Each month I will feature an author presenting what they’ve written along with their bio. I will review at least four of their books within the month, an interview with the author and a guest post where the author can discuss any topic she/he chooses. I chose Barbara Monajem for March. She’s an accomplished author who is apparently comfortable writing in several genre.
This is what’s said about her Bayou Gavotte series:
“…a fresh and sultry voice joins the paranormal romance genre…”– Romantic Times
“…charming, offbeat characters…” — Patricia’s Vampire Notes
“A breath of fresh air, in the spirit of Charlaine Harris’s Dead Until Dark.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Squires
About the author in her own words
I grew up on the west coast of Canada among the mountains and cedar trees. I’m not much into putting down roots–I love moving around–but roots have minds of their own. Mine go deep into those mountains and are entwined with the cedars, and no matter where I live, there’s a part of me that always, always longs for home. It’s a magic place which never lets go, and that’s all there is to it. I’m pretty sure that magic is what started me writing paranormals, because I wrote my first at only eight years old.
I lived in Oxford, England for a year when I was twelve, and I have roots there, too, but they’re mostly cultural. My ancestors are English, with some Scots and Irish farther back. Oxford is heavy with the magic of centuries. I loved it there–everything from playing twosy-ball against the school wall, to helping out at an archaeological dig, to spending my pocket money in Blackwell’s bookshop. I think it’s that year in England, coupled with all the Brit lit I read as a child, that inspired me to write historicals. My foray into teen melodrama, best forgotten, also sprang from that year in England.
I spent several years in Montreal, and now and then I miss the winters–they’re long, but nothing beats the cold, bright, silent magic of a winter’s night. And the French spoken all around me–I miss that, too. Sometime during the years in Quebec and on into the move to Georgia, I started writing paranormals again, in the form of fantasy for my kids. This resulted in my middle grade novel, The Secret of the Stolen Mandolin.
I live in Georgia and spend a lot of time in south Louisiana, so now I have roots in the southern U.S. as well. I love the dense, humid air (well, usually), the lightning bugs and kudzu (so spooky), the live oaks and resurrection fern. On my first trip to Louisiana, I succumbed to the magic of New Orleans. I love it all: Bourbon Street, beignets and the levee, the Mardi Gras parades, the spicy food and hot nights, the dark and lovely moods of the French Quarter, and the swamps to the north. New Orleans is my inspiration for the funky little town of Bayou Gavotte, with its fetish clubs… and vampires… and who knows what else.
There are 3 books to this series with a prequel coming next April tentatively titled Back to Bite You:
Title: Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil
Author: Barbara Monajem
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Published by: Montlake Romance (March 30, 2010)
Story Setting: Bayou Gavotte, Louisiana, has a post office, a city hall, and an active PTA. It has magnolias and passion vine. It also has fetish clubs. And vampires.
About the Story: Ophelia Beliveau a resident and vampire of Bayou Gavotte, has a landscaping business. Now this isn’t like any other vampire book you’ve read. From the first sentence I was entranced, or should I say enthralled? “Ophelia Beliveau jammed her fangs back up where they belonged, puncturing her thumb, so the goddamned things slotted right back down.” I could tell that this wasn’t an ordinary vampire story and I was hooked! Have you read a vampire story that the vampire is trying to shove his fangs back into his gum? That was hilarious!
Those in Bayou Gavotte had no problem with the sun and they ate food, albeit the meat a little raw. They could also have children, and only those carrying the gene with their families became vampires. Only at puberty would the individual know if they had the vampire gene.
Ophelia had a problem. Someone was out to get her and framed her for murder. Her property was damaged, a dead body shows up in her pick-up truck, and she’s suspect to a killing, no make that two killings. Oh, a couple of things about these vampires. They police their own, live amongst humans and drink blood by drawing their victim through alluring them — particularly males—but they don’t kill while they feed, at least not usually.
Ophelia avoided alluring men like the plague. She hated alluring men, even when she didn’t want to, they were allured. The longer she was without drinking blood and sex, the stronger the pull the individual felt toward her. So she avoided everyone in town and kept to her plants, her landscaping, her passion in life. Until…Gideon O’Toole. He was the police investigator who answered her call when her garden was vandalized.
My Thoughts: I had such fun reading this story. These vampires were pretty benign, although since they were vampires, I was expecting the worse. NOT! They were so lovable and extraordinary in handling their existence with humans and making a place for themselves in Bayou Gavotte—yet still dangerous. I don’t believe we’ve seen the extent of their abilities. The story will continue to unfold in books two and three.
I expected no less than what I received from Barbara. Her writing in the Regency historical romances that I’ve read was exquisite. No less here. Characterization is well-developed, increasing tension and conflict throughout the story until all hell breaks loose and details of the story and believability are right on.
Gideon and Ophelia struggled to create a happy ever after ending for us. Each have their own special demons and each their strengths along with outside forces that push them apart. The secondary characters were well-developed to engage the reader for further stories within the series. I think an author has succeeded when a reader just has to read the next book in the series. I will be doing just that in another week. So stay tuned. I know this particularly book is at Amazon.com for only $2.99, regular $6.99, so now’s a really good time to start the series.