Spotlight and Author Interview for Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers Book 2)

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Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers #2) by Georgiana Derwent

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00033]Series: The Cavaliers

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Vampire

Publisher: Self-Published

Format: Ebook, paperback

Length: approx 100,000 words

Publication Date: April 12, 2013

Book Description

A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal…

The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University – rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.

In her first year at Oxford University, Harriet French became inextricably tied to the Cavaliers. Now Harriet’s back at Oxford for her second year. Armed with a vampire boyfriend, some great friends and the truth, she’s expecting an easier time.  She’s wrong.  Her best friend is now a vampire and the Cavalier who turned her to save her life is facing death for the one good deed he’s ever done. Just when it seems that things can’t get any worse, the Cavaliers’ ancient enemies decide to strike at the heart of the society and they’ve got Harriet in their sights. 

Screaming Spires continues the story of an ancient vampire conspiracy and the ordinary girl caught in its web begun in Oxford Blood.

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Book Excerpt

“Dance with me,” someone said suddenly, taking hold of her hands in a way that left no room for argument.

With a sinking feeling, Harriet recognised George’s voice. She forced herself to stay calm as she looked up at him, pristine in his tailcoat and Cavalier bowtie.

“Dance with you? Are you insane? You killed my cousin. You kept my necklace hidden for weeks. You mesmerised me whilst they drained Caroline. If I had the strength, I’d kill you.”

George smiled and shook his head. “No you wouldn’t,” he said firmly, leading her onto the dancefloor.

Before Harriet had a chance to take stock of the situation, they were in the middle of the marquee. She moved to the music as though she had no control over her body, allowing herself to be alternately spun around by George and pulled into him.

“So don’t I get a thank you then?” he whispered after a particularly vigorous twirl.

“I don’t know how you have the nerve even to speak to me, never mind to ask for my thanks.”

“I gave you what you wanted,” he said, pulling her closer. “I gave you your best friend back. If I’d asked you beforehand, what would you have said? Let her die or change her?”

Harriet was finding it difficult to concentrate on the conversation. The marquee was hot and full of people; the music was loud; the dancing was too vigorous. She needed to sit somewhere cool by herself and get her thoughts in order. Instead, George’s deep green eyes were boring into her, his cool hands were gripping hers, and it was becoming harder by the minute to remember all the terrible things he’d done. Harder still to push him away.

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Interview with Georgiana Derwent

Sun Mountain Reviews is pleased to have the opportunity to learn more about Georgiana and the Cavalier Series

Tell us about yourself and your Cavalier series:

I’m in my mid-twenties. Much like my heroine, I grew up in the north of England then studied History at Oxford University. Nowadays, I’m a qualified lawyer and work for the British government, so writing makes a nice relaxing break from work. I live in London with my fiancé, Frederick, who’s just the sort of posh English boy that my book romanticises and that Americans tend to love! We’re getting married, back in Oxford, next year.

(Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!)

The Cavaliers is a three part series, each book corresponding, Harry Potter style, to one year of the heroine’s life at university. So far there’s Oxford Blood and Screaming Spires, and I’m currently working on Ivory Terrors. I’ll try my very hardest not to write another Cavaliers book after that, as one of my pet hates is series that get dragged out beyond what was originally planned for them.

The basic plot is that Britain is run by a secret society of vampires, The Cavaliers. They have a special branch of the society at Oxford University and each year, recruit some of the most promising students, turn them into vampires and then get them top jobs to maintain The Cavaliers’ hold on the country. They are what I like to think of as “proper vampires.” They can’t come out during the day, they have to drink human blood, they aren’t afraid to kill and they love to seduce people. The main focus of the book is about a female student at Oxford who becomes entangled with the Cavaliers partly due to falling in love with one of them and partly through family connections.

How did you come up with the idea for creating the series? What was your inspiration?

I’ve loved vampire books ever since my teens and always wanted to write one. It always used to make me laugh how in a lot of vampire and other paranormal novels, you get the character of the mother who is completely clueless about what’s going on. I thought it would be fun to have a mother who actually knows more than the heroine, and who, rather than trying to stop her going out with the mysterious, dangerous bad boy, is actually desperately trying to set her up with him. I actually wrote a very vague outline for a book like this when I was about seventeen, but then I went to university and never had the time to really write it.

As soon as I started at Oxford University, I fell in love with the place. The buildings were beautiful, the history was inspiring and there were some amazing people there. It was all so strange and so different from my previous life that I honestly feel that if there’d turned out the be vampires there, it wouldn’t have thrown me that much!

I desperately wanted to write a book about an ordinary girl who goes to Oxford, and just after graduation, I started writing a really literary “I’m totally going to enter this for a Pulitzer” type novel set at Oxford about education and class and gender, and then about two chapters in, I realised that wasn’t a writing style that I was entirely comfortable with and that writing it was boring me. So I decided to resurrect my old vampire mother plot and merge the two. I mixed in some of my favourite periods of history, and there it was: The Cavaliers.

Briefly describe your protagonist, Harriet French and her personality:

On the face of it, Harriet’s a fairly normal girl. She lives in the north of England with her aunt, uncle and two younger cousins, her father having died and her mother walked out when she was a baby. She gets into Oxford University, which is one of her lifelong dreams, and decides to completely embrace every aspect of it – the educational, the social, the extra-curricular and the romantic.

Harriet’s quite confident and ambitious. Yes, she wants to meet a great boyfriend, but she also wants to do well in exams, to succeed in students politics and to support her friends. She’s definitely not a weak character. That said, Oxford is so different to anything she’s known before, and so outside of her comfort zone, that sometimes she doesn’t know quite how to react to things. In one chapter, for instance, she goes off with a guy (who’s a vampire) despite everyone warning her not  to, and gets bitten. When she’s rescued by another vampire, who she has a massive crush on, he tries to explain to her about vampires, but she thinks that the two of them have ganged up on her to play a complicated practical joke.

Most of the time though, she’s extremely calm. I can’t stand heroines who are crying and shouting all the time – Harriet tends to take most things in her stride.

Finally, it turns out that her mother is an extremely powerful vampire. The two of them have a very close but very fraught relationship, and the mother/daughter dynamic is nearly as important to the book as the romantic relationships.

Oh, and one more thing. She likes pretty dresses and champagne. I mean, she really likes them. It’s a bit of a standing joke for people who’ve read the books.

What are the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in writing this series?

I think the most enjoyable thing was being able to really indulge in some nostalgia for my days at Oxford University. It was amazing what funny little memories came back whenever I started to write. I also love writing scenes where characters are having really dramatic, emotional conversations (sometimes I think I should write screenplays instead of novels, because dialogue is definitely my favourite thing to write) and scenes that fill in the history and the backstory.

I think the two challenges were trying to do something new with vampires when there are so many vampire books available, and striking the right balance between making the vampires evil enough that they are interesting to read about and aren’t just basically super-attractive humans, without making them so brutal that they can’t possibly work as love interests.

What was the hardest scene for you to write in Screaming Spires?

Technically, either George’s trial or the scene where Augustine explains his life story and the history of the Treasures, because they were pretty complicated parts of the plot where I had to get a lot of important points across without drowning readers in too much information.

Emotionally, (a bit of a spoiler this one!) definitely the scene where Harriet breaks up with Tom. I felt like I’d invested huge amounts in that relationship over the course of two books and I kept wanting to change the storyline, but it really is necessary to make the book work.

What authors have had a significant influence on your writing?

I always think of The Cavaliers as basically two stories.

Half of it is pure paranormal romance, and that’s pretty directly influenced by LJ Smith. Her Vampire Diaries books were the first vampire novels I ever read and pretty much still my favourites.

The other half is a sort of coming of age tale about a normal girl suddenly finding herself surrounding by old buildings, strange traditions and rich people. That aspect draws a lot from my own student experiences, but is also influenced by a book called Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, about a girl at an elite New England boarding school.

Finally, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material is one of my favourite series ever, and although it’s had less of a direct influence than the other two books, I think it’s influenced me both by helping me to think of Oxford as a magical setting and in the character of Adelaide, who owes a certain debt to Pullman’s Mrs Coulter.

What do you usually like to read when you aren’t writing?

My tastes are pretty varied. I read about fifty percent what I guess you could call “genre fiction” – paranormal, fantasy, historical etc and about fifty percent contemporary literary stuff. I always say that I like genre books that don’t forget about prose and literary books that don’t forget about plot. Two books I’ve loved recently are Days of Blood and Starlight, and Bring up the Bodies.

As well as the three books I already mentioned in the Influences question, some of my all time favourites are: Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell, A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin, The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood, American Gods – Neil Gaiman, Prep – Curtis Sittenfeld, What a Carve Up – Jonathan Coe, The Dark is Rising series – Susan Cooper, Discworld Series – Terry Pratchett

What are your current projects?

I’m currently about halfway through the third and final book in The Cavaliers Trilogy: Ivory Terrors. I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the year. I’m trying to stay focused on getting that finished, but I’ve got lots of ideas for new, unconnected books. My next book after Ivory Terrors will probably be called the Separation of Powers – I’ve got it roughly plotted out and it’s sort of a fantasy, about a woman plotting to take over the country to avenge her brother’s murder, by seducing the lord who killed him.

Thank you for the Interview!

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About the Author

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Georgiana Derwent read History at Oxford University. Aside from the vampires, The Cavaliers Series is an exaggerated but fairly accurate portrayal of her time there. She now works in London and lives with her fiancé. He’s been very supportive throughout the writing of her books, mainly because he likes to claim that all the most attractive characters are based on him.

Georgiana fell in love with vampire novels after reading The Vampire Diaries back in 2000. At the time it was a struggle to find any similar paranormal romances, a situation that it’s fair to say seems to have been rectified in the last few years. She now loves paranormal series, fantasy novels, and modern literary works in roughly equal measure.

Ever since her teens, she wanted to write a vampire series. Ever since going to Oxford she wanted to write a book about her experiences there. During a dull few months between finishing university and starting her graduate job, she had the idea of combining the two and The Cavaliers Series was born.

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Purchase on Amazon:

 Oxford Blood (The Cavaliers: Book One) (Ebook)

 Oxford Blood (The Cavaliers: Book One) (book)

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Book Description for Oxford Blood

A 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist.

The Paranormal Romance Guild say – “Georgiana Derwent has managed to merge the world of Oxford University, with its rich history and very British traditions with a totally entertaining and plausible vampire story. This is going to be a favourite series.”

A Tale of the Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal…

The Cavaliers are the most elite society at Oxford University – rich, powerful, and beautiful. No one realises that they are no ordinary students, but a group of aristocratic vampires from the English Civil War. For four hundred years they have groomed the most promising students to run the government, police, and finance in the way the vampires wish, granting them eternal life in return for absolute obedience.

When Harriet French arrives at Oxford University from her working class northern state school, she’s prepared for a culture shock, but not to become embroiled in the Cavaliers’ scheming and bloodlust. Harriet thought she’d be busy enough juggling her demanding tutor, new friends, and the murky world of student politics. But now, she must find the rebel vampire who is killing off the members, stop the Cavaliers from orchestrating a massacre of the year’s most beautiful and successful students, and defy the Society to be with the man of her dreams.

Oxford Blood is a British, adult, paranormal romance. It’s a tale with vampires that aren’t afraid to kill and a heroine who’s not afraid of sex or her own ambition.

Purchase on Amazon:

Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers: Book Two) (Ebook)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00033]

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One comment on “Spotlight and Author Interview for Screaming Spires (The Cavaliers Book 2)

  1. Pingback: Guest post recap: Bad boys, perfect girls and George’s POV | The Posh, the Privileged and the Paranormal

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