Friday 4 April 2014

Author Post and Giveaway: Berni Stevens

Today's guest is Berni Stevens. Welcome!

My Affair With Vampires
Berni Stevens

I’ve been intrigued by vampires ever since first reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was fourteen. There was no YA category then and definitely no paranormal romances. So I ‘cut my teeth’ (ha ha) on Dracula, Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla and Polidori’s The Vampyre, before moving on to various vampire anthologies. I read a lot of folklore too, and there was one urban legend that fascinated me more than any previous ones had. The legend is known as The Highgate Vampire, and as a North London girl with a passion for our fanged friends and Gothic cemeteries, what was there not to like? If you Google The Highgate Vampire, you will find a wealth of information, a lot of it conflicting – all of it interesting.

When the first paranormal romances hit the UK in the early 1990s, they were all American; written by American authors and set in The US. The Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton, Christine Feehan’s Carpathians, and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters – to name but a few. I adored Jean Claude, the head vampire in the Anita Blake series, and although my favourite Dark-Hunter will always be Acheron, I still have a soft spot for Kyrian of Thrace too. Unfortunately, Christine Feehan’s Carpathians were a little too alpha male for me in these enlightened times of feisty heroines, and I always found them too dominant.

When Joss Whedon gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I thought I was in heaven. The film in 1992 was fun, but after watching the first episode of the TV series in 1997 (Welcome to the Hellmouth) I was addicted. The writing was sharp, witty and fun. It had me laughing one minute, then scared and sometimes even in tears. And who wouldn’t fall for handsome brooding Angel? In the second series, I fell in love with Spike, even though his English accent slipped occasionally, and Drusilla will always be one of my favourite female vampires – graceful, beautiful and completely insane. A fabulous character, played so brilliantly by Juliet Landau. I have loved every episode of Buffy, but I still longed for something set in London. After all, even Count Dracula came to London (via Whitby in Yorkshire.) 

When the first Twilight novel was published in 2005, a whole new explosion of YA paranormal romances saturated the market. The first film in 2008 virtually broke all box office records, with teenage girls screaming hysterically even at the mention of RPatz! I will say now, that I’m not a fan of Bella – she is far too whiney.

Also in 2008, we were treated to the first TV series of True Blood, taken from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books. This introduced us to the very gorgeous Eric, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Set in Louisiana of course, and brilliantly adapted for TV by Alan  Ball.

Then Toby Whithouse gave us the first series of Being Human in 2009, set in trendy Bristol. Gritty and urban, it was very different from Buffy, very … British. Aidan Turner as Mitchell quickly became another of my favourite vampires.

Back in 2003, I’d written a short story for The Dracula Society’s 30th Anniversary Anthology. Called, The Reluctant Vampire it was my first foray in writing vampire romance. And so Will made an appearance for the very first time. Handsome, elegant, slightly arrogant, and oh-so-sure of himself. A one time member of the British Aristocracy, he had always been used to getting whatever he wanted – when he wanted it. 

The editor of the anthology said the short story read like the beginning of a novel, and I thought, why not? So I started writing more, and The Reluctant Vampire eventually evolved into Dance Until Dawn. It is entirely set in North London – Highgate, Hampstead, Camden and Hoxton. I hope it makes a change from Louisiana, St Louis, New Orleans and Washington State. It’s not so exotic perhaps, but the dark Gothic beauty of Highgate Cemetery is a perfect place for vampires! 

Will’s love interest in Dance until Dawn, is Ellie, a former dancer, and also a fledgling vampire. I wanted to avoid the cliché of ‘will he or won’t he turn her’ that a lot of vampire romances have. It always seems to me that any romance between a vampire and a human can only end in heartbreak for both when the vampire has to watch his human love grow old and die. So I wanted to avoid that too.  But the fact that Ellie starts the book as a vampire doesn’t mean she actually likes Will from the start. Perish the thought. 

So my affair with vampires continues. Dracula is still my favourite book, Buffy my favourite TV series, and as you can see from this post, I have a whole list of favourite vampires! At the top of that list is a drop-dead-gorgeous, three-hundred-year-old former Duke with a dark sense of humour. You can find him on Twitter sometimes – not too early in the day of course – no sparkling in the sunshine for him. I hope you like him as much as I do!

Twitter: @circleoflebanon
Follow Will on Twitter: @austen_will

Thank you  Berni! :)

1 copy of Dance until Dawn

1. Open to all
2. Ends April 12
3 Just enter :)

Do You Believe in Love After Life?
At twenty-five, West-End dancer, Ellie Wakefield should be having the time of her life. The only problem is, since waking up in a three-hundred-year-old vampire’s leaky cellar, Ellie’s been very much dead. And to make matters worse, she’s found that an aversion to blood and a fear of the dark aren’t very helpful – especially when you’re a fledgling vampire.

William James Austen has fallen hard. He’s spent the last year loving Ellie from afar and now he’s finally able to be truthful about who and what he is. As the most powerful vampire in London, he’s used to getting what he wants. But this time, Will might just have bitten off more than he can chew.


  1. Oh yay! :) I love my vampires too, and I think you just made me want to re-watch some TV series (now, where do I find the time?)

    Thanks for the giveaway! :) *keeping my fingers crossed*

  2. Ooooh, I'll admit that I've never read a vampire book before. And so I'm not sure how I'd feel. But thanks for the giveaway :)

  3. I haven't heard of The Highgate Vampire, but I'll Google it as soon as I publish this comment.
    I'm also a fan of Buffy and watch the reruns every time they are on TV.
    The book sounds good, thank you very much for the giveaway.

  4. Will be looking up that Highgate thingy, I love legends like that.. .and I'm with you about Acheron, his story is simply amazing even if the book felt a bit redundant to me.

    I bet the book is awesome because she's so influence by classical and modern stuff, I'm sure it'll come out in the story.

    Great article!

  5. I go through phases with Vampire books. I got so tired of them I couldn't read one, but now I am doing them again sparingly. What a gorgeous cover this one has, and I agree Bella is far to whiney.

  6. Dracula got me started on vampires as well, but I liked them mostly in books. Thought I did enjoy the spin on them in Blade and I liked them in Van Helsing. Never read nor will I read Twilight, but Anne Rice is one of the better ones writing them as well :)

  7. Thank you Berni for the interview :)

  8. Awesome guest post! I love Buffy and Dracula, and though I'm a bit burned out on vampires lately, this really sounds cool!

  9. This sounds like a good vampy book. It sounds like a great twist on the genre. Thanks for the post and introducing me to the book!

  10. I love vampires, and so agree Bella made me crazy. Now Buffy..she rocks

  11. I loved the BBC version on Being Human. I'll be picking up Dance Until Dawn because as I told Blodeuedd in yesterday's post - I've been looking for a good vampire read.

  12. Ah jean CLaude, I think he'll always be in my heart. The first vampire book I read and well even if it's different now, I loved him and Anita. Thanks for the nice post, it was really interesting!

  13. I loved Buffy as well, and now my stepdaughter is watching the series. Sigh, Angel ... Love Jean-Claude.
    Thanks for the guestpost I enjoyed reading it. And I do like the London setting, a refreshing change from all the American settings I also love.

  14. I would love to be entered for this fantastic book giveaway, as a lover of Vampire novels!! I am a Twi-hard and love all things paranormal!

    Definately going on my to-read list. :)

    {My email is - lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk}

    Thank you SO much! x

  15. DANCE UNTIL DAWN sounds fabulous!!


  16. I do love a good vampire story!! This one sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.

    mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

  17. Would love to read this book! I'm a little overobsessed with vampires too.

  18. I'm not entering - just checking to see if this actually closes April 12, not March 12. That's my assumption, as I put together Linkity for the week. :)

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I love vampire books! I read that kind of books , a lot,but I don't have any book in that category that's original and I would really like to read an original.I love vampire series and vampire books too . I'm from Romania,the land of Dracula and I would be honored to read your book,Berni.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :) *keeping my fingers crossed*

  21. Replies
    1. Crys please contact me as you left no contact info and there is none in your profile. Yo have 48 hours

    2. I sent you an email.I hope you received it.Thank you!

  22. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments. I'm sorry not to have thanked you all before but I've been in hospital - as excuses go it's a good one I think! I'm thrilled you like the feature - thanks so much Blodeuedd for allowing me a guest post on your lovely blog.
    Berni xxx

  23. Congratulations Crys :) I really hope you enjoy the book.
    Berni xx



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