Tag Archives: lisa kessler

Q&A with Lisa Kessler, author of Night Walker!


Earlier this month, Lisa Kessler released her debut paranormal romance novel Night Walker, the first in the new Night series from Entangled Publishing.  GT was fortunate enough to get our hands on an advance copy and thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing it.  Night Walker was awarded a rating of 4 Hearts and our Bronze Heart Award for excellence in PNR fiction.  (note: “hearts” and “awards” are our new rating system, to be launched in September with the new GT site – stay tuned for more info!).  Ms. Kessler has been busy promoting her new book this month with a full schedule of blog guest appearances and interviews, and was gracious enough to allow GT to pepper her with questions about Night Walker, her work as an author, and even a few nosy personal ones!  Here’s what she had to say…

GT: Congratulations on publishing your new Night Walker series! Can you share a little of your journey and what kept you going?

Thank you!  Getting my first book published was definitely the toughest goal I have ever achieved.

There were lots of rejections. Night Walker is a unique novel that mixes time periods and it’s pretty dark too, so while I got lots of full reads from publishing houses in New York, they weren’t sure what to do with it.

At one point I gave up on Night Walker and set it aside to write a new series. (The Moon Series) But while those were tied up in a contest, Entangled invited me to submit. All I had left was Night Walker, so I held my breath and sent it off.

I really believe it was all meant to be. Night Walker found the perfect home with Entangled and I’m really excited about the rest of the series…

GT: How did you celebrate your first big release day?

I didn’t have a copy of my book to hold in my hands yet, but my hubby took me out to dinner… 🙂

GT: Where did you get your inspiration for creating the Night series?

It all started with wanting to write a novel with immortals, but set it on the west coast. Since the Mission de Alcala is the oldest building in San Diego, it seemed like the perfect place to start.

While researching, I discovered the peaceful Kumeyaay tribes actually attacked the Mission in the 1700’s, burned it to the ground and beat the head priest so badly he could only be identified by the rings on his hand.

All we have are theories as to what could have provoked such a vicious attack from a peaceful group. I made up my own theory that a young native girl was murdered. Once I had that worked out, I knew she had to be reincarnated in order for me to tell the story in contemporary times.

GT: Calisto doesn’t see himself as a “vampire”. Will we see more of this dichotomy between the two and get a better understanding of what the difference between “night walker” and “vampire” is?

Yes in the novella, Night Thief, you’ll actually see a Night Walker go up against a vampire villain…  Also in Night Demon (Book #2) you’ll meet the original 4 Night Walker brothers so you’ll get even more background on what makes a Night Walker different from a vampire…

GT: Will Calisto and Kate be the central characters for the rest of the series or will upcoming books focus on other characters?

Calisto and Kate are in Night Demon (Book 2) but as supporting cast.  Night Demon is a chance for Lukas and Gretchen to step into the spotlight.  You got a glimpse of Lukas in Night Walker, and Gretchen is a new human character.

GT: How many books do you expect to publish in the series?

At this point there will be 3 books and a novella.

GT: You got an early start as a writer (6th grade!). What other jobs have you held between writing assignments since then?

Let’s see, I’ve given horseback riding lessons, girl scout leader, singer, and a sales person in our family window covering business…  Glamorous, right? LOL

GT: What is your typical schedule when writing a new book?

When I’m writing a new book I write 20 pages, then edit those, then write the next 20 pages, etc. By the end I usually have a pretty clean first draft.

GT: When you find yourself in a plot hole or with writers block, how do you work out of it?

I’ve never had writer’s block, and plot holes aren’t usually an issue.  However when I get to the middle of the book and the pacing starts to feel a little slow it’s usually time to “up the body count”.  Nothing like a dead character to bring up the tension! 🙂

GT: What do you think inspires a good story?

Good characters.  If I can relate to the characters and enjoy spending time with them, it makes all the difference.

GT: Being married to a fellow writer, do you find you’re able to feed off each other’s creativity or do you need definite “me” time?

I feel blessed for being married to another writer.  He’s always my first reader, and he really understands the process and respects me for it.  I haven’t always had that kind of support, so I recognize it for the gift it is! LOL

GT: You’ve been in quite a few musical theater productions (check out Lisa’s music here). Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

Sadly with my full writing schedule, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals for stage productions.  These days I’ve cut back to one church job and singing for weddings and memorials…

The Gauntlet (rapid-fire Q’s with top-o-the-brain A’s)

GT: All-time favorite movie?

Rocky & Camelot

GTTop 5 most played songs on your ipod/music list?

I don’t have an iPod! LOL  I’m so old school…  Right now based on the books I’m editing and blogs I’m writing my playlist Top 5 is probably…
Come What May – Moulin Rouge
If I Can’t Love Her – Beauty and the Beast
Bad Things – Jace Everett
Broken – Seether
My Immortal – Evanescence

GTWhat book are you reading right now?

Spell Bound – Kelley Armstrong and I’m LOVING it!  Great urban fantasy…

GTFavorite non-romance book?

The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

GTFavorite couple, hero, or heroine in a PNR/UF series (that is not your own)?

Zack and Aura in Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade trilogy

GTTeam Bill or Team Eric? (because we know you’re a Truebie!)

I’m still Team Bill…  Even though they’re doing different things with the show I think it’s still obvious that Bill is sacrificing his own happiness to keep Sookie’s secret safe from the vampires…

GTStar Trek, Star Wars, or Star Gate?

Star Wars

GTBoxers or briefs?

Boxers

GTBiggest pet peeve?

Mean People… Ugh!

GTIf I could live anywhere in the world, it would be…

San Diego…  What can I say I’m super spoiled by the weather here! LOL

To check Ms. Kessler’s other Blog Tour stops, see her schedule here.

Here are some online purchase links for Night Walker

Hope you had as much fun reading this interview as we did chatting with Ms. Kessler and writing it!

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GT Preview: New GraveTells writers and Q&A with author Lisa Kessler

This week will be a ground-breaking week for GraveTells, so hang on to your hats, because we’re debuting two new GT team members and have a Q&A with Night Walker author Lisa Kessler!

New team members, you say?  Why does GT need a “team”?  I’ve been developing a new, dedicated site for GraveTells, with a community forum for PNR/UF fans.  It’s nearly finished and I hope to launch it in September!  With all that yummy new content, wouldn’t it be great if you had more than just me to listen to?  *grin*  You’re in for a definite treat with this week’s debut posts by Kenra Daniels and The Captain.  Both are Paranormal Romance authors with appealing style, modern and edgy.  Kenra brings compelling perspective and thought-provoking dissertation, while The Captain treats us to her provocative signature blend of wit and irreverence.  Here’s a sneak peek of this week’s treats!

From Kenra’s Shame On You!, scheduled for tomorrow’s feed…

Are you ashamed of what you read?

One day in a bookstore, I overheard a man berating his wife for browsing through the Paranormal Romances. She apologized and promised not to read such “filth”, and of course she knew vampires weren’t real. I started to wonder how many readers of Paranormal Romance novels faced the same sort of criticism from family and friends.

From The Captain’s Caught in the Smex Beam, scheduled for Wednesday’s feed…

I think it is fair to say that in PNR/UF novels, there are a few things that are expected and accepted:

  1. The hero will be gorgeous and well hung.
  2. The heroine will be attractive, smart, perhaps funny, but most of all likeable and relatable to the reader.
  3. The story will have elements that drag us in, besides the two pretty people it centers on, and transport us to another reality.
  4. The hero and heroine will be irrevocably caught in the Smex Beam.

“What exactly is a Smex Beam, Captain?” you ask.  Ha ha, fear not reader.  Your Captain is here to offer guidance and instruction.

Finally, to end the week in grand style, Night Walker author Lisa Kessler has graciously agreed to get up close and personal with GT, answering some of our burning questions about her new book and series.  Ms. Kessler’s interview is a GraveTells first and we’re proud to be able to post a Q&A with such a great new up-and-coming PNR author!  Here’s a sneak peek…

GT: Where did you get your inspiration for creating the Night series?
LK: It all started with wanting to write a novel with immortals, but set it on the west coast. Since the Mission de Alcala is the oldest building in San Diego, it seemed like the perfect place to start.  While researching, I discovered the peaceful Kumeyaay tribes actually attacked the Mission in the 1700’s, burned it to the ground and beat the head priest so badly he could only be identified by the rings on his hand.  All we have are theories as to what could have provoked such a vicious attack from a peaceful group. I made up my own theory that a young native girl was murdered. Once I had that worked out, I knew she had to be reincarnated in order for me to tell the story in contemporary times.
.
GT: When you find yourself in a plot hole or with writers block, how do you work out of it?
LK: I’ve never had writer’s block, and plot holes aren’t usually an issue.  However when I get to the middle of the book and the pacing starts to feel a little slow it’s usually time to “up the body count”.  Nothing like a dead character to bring up the tension! 🙂

A huge thanks to Kenra Daniels & The Captain for lending their time and pen to GT, and to Lisa Kessler for sharing her thoughts and time in the middle of her very busy post-release schedule!

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Release day: Night Walker (The Night series #1) by Lisa Kessler


Related links:

Lisa Kessler’s Night Walker, the first novel in the new Night Series from Entangled Publishing, is now available at your favorite bookseller!  If you missed my review of Night Walker, check it out here and then go pick up your own copy and get to know Calisto and Kate.  If you need to stop for a few, to ogle the cover eye candy, that’s perfectly acceptable.  *grin*

Here are some online purchase links…

Enjoy!

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ARC Review: Night Walker (The Night series #1), by Lisa Kessler

TLDR recap:

Separated from his beloved by a cruel and ironic twist of fate, Calisto sacrificed everything to gain immortality and await her return.  Now, over 200 years  later, she’s back…  and she doesn’t remember him at all.  Although Kate is inexplicably drawn to him, misguided zealots are determined to keep them apart at any cost and Calisto must somehow keep Kate safe while helping her reclaim her memories and the bond that has persevered through so much.

    • Publication date: August 2, 2011
    • Title: Night Walker
    • Series: The Night series – book #1
    • Author: Lisa Kessler
    • Prominent Characters: Calisto, Kate
    • Recommended reader age: 16+
    • Sexual content level: light-to-moderate

Thoughts:

Calisto and Kate are old souls, separated in a past life and still searching for forever with one another.  His entire reason for existing is the chance that he might get to see her again, even though she may not be the same woman he fell in love with.  Hello, über romantic!  Of course, Kate doesn’t realize she isn’t ‘brand new’* so the intensity of her feelings for Calisto are frightening and are ultimately the defining factor for the pace of the story.

It starts off as a leisurely stroll through character introductions and laying out the rules of the universe.  Frequent flashbacks help keep the reader engaged until the plot starts to unfold. Initially, it’s a little difficult to really become engrossed in, but the flow of the story is pleasantly unhurried and, as we learn more about the characters and the circumstances that bring them together, segues nicely into the juicy parts and action scenes.  Oh, you know you want to hear more about the juicy!

The intimate scenes in Night Walker are solidly in the “romance” category, without the vulgar language or extended physicality typical of erotica.  Calisto’s touch is knowing but oh-so-tender, and Kate is passionately generous, letting him sweep her away and protect her from her fears while still participating as an equal.  Their spiritual bond with one another really amps up the intensity of these scenes and gives you that little clench in the chest that tells you you’re experiencing something special.

Ok, so he’s a vampire right?  Yes and no.  Vampires exist in this universe but, while they seem to be technically the same species, Calisto and the one who made him consider themselves to be Night Walkers.  The difference isn’t yet well-defined, but the gist of it is that while Night Walkers can exist mostly peacefully in human society, vampires are inherently evil and are governed largely by their bloodlust and craving for power over weaker beings.  Calisto’s transition into a Night Walker is shadowy and not explicitly depicted, but is definitely not your typical romantic sip-trading, where the new vampire gets to be blissfully dined upon before rising immaculately from the grave.  This transition feels more visceral, but without the horror and gore.

Calisto’s spanish accent and the cadence of his speech are some of my favorite things about him.  I’m a Southern girl.  It is nigh impossible for me to talk without excessively using contractions and employing other rampant word mangling, so seeing a character speak with NO contractions really gets my attention, and it makes it easier to hear his voice.  Now that I have Antonio Banderas on the brain, I would REALLY like to see (erm, hear?) Calisto say “Feed me… if you dare!”  *grin*  When it comes to protecting Kate, Calisto has no inhibitions and is not afraid to embrace what he is. It’s refreshing to see a hero who accepts who and what he is while still keeping that awareness of humanity and respect for life that usually defines the “good guys”.

Ms. Kessler’s musical background (she’s a professional vocalist) really shines in her depiction of the piano scenes. The notes fairly dance and soar off the page and make me wish I could step into the moment to experience it for myself.

With a surprising reveal at the end, the path of the rest of the series is left open to question.  Who is really the villain?  Will Calisto and Kate face more of the same or will there be a new, unexpected, more powerful Big Bad?  Do the events of the story mean more than just to serve their purpose as a plot device?  Luckily, we won’t have long to wait, as the next book in the series is tentatively slated for a December release.  Woo for not having to wait a year or more!

*A cookie to the first commenter who can identify that reference!  Ok, maybe a virtual cookie… no?  Bragging rights will have to suffice.  *grin*

Memorable quotes:

Who needs to learn to drive when you know how to fly?

“Where are you parked?” Kate asked.
“I am not.”
“You’re not? Did you take a cab or something?”
“Something…”

If you like Night Walker of The Night series…

If you enjoyed Night Walker check out the Dark series (starting with Dark Prince) by Christine Feehan.  Her Carpathians are similar to the more vampire-traditional feel of the Night Walkers, and the flow of the stories and relationships between the characters have a comparable sentimentally impassioned ambiance.

You might also enjoy A Discovery of Witches (the first book in the All Souls trilogy) by Deborah Harkness.  Discovery is a little more epic, but the chivalrous undertones and the unexpected quick emotional bonding of the main couple is similar.  The pace of Discovery is also slower at the start, taking time to let the reader get to know the players before plunging into the mystery and action.

Final thoughts:

If you like your romance with strong bonds and heartfelt emotion, with tenderness and a sedate pace, with a strong, determined hero and a heroine who isn’t afraid to take chances, put Night Walker on your “to read” list.  I’m looking forward to watching this series develop, especially as the characters learn more about their abilities and we (hopefully) get to meet more Night Walkers… and maybe a few vampires too?  *wink*  The great thing about Night Walker being the start of a continuing series is that no matter if the upcoming stories focus on Calisto and Kate or on other characters, we’ll still get a peek into their continuing journey as a couple and as immortals, and that’s a happy thought!  =)

*Thank you to Entangled Publishing for allowing me to preview this book!

Rating:
4.0 fangs: BITE IT!

Related links:

http://lisaslair.com/ (Night Series website)

http://lisakessler.wordpress.com/ (Author blog)

http://www.christinefeehan.com/ (The Dark Series website)

http://deborahharkness.com/ (A Discovery of Witches website)

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