Interview with author Denise K. Rago
Steps away from Central Park, among careworn books and paintings, the vampire Christian Du Mauré quietly watches over two modern mortals. Amanda and Ryan are the last two descendants of a painful affair Christian had more than two centuries ago with a mortal aristocrat in Paris. On the eve of revolution, he made a promise to his dying lover that he would secure their safety without ever involving them in his own twisted world.
When Immortal Obsession begins, Christian’s promise is intact; his young ancestors suspect nothing of their origin. Amanda's life is happily predictable: she landed her childhood dream job working for New York's monolithic Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she unites her fascination with Revolution-era Paris and her abiding love of art. During one especially late night at work, Amanda is roused by an unexpected phone call. Her brother Ryan (and only living relative) needs her help urgently; can she come right away? Against her better judgment, she rushes to meet him in Central Park—and unwittingly becomes entangled in a world she never imagined was real.
1. Why did you decide to start writing Immortal Obsession? Your website mentions a chance encounter. Can you elaborate?
Let me start off by saying thank you so much for giving me the honor of an interview. Immortal Obsession was inspired by an otherworldly experience I had in a New York City diner one night five years ago, when my path crossed with that of a beautiful, unusual stranger who sat down at a table behind my husband and I. He was very tall, with waist-length blond hair and dressed entirely in black. When our eyes met and he said hello, he felt familiar to me as I fell into his dark eyes.
That weekend I began writing Immortal Obsession and when my husband and I talked about this mysterious stranger, I realized we saw two very different people that night. The experience was unnerving, yet exciting. This stranger was the inspiration for my main character, the vampire Christian Du Mauré. I have since learned that this being is someone I have known from a past life. He continues to guide me as his role in my writing and my life continues to unfold. He is my muse.
2. Amanda's love for art shines through as you read Immortal Obsession. Is this something you have in common with her?
Very much so. I have always dreamt of working in a museum so I continued onto graduate school and obtained a Masters’ Degree in Museum Professions. I did my internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan which is one of my favorite art museums. I have been going there since childhood and like Amanda, it is one of those places that I love and feel at home.
3. If so, what kind of art mesmerizes you? Amanda seems to be particularly fascinated with Parisian art.
Amanda is drawn to anything to do with the French Revolution, a period that I love as well. I love all types of art really, from all periods of time. I am also fascinated with non-western cultures as well as their material culture. I love paintings, decorative arts and especially sculpture.
4. What was the inspiration for Amanda, Christian, Michel, and any of your other characters? Do they represent anyone in your own life?
I did mention my inspiration for Christian and I also talk about my resemblance to Amanda. Tony, who is Christian and Michel’s human servant, is loosely based on the mailman at one of my previous jobs, a young, blond haired fellow named Anthony who was really warm, funny and without guile. He said what was on his mind and he always stuck with me. When I imagined a fellow who would admire and yet stand up to two vampires, Anthony came to mind. I changed his name to Tony.
One morning while perusing a magazine I came across a black and white photo of a male model and said to myself, ‘this is Michel.’ His personality is a bit trickier for on the surface he seems to be the exact opposite of Christian in every way, but Michel is much deeper than he lets on. On the surface he is much more outgoing and funny, but underneath he is a pained soul. He just hides it a bit better than Christian.
5. Which of your characters resembles you most? Why?
Amanda and Christian probably resemble me the most, with their love of art, books, antiques, history, New York City and Paris. They are both solitary figures with a rich inner life. Christian loves to read and Amanda loves being in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hobbies I love as well. They both see beauty in nature and in the man-made world as I do and they both have an element of a sixth sense. Amanda has the gift of psychometry, which is the ability to obtain information from touching an object. This information may be in the form of music, words, sentences or images. Christian’s gift’s come from another place which will be revealed in future novels.
6. Why do you enjoy writing? Are there any parts of your novel that you enjoyed writing most?
I love creating, especially when a chapter comes together and suddenly two and three chapters fall into place and the story takes off and the characters are talking to me, leading me in a particular direction. I wrote many drafts of Immortal Obsession that never made it into print but I still enjoy the process. I think I enjoy writing the romance the most.
7. Besides writing, what other hobbies do you have? Are you a thrill seeker with a passion for sky diving and extreme snowboarding?
No, I am not a daredevil in the least. I love the beach, reading, visiting museums and antique shops. I have a teacup collection as well.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share (about you, your novel, or the art of writing)?
I am working on the sequel to Immortal Obsession. I envision three novels in this series which is tentatively called The Enchanted Bloodline Series. I love to hear from readers, as I especially love their perceptions of a character or their interpretation of events. Sometimes I am too close to my characters and it takes a reader to point out something so obvious that I missed completely!
I plan to attend the Self-Publishing Book Expo in Manhattan on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011. Please stop by if you attend as I would love to meet writers and readers.
I would love to share my website link which is www.denisekrago.com. Please visit me there to see portraits of some of the characters from Immortal Obsession; reviews, interviews and guests posts.
I just want to take a moment to thank Denise for the great interview! She was kind enough to answer all of my questions so thoughtfully and everything. Hopefully everyone will enjoy getting to know this author a bit. Her novel, Immortal Obsession, was an interesting read. My review is here, if anyone is interested. Again, thank you so much!