Author Francene Carroll’s books range from romances that feature ambitious, power-hunger vampires, like the “Eternal Hunger” series, to thrillers like “Hunger of the Wolf”, to insightful, romantic comedy such as “Prude & Prejudice”. Most writers can only dream of being able to work in such varied genres. It’s difficult to picture a writer as imaginative as Carroll being limited to any single genre.
So, let’s find out about more about Francene Carroll and her books from the author herself.
Q: In your “Eternal Hunger” series, the vampires Lucia encounters after she gets bitten at her bachelorette party are much more powerful and influential than the vampires that are typical of this genre. What else is there about the “Eternal Hunger” books that set them apart from other vampire novels?
A: This series is actually quite political and I think this makes it unique in the genre. I’ve drawn on recent events like the GFC and continuing financial turmoil that has resulted around the world because I think vampires provide the perfect metaphor for these events. At the same time I’ve tried to incorporate many of the traditional themes and motifs from the vampire genre, basing the series very loosely on one of my all-time favourite books, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Q: How much do you plan a book before you actually start to put it down on paper? Are you ever surprised by how your stories turn out?
A: It really depends on each book. Some books I like to write out completely by hand first before I type them up, but others I have no idea where they’re going and it’s an exciting journey to find out how they are going to end. Even with the books I’ve planned carefully there are always surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming, and that’s what makes writing so much fun for me.
Q: Drake L’amour from “Greater Love (Eternal Hunger #4)” is a very complex character. At times he appears to be a villain, but his love for Lucia is deep and real enough that he rescues her; even through it means they’ll have to run away and live in fear. Do you think romantic storylines are better when the male lead is part villain?
A: I’ve always had a weakness for bad boys and I love romance where the male character starts out being unlikeable and arrogant. I’m also a sucker for the whole idea of “bad” characters being turned around by love, but at the same time I don’t write books where characters “save” each other because I think people are responsible for saving themselves. Despite the fact that he’s done some terrible things Drake L’amour is not a truly evil man, and even before he meets Lucia he wants to change. As a vampire L’amour is able to see into people’s hearts and minds, and he immediately recognizes Lucia’s strength and moral character. This is why he is attracted to her. She helps him to change, but she isn’t the catalyst for his transformation because that came from within. It’s quite similar to my novel Pleasure Island because alcoholic movie star Jackson Moore has already decided deep down that he has to change his self-destructive ways and that’s why he agrees to go on a reality television show where he can’t drink. His co-star Allie helps him face his demons, but the desire to change was already there and she gives him a reason to stay sober.
Q: What is your favorite type of character to write about?
A: I like writing about characters that are dramatic and larger-than-life, and these characters work best in comedy. Mrs Higginbottom in Prude & Prejudice is probably my favourite character so far, followed by Jackson Moore in Pleasure Island. It’s fun to write about characters who are not very likeable but who change for the better and learn some important lessons.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your “Eternal Hunger” series?
A: My hope for Eternal Hunger is that people will be entertained by my books and also that they’ll think more deeply about the issues raised such as corporate greed and poverty. I like to write books with messages and even if people don’t agree with me I’m happy if I’ve given them food for thought.
Q: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
A: I love the planning and writing the first draft because this is the most creative part of the process. It’s so much fun to play with ideas and work out what the story is about and where it’s going. I feel a great sense of freedom at these times because the sky really is the limit and anything is possible. Having complete control over your own little world is an amazing feeling, and I believe it’s the reason authors become addicted to writing. The second and third drafts are more like hard work, but they are also satisfying in a different way.