Veronica Backham - Interview with Ronnie Massey (Script)
VB: Hello, Ronnie. (Pause. Thinking.) Huh! My mother called me Ronnie all the time, but I hated it, and... Anyways... (Pause.) It's a pleasure to meet you and talk about your new book titled "Crimson Dawn." Unfortunately, the movie is not out yet, so I just paged through the book, and noticed it has many, many words. Sorry, I just didn't have the time to read all those words. (Sigh.) You know how that is. So, can you explain in a few words what your story is about?
RM: First of all thanks for the interview, Veronica - It feels funny calling someone else that. I am sorry to hear that you don't like the name Ronnie. I actually prefer to be called Ronnie. Not that many people even know that my first name is Veronica. My father named me after Veronica from the Betty and Veronica, Archies comics.
Now about Crimson Dawn. I am not sure if I can do the story just in just a few words, but I will try. Crimson Dawn revolves around 98 year old pureblood vampire, Valeria Trumaine and her hunt to track down and kill her psychotic ex-fiance, Tristan Meriwether.
Val has worked for five years as a Sentinel, policing the preternatural races, or Extras as humans call them. She avoided Tristan for all those years until her father turns up on her doorstep one morning to inform her that she's going to be tasked with bringing him to justice, and orders her to accept the case. Irulan, Valeria's roommate, a 300-plus year old Fae princess, pleads with her to refuse, but Tristan has been killing innocent humans and blood raping lower vampires and Val's sense of duty pushes her to accept it.
The hunt for Tristan takes unexpected turns as Irulan joins the chase, refusing to let Val face the monster that Tristan has become, alone. With Irulan at her side, tensions run high forcing long kept secrets and denied feelings into the mix. Val is forced to reevaluate everything she knew about herself or face loosing it all. Then, if that isn't enough, there is also Val's fellow Sentinel, Priest, who may or may not be working against her and trying to keep Tristan alive.
Crimson Dawn is a fast paced story with enough action, emotion, and heat to blur the line urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
I hope that wasn't to much, Veronica. I tried to keep it short.
VB: Yes, Vampires. (Sigh) You see, I just had this interview with another author, Lorelei Bell. She also writes about vampires. I had to make sure that she wasn't a vampire, too. You know, I would hate having those bite marks on my neck. Wouldn't be good for my career in the entertainment industry. But she was fine. I also had my agent check you out, and she assured me you're not a vampire, either. Anyways... (Pause)
Well, it seems that Crimson Dawn is not about sexy hunks who take their shirt off every ten minutes, you know, like in Dustlight... or whatever the book was. (Pause. Thinking.)
So... What you are saying is... There are two women hunting a guy, right? That sounds intriguing! Let me just make a note in my PDA here... (Pause.)
Okay. Done. So... You also mention "denied feelings." What do you mean by that? Or would the answer reveal too much of the story?
RM: Yes, it is about two women hunting down a psychic, spoiled brat of a vampire. There are men in the story, but outside of the hunt, the relationship between Valeria and Irulan is the heart of the novel. And by denied feelings, I mean that Irulan is in love with Val and has been for years (see my short story, UnSpoken: A Val and Irulan Short). Irulan is Sidhe, a member of the Tuatha De Danann's royal family and here in Tir Nam Beo, the human realm, she would be considered an out lesbian (The Fae aren't hung up with labels). The case and the danger that Tristan poses to Val forces Irulan to join the hunt because she wants to keep her safe. Val thinks it's just because they are best friends but over the course of the hunt, emotions run high little by little it gets harder and harder for Irulan to hide what she feels for Val.
Val tries her hardest to ignore the feelings that she has for Irulan but when she's faced with a life or death situation she's forced to reevaluate what's important and finds that she loves Irulan.
I toyed with the idea of making Valeria lesbian from the start but then I decided that I wanted her to go through some of the angst of realizing that she wasn't straight and go through the experience of coming out to the ones that she loves. The relationship between Val and Irulan was the one constant thing in the initial plotting and outlining. I knew the two heroines would fall in love before I knew what challenges they were going to face.
As an out woman it was very important to me to write a solid urban fantasy with a good plot that didn't shy away from the relationship between two strong, lesbian main characters. I also did not want to write a lesbian novel that sacrificed storyline for sex scenes like some erotica. I have some heat in my novel but I think it fits and isn't forced just for the sake of having it.
VB: Ooh! Intriguing! You know, I just had a reading of my memoir at Smith College in Northampton, Massa... (Pause.) Massachusetts... I believe. Anyways... You wouldn't believe the number of women checking me out! You know, Smith College is an all-women college. They don't allow male students. (Sigh.) I even exchanged phone numbers with some of them. Oops! Don't get me wrong! I am happily married! (Pause. Thinking.) Anyways... I don't know how you do it. I mean, how do you come up with these ideas? Do you have a special place where you get inspirations and write?
RM: I don't really have a special place to write. I'm a single mother with 2 daughters and a full time job, so I write wherever and whenever I have a moment to myself. I take my laptop to work with me every day and write on my hour lunch break. When I'm home I'm usually sitting on my bed with my laptop on my lap or on the couch in front of the TV. No matter where I am writing, I have to have music. I pop in my headphones, pull up Itunes and turn the volume up as high as it will go and just write.
Crimson Dawn was written to Muse, The Jackson 5, SWV, Janet Jackson, Robyn (she is a killer songwriter), and Stacie Orrico. I am working on the sequel, Black Moon Rising and the playlist has stayed pretty much the same, with the addition of Pink, Jordin Sparks, and Nikki Minaj.
As for inspirations, the Lord blessed me with a vivid imagination. I just write what I love to read. I'm a paranormal romance and urban fantasy junkie. I am a huge fan of Kim Harrison and her Rachel Morgan series. Rachel is a witch who's roommates with a living vampire named Ivy. To make a long story short Ivy is bisexual and in love with Rachel. Rachel takes Ivy on this emotional roller-coaster ride with her inability to commit to her but she wont let her go. I love the novels and eagerly wait for each new one, but that aspect of their relationship bugged me to no end. I wanted a story in which the bi or lesbian character ended up getting their girl. So I decided to write my own. So in a sense, Kim Harrison inspired me to write Crimson Dawn.
My other works are like branches that have grown from the tree that is Crimson Dawn. If there is something about a character that strikes me as interesting, I come up with a storyline surrounding them or their particular race. If my cousin and best friend like the idea, then I run with it, if not I let it go and move on to the next one. So far I have written a young adult spin-off that centers around David; a character that is introduced in C.D. I have also written a werewolf story titled Ascension: Wolves of Goose Creek, about the god-daughter of Marcus Daniels, who is Valeria's Commanding Officer. I have a young adult story in the works that stems off of the Goose Creek story. Last but not least, I have a young adult faerie story titled The Road To Was, that I just completed the first draft of maybe a month ago. I loved writing the part of C.D. where Val and Irulan are in the FaeLands and really wanted a way to showcase the more magical side of the world I created. Without the foundations that I laid for Crimson Dawn, none of the other titles would have happened. Finishing it, inspired me to build on what I had.
VB: Whoa! You are quite passionate about your writing! So, what you are saying is... (Pause. Thinking.) There is a sequel in the making? Does it somehow relate to Crimson Dawn? And when do you think it's finished?
RM: Thanks, I guess I am really passionate about it. I love to write, draw, sing; anything that involves creating something. I am definitely a right brained girl. Yes, there is a sequel to Crimson Dawn. I have four books in the Darklife Saga outlined so far. Black Moon Rising is set four months after the events in Crimson Dawn. The storyline is about the consequences of Val's actions when she was in the FaeLands; the killing of her grandfathers Chimera guards and her marriage to Irulan. She is also involved in a human murder case that her brother Valerian is representing. To the human legal system the case is open and shut, but Val and Valerian know the accused murderer has been glamoured, which will not stand up in a human court. So Val has to find hard evidence that the murder was committed by an Extra or else the accused will be found guilty.
There is also a big twist in the novel that I know no one will be expecting. I would give a hint but if I say too much people that have read...nope that's enough. I want it to be a surprise. Needless to say the events in Black Moon Rising will test every single member of the Trumaine family; even ones that have not been introduced yet.
I am not sure when I will be done with it. I am twenty chapters in so far. But I completely re-did the outline for the remaining chapters and I am trying to fit everything together properly. The YA title that I mentioned, Freak Among Freaks, runs parallel with B.M.R. so I am treading carefully to make sure both storyline's are chronologically correct with one another. I hope to have the first draft completed by August and revisions by September. I would aim for a closer date but I am working on a book of poetry and short stories that I am planning to self publish and I have set the release date for August 25th (my birthday!), so I am bouncing back and forth between Black Moon Rising, and going through notebooks, preparing my shorts and poems.
VB: I see. (Thinking.) So what's up for Ronnie Massey in the near future? Any photo ops? Or movies? Another book promotion?
RM: What's next for me? Well, I have a book signing coming in in Rock Hill, S.C. at a bookstore called The BooKnack. It's June 25th from 1pm till 3pm. I will be in Greensboro N.C. for the weekend of the 23rd in July for a multi-author book signing and to speak at book club about my novel. The event will be called Books At The Bakery. I don't have the other details but as soon as I do, I will let you know.
I also have a guest blog post coming up on July 21st at E.J. Stevens website, http://www.fromtheshadows.info/. Aside from the guest post at From The Shadows, I am working on post for a few more sites, so I should have 3 more coming up in the next month.
As for photo ops, and movies...Nah, but I wish. I do need to take some new pictures, but I'm not that crazy about sitting in front of a camera. I need to swallow my dislike and just get it over with. About movies... when I write I see the pictures in my head so I would love, love , love to see some type of adaption make it to either the small screen or the big screen someday. Maybe Crimson Dawn could be Showtime's answer to True Blood LOL.
I have been working on adapting Crimson Dawn into a podcast and have written three ten minute episodes but I know nothing about shooting movies. I have been working on my special effects makeup application and have gotten my vampire effects down pretty good. Maybe sometime over the summer I can take a film class and acquire some film equipment decent enough to film it on my own. I love taking on new creative projects. Oh, if you know of anyone with any podcasting experience, then, by all means, send them my way.
VB: Oh, damn! I broke a fingernail! (Pause. Confusion.) I need to call my personal make-up artist. It was nice meeting you. Now, everybody out of my way! This is an emergency!
Veronica Backham shares her interviews with famous people from all over the world, including Jesus Christ, Che Guevara, Charlie Sheen, and more. As we all know, Veronica's accomplishments include a long career as a "secret" model plus multiple recordings in the music industry. Veronica has just recently published her memoir, which is pretty good for someone who has never read a book in her life. We are looking forward to her next interview.