Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
Old Town Nights is the first novel in my “Blood & Company” series, about a tribe of vampire-human hybrids living in Chicago. In Book One, I introduce the Slater family, who owns two popular bakeries and “doesn’t mind staying up all night.” The evolving love story between Ambrose Slater and Abby Lawrence, a regular woman, comprises most of the book, with some background on other members of the colorful Slater clan. Ambrose is conflicted about whether to force Abby to spend the rest of her life with him or to release her from her “addiction.” Abby is torn between embracing the vampire lifestyle or giving up the only man she’s ever loved.
The novel came out in mid-July and is available as an e-book on Amazon.
The idea for Old Town Nights grew out of a spooky, windy evening spent in Lincoln Park a few days before Halloween. My husband and I had gone to a costume party, he as a vampire and I as his “unsuspecting victim.” As we strolled the darkened streets, heading for our friends’ apartment, we saw a lot of “vampires” out and about…and it struck me: What if some of these other costumed people were the “real deal”?
Then I started thinking: What if they lived and worked among us, seemingly ordinary, normal people—but they weren’t? What would they do? How would they try to “blend in?” When I answered those questions, my characters were born. I wrote a short story first, which placed in a contest, and then turned the story into a novel. I had no idea that the novel would spawn three more books in the series.
So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
My mother said that I was born with a vivid imagination—that I started inventing stories and make-believe friends at about the age of three. (My first fictional characters, no doubt!) I was reading by the time I turned five, and I loved the sound and feel of words. As soon as I picked up a pen I began to write, entertaining my classmates with tall tales. I pecked out my first novel on my mom’s manual typewriter over a lonely summer when I was twelve. So, yes, I’d have to say that writing has always been a part of who I am.
Do you have any favorite authors?
My favorite romance author used to be LaVyrle Spencer, but she retired from writing in 1997. After that I latched onto Nora Roberts and Jennifer Crusie. For paranormal, I enjoy J.R. Ward, Kerrelyn Sparks, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and more Nora. For a bit of horror, I favor Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I like Belva Plain’s family sagas and John Jakes’ historical sagas. Of course, I’ve enjoyed many other authors as well. I’ve read Jane Austen’s novels more times than I can count over the years!
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
I accustomed myself to writing whenever I could because I always worked at a regular job. Now, however, I like to devote morning and early afternoon to writing and the latter part of the day to social media and marketing. Although I occasionally write longhand in a notebook, most of the time you can find me at my computer…ruminating and typing!
Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?
Be true to yourself and your vision for your story. Write what you want to write and what you like to read most, but read in different genres. Learn your craft: not just writing technique, but grammar and punctuation skills as well. Find some trusted beta readers or a critique partner for feedback. Become the best writer you can be and never stop trying to improve. Mostly, have fun! If you don’t truly enjoy what you do, it will show in your work.
Here is the blurb for Old Town Nights.
Old Town, Chicago: Hub of culture, history, and home to a family of modern-day vampires that have resided there for over a century…
Abby Lawrence is a successful North Side realtor. When she shows a house to Ambrose Slater, of the renowned Slater’s Bakeries, she has no idea she’s about to become “addicted to love.” Unable to resist him, Abby is drawn to the handsome but sensitive hybrid vampire, who is a powerful mortal despite his vulnerability. As she witnesses the deterioration of his brother Stefan’s marriage to Heather, a regular woman like herself, Abby must decide if she can embrace the vampire lifestyle or give up the only man she’s ever loved. And Ambrose must choose whether to risk losing Abby’s love or setting her free, even if it kills him…
Old Town Nights is the story of two species of human beings who need one another in a special, intimate way. Added to the mix are the quirks of their colorful families, the rigors of operating a bakery, and the challenges of fitting into today’s ever-changing world.
Here is an excerpt from Old Town Nights.
The receptionist poked her head in the door. “Your four o’clock is here, Abby,” she said. Then, more softly, “You won’t believe it when you see him.”
Rising from her desk, Abby smoothed the wrinkles from her pale linen pants, paused to tuck an errant strand of hair back into place, and then walked out to greet Mr. Slater.
Lincolnshire Real Estate catered to a high-end clientele. She worked with all kinds of rich and influential people. Abby had seen diamonds the size of marbles, Armani suits, and fur coats in July—but never had she seen the likes of the man who waited for her in the outer office.
He stood around six-two, was well built, and was wearing sunglasses—very dark sunglasses. Oddly enough, he was dressed in a long-sleeved black shirt and pants, relieved only by a blue silk tie. Although parted in the center and brushed back from his forehead, his sable hair was long enough to be combed behind his ears. His skin was fairer than hers (he probably fried in the sun, too) and he had the most unusual mouth, rather full and sensual for a man. When his lips curved in a slight smile, her heart sped up, pulsing in her throat.
She moved forward and extended her had. “Mr. Slater? I’m Abby Lawrence.”
“Please, call me Ambrose,” he said.
Although his fingers felt cool, Abby felt instantly warmed by his touch. He removed his sunglasses and she looked into eyes as dark and vast as the cosmos. At the same time, his gaze settled on her as gently as night descending over the Chicago Skyline.
“I’m pleased to meet you…Ambrose. Tell me, are you one of the Slater’s from those famous bakeries around town?”
“One and the same,” he said, still smiling his sensual smile. “I’m sorry to be tying up your Friday evening, but it’s the only free time I have.”
Abby waved a hand. “Oh, I work late most evenings. Let me get my purse, and we can go. I have several appointments set up on some properties that might interest you.”
One of her associates did a double take when she spotted Mr. Slater. Iris raised dubious eyebrows as Abby walked by. In her office, Abby had to stop and take a few deep breaths. She recalled, suddenly, how she’d liked his voice on the phone. It sounded soft and smooth, and he’d seemed so polite. She had no idea he would be so devastatingly handsome, or so different, in a strangely appealing way.
I live in Denver, Colorado, with my husband Tim—the artist that illustrated my book covers—and our sweet dog, Bart. Over the years I’ve taught creative writing classes, hosted a writers group, and written a variety of contemporary romances with a paranormal twist.
Currently, I have two novels published on Amazon, Elsewhere and Old Town Nights, with the second book in the “Blood & Company” series to follow in October.
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/williamslindalee