Interview with Margo Bond Collins, Author of Bound by Blood (A Night Shift Novella)
What inspired you to write Bound by Blood?
I knew I needed to write a follow-up to Sanguinary, and I’ve had an idea for monsters in a hospital for a long time. When I sat down to write, people were panicking over the admission of an Ebola patient to a Dallas hospital—that event definitely inspired this novella.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing style changes depending upon the work, the characters, the genre. Several of my earlier books were pretty humorous, even though they dealt with dark topics. This one is probably the darkest of them all.
How did you come up with the title?
Actually, I had the title before I had the plot! I found a gorgeous pre-made cover by Najla Qamber and had to have it, so I ordered it and gave it a title, then waited for the perfect book to come to me.
How much of the book is realistic?
The setting is definitely realistic—it takes place in Houston. And some of the medical stuff is realistic, even if I don’t show all the things that would actually happen. But there are monsters hanging out in a Houston hospital in the book, so I doubt that part’s terribly realistic!
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. Or at least, no more than any other fiction book might be—and all of my characters are amalgamations of people I have known, just as settings are places I have been, and plots are spun from the ‘what ifs’ that surround me.
Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?
All of my characters have a little bit of me in them—even the villains. I think it’s impossible to write interesting characters without having some empathy for them, and that means injecting just a touch of me.
But none of my characters are entirely me—not even my narrators and heroines. Elle from Legally Undead is much braver than I am, Callie from Waking Up Dead is more determined to fight for social justice. Laney from Fairy, Texas is better at keeping secrets, and Kylie from Taming the Country Star is more afraid of being hurt. Cami from Sanguinary is more analytical, better at stepping back from a terrifying situation and examining it—but then, she’s a cop, so she’d have to be. And Lili’s background is completely different from mine, though her scientific curiosity appeals to me.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
Ack! NONE of them! My characters lead terribly interesting lives, full of mayhem and murder. I prefer to avoid tripping over dead bodies.
Well . . . okay. Maybe Kylie from Taming the Country Star. She’s dating a gorgeous, funny, kind country singer. That might be fun for a day. . .
What books have most influenced your life most?
I’m an English professor in my other life, so I don’t think this question is fair! I could probably list a hundred books that have influenced me. But here’s a short list: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein was the first “grown-up” book I read, and it helped cement a lifelong love of reading. Love in Excess by Eliza Haywood helped me decide to specialize in eighteenth-century British literature when I was getting my Ph.D. The Wife’s Resentment by Delarivier Manley helped me determine my dissertation topic. Sunshine by Robin McKinley influenced me to write my own first novel.
Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have just one. I have hundreds. I ended up with a Ph.D. in literature in part because I just couldn’t quit going to school and learning about new-to-me authors. And while I was reading more traditionally literary works for school, I was reading science fiction and fantasy on the side. So I have favorite authors in almost every genre you could think of. But here are some favorites from my area of specialization, eighteenth-century British literature, and some favorites from my preferred genres to read for entertainment, science fiction and fantasy:
18th century: Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Delarivier Manley, Fanny Burney, Jane Austen
SF/F: Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Kage Baker, Ann Aguirre, Anne Bishop, Jennifer Armentrout, Robin McKinley, Katie Hayoz, Rick Chiantaretto, Melanie Karsak
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would love to have Connie Willis as a mentor. She’s amazing.
What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles.
What are your current projects?
It’s a sequel kind of year! I’m writing sequels to just about all my books.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been making up stories. The first story I remember actually writing down was basically fan-fiction of The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it in long-hand in a yellow legal pad. I’ve been writing ever since. But about ten years ago, a friend suggested I join in National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). Until then, I had always written short stories. That year, I finished the first draft of what would eventually become Legally Undead—it will be my third published novel, but it’s the first one I wrote.
I ended up as an English major in college because I was fascinated by the ways stories work. And then I went on to graduate school because I couldn’t figure out what else to do. I ended up with a Ph.D. in literature almost by accident; I just never quit wanting to learn about all the stories in the world!
So now I teach literature and writing in my day job, and the rest of the time, I write, both as a fiction author and as an academic.
Thanks so much for having me here today!
Sometimes the monsters in the dark are real . . .
As a child, Lili Banta ignored her grandmother’s cryptic warnings to avoid children outside their Filipino community in Houston. When many of those other children fell ill, Lili ignored the whispers in her community that a vampiric aswang walked among them.
Years later, Lili returns to Houston to work for the Quarantine Station of the Center for Disease Control—but she is plagued by dark, bloody dreams that consume her nights and haunt her days. When a strange illness attacks the city’s children, Lili is called in to find its source, and maybe even a cure.
But in order to save the city, she must first acknowledge the sinister truth: A monster stalks the night—closer than she ever expected….
Sitting straight up in bed, I gasped and threw myself back against the headboard, the thud dying away along with the remaining shreds of my dream.
But the word still ricocheted through my mind.
Until yesterday, I hadn’t thought of the term in years—not since I’d left Houston for med school in Maine, determined to get as far away from home as I could.
But this resurgence of the same, odd illness that had swept my city years before was apparently also dredging up the old stories from deep in my subconscious: the aswang, a vampiric woman who lived a quiet life by day and fed on children in the night, flying back home on bat-wings just before dawn.
My unconscious mind had clearly also expanded on the idea, casting me in the role of aswang and adding schizoid conversations with a chorus of internal voices.
Great. I’m insane in my dreams.
And I’m a monster.
Shuddering, I wiped my hand across my gritty, raw eyelids.
Audiobook, Narrated by Hollie Jackson: http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Blood-Night-Shift-Book/dp/B00QUB5T9U/
Margo Bond Collins is the author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Sanguinary, Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them—and sometimes fight them.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/margobondcollins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MargoBondCollin @MargoBondCollin
Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/vampirarchy
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins