot Green.jpgKelley Grealis was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a B.A. in Accounting from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Masters of Business Administration from Cleveland State University. She has loved all things vampire since she was a little girl, and it was that passion combined with thirteen years of Catholic schooling, that inspired her to write THE DESCENDANT. She lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two cats. She is currently working on THE SEARCH, Book 2 in The Descendant Vampire Series.

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