Multi-published, award-winning author Rita Herron cut her teeth on mystery books and television shows like Alfred Hitchcock, The Outer Limits and the Twilight Zone. More recently, she’s added Medium, The Ghost Whisperer, and Dead Zone to her list of favorites.
She currently writes paranormal romantic suspense for Grand Central Publishing and category romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.
With her new series THE DEMONBORN, she blends her love of dark, steamy romantic suspense stories with her other love -- the paranormal.
Set in the contemporary world, she explores the age-old battle of good versus evil, and that battle as it rages within each person. And of course, the ultimate question for the romantic – can love conquer all?
Rita, welcome to Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. Speaking of Hot Tamales, tell us about that great new release in your Demonborn Series, DARK HUNGER.
Thanks so much for having me! DARK HUNGER is the 2nd book in the demonborn trilogy and tells the story of Vincent’s brother Quinton Valtrez, a Dark Lord who must battle his own dark side as he battles the evil threatening the world. Quinton has always been alone, an island to himself, and is an assassin for a secret government unit called the Ghosts. But now he must face the fact that he has brothers, and a father Zion, the leader of the underworld, who will use anyone he cares about to trap him.
Complicating matters more, a sexy reporter named Annabelle Armstrong is out to expose Quinton’s secrets. Quinton is drawn to the sassy reporter but also knows that being with him will endanger her. And his enemies are closing in.
Zion has sent the Death Angel to destroy the world, and Quinton must use his powers to stop him.
What’s next in the Demonborn Series?
The third book in the trilogy, FORBIDDEN PASSION, comes out April 2010 and tells the story of the third long lost brother Dante. Watch for the return of Marlena Bender, the doctor researching a cure for evil I introduced in INSATIABLE DESIRE, and a surprise twist at the end!
A new reader wants me to ask you what inspired this series?
The idea of good versus evil inspired me to write this series. I think all of us have a little good and bad in us, and I wanted to explore that theme. The character of Cole Turner in Charmed intrigued me, and I wanted my heroes to be tough and sexy and torn by their evil side as he was.
I believe that love is powerful and can change a person, whether a child, a man or woman, and wanted to write a series where these strong men needed a woman to save them.
Rita, you were already so well established with suspense in your Harlequin Intrigues, what made you decide to venture into the paranormal genre?
Romantic suspense is my first love, and this series definitely follows that pattern as well as delving more into the paranormal genre. But I’ve actually been sprinkling paranormal elements in my books for a while.
My 2nd Intrigue, Her Eyewitness, was about a man who received a corneal transplant and then saw visions of the murder of the man who donated his eyes. That book triggered the idea for my Nighthawk Island series which wasn’t paranormal but had elements bordering on the paranormal. The same was true for the Falcon Ridge series I wrote, the Intrigue Up In Flames, and some of my books for HQN.
I like blending the paranormal with the real world, and do that even in my Demonborn series.
How do you manage tying the paranormal elements in with the suspense? Does it present any writing challenges that you haven’t encountered before?
Blending in the paranormal is similar to blending romance and suspense. All the elements need to be intertwined, to fit together and drive the other elements. The suspense drives the characters together, forces them to work together to solve the mystery and face their inner conflicts. The danger triggers their need for each other, and forced intimacy creates sexual tension. Blending the paranormal meant making the crimes different, the villains demons, etc.
The biggest challenge for me was creating the rules of my world. Since I blended paranormal with the real world, I had to decide how to portray the demons, what form they would have on earth, what powers they would have, etc.
We all know that great characters have great conflicts. How do you decide what conflicts a character is going to have?
The internal conflict the characters have must play off the suspense story line and are born from their backstories. For instance if a character doesn’t trust because he was hurt in the past, he must be put in a situation that forces him to trust – that is the character’s growth.
When I’m trying to decide what conflicts to give a character, I usually ask myself questions – how can I make my characters opposites so they conflict? Why is the heroine the worst person for him? Why is he the worst person for her? How can they help each other? Why do they need each other?
What do you do to get inside the head of a half-demon hero?
I treat him like a villain and think: how would a villain think? How would he react to temptations? Sometimes it’s easier to do the wrong thing than the right thing, and I try to challenge my heroes with those difficult choices. I almost let him go to the dark side, then pull him back!
What are the main issues your Demonborn series explores?
The series explores the battle of good versus evil in the world, and within ourselves. I’ve always been interested in psychology, the nature versus nurture question – what makes one person who suffers a trauma or hardship turn that into a positive thing while another person seeks revenge, becomes depressed and lets it destroy his life. Can a person overcome horrific obstacles and find success and/or love? Does love, a happy home, make a difference?
How do you keep the romance in balance with the abundant evil that is inherent in the Demonborn series?
I try to blend the two like a braided rope, each one playing off the other. The danger drives the characters into each other’s arms for comfort, and forces them to work together. As they team up, each character learns more about the other one, sees positive traits, begins to admire the other person, so the sexual attraction eventually leads to love. I also try to give the characters (reader) breaks from the suspense by giving them a few quieter moments together which allows for building the romance.
What is the one thing you want readers to walk away with after they’ve read DARK HUNGER?
I want them to feel positive, that love can conquer all. And of course, I want them to feel entertained, to be curious about what will happen when they find the 3rd brother, if Zion will win in the end or if good will conquer all.
Tell us how readers can get in touch with you?
Readers can contact me and look for updates at http://www.ritaherron.com, http://www.the demonborn.com, as well as on Facebook, MySpace and http://www.twitter.com/ritaherron
Readers, leave a comment or question for Rita today and be entered in a contest for a copy of Rita’s first book in The Demonborn Series: Insatiable Desire. But don’t stop there! There’s a second contest for today’s readers. Visit Rita at her website http://www.ritaherron.com and sign up for her newsletter to be entered in a contest to a copy of both books in The Demonborn Series: Insatiable Desire and Dark Hunger. And, by singing up for Rita’s newsletter, you will also be automatically entered in Rita’s regular monthly contests.