Tima Maria Lacoba - An Ancient Curse and a Hundred-Year Old Vampire
A former ancient historian and archaeologist, Tima Maria Lacoba accidentally smashed a 3,000 year-old Egyptian vase while on her first dig. Her supervisor made her glue it back together again. It took a week. From there she went on to specialise in Late Romano-British archaeology and the military forts along Hadrian's Wall, because buildings don't smash as easily. Now she's combined her love of history with another passion - storytelling - to create a dark tale of Roman soldiers who've been waiting nearly two-thousand years to be released from an ancient curse. In 2011 BloodGifted was shortlisted in the Atlas Award and eventually came fourth place. In 2012 it was listed among the top ten in the Choclit Search for an Aussie Star Contest. As our Author of The Day, she tells us all about BloodGifted.
Please give us a short introduction to what BloodGifted is about.
BloodGifted is about a woman who stopped ageing in her early twenties and it’s not until her 50th birthday that she learns the strange, and frightening, reason why.
What inspired you to write about a girl who has to break a family curse?
Oddly enough, it was a glib comment made by someone at my 50th birthday party as to why I looked so young. They thought I was no more then my mid 30s, bless them. I laughingly said, ‘vampire blood’! And that’s when the idea took root.
You are also a former ancient historian and archaeologist. How have these experiences influenced your writing?
Immensely. It was while working on my Masters thesis in Romano-British archaeology at the Roman fort of Vindobala on Hadrian’s Wall in the UK that I came across a mystery. It seems this particular fort was abandoned for no apparent reason in the mid 2nd century before being reinhabited again. An idea formed in my mind and I came up with my own spooky reason, lol. That’s when BloodGifted was born. So really, there was no way I could not incorporate some Romano-British history into the story. It’s actually the crux of the plot.
Tell us more about Laura Dantonville. What makes her tick?
Oh, she was such fun to write! I think she’s the type of character I’d like to be if faced with her impossible choices, and in some ways there’s a lot of me in her: her quirky sense of humour, especially in dire situations; her practicality, and love and devotion to her family and friends. Woe betides anyone threatening her or her friends even if all she has to defend herself with is a corkscrew!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Nothing secret about my anything I do because I blab, lol! Various crafts interest me as they help me relax. So I do a lot of embroidery, furniture decoupage, shabby-chic lampshades, and gardening. I love being in my garden.
Readers say that this book was a page-turner. How did you pull this off?
Bless my readers! Where would I be without them? I wrote a book that, as a reader, I would want to read. Each chapter ends with a mini cliffhanger and so you just have to turn the page to find out what happens next.
You used two different POVs for BloodGifted. Why did you take this approach?
I wanted my readers to really get into the mind of my characters, to feel what they’re feeling, and the best way I believe to achieve that deep POV was to give them each their own voice. That way the reader shares a richer emotional connection to the character.
BloodGifted contains a lot of twists and turns. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
I’m a dreadful panster, meaning I let the story lead me, literally writing by the seat of my pants, lol. Although I had the gist of the story mapped out from its genesis to its conclusion, all those in-between bits came along the deeper I got into the story. It was if I was seeing a movie in my head and simply wrote down what was going on.
What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in?
The marketing. Writing a book was comparatively simple, but what then? How do you tell people about it, how do you market it? That was one heck of a steep learning curve for me, something I would encourage all debut writers to research well before beginning in this business.
And secondly, reviews. As a writer – an author – you must develop a thick skin (for your own mental health) and not take to heart the cruel “reviews” that will inevitably come. Sadly, some readers delight in tearing down the work of another human being. Don’t read them. Unless there is some positive constructive criticism that you can learn from, ignore them and keep writing.
If you could choose one character from your book to spend a day with, who would it be? And where would you take them?
Kari. She appears in book 2, and where she came from I have no idea, lol. But she’s a delight – very honest, loyal and totally impulsive. I’d love to spend a day shopping with her.
What are you working on right now?
Now that I’ve completed the Dantonville Legacy series – Alec and Laura’s story – it’s time to give the other major characters their own stories too. Currently, I’m working on Terens’s book and hope to have it released by Christmas this year.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Just head to my website – www.timamarialacoba.com - where I post all the latest in the Dantonville world: new releases, extra short stories, giveaways and events. Just sign up to get regular updates right in your in box.
Check me out on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/TimaMariaLacoba
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FIZXFJA
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tima-maria-lacoba