J Kenner interviews Virna DePaul + giveaway!
I’m so psyched to be chatting with Virna De Paul about all of her books, but especially her super-cool Para-Ops series!
JK: Can you tell us about the Para-ops series? Do you remember the impetus for the idea?
Virna: The Para-Ops team is the first special ops team formed by the FBI to recruit both humans and Otherborn, humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA. The Para-Ops team is comprised of Knox Devereaux, the vampire leader, Felicia, a special agent skilled in hostage negotiation, a wraith, a mage, a werebeast, and a human psychic shaman. The team is formed after humans and Otherborn fought each other in the second civil war. There is tension on the team not just between humans and Otherborn; each race has to grapple with their own fears and biases even as they try to work towards peace in the nation as a whole. Chosen By Blood is the love story of Knox and Felicia, Chosen by Fate follows the romance between shaman Caleb O’Flare and Wraith. In Chosen by Sin, werebeast Dex Hunt finally meets his match in vampire Jesmina.
The impetus for writing the series was I loved reading paranormals but had never tried writing one. I started brainstorming ideas, and decided to combine a paranormal world with the romantic suspense “military team” books I’ve always loved. Thus the Para-Ops team was born.
JK: I love it when you have those “Reese’s: two great tastes that taste great together” moments! So how do you make the mental switch between genres?
Virna: Most of my stories have an edgier quality to them, and all have intense sensuality and emotion. I write stories with “Heat, Heart, and HEA” regardless of genre. First and foremost, I try to create characters at important crossroads in their lives, initially afraid to take risks for love, but ultimately willing to sacrifice everything to have it. The character journeys are what drive the story, and therefore make it fairly easy for me to switch from one genre to another.
JK: I love that you’ve pinpointed your focus to turning points in your character’s life; that’s great insight. And the description “Heat, Heart, and HEA” is absolutely perfect! Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now?
Virna: My newest release is an upcoming Loveswept anthology of erotic romance novellas in the Red Hot Cops series. I originally self-published these stories under a pen name. The stories are hot, hot, hot, but I hope readers will also find them emotional and empowering. (J.K. sidenote: I loved all the stories in Arrested by Love!)
I’m currently working on The Belladonna Series for Random House; this is a prequel series to the Para-Ops books, and is set during the time paranormal creatures, vampires, are first discovered living amongst humans. The series tagline is “Some flowers thrive better in the dark.” Here’s a little teaser:
A gang-related shooting has far-reaching implications for four young women, all strangers with no common connection except tragedy. Seven years after the incident, the women are brought together for one common purpose—join an all-female private intelligence agency called Belladonna, a black ops organization formed by the FBI to protect its secret—vampires live amongst humans. Most of them want to live in peace. Some, however, do not…
JK: Oooh! I’m intrigued! And it really fits in with the overall tagline for your site, too (which I love, by the way): Brave the darkness … discover the light. How did you come up with it?
Virna: Thank you! Early on, I noticed a trend in my stories—that it wasn’t just my villains that had dark secrets and pasts. Maybe it’s the prosecutor in me, who saw what people are capable of doing to one another, or maybe it’s the romantic in me, who always wants to give people a second chance, but I wanted my tagline to both intrigue and forewarn readers. I don’t write easy characters or plots. My characters have issues to work through and I don’t make it easy for them to do so. Some might say I put them through hell, but the result is that their reward, their happy ever after, is not only sweet but also well deserved.
JK: And makes the stories that much richer for it!
So, tell me: if you could turn any of your books into a movie, which would you pick?
Virna: So far, the Para-Ops series has it all and I think it would appeal to both men and women. It has action (including mixed-martial arts fighting and parachuting into North Korea), romance, intrigue, and even humor. I’m so proud of the trailer for this series because it’s slick, and highlights both the paranormal and romantic aspects of the books. The trailer can be viewed here. http://youtu.be/lq9Ay6xWd0g
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Julie. It’s been a pleasure sharing the spotlight with a writer who inspires me with her amazing success!
JK: No, thank you! This has been an absolute pleasure! I love how edgy your books are and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to talk with you!
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