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Chloe Neill Interview & Bibliography

Chicagoland Vampires Series (in reading order)

LoveVampires Interview With Chloe Neill

Interview by Missy

Picture of Chloe NeillTell us a little bit about who Chloe Neill is.

She is a lover of Diet Coke, and her dog (who thinks he's human), and Southern food. I like to think I have a big heart, and I love office supplies, and I'm 100% Apple in the tech department.  Oh--and in 2005, I decided I had a story to tell.

Tell us a little bit about the Chicagoland Vampire series.

The series, told in the first person by our spunky heroine, Merit, tells the story of Merit's initiation into the world of the Chicago Vampires. Vamps have just announced their very chichi existence to the world, and Merit must make the transition from English Literature to ancient katana, and from book-obsessed grad student to obsession of a Master vampire. It's a bit awkward at times, as you might imagine.

What's next for Merit?  Ethan?  Merit and Ethan as a potential couple?

Merit will continue to learn more about her skills as a vampire, the supernatural world around her, and the mechanics of being a modern-day vampire.  Ethan will learn to live with a very stubborn Sentinel under his roof.  As for the rest of that question. . . not touching it with a ten foot pole. :)

Do you think being raised in the south influenced your writing style? How would you categorize your writing style?

I'd characterize it as "thick quirky."  I enjoy details--letting Merit experience that post-rain smell on a warm night, the nubby feel of a katana handle, the slickness of a sheet of fresh paper. But I'm a little quirky and sarcastic, and I think Merit is, as well. I'm also really big on natural dialogue. The dialogue may not always be grammatically correct, but conversations don't walk right out of the Chicago Manual of Style.

 Have you always been interested in writing vampire fiction?

Not even slightly. I've been a fan for many years, but I used to be deathly afraid of writing. And then I got a job where I did it quite often, and my sentences became less awkward. When I spent a few hours writing a bit of fan fiction for a popular paranormal romance series, I figured it was time to test the waters on my own.

You veer off from traditional vampire organization and mythology in your books.  How did you come up with it, and was it hard to portray vampires in a fresh light?

Thanks, I think. :) I'm not sure I thought about portraying vampires in a "fresh light."  We live in a pretty bureaucratic world, and I tried to imagine how vampires--who'd been living under wraps for centuries--might have structured their world in order to maintain that veil of assimilation.  As humans, we have laws, organizational structures, hierarchies, etc. I figured vampires were similar enough that they would, as well.

What authors have influenced you, either in your representation of the supernatural or in general?

In terms of classic literature, I love Steinbeck. I love the description, the earthiness of his writing. In terms of the paranormal, I think Laurel K. Hamilton explored the woman-caught-between-two-men dilemma in a fascinating way--especially when those two men had  pretty divergent views about the ethics of the supernatural.  You can't beat Rachel Caine for interesting twists and heart-wrenching moments between her hero and heroine. Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and Roarke from JD Robb's In Death series are the paragons of strong, romantic heroes for me.

Who or what inspired Ethan?

This is difficult to answer without giving too much away. :)  Physically, David Beckham. If you've seen photos, Ethan has a similar look, but also that same sense of gravity that David exudes in pictures. In terms of soul/emotion/personality, I knew the pattern of growth that I want for Ethan--which is quite similar to the growth I'd like to see in Merit and Morgan. They are all very young in very different ways, whether acceptance of their leadership positions or emotionally.  I know Ethan's faults, and I know where I'd like to see him by the end of the series. But it's his job to get there. :)

 How many books are currently planned for the series?

There are currently four books under contract, and I have ideas for about eight in total. Just depends on how well they sell!

You are starting a new series, the first of which will be released in January 2010, can you tell me a little bit about that?

Sure. Firespell, the first of my Novels of the Dark Elite, is set for release on January 5, 2010. Firespell tells the story of Lily Parker, a 16 year old who's sent to Chicago for boarding school . . . and discovers that things really do go bump in the night.

How is it different than writing Merit's story?

Writing about teenagers poses two unique challenges--they have to be in school all day, and they're generally not encouraged to roam about at night. Completely the opposite of vampires, there. Lily shares a lot of Merit's spunk, but I think that even at her age, she's a little more comfortable in her own skin than Merit.  Lily is an explorer, whereas Merit is still trying to find her feet, in spite of her accomplishments.

Would the two ever meet, and if so what do you think would happen?  (Scout, and perhaps Lily protecting the world from vampires, Merit being a bad ass vamp)

In terms of strength, I think Lily/Scout would win that battle.  But Merit can be very charming (when she's not being nervous), so it's quite possible that she could make friends.

What are your plans for the future?

Hopefully, to keep writing books that people enjoy reading! I have two additional series ideas in the works...and not much time to work on them. :)

What books are you currently, or have you currently been reading?

I recently finished Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Rachel Caine's Cape Storm.  Next up is Diana Gabaldon's Echo in the Bone.

A big "thank-you" to Chloe Neill for taking part in the author interview. More information about Chloe’s novels can be found on Chloe’s website.
5th October 2009

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