Wallachian nobleman Radu is recently arrived in Bucharest with his vampire parents. Welcomed as an eligible bachelor, he’s introduced to the enchantress Ecaterina, whose salon is Bucharest’s centre of magical expertise.
But when Ecaterina’s brother dies of a mysterious new plague, it’s clear to Radu that his parents have not been idle. Soon Bucharest is in the grip of an undead epidemic—a less than ideal time for Ottoman Sultan Mahmud, Wallachia’s overlord, to call Bucharest’s nobility to assemble their armies in Istanbul for a holy war against Britain.
The Wallachians have long resented their Ottoman overlords, so Radu seizes the chance to eliminate them while also ridding Bucharest of the undead: he leads an army of vampires to Istanbul and sets them to feed on the Turks.
As Radu’s demons gut the city of Istanbul, their plans become horribly clear. This is only the start. With the Ottoman armies under their control, the undead are poised to suck the life out of the whole world. Radu, his lover Frank, and Ecaterina are appalled at what they’ve unleashed. But they may be too late to stop it.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be? Phantasmagorical
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
It started out as a bit of a homage to Dracula. I wanted to write a ‘classic’ vampire novel with the dark castles and howling wolves etc. But then when I started researching Romania I fell in love with the country and its history, and its fraught relationship with the Ottoman Empire, and the story veered heavily towards ‘how can I use vampires as a weapon of war?’
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist? ?
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
I suffer from depression, so there are times when I just don’t have enough mental energy to write, but I don’t think that’s quite the same thing. Ever since I started plotting my books out before writing them, I’ve known what I had to write in a day, and I just have to write it. So I don’t really suffer from sitting there and not knowing how to proceed. Sometimes I will write the section as per my plot and it will be like trying to walk through treacle, and I will hate it, and sometimes that will be because my brain is trying to tell me that I should be doing something differently at that point. Then I have to figure out what I need to change, and write it again. But I’m not sure that that’s writer’s block either.
5. Your all time favorite book? ?
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin.
6. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
Beautiful writing. Great worldbuilding. And it’s the only book I can think of with a genderqueer main character like me living in a world set up for genderqueer people. I found it something of a paradise, even though the author herself seems to find it quite disturbing.
7. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way? ?
I started writing at age 11, so I’ve always been a writer. Being published just meant that I could tell other people about my writing and have them understand that it was an important part of who I am.
8. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ?
There is always a point during writing any book where I want to give up. I can even give you a good estimation of where it will happen. I coast a buzz of ‘this is fantastic! I’m so enjoying this! It’s all turning out so well!’ for the first five chapters. Then around chapter six it starts feeling like uphill work. The middle of the book seems to drag on forever, and about two thirds of the way through I hate it. I think it’s the most trite thing I’ve ever written. I’ve lost all my talent. I’d much rather clean the toilets.
Then I hit the last two thirds and I can feel the end approaching. Now I’m coasting down hill and it’s easy again. Then just before the final chapter – wham! There’s a wall. Because I don’t want to actually finish it. I don’t want to leave that world and say goodbye to those characters, and if I don’t finish it, I don’t have to. Sometimes that takes me a day or so to force myself over. But I do. I carry on writing anyway, and I finish, and I celebrate.
As you can tell, I’ve done this often enough to be aware of my own pattern. That makes it a little easier. But the only surefire way of getting past the point where you just don’t want to do it any more is to do it anyway. This is work for me, so I turn up and I do it whether I want to or not.
9. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
I only read reviews that are three stars or above. As I said, I suffer from depression. I’ve learned that it’s counterproductive to take the hit to my confidence and the week-long slump and existential crisis of reading a bad review. You can’t please everyone, so just don’t look.
10. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ?
Yes, this is book one of two. In this book we meet the characters and leave them divided with a city in ruin and a severe vampire crisis. In the next book, the cunning solution they think up to their vampire crisis gets seriously out of hand, and they need to set aside their differences – not only with their friends but also with their hereditary enemies, the Turks – and buckle down to saving the world.
11. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
I’m currently writing Contraband Hearts an 18th century historical for the Porthkennack series, in which one hero is a Customs Officer in a small Cornish village and the other is a smuggler. After that, I have the next two books in my self-published Cygnus Five series to edit and launch. (They’re written, but they need to be edited and polished and given covers before release.)
12. What made you decide to go the self-pub way? ?
I’m currently a hybrid – I’m doing both self-pub and small press publishing. In the course of writing a lot of m/m romance, I found that I was reluctant to fit into any niche for long. I write a lot of blended genres – historical fantasy, murder mystery ghost story etc, and I have problems finding publishers who want to publish things that are on the cusp of two or more genres. Basically I like the creative freedom of self-pub.
13. What would you say was the toughest part? ?
Formatting stuff for upload! OMG! Nothing works the way it says it’s going to. So frustrating!
14. Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting? ?
No, I can’t afford it. I make my own covers and format my own books, and I trade editing with other authors who are in the same boat. One day I would like to just write and pay for everything else, but that day hasn’t come.
15. How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-pub to when you hit ‘Publish’? ?
I’m always working on two or three things at the same time, and they interrupt each other. So that’s almost impossible to say.
16. Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, some other distributor? How did you decide which one(s) to go with? ?
Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords for ebooks, Createspace for paperbacks. I pick the easiest options, tbh.
17. If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change? ?
I would have planned things – designed sales funnels and a good landing page on my website for advertising. I’d have finished a series before launching them. I’d have made the first 20,000 words of everything available for free… I still intend to do all this but it’s fitting it into the cracks between the writing that is difficult.
18. If you were to recommend one article, blog, post, or book to someone hoping to self-pub, what would it be? ?
That’s where I got my ideas for product funnels which I have not actually put into practice as yet (because one of my pro-publishers recently collapsed and I’ve been reformatting my backlist instead.)
19. In retrospect, what was the toughest part of self-pubbing? Was it the part that you thought would be toughest before embarking on this adventure? ?
Learning how to approach book-selling in a businesslike manner, and then putting the time aside to actually do it. I have not managed that yet!
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
I wish I had better health – more energy. I could do so much more if I wasn’t losing days to depression and mysterious illnesses and post-operative fatigue.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
The Lord of the Rings – I can read that any number of times and never get bored.
3. Name your favorite fruit. ?
4. Coffee or tea? ?
5. Favorite season? ?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
10am when I’ve finally woken up and I’m at my most energetic for the day.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
Only a Brownie.
8. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read? ?
Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey
10. Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes? ?
I don’t collect anything – I like to throw things out and rejoice in the space.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
12. Drama or comedy? ?
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
‘Come on Alex, just do it.’
14. Cats or dogs? ?
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
16. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
Fairly Local – Twenty One Pilots
17. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛 ?
Ha! What I put is what I thought first and then reconsidered. My second thought was “World peace – for people to be nice to each other – for God’s will to be done.” Then I thought “Nah, that’s kind of pretentious and besides, God’s will will probably be done anyway.”
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
If it’s secret then I’m not telling.
2. If you could choose to be someone else for just one day, it would be… ?
Some kind of warlord. Vlad Tepes maybe. He certainly didn’t seem to suffer from low energy or low self esteem. It would be nice to know what it was like to feel like you knew best and you could change the world with your own hands.
3. If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at… ?
4. Your favorite part of a date is… ?
When you’re comfortable enough with each other not to feel like you need to be on your best behaviour. So like, after fifteen years of marriage. (I found dating very stressful.)
5. If a character from any book could become real and you could spend a day with them, it would be… from the book… ?
Celeborn from Lord of the Rings. Firstly – I’ve always wanted to meet an elf. Secondly he’s 20,000-ish years old, so you wouldn’t run out of things to ask about.
6. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ? Star Wars
To celebrate the release of Angels of Istanbul, one lucky winner will receive $10 Riptide credit and their choice of ebook from Alex’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 1, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.