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Author Interview - J.A. London + Giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012
Today, the mother-son team J.A. London is here to talk about their book Darkness Before Dawn!

Only sunlight can save us.

We built the wall to keep them out, to keep us safe. But it also makes us prisoners, trapped in what's left of our ravaged city, fearing nightfall.

After the death of my parents, it's up to me--as the newest delegate for humanity--to bargain with our vampire overlord. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the monsters. Then again, nothing could have prepared me for Lord Valentine . . . or his son. Maybe not all vampires are killers. Maybe it's safe to let one in.

Only one thing is certain: Even the wall is not enough. A war is coming and we cannot hide forever.

I picked up Darkness Before Dawn, intrigued by the idea of vampires ruling and a teenage girl having to take on the large role her parents left behind. Where did the idea for the story come from?
It came from a simple image: a girl in a carriage wearing Victorian garb. From there, the story just seemed to come together. This dark world where vampires ruled and young Dawn negotiating with the most ruthless one of all. Most of the actual story came out during the writing process, but the world was so rich it felt very natural to do it that way.

You did a wonderful job. The storyline progressed very naturally.  What is it like writing as a team?
Writing as a team is new territory for both of us but it’s been great. Whenever we talked about the story, we always seemed to have the same vision for where it was heading. At times, one of us would decide to write something completely new, but the other would write the exact same thing first—we were very in sync with how we saw Dawn.

But most importantly, we were able to keep our humor and laugh at our own efforts.

Writing as a team sounds fun. My brother and I have imagined many worlds together since we were young children, and it's been an adventure. We still talk about the worlds to this day. How has Dawn changed since you first envisioned her?
When Dawn was FIRST envisioned, she was in her mid-twenties, but that was quickly changed when we realized a younger voice was far more interesting. Putting a young character in such an important role, against her wishes, gives us a lot of opportunity to explore what it means to grow up in this dystopian future. It was just a natural fit.

I love Dawn the way she turned out. Putting a teenage girl in her position really made the story more interesting. Dawn's world is so very different from our world today, and many vampires have lived for a long time. What kind of research went into the writing?
We really wanted to bring out imagery from World War I (1914-1919). That was a time when the entire world seemed dark and unsure, and hope that's reflected reflect in Dawn's dystopia. Having a degree in historical studies certainly helps when crafting that kind of authenticity.

I'm no history major, but the world certainly felt bleak. The world building was one of my favorite aspects of the story. How did you come up with the beautiful title?
We went through several ideas but one of the themes that carried through in the story was that when darkness descended the monsters came out. So the darkness before sunrise was a fearful time. But in our story Dawn also has to face a great deal of darkness in her world. We’ve been very pleased with the titles in the series, as they all revolve around this idea of a rising dawn and the colors and changes it brings. Darkness Before Dawn, Blood-Kissed Sky, After Daybreak.

I love the play on Dawn's name and how the titles suggest at her growth to come. Dawn's world has changed much since the vampires took over. The cities must self-function for the msot part, and there are many interesting landmarks. Which aspect of Dawn's world would you visit, and recommend readers to visit, if you had a chance?
Visit the Works. It’s such a dark and dreary place, coating the city in soot, adding to the dark flavoring of the world, and yet it brings light and electricity to the citizens.

But after that, we’d have to hightail it out of there and head for Day Street. It’d be fun to see how kids act in this world. We bet it’s the exact same as today.

Day Street sounds like the center of the night life. I bet that the kids there love to party just as much as kids today. Dawn and her friends are perfect examples. They thrive despite having grown up in the same place all their life. To survive in a walled city, what essentials would you recommend?
Humor, good friends, and a strong ability to fight endless boredom. Oh, and a love for the color gray doesn’t hurt either.

The world is rather drab, and it is the characters that bring the story to life. They have to be strong in order to survive in a world with vampire overlords. What would you do if vampires revealed themselves to humanity?
We wouldn’t line up to become a snack, that’s for sure. It would be interesting to talk with someone who has been around for centuries. Though, I think that if vampires ever did reveal themselves, we’d find far more commonalities than differences. In a lot of ways, having something immortal hanging around would remind us how precious a short life is.

I would love to ask vampires where the human history textbooks went wrong, I want to stay far away from vamps; no need chance getting killed, or worse, turned into one. I like my sun very much, though I'm tempted by the idea of being strong and fast. If I were to become a vmpire, I'd spend part of my immortality learning martial arts. If you were immortal, what hobbies or new skill would you pick up?
Sailing. As eons pass, the ocean would be the only thing to remain the same. Might as well make friends with it if we’re going to live forever.

I agree. Immortality would get old fast living a solitary life as a vampire. A road trip with friends passes much more quickly than an hour-long drive alone, and a sailing trip with friends sounds relaxing. Anything else you'd like to add?
We hope that readers enjoy the world and characters we created. The next book in the Darkness Before Dawn series is Blood-Kissed Sky, which will be released on December 26. We wanted to expand the world for the reader. Dawn must travel to Los Angeles. The reader will see that not all cities are created equal. However, since the vampires have stifled communications between the cities, what Dawn encounters in Los Angeles is nothing at all what she expected.

That sounds exciting. I was wondering what the other cities would be like. Now I'm even more excited for book two!

J.A. London has offered a signed copy of Darkness Before Dawn to one lucky U.S. winner! The giveaway is open through July 24th.

To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and leave a meaningful comment on the interview. Extra entries for tweeting about the giveaway and commenting on my review of Darkness Before Dawn. Then fill out the form below. Do not leave your email in the comments section.

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30 comments on "Author Interview - J.A. London + Giveaway"
  1. The ocean would stay the same after a billion years. Yeah, sailing sounds like a fun thing to do if you're immortal.

    Thanks for visiting!

  2. I love reading about vampires. Vampires are my favorite paranormal creature. I can't wait to read this book. It sounds very good.

  3. I love author interviews and getting insight on the writing process. I think its so awesome that mother and son not only teamed up to write a book, but were completely in sync with the storyline and main character. It sounds like the writing process was enjoyable and fun!

  4. Awesome interview! I love the cover of the book! Thanks so much for this great giveaway!


  5. Wonderful to read of their process of picking the title for the book. Great interview and thank you for the giveaway!

  6. Great interview! It's amazing that the entire idea of the story came from one image of a girl wearing Victorian clothes. Awesome! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  7. Oh wow, I didn't realize Dawn was originally twenty! Awesome interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. I love the whole "Vampires are ruling the world" thing. It reminds me of The Immortal Rules (which I loved). It's amazing that the idea for the story came from an image of a girl in a carriage. And that's one gorgeous cover. Thanks for the interview & the giveaway!!!!

  9. What a twist. Vampires ruling the world and a teenage delegate. It is amazing to me how authors continue to come up with new ideas! It is a good thing for us readers or things would get boring fast!

    Thanks so much!

  10. Great interview. I didn't know that the title was a play on Dawn's name.

  11. Haha if vampires revealed themselves to the world, I wouldn't be lining up to become a snack either! However, I do think it'd be awesome to talk to someone who has been around for centuries like the author does. The history nerd in me would go nuts for the first-hand accounts!

  12. I'm so excited for this book. Vampires are my favorite paranormal creatures next to shape shifters.

  13. I can't wait to read this book! I love the interview :)

    Lisa @ Shatterbooks

  14. What a great interview This sounds like a great book I love vampires my favorite! Thank you for the great giveaway!

  15. I had no idea that this book was written by a mother-son team. That's crazy! I love it!

  16. I find it very interesting when peole write as a team...that has to be hard, but awesome also.....more idea's to share when writing.This book sounds awesome and the cover it so beautiful. I will be adding to my wish list and hope to read it very soon.

  17. This book sounds interesting. I usually don't like vampire books, but i might give this one a try:)

  18. I love that the premise of the story mixes history and the paranormal.

  19. Love author interviews - they give a whole new perspective on this.

  20. I'm even more excited about it now than I was before! I had no idea that it was written by more than 1 person. Also, the cover is gorgeous! I've recently gotten back into my vampire-loving mojo, so it's the perfect time to read this one!

  21. Very good interview - and now I'm super excited to learn about Blood-Kissed Sky!! Can't wait to read the expanded world :D

    And thank you for the wonderful giveaway <3
    Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

  22. Wow this was written as a team, it looks so well done can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! <3

  23. This book sounds so kickass! And ha! Love the interview! I especially agree with the ability to fight endless boredom- though I'm not sure i have that...

  24. What a great interview! I always love getting a behind the scenes of the book- and the author's personality really comes out as well.

  25. Such an awesome interview! I think if I were a vampire, I'd learn how to play as many instruments and speak old languages as I can. The ancientness and quietness of it all would definitely help me calm my composure instead of going all wacko with boredom. :D

  26. This book sounds really good. Congrats on co-writing such an interesting title. (Awesome cover too.)

    Thanks for the giveaway offer.

    The Book Snoop

  27. Darkness Before Dawn sounds like a richly developed dystopia. It's definitely going on my TBR list

  28. I had no idea it was a mother-son team! That is SO cool! Those are always very cool books! Fabulous interview Kris!

  29. I loved Darkness Before Dawn, and I think it's so cool that they wrote as a team. I also love that she used history for inspiration! Great interview!

  30. What a wonderful interview. Knowing that it is mother and son writing this makes me want to read it even more. Thank you!


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