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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - With vampires all over book stores and movie theatres, American author Allison Brennan decided it was time to write the book that had been in her head since childhood -- a supernatural thriller with angels.
Brennan has broken away from her usual romantic thrillers for her 13th novel, "Cardinal Sin," the first in a series of seven chilling paranormal romances in which the seven deadly sins are portrayed as seven fallen angels about to wreak havoc on earth.
"Original Sin" was published by Random House imprint Ballantine in the United States on January 26 with a large initial print run of 550,000 copies and Random House Australia will publish the novel on February 10.
A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Brennan lives in California with her husband and five children and has released 13 novels since her first book was published in 2005, producing three books a year for the past four years.
She spoke to Reuters about her writing:
Q: That is quite some pace of writing?
A: "Yes, this year is the fifth year I'll have three books out. I have no life."
Q: You've five children aged 6 to 16. How do you find the time?
A: "When my children go to school, I write. I often also write at night after dinner. At the weekends I might write on Saturday mornings but the children have sport and things so I have to work around their schedules. I am usually sitting at my desk 8-9 hours a day but my actual writing time is probably 6 hours."
Q: Do you work to deadlines?
A: "I am a procrastinator by nature so in school I was a smart kid but did not study every night. I'd cram at the last minute. I have always been like that. I am very deadline driven."
Q: Why the shift from romantic thrillers?
A: "I had the idea of "Original Sin" before I ever sold my first book. But when I sold a romantic thriller I decided I needed to continue to write the kind of book I sold so my readers would know what to expect. I've worked on this book for years."
Q: Will you go back to romantic thrillers?
A: "I am going to continue to write romantic thrillers. I have one coming out in spring 2011. I don't want to be bored or get burned out and I want to write both kinds of books. I think it will help me keep everything fresh and interesting."
Q: Are angels the new vampires?
A: "I look at my second daughter who is 14 and she loves the paranormal and is sick and tired of vampires now. I don't know if the rest of the population is. I think what vampires did for the genre as a whole is that it opened it up so we can do different things. I think back to some of the classical supernatural tales of good versus evil and I think it is kind of cyclical, whatever comes up next. I don't like to predict the trends."
Q: Did you have to do much research for this shift?
A: "I didn't think I'd have to research because I am making it up. When you are writing on crime there are certain things you can't change but with the supernatural I thought it would be easy. But now I have more books on the paranormal than crime books, ranging from ghosts to exorcism to religious history."
Q: Who are your main readers?
A: "About 70 percent of my readers are women and about 25-30 percent are men which is good for a female author."
Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?
A: "I had over 100 rejection letters over two years. I'm stubborn and to be a good writer you need to write and practice. The first book you write might not be the one you publish. A lot of authors try to rewrite the book over and over again and feel they are wasting their time if they don't make it work but they could use that book as a learning tool. Try something new and fresh. Write every day. I made a big mistake. I took two weeks off at Christmas for the first time in five years but it took me about a week to get back into my daily writing."
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy