A Tainted Blood Novel
RT Lucas and LJ Halkett
Genre: Urban PNR (erotic)
Publisher: Dark Hollows Press
Date of Publication: 6/2/14
Number of pages: 207
Word Count: 75542
Cover Artist: Three Rusted Spoons
Commander Xavier Raige, ex-Special Forces and now a leader of an elite team of mercenaries. At 6’7” he is as lethal as he is handsome. Xavier doesn’t have time to sugar the pill - he is abrupt, direct and demanding. He accepts a new mission - to stop a skilled thief that has been plaguing the notorious Belcastro mafia family. Xavier is unaware that this job will change the course of his life forever and threatens to awaken the wolf he has kept at bay all his life.
Alicia Carberletti is a small woman with a BIG attitude! She is feisty, sexy, independent and smart - she also admires people who know their manners! Alicia has been all alone ever since her beloved family were brutally murdered. Trying to find peace, she embarks on a holiday of a lifetime which takes a sinister turn.
Tainted blood, wicked lies, deception and cruel fate: when Alicia and Xavier collide with one another, will events spiral out of control - or can they hold onto one another and face the dark consequences of their actions?
Together they will entice you into their world - and this new book series comes with a WARNING - once you enter, you won't want to leave!
In a world of humans; vampires; werewolves and set in murky mafia underworld, is it so easy to tell who are the real monsters and who still holds their humanity?
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Rhonda: I don’t think it’s a choice to want to be a writer, in my opinion. I think it’s something inside of you that drives you on whether just for your own (sanity) or entertainment, or the entertainment of others.
LJ: I always wanted to be a Midwife but my fear of blood halted that idea! i Never saw myself as a writer until I visited an Angel tarot card reader, just thought I have a very overactive imagination!
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Rhonda: I don’t really see myself as a writer - more a sort of secretary to the characters that are in my head...I’m just passing on their stories!
LJ~ I dabbled in fan fiction for a few years but saw it as a fun way to run wild with ideas. It wasn’t until I told Rhonda about the predication that we brought Xali to life.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Rhonda: About two months? Is that right LJ?
LJ ~ I contacted the publisher on the Saturday morning in April and we had an offer of contract the following Thursday and release date is here! So yes to answer Rhonda, two months.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Rhonda: I had a career in Personnel and Recruitment, but had to leave due to ill health.
LJ ~ I’m a Housing Officer for Local Government, all I can say due to privacy is I help people -laughs, sorry!-
Rhonda: We are also spies -laughs-
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Rhonda and LJ: The Heist - Tainted Blood (Xali1) A Supernatural erotic suspense story that has action, adventure, romance and mafia! Werewolves, vampires and skulduggery all wrapped up inside!
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
LJ: We are over the moon that Dark Hollows Press gave Tainted Blood a home!
Rhonda: Dark Hollows Press is the perfect home for us and Xali/Tainted Blood. The team are so supportive and professional and the other authors are a delight!
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Rhonda: That’s a hard one to answer. We are constantly coming up with ideas for the books we write, and so it is almost a 24/7 obsession! I suppose it could be anything from six weeks to three months? Would that be about right, LJ? (She is my Oracle and font of all knowledge!)
LJ: AliCia (Pronounced A-lee-see-ah) is always in my head, the ideas flow between the two of us constantly. We plot the book but the end result will have changed a couple of times before it’s complete, The Skeleton however remains the same.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Rhonda: Tainted Blood is a continuing series and we have other series in the pipeline - one is more ‘historical/romance’ with paranormal influence; and the others are top secret! (Told you we were spies!). We also have a book coming out in the WRAITH series, as well as standalone projects (under pseudonyms). Our focus and priority will always be Tainted Blood though…
LJ: Books two and three of the Tainted Blood series have contracts and book four is in the works -grins-
What genre would you place your books into?
Rhonda: Supernatural erotica would be the easiest genre to put Tainted Blood into, but to be honest because of its crime, suspense and interweaving storylines it isn’t that easy to put into one particular box or category. Perhaps we need a ‘Xali’ genre?!
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
LJ: I love Paranormal, Vampires, Wolves, Demons etc you name it I LOVE it but we wanted to add something else into the mix for the running theme. Mafia has intricate layers and well… you’ll see when you read it.
Rhonda: Our books have elements of crime, supernatural, sci-fi, romance and erotica - and down the series the themes become more intense and complex. I guess it makes it interesting to write and read - because after all, LJ and I are the first readers of these stories and if they entertain us, we are sure they will catch the imagination of our readers as well!
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favourite?
LJ: Xavier Raige is my all-time favourite Male to be written! The way Rhonda brought him to life (I know for a fact he takes over and she can’t stop him) He’s the most romantic male that was ever created! He’s direct, never minces his words, and swears like a Sailor. He’s absolutely gorgeous and he knows it! -LJ has started drooling and went off into la la land- I can’t comment on anymore as they haven’t been revealed yet -winks-
AliCia is my baby and she will always be close to my heart.
Rhonda: -laughs- yeah, Xavier does that, just ignore her. Now, where were we? Ahh, yes - Alicia is my hero. Hands down, she’s just all types of epic! Whoever character LJ writes, however, is in my opinion just genius! She can make me laugh until I hiccup or have me sobbing like a blubbering baby - but the way she creates Alicia (and although she’ll deny this there are elements of LJ in there) is sublime. Alicia is a confident, sassy, independent woman who is unapologetic and never a victim. She has flaws, but that only goes to show how well-crafted LJ has created her. Of my own characters, Xavier aside, I do enjoy writing Shuggie and there is a character in the following books that readers will see who brought out my ‘evil’ side - that is always a blast to write!
How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?
LJ: I wrote fanfiction for over four years, it was actually a bet! I did however step away from that world over two years ago. No one inspired me to write but it was Rhonda that persuaded me not to give up!
Rhonda: I only ever wrote for my own amusement and to keep me out the road of the traffic, but there was a character needed for a project of LJ’s and she asked me to do it as a favour for a couple of days. I utilised a character that I had been developing for a couple of years and moulded him into the spec LJ needed and ta daa! Xavier came to life (and hasn’t shut up since!).
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Rhonda: I am always listening to music, but we generally write after dinner time each night and all day weekends. I do a fair bit of writing during the day when LJ is at work, but that’s because I have the time to. We also consume a lot of tea whilst writing - it is an essential part of the thinking process! (Goes to put the kettle on…)
LJ: Once the boys (Hubs, Son and the two cats) are fed and watered, my mug full of Earl Grey and the Calling blasting from my iPod we are ready to go! The Calling and Cheryl Cole are my writing muse -grins- I’m more limited in my writing time as I’m at work 8 hours of my day but have a very supportive hub a dubs.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
LJ: We haven’t got any yet -laughs- But I will yes, I would like to see what readers think of our world. Rhonda: I am terrified of reviews so will let LJ tell me if it’s safe to look or not!
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Rhonda: We do our plan of what the book will entail and then choose the title, then write the book.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Rhonda: We bounce ideas off of each other, but generally come up with the names for our own characters. The names just pop out at us, and rarely have we been stuck for a name for more than a couple of hours.
LJ My characters tell me their names. A name just jumps out at me, I run it past the co-pilot and we’re good to go!
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a
character/place name and then invent them?
Rhonda: Always decided before creating them...unless it’s after! It’s a very subjective thing as some characters will have personalities waiting to be written and the name is secondary, so can wait until they’ve been introduced on the page.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
LJ; I have an idea of how I want them to be and then I watch them come to life as we write. Rhonda has a saying “What would Ali do?” And honestly? We don’t know until she starts a scene!
Rhonda: Sometimes a character is needed for the plot, so it’s the story that dictates the traits. For main characters though, LJ is spot on - they sort of take over our brains and demand to be written!
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is...”)
Rhonda: Yes! That actions have consequences! Also, I suppose I would argue that a moral of the series is that you shouldn’t let your past dictate your future.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
LJ: I have to say before I had my stroke I was old fashioned that it to be hardback but since I can’t now read black print, i moved to Kindle where I can have red and Huge font and WOW! I have my books in seconds and not having to wait a week. But I do also buy the hardback for my collection
Rhonda: I was always a paperback girl, but unfortunately I spend a lot of time in hospital and kindle is perfect for me to carry my entire bookcase around with me at all times! There is something very satisfying about holding a paperback in your hands though...I haven’t completely abandoned them!
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Rhonda: This is tricky, as it can depend on my mood. If pushed it would either be ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury or ‘Valis’ by Philip K Dick. I also love ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy. I have read these books a gazillion times and will do again!
LJ: Not a book but rather a Series! The Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward. I devour this world, and when I get to the end? I start all over again! I have probably read this series twenty times over! (I have a very addictive personality) Rhonda says I’m a Caldwell Geek! I just love the World JR Ward created and each Brother is so very different -swoons-
Rhonda: She is a Brother-Obsessive!
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Rhonda: The thing to bear in mind is that a film is always going to be different to the book because a reader invests themselves into what they read whereas a film spells things out the way the director et al want the viewer to see their interpretation. I obviously enjoy Farenheit 451 and Blade Runner, and find them ‘faithful’ to the novels.
I would love to see Tainted Blood brought to life on the big screen, but LJ and I would have to make sure that the actors fit our particular spec…. for purely artistic purposes obviously!
LJ: Being honest? I’ve not read a lot of books that have moved over to the big screen as I read more than I watch T.V. But Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh was brilliantly done. Sorry I’m lame I know -laughs-
Rhonda: I never read Trainspotting, but the film is brilliant! Soundtrack is good too -grins-
Your favorite food is?
Rhonda: You haven’t lived until you have tried LJ’s lasagne! Other than that pizza followed by raspberry ripple ice cream…
LJ: Sweeties! (Candy) Enough said
Your favorite singer/group is?
Rhonda: David Bowie. David Bowie. David Bowie. Also, Bauhaus and the Ramones.
LJ: The Calling & Cheryl Cole
Rhonda: I can’t believe you just admitted to Cheryl Cole -laughs-
LJ: We have totally different styles in music
Your favorite color is?
LJ : Pink! There is no other colour!
Rhonda: Black and red.
Your favorite Author is?
Rhonda: Philip K Dick/Ray Bradbury/Stanislaw Lem (I’m not good at choices…)
LJ: Easy Peasy! JR Ward and maybe, just maybe Xavier Raige’s Writer -smirks-
Rhonda: I was going to say LJ but thought it might sound sappy! -Laughs- so can I add LJ to my list and we won’t tell her I didn’t originally? It’ll be our secret - sssh! She won’t have a clue!
Both Scottish Authors are best friends and for years they have been developing these amazing and complex characters. Having both suffered strokes at a young age, within months of each other they decided that life was too short and now was the time for Xavier and Alicia to be unleashed onto the waiting public! That was when the world of Tainted Blood and #XAli was born!
L J Halkett is 35 years of age, Mother, Wife and Housing Officer for Local Government. She is a smart, sassy and superbly imaginative woman who devours books - especially in the paranormal genre! She is the master at multi-tasking and she is always thinking ten steps ahead. With her passion for creativity, she brings to life her imagination with vivid detail. Family is the cornerstone of LJ’s life, and her greatest achievement is her wonderful son.
Left Partially sighted after her Stroke, LJ has to write in what the Authors call ‘Nasa’ font and can only detect the colour red, which can be difficult when reading print on a daily basis - her determination is testament to her personality - as she says.... "Where's there's a will? There's a way!"
RT Lucas is 41 years of age, soon to be Divorced [Hurrah!] and had a very successful career in Recruitment and Business Development until it was cut short through illness. Having worked in the Health Sector, Human Resources and Ministry of Defense, she has a myriad of experiences to draw from - and says that sometimes life can be stranger than Fiction! RT is an avid reader of the paranormal/romance genres but her first love will always be Science Fiction. She says that she has far superior music taste to that of her Best Friend and Co-Author - and uses every available opportunity to tell her so! RT lives alone with her #XavCat who faithfully lies by her computer whenever she wanders into the world of Tainted Blood.