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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Interviewing Susannah Sandlin about her paranormal romance series, The Penton Legacy ~ Giveaway Contest!

Today, I'm especially pleased to be able to bring you a terrific interview with one of my favorite authors, Susannah Sandlin. She gave some great information about the two books released so far in her Penton Legacy paranormal romance series--Absolution & Redemption. There are certainly some great plot twists and exciting characters--not to be missed! 

Contest Alert: Tour wide Giveaway ~ See the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for details of how to enter to win:
1 Kindle Paper White (or $100 U.S. gift card to Amazon, B&N, or Book Depository winner's choice),
5 signed print or audio copies of Absolution winner's choice of print or audio

In your Penton Legacy series, a worldwide pandemic results when humans begin to take a voluntary vaccine that leaves their blood deadly to vampires. The vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some fan into rural areas like Penton, Alabama, where the vaccine is less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. In the second book of the series, Absolution, have more humans now taken the vaccine, making usable blood less available for the vampires? Have humans connected the vaccine to the result of making themselves vampire-proof and sought the drug as protection?

The ironic thing about the vampires’ situation is that humans aren’t aware they exist, so the humans could eventually wipe out the vampire population without even knowing it. As far as humans are concerned, the pandemic virus of three years earlier is over and they’ve moved on. Meanwhile, vampires are starving and growing more desperate. In Absolution, the vampires take a step closer to civil war as they fight over how to survive the crisis and who will end up in power. But each book in the series (which can be read as standalones) is also a romance in which one of the Penton vampires faces up to his past and finds his future.

Rural towns like Penton become battlegrounds with vampires feuding over ownership and usage of the unvaccinated humans. The Alabama village gets an unlikely protector—Mirren Kincaid, once a vampire Tribunal executioner known as the Slayer. When assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared. What sort of execution went against his personal ethics? Are his ideals in line with the first-in-command, Aidan Murphy? Or is there friction within those who protect Penton’s humans?

Mirren started his human life as a Gallowglass warrior—a mercenary—in early 17th-century Scotland and Ireland. He was brought up to be a killer, it’s all he’s ever known, and the Gallowglass were feared and admired in their time. When he was turned vampire, it was a natural fit for him to become the paid killer of the Vampire Tribunal. He was good at it. He never questioned his assignments until he was ordered to kill a child and he finally realized the people he worked for were bigger monsters than the ones he was being paid to kill. He realized that the life he was trained for was not the one he wanted to live.

Mirren is 100 percent loyal to Aidan Murphy, the leader of Penton. Mirren doesn’t want Aidan’s job. He doesn’t have the personality or the social skills or the patience for leading a community. Mirren hates himself for the past he’s led but he’s also realistic about what roles he is cut out for. He doesn’t always agree with Aidan’s decisions but he’d never move against him.

The Tribunal wants Mirren back on their side—or dead. They capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. How will inciting his ruthless killer nature be to the advantage of the Tribunal?

The Tribunal naively thinks if it can turn Mirren back into the mercenary he once was, he can be used to destroy Aidan Murphy and Penton. Plus, their legendary Slayer would be back under Tribunal control. When Absolution opens, Mirren has been locked up by a member of the Tribunal and starved for more than thirty days. He’s desperate to feed, so when they throw an unvaccinated human girl—Glory—into the cell with him, they think his bloodlust will be rekindled.

But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. With her sensitivities and magic touch, she might instead actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves. Why doesn’t he believe he deserves love? Are his efforts to save lives in Penton his way of redeeming himself?

Mirren carries around a lot of guilt because of all the lives he’s taken, both as human and vampire. And as much as he despises it, he recognizes that there’s a part deep inside him that likes killing, that likes the cold, black anger that comes over him when gets into his killing zone. He seeks absolution both by protecting Penton and by marking himself in a particularly unique way. Can’t say more. :-)

What attracts Mirren to Glory and vice versa? What might they gain from their relationship?

Except for Aidan, Mirren keeps everyone at a distance, and most people are afraid of him because he’s a really, really big tough guy—and he likes it that way. If they’re afraid of him, they’ll leave him alone. Then here comes this feisty chatterbox that Aidan’s made him responsible for, and she gradually chips away at his defenses. In each other, they find acceptance and a lack of judgment they both need. (And they are absolutely hilarious with each other!)

Briefly describe the magical systems of your world. How do those who are empowered (vampires, shamans, others) gain their abilities?

My vampires have some of the expected traits—they are created by being drained and re-fed by another vampire. They can’t tolerate sunlight, feed on human blood, are able to enthrall their prey, have some super-strength (which is neutralized by silver) and fast healing (unless injured with silver). Master vampires are those who have proven their mental toughness and gain greater mental skills such as telepathic communication and memory modification. (Both Aidan and Mirren are master vampires.) A blood exchange with a human creates a bond between the vampire and his or her familiar, so that other vampires can’t feed from that person. What can’t they do? They can’t fly, rarely cry, and don’t sparkle in the sun! They aren’t “undead,” but evolved, so their hearts still beat.

Thanks, Marsha!


The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin

Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Book Description:

With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.

A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.

To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?

It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.

Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin

Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.

Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.

But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland.  Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars

To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again. 

Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out October 9th, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18. 

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Book Depository

Excerpt from ABSOLUTION (The Penton Legacy, Book 2):  

           What was Matthias thinking, throwing a human woman in the cell with a vampire who’d been locked up and starved for over a month?

            Mirren waited on the bench, his back against the wall, his head down. Waited until Matthias climbed the steps, slammed the door, clicked the dead bolt home. Waited until he could get control of the hunger that had begun raging the second the woman stumbled down the stairway. She was unvaccinated, and he wanted nothing more than to take her, blood and body, until there was nothing left.
            If he did that, he’d be no better than the version of Mirren Kincaid he’d tried so hard to leave behind. He’d be the Slayer again. His hands could too easily remember the mindless sweep of the sword, the heavy fall of the battle-ax, the controlled back-thrust of a heavy firearm. If the cold darkness ever fell over him again, he feared he’d embrace it.
            “Mister, you awake?”
            Shit. She would have to be a talker. Mirren hated a talky woman. They always expected you to talk back.
            He raised his head slowly and caught his breath. She was young, maybe mid-twenties, and pretty in a rode-hard kind of way.
            “Your eyes are silver—I’ve seen enough vampires since I was kidnapped to know when your eyes get lighter, it means you’re hungry. But I’ve never seen any like yours. How long has it been since you ate? Umm…Make that how long since you drank?”
            If the stupid woman kept walking toward him, he wouldn’t be held responsible. “Stay where you are.” He narrowed his eyes at her, thinking. How could she help him without sending his need so far over the edge he lost control of it?
            She eeked when he shifted on the bench and turned his back toward her. “Untie me.”
            She stumbled a little when she reached the bench and sat hard. The woman was stoned out of her gourd. He could smell the drugs on her.
“Your wrists are all torn up. That has to hurt.” She sat on the bench behind him, and Mirren breathed in her scent with his eyes closed. Damn, but he wanted to feed so badly his muscles ached.
            She muttered as she worked, her drug-addled fingers slipping off the rope. “You’re so big that I’m surprised this rope could hold you. I should be able to…Let’s see here, it’s too dark. Man, this is funky rope.”
            “Stop yapping, start untying.” She had that broad, soft Southern accent he found sexy, but she used it way too much.
            “Yeah, yeah, okay.” She tugged harder on the ropes, burning his sensitive wrists with each pull. “Sorry, sorry. Why is it burning your skin like that?”
            Mirren growled and spoke through gritted teeth. “It’s laced with silver, and I’m a freaking vampire. Just untie me.” Damn, he had to get himself under control, or he’d scare the woman to death and she wouldn’t finish freeing his arms or feed him either one.
            “Well, you’ve got the funny eyes, but I don’t see any fangs.”
            God help him, he’d show her some fangs. “I said I was a vampire. Now finish untying me.”
            Mirren twisted his wrists and felt the rope give way—the woman had gotten it loose enough that he didn’t need her help.
            “But wait, how do I know you—”
            She gasped as Mirren pulled his wrists apart, popped the rope onto the cell floor, and shifted around to face her.
“Can you…?” She paused and swallowed hard, edging away from him on the bench. Mirren’s gaze dropped to her mouth. “Can you feed without killing me?”
            Mirren nodded slowly. Maybe. Maybe not.

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night.

A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?)

The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

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~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, and Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.


Madalina said...

I love the covers. They look gorgeous and the synopsis sounds amazing. Thanks for the awesome interview and for the excerpt.
Thanks for the giveaway and for making it international.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks Madalina! Best of luck in the giveaways, and hope you get a chance to check out the books!
Suzanne (aka Susannah)

Marsha A. Moore said...

Susannah, I love the way your series is continuing! Best of luck to you with its success. I'm glad to have you spend a day here with me.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks, Marsha--and thanks for having me here today!

miki said...

i find your version of vampires more "realistic", believable than some others in the way that yes they could live in our world they have advantages and weaknesses but they are quite similar to us in their goals, dreams ( fights too^^) etc

i think that's the reason we get son interested in them

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks, Miki! I really wanted the vampires in Penton to work at retaining as much of their humanity as they could...while still being vampires :-)

Roger said...

"Maybe. Maybe not."
That is the question!

For Glory's sake he must.

throuthehaze said...

Really great interview and I enjoyed the excerpt. I'm looking forward to reading this book :)

elaing8 said...

Another great interview.Can't wait to read these.