Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Blog Tour (Interview): Better Off Dead by Danielle Blanchard

Today on Bibliophilia, Please, we have Danielle Blanchard on the blog. She is the author of The Vamp Saga, and is currently promoting the second book in the series - Better Off Dead.

Welcome to Western Europe in 2020.

The International Vampire Council are in the middle of intense negotiations with the Global 6 when a mysterious plot is revealed to end Manon's life and thinly veiled lies Mikkel has told his wife will be exposed once and for all.

Manon is sent into hiding with Emmerik as her protector while a deal can be negotiated to spare her life.
As the clock ticks toward a catastrophic outbreak of new virus which seeks to destroy not only the Lycan population but millions of humans along with it, two ancient vampires return prematurely from their time in the ground, and their mood is less than receptive.

What will happen? Who will live? Who will face betrayal? Who will die? Sometimes, the most devastating secrets are better off dead and buried.

This novel is not YA friendly, contains plenty of snark, supernatural creatures included, but not limited to, vampires and Lycans, not to mention a few choice scenes of sex and death. It is not for the faint of heart.

Danielle, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! Firstly, there are so many vampire novels on the market. Could you tell us what makes The Vamp Saga different or stand apart from the rest of the pack?

Now that is an interesting question but an important one too. JR Ward has the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Kresley Cole has the Immortals After Dark and Jeaniene Frost has Cat and Bones, hunters of rogue vamps.

I believe what makes my series different is my heroine. Manon is not human to begin with, though she is lead to believe she is half-human, half-vampire, but this only scratches the surface. It gives me great pleasure to inform your readers they find out what Manon is in Better Off Dead, as this book is more about ancestry and family secrets though there is still action, romance and sex of course!

I think another aspect which separates The Vamp Saga from the pack is not only are vampires out in the open, but they control the pharmaceutical industry, business, gaming and politics. They run the world with the Global Six, which in my story consists of the Anglophone Union, the Francophone Union, the Greater Nordic Regional Union, China, India and Japan.

Oh yeah, and my series takes place in the future, though less than ten years from now, and it doesn’t have a science fiction feel because that is not what I set out to do. I wanted to write a great paranormal romance series with a heavy dose of urban fantasy thrown into the mix.

The first book in The Vamp Saga is set in Las Vegas. Why did you choose to change the setting of Better off Dead to Europe?

I knew I would skip around because I thought about what kind of life I would lead if I had endless money and the means to live anywhere I wanted to – would I stay in one place? Absolutely not! It is true Better Off Dead takes place in Geneva, the Paris metropolitan area in France and Denmark. I thought it would be interesting and keep the novel from getting boring plus it’s almost like the vampire version of a Bond film – I always want to keep my readers guessing about the location.

The third novel in the series, Queen of the Undead, takes place in locales as exotic as Hong Kong, St. Martin and New Orleans, so travel will definitely be a huge theme throughout the series, though it won’t be used as a gimmick.

What was the hardest part of writing Better off Dead?

I would have to say the emotional push-pull. Readers don’t need Kleenex to get through this novel, but it was definitely hard as I felt Manon’s anguish as much as she did, and it was difficult because I wasn’t sure I wanted to make any final decisions for the characters in this novel.

By the end of the book, all the characters have been through so much emotionally, I wanted to give them a rest. That is not to say decisions weren’t made, but this novel ends in a bit of an almost nostalgic place. Although there isn’t a cliffhanger ending (my editor abhors them and won’t let me do them at all), it is an HFN (happy for now) as opposed to HEA (happily ever after). I hope this makes readers’ look forward to the next novel, Queen of the Undead, as opposed to pelting me with eggs and bad reviews!

And just to let your readers know, those who are upset with the way Better Off Dead ends don’t have to wait for long. Queen of the Undead is finished and will be going to my editor within the next few weeks. I am hoping for a late June, early July release.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have known I wanted to be writer since I was in first grade, and I wrote my first short story. I have been writing since I was thirteen, but I have only decided to publish in the last year or so and made the plunge. I did the whole merry-go-round with trying to find an agent with a different book for years, but I took the final step and never looked back.

With The Vamp Saga, the only regret I have is that I am not with a publisher, because I think the series would get more exposure. It is such a great and original series, and although I have had those who didn’t completely enjoy the first novel in the series, I have never had a reader say “this book sucks!” (not yet at least…LOL). I do believe readers who felt more ambivalent about Death Wish will like Better Off Dead more because it is structured and above all, a love story more than anything else.

Which books would you say have influenced your writing and life in general, the most?

I admire so many writers and have read so many books. I truly do love Stephen King because of his prose and his long windedness. Most writers don’t get to indulge in thousand page novels anymore, but Mr. King still does, and I think it is absolutely fabulous. I have his famous book, On Writing and think it is a great gift and something every writer should read.

I suppose his writing has affected me, especially his novel, The Stand. I love back stories about people and was accused of this weighing down the pace of Death Wish. So between him and Anne Rice, I would probably say they are my biggest influences when it comes to my writing.

Other novels which have definitely affected me and my writing are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews, Rock Star by Jackie Collins, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, and The Dome by Stephen King.

What made you decide to publish independently, and what would you say to someone who is hesitant about reading an independent author?

I decided to publish independently because I was afraid I would die an old woman, and my manuscripts would be found by my grandchildren! Even if I only made one fan out there, this has definitely been worth it because after years of trying to get an agent (although with the material I presented them, I can understand why they said no), I decided to do it on my own.

I would tell any writer who is thinking about publishing independently to do it right. Get an editor (mine works for a publishing company so I am very confident in her abilities to do a good job), get a cover designer (you can find them online everywhere but good ones are to be found on legitimate sites like Kindleboards for instance), and remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. One might become successful overnight, but chances are you are going to have to work hard and earn your fans one person at a time.

What are you currently reading?

Blood on the Bayou by Stacey Jay, Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane, Minion by L.A. Banks and The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly. 

Thank you so much, Danielle, for stopping by and answering these questions for us.

You can purchase your copy of Better Off Dead here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords
Be sure to add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

About the Author

Danielle Blanchard Benson is a world traveler and author of several different series. Ms. Blanchard Benson is the author of Beginnings: Book I (The Plague); Death Wish: Book I, Better off Dead: Book II and Death Lair: A Novella (all from The Vamp Saga); The Catalyst: Book One (The Pop Stars) and The Beautiful People series. She is currently working on Love Voodoo: Book I (DeGeneration); Apocalypse 2012: Book II (The Plague), Hart Attack: Book I (The Hart Family Saga), The Making of a Star: Book Two (The Pop Stars) and Queen of the Undead: Book III (The Vamp Saga). Ms. Blanchard Benson has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Be sure to follow Danielle to keep up with all of her projects!


  1. Wow, great interview Kayla and Danielle! Another book goes onto the TBR pile LOL. At least I will never run out of great books to read right?

  2. Thanks, Vickie! I have been discovering a lot of great books and authors in this blog tour group. :-)

  3. Great Post Kayla!

    I have to agree IO is increasing my TBR pile by leaps and bounds.. all those fun new authors!!


You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!