Interview with Raven Hart author of Savannah Vampires- and Giveaway! *ended*

Today is the kickoff for My Favorite Things Event! 

Raven Hart is also known as Susan Goggins (her real name) and is the author of The Savannah Vampires which is one of my all time favorite series!  She was very excited to participate in my birthday event and eagerly answered some questions for us.

The Vampire's SeductionWhat books do you have published?                                                                     
By Raven Hart For Ballantine books:
The Vampire’s Seduction
The Vampire’s Secret
The Vampire’s Kiss
The Vampire’s Betrayal
The Vampire’s Revenge
By Susan Goggins for Belle Books:
More Sweet Tea
The Vampire's SecretOn Grandma’s Porch                                                                                                     
Summer in Mossy Creek
Blessings of Mossy Creek
A Day in Mossy Creek
At Home in Mossy Creek
Critters of Mossy Creek
By Susan MacLand for Harlequin Duets:
Lovestruck
By Susan Hardy for Kensington Bouquet
Mountain Magic
Silver Lining
What are the Savannah Vampires about? 
The Raven Hart books are about a couple of really cool, hunky, angsty vampires who have chosen to protect human beings instead of preying on them. They have to fight their natural evil instincts in order to do this, so every night is a struggle for them, especially for the ancient and aristocratic William Cuyler Thorne, who has extra vampire powers thanks to a pact with a long-dead voodoo queen. William turned Jack into a vampire while Jack was dying on a bloody civil war battlefield. Jack chose undeath without realizing what he was getting himself in for so he is very conflicted about being a blood drinker. Together William and Jack have taken it upon themselves to protect the citizens of Savannah from other vampires, shape shifters, zombies, and other non human  creatures. Along the way Jack gets into a star-crossed love affair with a woman who turns out to be a vampire slayer.
The Vampire's KissSo you use the pen name, Raven Hart.  Why did you decide to use a pen name?  And do you have anything published under another name?
I wrote the first two books with a partner, so we decided to use one pen name rather than both our names together. We thought it would be easier for people to remember the books by one name, especially one that had a sound that matched the tone of the books.
I write southern stories under my real name, Susan Goggins, for Belle Books. I wrote one romance novel for Harlequin under the name Susan MacLand and two romance novels for Kensington under the name Susan Hardy.
The Vampire's BetrayalHow long have you been writing and how did you get started?                                 
I wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read. I wrote a little as a kid and then got involved in getting an education and then getting a job. I wound up with a career in technical writing, but I still wanted to write fiction. For several years I went to writing workshops and read books on writing, but never really sat down to write. In the late eighties I joined Georgia Romance Writers when I saw a notice in the newspaper about their annual conference coming up. I got inspired by the published writers in the group and finally started writing seriously.
I’ve heard authors talk of all the different ways they’ve gotten ideas for their books.  How did the Savannah Vamps come to you?  
I was brainstorming with my writing partner and we came up with the idea of two sexy Savannah vampires who don’t get along but need each other for survival. She took one character—William Cuyler Thorne—and I took the other character, Jack McShane.  We decided that William would be the sire, the sophisticated one who was in charge. Jack is a regular, working class guy who loves NASCAR, women, and beer. From there the characters just took off and drove the stories.
Is it a story that is complete in your head?  Do you already know where it’s all going to go, or is it still a process and it just comes together as you go along?
I know most of the major direction of the book, but a lot of the story’s plot points and character material comes to me as I go along. That’s when the process is the most fun, when you’re working along, following the plan, and you get these little inspirations, ideas for material that make things fit together just right.
The Vampire's RevengeJack is by far my most favorite character in the books and is one of my most favorite characters of all time because of his awesome personality.  He’s had me almost literally rolling on the floor laughing because he says the funniest things EVER!  Who is your favorite character in your books?  
Jack’s my favorite too! I created him for myself. I think he’s the perfect man. He’s honest, open, funny, smart, and loves fiercely. And of course he’s devastatingly attractive. I also like my minor characters for their humor, especially Huey, the accidental zombie.  (OMG, I have to add that Huey, the accidental zombie, is AWESOME, and so freaking hilarious!)
Your books are some of the most balanced I’ve ever read.  I love that there’s humor, real humor, that makes me laugh so hard my husband is shooting me weird looks (and a few comments, lol) but there is some really serious stuff going on and some very tense moments that actually puts this in the horror genre (it does right?).  Most authors tend to be one or the other and can’t find the balance like you do.  How do you manage that?  
First of all, thanks, I appreciate what you said about the balance. I think I write for the reader in me, that is, when I’m writing I’m really trying to entertain myself. When I think of something funny that fits a situation, and it makes me laugh, then I put it in. If I have a feeling that a sequence of scenes doesn’t have enough action, I might put in a fight scene or something scary. I agree with you that the books are basically horror. Some reviewers complain that there’s not enough romance, since I’m shelved with and categorized with some of the more romance-driven paranormal writers. But I never thought of the books as paranormal romance per se, although there’s certainly a romantic arc throughout the series that is starting to feel rather epic, if I do say so  myself.  (Oh yes!  Certainly epic!)
What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I’m a big fan of paranormal books with lots of interesting world building, a fast pace, and a lot of jeopardy for the characters all the time. The Laurell K. Hamilton books, especially the early ones, are some of my favorites. I also like the L.A. Banks Vampire Huntress series.
In addition to paranormals, I also like crime novels. Some of my favorite writers there are James Lee BurkeDennis Lehane, and Carol O’Connell’s Kathy Mallory books. For comedic writing I like Carl Hiaasen, T.R. Pearson, Stephen Fry, and Craig Ferguson.
What books do you have planned for the future?
I have a proposal out for a werewolf series. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it sells! I also have a couple of funny southern mysteries fermenting in my brain.  (A werewolf series would be awesome!  And southern mysteries are always fun.)
What do you like to do when your not writing?  
I love to design and make my own beadwork. I’ve taken a lot of classes in bead weaving and my skills are getting pretty good. I’m also getting into gardening. I’m now growing my own herbs for cooking, which I also enjoy. I like to ride my bike on the nearby Silver Comet Trail, one of the country’s rails-to-trails projects. I also like to go out to eat and to movies with friends.  (Hey, we have a lot in common!)
*Giveaway ENDED*
Thank you Susan! 
 I hope you guys got a feel for the books as I actually read the books before I was doing my blog and when I wasn’t doing reviews regularly.  I have to tell you guys though, they are awesome!  The questions and answers should give you an idea of how they are.

Susan aka Raven Hart has generously offered to send TWO winners signed copies of the first book in the series, The Vampires Seduction.  Isn’t that awesome?!   Giveaway Ended
If you want to look up the books you can find them at http://www.ravenhartbooks.com/ 
RGiveULES:
Must be 18 or older.
Must be US resident or have a US address to mail the books to.
Must follow directions to enter the giveaway.
Contest ends June 29th (my birthday!)

Please fill out the form! 
If you have questions email me at candace_redinger(at)yahoo(dot)com
It would be great if you leave a comment on this post as well so you know you’ve entered in case you forget! And so Susan and I feel the love!

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