About the Interviewee
Lynsay Sands is the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau Vampire series. She has written more than thirty-four books and anthologies since her first novel was published in 1997. Her romantic comedies span three genres — historical, contemporary, and paranormal — and have made the Barnes & Noble, USA Today, and New York Times bestseller lists. Her books are read in more than twelve countries and have been translated into at least six languages. She’s been a nominee for both the Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Award and the Romantic Times Best Paranormal Romance Award, was nominated and placed three times in the RIO (Reviewers International Organization) Awards of Excellence, and has several books on All about Romance’s Favorite Funnies list.
Lynsay’s latest novel is Runaway Vampire.
GW: Hi, Lynsay! Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview with us! We are celebrating Valentine’s Day (okay, we celebrate Valentine’s Month) by sharing with our readers – who mostly read traditional fantasy and science fiction – some of the stand-out writers and series from the Paranormal Romance side of the street. Of course, you are one of our favorites. Where would you suggest new-to-romance readers start with your Argeneau series?
LS: Most of my Argeneau books are standalone stories, so you can read them in whatever order you choose. That being said, I do know some readers like to read them in their written order, for them I’d suggest they start with book #1, A Quick Bite.
(Argeneau Reading Order)
For those who don’t mind reading them out of order, though, then it really depends on preference. If you’re in the mood for humor then I’d suggest Single, White Vampire, The Accidental Vampire or Under A Vampire Moon. Or if you’re in the mood for more of a thriller then I’d suggest The Immortal Hunter, Immortal Ever After or The Immortal Who Loved Me.
GW: Your series is one of the longer and more successful series in the paranormal romance category. I’ve seen other series get somewhat repetitive, but not yours! In fact, the series seems to have series within it: we have deeply personal family books, we have Enforcer books, light-hearted romps, dark mysteries, and what seems like everything in between. Do you have a strict pattern of what you’re going to write next in terms of thematic elements, do your editors make suggestions, or does the story evolve organically?
LS: No, there’s no pattern and no suggestions. I’m a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal. I write the stories as they come to me. I sometimes have an idea or two percolating for a few years in my head before I write them, but it’s mostly just ideas, scenes I’d like to write, or characters I want to play with. I don’t actually plot anything out before sitting down to write it. I find when I do that and start writing already knowing what’s going to happen, I get bored with the story and don’t want to do it. And I believe if I’m bored, the reader will pick up on that and be bored as well, so I toss that story aside and start another instead. Fortunately, my editor doesn’t insist on outlines and whatnot, but gives me my creative space and lets me do my thing. I guess I’m lucky that she has that much faith in me and gives me that kind of leeway.
GW: What I am most impressed about regarding the Argeneau series is how ably you create arcs that last for several books. For example, the name of a character’s dog all the way back in the first book is revealed to be significant in the ninth book. Does this happen naturally, or do you have a series Bible you consult in order to layer in your mysteries?
LS: Mostly it just happens naturally. I do have a character archive that I can refer to, but when I named that dog back in the first book, I had no idea what was coming in book nine (good thing I didn’t name him Spot or something, huh?). And there are loads of other things that have happened that later turn out to be important where I’ve thought to myself, “Wow, it’s like I planned it or something,” when in truth I didn’t, at least not consciously. Actually, to me, it sometimes feels like a host of characters decided I should tell their story for them, flew into my head to act out their history, and I’m just watching the film of their life in my mind and scrambling to get it all written down. Their actions quite often surprise me. I’ll be typing madly away and give a startled laugh at their antics because I didn’t see it coming, or I’ll be thinking, “You little devil. I can’t believe you did that!” or “Oh wow, that explains a lot!” LOL.
Hmmm…I probably shouldn’t have admitted that. I should say, oh yes, of course it’s all plotted out. Every word, every coincidence, every thing…which reminds me, you can cut this out if you like, but I recall when I was in one of my University English classes, the professor pointed to a description in a novel we had to read. The description was of shadows moving across the floor as a door opened and he assured us that this was deliberate foreshadowing from the author of the tragedy that was going to happen in chapter twenty-something. I remember thinking at the time. “Really? Holy crap, I don’t write like that. I don’t foreshadow way ahead or even plot way ahead. Maybe I’m not a good writer. Maybe I’m doing it all wrong!” It really made me doubt myself. But now, sixty plus books later, I wonder if the truth isn’t that the professor was wrong and it wasn’t a simple description of what the author saw in his/her mind’s eye as he/she wrote. I don’t know. Every one has a different writing technique. Perhaps some authors do spend weeks or months or even years fretting over every word placement and such, but I don’t have the patience. I just enjoy the movie playing in my head and write down what happens in it.
As for that archive I mentioned… Unfortunately, I don’t always think to check it, and even when I do accidents happen. Like in one of the earlier books Marguerite claimed to prefer showers to baths because they are faster, and then in her own book she claimed to prefer a nice relaxing bath. We didn’t think to put her bathing preferences in the archive, and I didn’t remember myself, but readers certainly noticed, lol. I don’t just need the archive, I need someone to double check every little thing I write down, unfortunately, that would take forever and readers don’t want to wait forever for the books. So, there are mistakes on occasion, and I just have to accept that I’m not perfect.
GW: One of the major villains in the series was recently put to rest. Forcefully. Will we see another villain rise up who has a several book arc?
LS: Yes. I’m working with one now. He was supposed to appear two books ago, but sometimes characters don’t play nice and he was one of them. So I put that book aside and wrote The Runaway Vampire where the evil character is merely mentioned, or his handiwork is. And then I meant to introduce him in Tomasso’s story, but again, he wouldn’t play, so Tomasso’s story steered away from him to a sandy beach and was written with just the revelation of this villain’s name. Now I’m working with him again.
So far he’s cooperating, but we’ll see. I suspect part of the problem is I really don’t like this villain. This guy’s a real piece of work, a brilliant psychopath as opposed to the major villain you mention who was more of a disorganized sociopath. The things this new villain has done to people…ugh! And his victims are mortal and immortal alike. Definitely a psychopath. But I’m sure there will be other villains like that as well. I like challenges and a proper villain is usually smart enough not to get caught right away. He’d hardly be a challenge if he were stupid enough to get caught in one book.
Besides that though, there’s still a villain from past stories out there who will eventually have to be dealt with, but I don’t have any plans for him in the immediate future.
(Here’s a fun question for readers…Can you guess who I’m referring to? )
GW: We know that Dante’s book will be followed by Tomasso’s (can’t wait!). But do you know yet what the future holds for the Argeneaus? Can you give us a scoop on what we can look out for in 2017?
LS: LOL. Guess I kind of just answered that, but I’ll tell you more. If this villain stays to play this time, and I have high hopes he will (after all, third times the charm, right?) then this book will introduce a whole host of new characters who are– Hmm, not sure how to put this, they aren’t immortals, but they certainly aren’t your average humans either. Guess that’s the best way to describe them for now. And if I like these characters as much as the Argeneaus, this book might start a new series all it’s own.
However, there will definitely be more Argeneau stories to come in 2017. I can’t say much more than that though, mostly because I don’t know much more than that myself and don’t want to. Wouldn’t want to get bored and drop my Argeneaus, I enjoy them too much to risk that.
GW: Thank you so much for your time! We always like to conclude our interviews with a silly question: What is your silliest childhood memory?
LS: Well… Wow, silliest childhood memory. Okay, well the first one that comes to mind isn’t my silliness so much as my mom’s, but believe me I take after her so… Anyway, it was the day my younger sister came home from the hospital after being born. I was seven, my older sister ten and we were both excited about this day. We’d helped pick out the pretty pale yellow dress she would wear home and everything. Well, the car pulled up and my parents came in, my mother carrying this little bundle all wrapped up in a blanket. My big sister and I rushed forward, squealing to see the baby and Mom smiled and bent down as she lifted the blanket aside to show us our new sister. We both gaped, then sort of blinked, looked at each other and asked with confusion, “Why is she yellow?”
Mom frowned and peered down at the sweet little face, bit her lip and said, “I’m not sure. I thought maybe it was just the dress making her look yellow.”
I think it was Grandma who frowned and said, no she didn’t think that was the case. The baby was definitely yellow. It looked like she was jaundiced. Well a panic ensued and my parents rushed out and hurried back to the hospital, thinking our baby was sick and needed immediate attention. They were back surprisingly quickly, and with another baby. It seemed a mistake had been made at the hospital. A switch. My mother had been given the wrong baby. The nurses realized that when they checked the baby’s hospital tag and saw that it said “baby Small.” They asked my mother hadn’t she read the hospital tag when she was given the baby? Yes, she said, but she thought it referred to the baby’s size.
It still makes the family laugh, and it is funny in retrospect, but it’s also kind of frightening to think that if that child hadn’t been jaundiced, Mom never would have known that Small was the family’s last name, not the size, and we might now have a different sister. Imagine that! No, don’t, aside from loving my sister, I quite like her as well and wouldn’t want any other.