Monday, 7 November 2016

Spoiler-Free Q&A on #PoisonBloodSeries Books 1 & 2

Now that the final two parts of the Poison Blood series are out, I thought I'd go back to the series openers and talk about how it all began. Below is a mostly spoiler-free Q&A on books 1 and 2. [Covers, blurbs, links to buy and review snippets at the end of the post]

Q:  What was the main inspiration behind the Poison Blood series?

A:  Short answer:  Ellie.

Long answer:  I’d wanted to write a vampire romance for a while, and I considered the idea of writing a series of short stories about vampires living on the London Underground. These characters wouldn’t necessarily be friends or hang out together, but have their own tale to tell.  One of the characters I thought up was Ellie.

However, I didn’t start writing anything until I woke up one morning with Ellie talking me through her life. This was a few days after I listened to the band Linkin Park for the first time in years so I think it was their songs that triggered the instinct to write Ellie’s story. Music has that effect on me!

Interestingly, Chapter 1 is almost identical to the monologue that roused me that first morning! Quickly, it became clear that Ellie’s story wasn’t as short and sweet as I initially planned. She had a lot more potential than I expected, which was great, though it meant I had to put my Vampires on the Underground collection on the backburner.

Q:  Why did you publish a paranormal romance so soon after publishing contemporary romance novel Chasing Pavements?

A:  It’s usually the characters and how strongly they present themselves to me, how clearly I hear their voices in my head that determine when and what I write. Even if I plan to write something, like a compilation of short stories about vampires making the underground transport system their home, unless I can see that world, hear the characters speak to me, the narrative doesn’t flow as well. I tend not to commit to a project unless I find myself immersed in the story. And when a character beckons to me, lets me into her mind and the world she lives in, I try not to ignore her.

But why follow-up Chasing Pavements with a vampire romance? Well, why not? If we enjoy reading an eclectic mix of books, I see no harm in exploring different genres when we write, provided we apply the same level of dedication, effort and enthusiasm for each story. As authors, we should do that for every book we write.

Growing up, my favourite genre to read was paranormal/fantasy and I was a huge fan of TV shows such as Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unfortunately, like so many others I knew, I stopped reading when I was at college and Uni. Upon rediscovering my love for books, I found myself reading contemporary fiction, crime, comedy/satire; the only fantasy novels I’d read in recent years were the Twilight and Harry Potter books. These I loved so much that I wanted to write for this genre, particularly about vampires. But I didn’t venture into this area until Ellie came to me.

Q:  The vampires in Poison Blood are extremely similar to the Twilight vampires. Was this intentional?

A:  Yes.

There are a range of vampire myths – from those that burn to ashes in sunlight and can be slain by driving a stake through their hearts, to immortals that sleep like the dead during the day and hunt by night – but my favourite is of course the one explored in the Twilight saga.  I knew that if I was going to write about vampires, I would conform to most of the rules set out in these books.

I wasn’t going to set my books in the Twilight world though. So I invented my own vampire government (The System), one which has modernised over the years and now operates like an institution the humans would be proud of. A few restrictions needed to be in place though (such as vampires not being able to enter a house without invitation), so that these indestructible creatures didn’t go around slaughtering an entire council estate in one night.  And of course there had to those that would try to stop these demons from doing what they liked.

The other certainty was that the stories would be set in contemporary society, specifically London. Although it’s exciting creating a whole new world, one in the future or in another dimension altogether, what appeals to me more is the idea that the world we live in now could be full of magic and mystery, amazing creatures with supernatural abilities, and the kind of love that we don’t dare to dream about achieving ourselves.

Q:  Did you plan to end Book 1 on a cliff-hanger?

A:  Absolutely. Every novel needs as many loose-ends tied-up by the end of it, and the same goes for each book in a trilogy or a saga, but there’s nothing wrong with leaving the reader with a question at the end, one which entices them to read the next book for the answer.

It’s also a good idea to have an unresolved issue that continues throughout a book series, or if it’s resolved in book 2 or 3, a new plot thread can be introduced to run into the next instalments. You need to give the audience plenty of reasons to read the next book and the next and the next.

Cliff-hangers like the one at the end of Book 1 work well if many of the main themes explored in the novel come to some sort of conclusion. Such as Ellie finally realising who she is, making sense of the life she had before she was changed and discovering why she became the vampire she is.

Q:  Why did you write book 2 - it's pretty much book 1 from another character's POV?

A:  Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution is supposed to “answer the questions raised in Book 1 while raising many more.” Initially, I hadn't planned on writing this book, but I realised that I did want the readers to be aware of a lot of things that Ellie isn't aware of. As book 1 is written entirely from her POV (in the first person), the reader only knows what she knows, and I thought it would be good for them to see things from Christian's perspective. It would also save long paragraphs where he'd have to tell her everything she needs to know (I always find those parts boring in novels where it's from one character's POV).

I know a lot of readers didn't appreciate this when the books first released - they wanted the story to continue and see what happens next, rather than reading another book with the same events (and a few extra scenes). But they didn't know what I had in store for the next few books, and once they do, they'll realise book 2 wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Below are the covers, blurbs and some of the nice things readers have said about books 1 and 2:

"I don't know what blood tastes like to a human.  I'd never even licked a tiny drop of it from a pricked finger, let alone suck on a bleeding cut.  The shedding of blood, my own, or anyone else's, always made me scream or panic in fear and revulsion.  Now it's my only food source."

Elisia Dalton, more commonly known as Ellie, is not a typical teenaged vampire.  She still has her humanity and conscience.  

Her human memories and growing pains.  

And the same distaste for blood.

Still reeling from the secrets she uncovered before she was turned into a vampire by the mysterious immortal Christian, Ellie is also finding it hard to come to terms with what she has become.  And the revelations keep coming.

Book 1 of the Poison Blood series reveals why Ellie is not like others of her kind.

Download this e-book for FREE from:

~ What Others Have Said About Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation ~

“This is definitely not a soppy vampire romance!  As usual with Neha Yazmin’s novels, things are never as they seem.  Just as you think you have a grip on what’s happening, Neha drops more bombshells to keep you guessing (and the pages turning!).  I have a taste for blood – Poison Blood that is!  Please publish the next book soon!” *****
“I am definitely hooked on the Poison Blood series.  Part of me was unsure as to whether another vampire story was worth telling... It definitely was!  There is so much more to the vampire world that Neha creates - and she really does create a world... but really, this is a character-driven story.  Neha's characters' depths are what drive her stories, each with their hidden secrets.  Book 1 of the Poison Blood series really is about the 'Revelation'. *****
“It's more like poison love. *****
“Awesome.  This was great, couldn't put it down.  I would love to see a third book! *****
A great book. *****
What a great book to read. *****


“I don’t know what being in love is like for humans. It never happened to me, not really. I only thought it did. Thought it for a long time. Almost half a century. But it feels as though I’ve known for longer that I’d been wrong."

Being a senior official at The System, the vampire world’s governing body, Christian routinely assigns secret missions to his agents. As The System’s most powerful immortal, he also takes responsibility for some of the trickier tasks himself.

When he stumbles upon a project that was kept secret from him, Christian decides to investigate. Why was he not told about this vampire that his employer wants to recruit? Why can’t he get anywhere near this elusive immortal?

Soon, he discovers that this is no ordinary vampire that he is hunting. And when he is suddenly overwhelmed by a rush of strange emotions, Christian is left even more perplexed. Is any of this related to Ellie?

Book two of the Poison Blood series answers some of the questions raised in book one while asking many more.

Download this e-book for FREE from:

Amazon US|   Amazon UK  |   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

~ What Others Have Said About Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution ~

"I've been waiting for PB2 and it did not disappoint!  It suddenly brings a whole new perspective to the events of PB1 and you get to learn a lot more about how the vampire world works.  Cannot wait for PB3!" *****
"I loved this book." *****
"This book is so good, along with the other book in the series.  It's not completely romancing, it's for everyone male or female!  Amazingly interesting." *****
"Really good." *****

Poison Blood, Book 3: Prophecy and Book 4: Apocalypse are available to download via the links below:

Amazon US|   Amazon UK|    iBooks US   |   iBooks UK   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US   |   iBooks UK   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo

And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

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