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by Julie Kramer

“The words virtually drip with sexual tension,” that’s how Suspense Magazine sums up Jeannie Holmes’ latest paranormal suspense thriller BLOOD SECRETS. And when her vampire heroine – Alexandra Sabian – sinks her teeth into an investigation, she doesn’t let go.

In this latest missing person case, Alex becomes the target of a killer known as the Dollmaker. Set in the Shadowlands, this tale unfolds horrific secrets about a paranormal past.

Holmes combines original, fast-paced urban fantasy and classic suspense.” —Carolyn Haines, author of Them Bones

Sexy, smart, and action-packed.”  —Deborah LeBlanc, author of Water Witch

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Jeannie and discuss her books.

What are the advantages of writing paranormal?

The biggest advantage is the fun. I get to create entire worlds and alternate realities that function by the rules I establish. If I were writing a non-paranormal book, I’d been restricted to what’s possible within the boundaries of math, science, and this reality. With paranormal, those restrictions are loosened. They don’t disappear, or at least they shouldn’t, but there is a lot more wiggle room to bend the rules.

What are the challenges of writing paranormal?

The challenges are keeping it believable. It’s a challenge to create characters that are more than human but blend seamlessly into our world. When characters have the potential to do anything imaginable, I have to guard against making it too easy for them. I have to walk a fine line between the fantastic and the believable. It’s tempting to wave a magic wand in paranormal fiction in order to solve all the characters’ problems, but I can’t do that. It’s not believable or fair to the reader.

You second book, BLOOD SECRETS, continues your tale of Alexandra Sabian, a memorable vampire character who lives an uneasy life in a southern town populated by her own kind as well as humans. Why do you think readers have embraced her?

This is going to sound a little weird considering Alex is a vampire, but I think readers have embraced her because she’s human. She has faults and flaws. She screws up. She loves her family even though they drive her crazy. She has emotional baggage that she’s still trying to sort through, but she doesn’t let it get the best of her or prevent her from doing her job. Yes, there are times when she’s vulnerable, but no one is made of stone, not even vampires. Readers will see more of that vulnerability as well as the strength that keeps her going in BLOOD SECRETS.

What have you learned about being an author from the time BLOOD LAW debuted to the release of BLOOD SECRETS?

Nothing goes according to plan. Be flexible. Learn to adapt. Think on your feet. Always have a supply of coffee.

How have you been influenced by Dracula, the most famous vampire of all?

Of course. Stoker established many of the modern “standards” for the vampire mythos. I can’t write about vampires without knowing what he created, but I delight in taking those “standards” by the ankles and turning them upside down.

Your bio says you fear spiders, large bodies of water, and bad weather. Please explain.

Those fears stem from my childhood. I grew up in an old house in a rural corner of Mississippi so there were always spiders in and around the house. I’ve never liked the way they look and move, and the fact that I’ve been bitten several times doesn’t help. My husband tells me to leave them alone because they’re beneficial. No, they’re eight-legged freaks and if I see one it’s dead meat.  The bad weather fear comes from an incident when I was about ten years old. Lightning struck a tree a few feet from our house. Part of the tree exploded and knocked out windows in the kitchen and dining room. The bolt actually jumped to the house, blew off siding along that side, and messed up the electrical wiring throughout the house. That was scary enough but my brother and I had literally walked from the kitchen through the dining room and into the living room about thirty seconds before it hit. If we’d been a few seconds later, we both could’ve been seriously hurt. The water fear is different. I’ve always had a dislike for bodies of water larger than a bathtub. I’m not sure why, but as for when and how I began to really fear water, it started in my teens, and honestly, I prefer not to talk about it.

That makes a good place to end her interview, for more information about Jeannie Holmes, check her website.

Julie Kramer