BarbHendee.org

News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Noble Dead Saga, et al

For all questions concerning this 14 volume saga, TNDS (Tales), and or the new Dead Seekers series, please see NobleDead.org.

About the Vampire Memories series

Is the newly released edition of Blood Memories a new book or the same as the previously published edition?

Yes and no. When Roc purchased the reprint rights to Blood Memories, both myself and m y editor were working on the understanding that I would do a revision. Keep in mind that the original was written between 1995 and 1996, so it was out-of-date on several levels. Also, when I wrote it, my name as a writer carried no weight, and although I always intended it to be the first book of a series, at the time, I needed to sell it as a stand alone novel. So, the new version is set in 2008, and I rewrote the last three chapters to set up the series. I think this revised edition is much better than the original.

Why are the rules for vampires in the "Vampire Memories" series different from the rules in the "Noble Dead Saga"?

Because the Noble Dead Saga is set in an entirely different world with a different set of rules. Some rules are the same as in the Vampire Memories series, such as they all drink blood to sustain themselves (in differing fashions). They can be destroyed by direct sunlight, etc. (or most of them can be). But some rules are different.

The Vampire Memories series is set in present day Earth. In popular modern vampire fiction, creating another vampire must be a conscious, intentional effort. Often the maker needs to drain the victim and then have the victim drain the blood back… by drinking it directly from the maker.

In the Noble Dead Saga, it is possible for one vampire to make another by accident simply by draining a victim too quickly and completely of life (not blood). Not all vampires are aware of this, but additional requirements make an accident rare. It isn't blood that sustains them but rather the life energies released when a victim partially, nearly, or completely dies. Speed of the death is critical to making a new vampire, and it is a highly unpleasant process that can leave the "maker" overwhelmed.

While some vampires in both series are telepathic (or something similar), the concept of the "gifts" is a literary device relegated to only those in the Vampire Memories series. As counterpoint, vampires in the Noble Dead Saga may develop a unique talent, which is linked to its nature during life as manifested in death.

Will the book(s) ever become film(s)?

Public perception of writers, their lives, and what happens to/with their books are based on film and TV characters. That includes when and how a book gets turned into a film. These writer characters are far removed from real writers and how things actually work.

The percentage of books optioned for film adaptation is very small. The number of those that actually make it to the big (or small) screen is even smaller. The number of those that are from SF/F/H books are smaller still compared to all other films based on genre of premise or theme.

In other words, don't hold your breath.

Authors generally have no say in this process. A production house must (usually) of its own accord approach the author's agent and/or publisher—whichever holds right of representation according to the book's contract. If a production house chooses to option story rights on a book, only then is a book on track to becoming a film or TV series. Even so, the vast majority never make it that far.

The purchased option sits in a file drawer gathering dust until its time limit runs out.

About Publishing

Do you choose or have input on the cover art for your books?

Most writers get little or no say in what appears on the covers of their books.

Artists are selected by the editor and/or marketing department, and then a concept for "packaging" the book is developed. A book cover and artwork are a strong factor in getting people to pick it up, then the back content (synopsis, blurbs, etc.) are what actually sell the book to the prospective reader. First and foremost, this is what the packaging of any book is really about. It is not about illustrating the book's content (though we could all hope some of that slips in).

Having said that, both J.C and I feel we've been very fortunate with our book covers. We were suprised the first time we saw the cover for Dhampir, but only because the concept was not what we expected.

The first thing J.C. said was, "Oh, Barb, they could never afford those clothes and armor."

Bahahahahahaha! But it's more essential that the book is targeted at the correct audience, and that the cover gets people to pick it up. And the cover on Dhampir was perfect in this regard.

With Blood Memories (Book 1 of the Vampire Memories), my editor did email me to say that she was going into a cover conference meeting. She asked what I'd envisioned, and I told her that I would like a shot of Eleisha set against a city at night… but I was also hoping for a bit of color. She told me this was exactly what she envisioned too. Now these are general suggestions (and not specific details), but I did get some say in the overall concept.

I was so pleased when I saw the final product — and I loved the red dress.

How do you get your cover comments from other writers?

The editor/publisher may lend a hand when it comes time to acquire cover "blurbs," but often for mid-list and new writers, it is up to them to acquire such. The marketing department and editor then select parts of returned comments they think are best for selling the book (to retailers as well as readers). After you've published a few books, and hopefully establish a name for yourself, cover blurbs are no longer necessary.

About the Author

What sort of books do you like to read?

My favorite novels are The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Watership Down by Richard Adams, but I love these books for different reasons.

I do not read a great deal of science fiction or fantasy or even dark fantasy these days, although I used to. In the past few years, I've been reading literary mainstream and historical fiction. I very much enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield has now moved into my top five favorite novels — it's brilliant.