Written Blog Interviews

Get to Know Carol McKibben, Author of the Bestselling "Snow Blood" Vampire Series!

  • Oct 6th, 2016
  • by Patrick

When did you start writing as an author in earnest?

I have always been a writer, from the time I was a child. I wrote for magazines in my adult years but turned to being a published author in 2007.

What interesting or funny quirks do you have while you’re writing your stories?

I keep my dogs with me while I’m writing. After I wrote a memoir (Riding Through It) in 2007, I began writing fiction… novels told through the eyes of dogs. So, I keep them handy just to observe them.

You have a series called Snow Blood.  Give us the run down on what that series is about.

Snow Blood is a series based on the original, the first vampire as told through the eyes of his kindred dog, a white Siberian Husky. I have formulated them into Seasons, and each chapter is an episode. The books (there are three with a fourth coming out at the end of this year) are written as paranormal mystery thrillers. Each “season” pits Brogio, his mate Selene, his first blood son, Kane, Snow Blood and his kindred wolf pack against impending evil. Season 1 reveals a sinister plot by the gods against the father of all vampires. As Brogio and Snow Blood unravel the conspiracy together, the love of Brogio’s life may be returned to him to set him free from the lonely existence that has plagued him for thousands of years. The story is filled with mythology, shifters, and monsters.

Season 2 is filled with twists, turns and suspense. When Kane sacrifices himself to save Snow Blood, his vampire family believes he is truly lost forever. After the devastating loss, a new ever-present threat of destruction threatens his kindred. While Snow Blood’s pack of kindred wolves stand guard watching for predators on the outskirts of Brogio’s winery estate, the vampire dog discovers that Selene, Brogio’s mate, is keeping secrets from her husband. This deception and Selene’s rapidly growing strength and independence threaten to create a rift between the father of all vampires and his mate. Snow Blood again helps hold their love together as he tries to protect them from the approaching evil. At the same time, the dog suspects that Nova, the beautiful female wolf that attracts him in the forest, is part of a sinister plot to destroy his master … but he can’t resist her power over him. This one again is populated with mythology, shifters and monsters but adds vampire hunters to the mix.

In Season 3 an even more powerful and daunting evil looms that may separate Snow Blood from all he loves… forever. While fighting for the existence he has grown to love, he is challenged to prevent a plan to enslave his family and the entire vampire nation. Along with myth, shifters, monsters and hunters, this one adds witchcraft.

What is the Vampire Bible and how did you weave that into your series, Snow Blood?

The Vampire Bible is just as its name suggests. In all the vampire legends I had read in the past, none satisfactorily explained how vampires came into existence. At least, not for me. I went to the Vampire Bible to secure the real legend of how the first was originated. His name was Ambrogio, and he was an Italian adventurer. Season 1 of the series reveals how he was turned into a creature of the night, why he was forced to drink blood to exist and how others came into existence. I don’t want to tell you much because Season 1 explains it all. But, it does involve the mythological gods and explains their love/hate relationship with the original vampire.

If a dog can be turned into a vampire, does that mean any living creature can be turned into a vampire?  Or, are there rules?

If a vampire so wishes to make you his kindred, it matters not what species you are. Or, at least, those are my rules. Brogio, however, has tempered his inner monster, and he doesn’t allow his kindred to kill humans for blood or to “turn” them unless absolutely necessary.

What do we see evolve through your series, without giving away endings to ebooks?

Believe it or not, the underlying theme of the books is unconditional love. Snow Blood, a dog, gives his love without question, always putting others before himself. Who would think that a family of vampires could be so devoted to each other? From the first book on, readers will see that love grow among all the characters in the book, each always willing to die for the others. Readers will discover unsuspected secrets and abilities of each character, and, even though they are creatures of the night, they will cry, laugh and be happy for their victories. Many readers who picked up the books thought that stories being narrated by a dog was an odd concept and that they don’t necessarily like paranormal stories about vampires or that it generally wouldn’t be their cup of tea. I have had those same readers tell me that they are hooked!  

Why should readers pick your vampire ebooks over others?

They shouldn’t have to pick just my books. They should enjoy them all. But, as one reviewer said, “This is a must for all dog and vampire lovers!” These are little books with great heart. If you want a fast read that makes you laugh, cry and be in suspense the entire time, then pick me.

What kind of world have you created in the Snow Blood series?  Does it take place on our planet?  If so, is there a particular place?

The series starts in Oregon but moves around to Brogio’s various wine estates. He’s fabulously wealthy and has multiple wineries. The last several books have settled in on Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The action always takes place in a vineyard surrounded by forest, lakes and mountains… near a small town.

The Snow Blood series is also a bit of a romance story, right?  How does that take form?

Absolutely! But that’s all part of the legend… so I don’t want to say too much. When Brogio was human, he fell in love with Selene, a virgin in the Temple of Apollo. Unfortunately, Apollo had designs on Selene. To make a very long story short, Artemis, Apollo’s sister, tricks Brogio and takes Selene away from him. Season 1 details her potential return to him. But, it’s more than that. It’s a love story between Brogio and Snow Blood and between a dog and his human/vampire and wolf/kindred families.

In book two of the Series, Brogio (the father of all vampires) faces the prospect of the end of all vampires.  Can you tell us how all vampires can be ended?

Brogio is the original vampire. All other vampires were created with his blood. If he were to die, they would all die. No vampire can survive the true death of his maker.

Is the Snow Blood series done, or can you tease readers with something else that you are working on?

Oh, my, no! Season 4 will be coming out in December of this year. Season 3 introduced a new character named Seth, a white witch. Season 4 will reveal a secret about Seth and also introduce Mathias, a winged horse and guardian to Seth. It’s filled with witchcraft, vampire hunters and probably more humor than in any of the other three. I’ve already started thinking about Season 5.

Many of your ebooks have canine characters.  You also give away a portion of the proceeds from all of your ebook sales to dog rescue services.  Where did your drive to help dogs arise from?

Well, I am pretty sure I was a wolf in another life. Probably a dog as well. Many of my readers wonder how I can get into a dog’s head as I do. That’s probably why! Since I was a small child, I have loved and adored dogs and horses. I have had many dogs and horses that have had great, wonderful lives with me. It breaks my heart to see ones who aren’t having a good life, and I try and fix that. My husband Mark is a pilot, and we work with a group called Wings of Rescue. Pilots volunteer their time and money to fly endangered dogs and cats from kill shelters in California or from rescue groups to other states that have a need for dogs. So far, Wings of Rescue has saved more than 16,000 animals this year alone. Mark and I also foster animals for and contribute to LA Animal Rescue.

Besides being an author, you have also been involved on the marketing and publishing side of books for decades.  How has that helped you be a better author?

I don’t know if that has helped me be a better author. It has certainly helped me promote my books. As a writer, I honestly write what interests me and hope that it captures the attention of others. Good marketing suggests that I go out and figure what people want to read and let that dictate my writing. Unfortunately, I can’t write what I don’t love, so I’ll just keep writing what I love and enjoy the relationship with readers who like what I offer them.

Many of your clients have given you praise for being so determined and detail-orientated when it came to editing their writing.  How do you think that gives you a leg up in a world where there aren’t many barriers to someone creating an ebook and publishing it?

Any book marketer will tell you that one of the top worst mistakes you can make as an author is not having a good editor. Putting out books filled with incorrect grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. is a killer. Readers don’t want that. But, a good editor can help you realize the real potential of your book and assist you in reaching it. My editor always makes my books so much better. People may be able to crank out a hot mess and toss it up on Amazon or other distributors, but unless it can really capture readers’ imaginations, it won’t go anywhere.

Just in case someone might be able to take advantage of your services outside of your own writing, what have you helped people with over the last several decades?

I’ve worked with numerous authors as an editor. I’ve served as a ghostwriter at times. Often, I work with them to develop the book further than the original manuscript. I have a knack for getting at the heart of the inciting incident in a book so that the reader is thrown into the action on the first page. I try to point out both the strong and weak areas of each manuscript. I often give my authors advice about publishing and marketing their books, and I try to keep up with all the latest info. To learn more about what I can do, anyone interested may visit http://www.carolmckibben.com.

Thank you!

Click HERE to get Snow Blood: Season 1!

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Step Into the Sci-Fi World of Nicholas Rossis, Bestselling Author of Pearseus!

  • Nov 4th, 2014
  • by Patrick


How did you go from the super-technical fields of web development and digital architecture to the fuzzy world of art and authorship?  And, why?


Writing a 500-page-long PhD thesis is not dissimilar to writing a book. Indeed, all theses are published by the universities. So, the real transition was between non-fiction and fiction. As you’re allowed to make up stuff in fiction, it can be argued it’s much easier to write! :D


How on Earth did you end up lucky enough to live in the middle of a forest in Athens, Greece?  Paint a picture of your home for us!


Lol - I live in the edges of an area that’s designated as Natura by the EU - the equivalent of a US  National Park. It has an artificial lake, complete with herons, hawks and plenty of fish, surrounded by a forest. Sadly, in 2009 large parts of the forest were burned down. The fires even destroyed part of our garden. However, nature being what it is, it’s almost impossible to notice the charred wounds nowadays.


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so...



How far is your nearest neighbor?


Nowadays, they live just behind us; the actual forest starts a couple of blocks after that. When I was growing up, however, the area was far less developed and the nearest neighbor was almost a mile away.


How often do you write?


Daily. I write and edit my books, but I also write my blog posts. Surprisingly enough, I feel that blogging has helped me a lot with my fiction writing.


Do you have goals for how much writing you want to do on a daily basis?


I used to, then felt stressed when I fell behind. As I have enough stress in my daily life through my day job, I prefer my writing to be an enjoyable experience. So, I decided against setting strict limits. My one goal is to do at least one thing that promotes my authoring career every day.


Are you a computer author or a pen and paper author?


A computer author. However, I use pen and paper for my dream journal, as I keep a notebook next to my bed. Many of my dreams find their way into my stories.


Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?  Do you have a personal muse?


Most of my inspiration comes from my dreams. Every morning I jot down last night’s dreams, then refer to them whenever I need some ideas. Heck, I even started writing because a voice in a dream told me to.


When it comes to the mechanics of the stories, however, I borrow from authors I like. Whenever I read a book and come across a new way of portraying, say, an emotion, I’ll write it down for future reference.


You start your book The Power of Six with a short story entitled Simulation Over.  In the story, you deal with the complex question of just what is reality, and whether what we perceive before us at all times is, indeed, reality.  This question has obviously been posed over the ages.  What spurred you to write a story about it and what is your take on the question?


I’m fascinated by the so-called holographic principle. In simple terms, this describes the universe as a hologram. The theory stems from the notion that information cannot be destroyed, so for example the 2D event horizon of a black hole "records" everything that falls into it. If this is the case, then the boundary of the universe could also form a 2D representation of everything contained within it, like a hologram storing a 3D image in 2D.


Although this doesn’t actually mean that we leave in a simulated environment, you can see why it prompted the kind of what if that invariably leads to a story.


Having said all that, the beginning of story is copied almost verbatim from a nightmare I had, with said monsters chasing me down an abandoned building. :)


One of our favorite short stories in The Power of Six was “I Come In Peace.”  In short, the story is about an alien life form that is purely energy, and which can inhabit a host such as a human.  It truly mixes the human emotion of loneliness, grief and solitude with the science and religion of possession.  What message(s) were you trying to convey in writing “I Come In Peace?”  Not to be too personal, but did that story come from demons you wrestled with yourself?


Thank  you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)  Actually, no, although as an only child living in a forest, I did feel terribly lonely at times. I like solitude, but not loneliness, and that’s when I’d turn to books for companionship.


I have lost a cousin to depression and have another one who’s bipolar, while a schizophrenic murdered my baby aunt back in the forties. So, I understand mental illness fairly well, and have tried to use that understanding in my writing. Your question suggests I have done so successfully, so thank you. :) 


The concept of the orb itself came from an experience described to me by my grandmother. She lost her husband, whom she adored, at a relatively early age. Shortly after the funeral, she was in the kitchen cooking, when an iridescent orb, pretty much as I described it in the story, floated through the window. It hovered for a moment before her, as if to convey a message, then sped out of the window again. She felt certain that the orb was her husband who had come to say goodbye, and that claim has stuck with me since.


You also have an epic fantasy series of novels called Pearseus.  Tell us about that series.


I’m now penning the fourth book in the series, inspired by the fact that all three books have reached number one on Amazon. A spaceship called Pearseus crash-lands on a remote planet. The survivors name the planet after their destroyed vessel and start their civilisation anew. However, they are not alone. Their arrival turns the tide in an ancient war fought by ethereal forces who seek to use the newcomers to wage their battles. 


The inspiration behind it is 5th century BC historian Herodotus and his classic work describing the Greco-Persian wars. A major battle took place some 20 minutes from where I lived, and the tomb of the dead, or Tumulus of the Marathon Warriors, is still there (see photo).

marathon tomb.jpg

When I read Martin’s Game of Thrones, I thought it would be nice to tell the story of the Battle of Marathon - only in a fantasy/science fiction context. I added some metaphysical elements with the introduction of the Orbs and the Whispers, and Pearseus was born.


Elon Musk, the CEO and Founder of Tesla and Space X amongst other things, has really been sounding the alarm on artificial intelligence, and specifically self awareness and decision making processes of artificial intelligence. What are your thoughts on where humans should go with the development and implementation of  AI? 


What an interesting question! Smarter people than me have tried to answer that question - what Asimov refers to as the Frankenstein complex (the idea of a creation inevitably rising up against its creator). I often wonder if this isn’t some sort of misplaced guilt over humanity’s perceived rise against its own Creator, as described by Genesis and many an ancient myth. 


Elon Musk is definitely smarter than me, but since you ask for my opinion, I’ll say that I don’t lose any sleep over it. We’re still too far from understanding consciousness, which a lot of people seem to confuse with intelligence. My personal feeling is that AI will grow exponentially, creating much more advanced versions of Siri, but this is not a threat to humanity. 


I think it’s inevitable that we will create proxy armies that will fight each other without harming humans. My hope is that some day the idea of humans dying on the battlefield will be as abhorrent as that of civilian casualties.  However, from what I’ve seen and read so far, the fear of Skynet becoming conscious seems pretty remote.  I look at science and technology as tools, so I’m not afraid of them, but of the uses people can find for them.  For me, that is a much scarier prospect than technology acting autonomously to antagonize humanity.


You obviously have expertise in the sciences, as Mr. Musk does.  Do you have any of your own portents about the future of science colliding with humanity? 


Science and humanity are interacting on a daily basis in a number of ways; we just don’t realize it. We live in a magical world where I can answer questions posed to me by someone I’ve never met in person, who lives thousand of miles away. The answers are stored inside vast depositories of all knowledge. I can do so in seconds, my words covering the distance at unprecedented speeds. 


I can then ask my phone for directions to the nearest movie theatre. By pinging a number of satellites orbiting Earth, my phone will navigate me there, so I can watch a 3D movie.  We already live in the future, we just don’t realize it. :) 


The beauty of most technology is that it becomes transparent as more people use it. However, it also raises unanticipated issues, according to the law of unitended consequences. Are these issues new? I don’t think so. For example, one of the great issues of our day is privacy, but that is a reflection of an older question: how much freedom are we willing to sacrifice in the name of security? 


They say that each generation is doomed to learn the really important lessons all over again. I hope that’s not true, but I do consider science to change the context of these debates, but not their actual content.


How many book drafts do you have lying around, and what is the one you’re most excited to pick up and finish?


Lol - this is like Sophie’s Choice! :D  I am currently editing the second draft of Pearseus: Rupture (the fourth book in the series). I’m also writing short stories, which will hopefully be published as a second collection (The Power of Seven, perhaps?) I have six children’s books ready, of which one, Runaway Smile, has been illustrated and is about to get published. 


I spend most of my time working on Rupture, as it is the most labour-intensive project, but enjoy all of them. I pick what I’ll work on depending on how I feel each day. Like I said, my only rule is that I work on my career each and every day, but I allow myself the flexibility to do so at a whim. :)


What message do you have to potential new readers of your stories?


A great amount of work and love has gone into writing my books, but that means nothing without readers. So, I hope you enjoy them! If you do, please review and share them with others. It’s pretty hard to get your voice heard in a world where some 6,500 books are published daily and every single recommendation matters.


What message do you have to the readers who are already fans of your works? 


With so many books published daily, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that you chose to read mine. So, I just want to say thank you!! And give you a big hug. I wish I could bring you cookies, too. Maybe some day, technology permitting, we’ll be able to do that.  3D food printing, perhaps?

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