Michelle Rodriguez is no stranger to the operatic stage. It's no wonder her passion for the Phantom of the Opera drew her into the world of the macabre. As one of the authors at The Wild Rose Press, she's here today to shed some light on her characters in her new release, Opera Macabre. Please give her a warm welcome. Comments and questions are always welcomed. Read on to find out how you could be entered to win your own copy of Opera Macabre.
Michelle, let’s start with you telling the readers a little about yourself:
I am a classically trained singer with a BA in music from St. Xavier University in Chicago. I love to perform and try to be onstage as much as I can. Thankfully, my university has provided me with a lot of opportunities, most recently playing Yum-Yum in the Mikado this past spring.
Singing and writing have always been my passions. Whenever I am not practicing or onstage, I’m usually writing. I’ve written a couple dozen novels, but this is the first time I decided to be brave and try to publish one. Now add into that two little ones, and that is the chaos of my life!
Your new release with The Wild Rose Press is Opera Macabre. What inspired you to pen this Gothic vampire tale?
Insomnia! Truly! But I’ve always been a little obsessed with vampires. I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer for that! I actually started writing Opera Macabre in 2003, wrote about the first 60 pages, and then put it aside. After my son was born in 2006, I had chronic insomnia problems, and I thought going back to writing would help. Strangely enough, it was the only thing that helped! So literally, writing is my sanity, and writing Opera Macabre saved me from insomnia! Since I wrote it, I haven’t stopped writing.
Does this vampire tale follow the traditional legends? Can sunlight and a stake through the heart kill them? Give us a back story about your creatures of the night.
Yes, my vampires are traditional vampires. They can’t go out in the daylight and a stake through the heart kills them. They’re immortal, deceptively beautiful, and by human terms, dead. No heartbeat, no breath, no soul. My hero, Aiden, also has a special ability; he can shape-shift into other creatures, a bat or a wolf. My vampire world is one where demons exist as well. One of the other main characters, Rufus, is a demon. Demons have their own special abilities and are immortal as well, but unlike vampires, they can go out in the daylight.
Tell the readers about the hero, Count Aiden de Lazarus. What is his first impression upon meeting the heroine, Bianca? Why does he fear her? What are Aiden’s weaknesses and strengths?
When Aiden first comes upon Bianca, she is a means to prove himself. He has just been taunted for not being a real vampire anymore, and he’s out to establish that he is still a valid threat to the mortal world. He simply wants something to kill, and Bianca is the one who crosses his path. But one look at her, and he can’t go through with it. He feels, and that is the part that scares him. Bianca never sees Aiden that first night, and in lieu of killing her, he uses her to his advantage and gives her to another vampire, Alexi, as compensation for a debt. His belief is that Alexi will do what Aiden can’t and kill her.
Aiden’s weakness falls in the fact that he’s a vampire. Living as long as he has, he’s grown apathetic to life, and the fact that he sees Bianca and feels anything makes him weak. And yet, eventually, that is also the very thing that makes him strong.
What is Bianca like? What does she think of Aiden? What are her weaknesses and strengths?
Bianca is really the tragic victim of the tale. She lives a cursed life among the vampires. Alexi has built an elaborate enterprise with her as his star, making her sing onstage and then auctioning her off to other vampires for a “taste”. Living such a nightmare leaves its scars, and Bianca plays constant roles to avoid being herself. She’d rather be the prima donna than ever let anyone see the real soul beneath.
She hates Aiden at first sight because she thinks he is just another vampire about to abuse her. Her first impression doesn’t see past the fangs, but he confounds her and shatters her views of what a vampire is supposed to be.
Her strength comes from leading a horrible life and yet enduring every trauma the world throws at her. She’s determined to survive and isn’t afraid to go against conventionality. Her weakness is the fact that Alexi considers her to be his possession, and she is too afraid to challenge that.
How much research went into creating the story? Do you have a favorite resource book or website?
A lot of my research was real life. The opera and music part of the story come from my background in music as well as a healthy obsession with The Phantom of the Opera. And the vampire part is really a lot of fantasy and too many Buffy episodes!
What are your current projects and works in progress?
I am working on an entire series about angels and demons. Four of the novels are finished with at least 3 more planned. I have to find a publisher yet for those (fingers crossed!). I’ve also written quite a few other vampire books I wouldn’t mind sharing someday. My latest finished novel was my 24th, and it was another vampire tale. Next, I go back to angels! And in the midst of all of that, I’m in rehearsals for a vocal recital at the end of October! I must be crazy!
Tell the readers where they can find you:
My website is: www.michellegliottonirodriguez.webs.com/
Facebook page for “Opera Macabre”:
Phantom of the Opera stories:
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Yes, I am also addicted to The Phantom of the Opera. I post stories online and have a worldwide following. I have 24 stories posted thus far, two of which are novel length, and I have written over 60! Anyone who is interested can find them on my website or on fanfiction.net under the penname michellemybelle25
Count Aiden de Lazarus has grown apathetic to the world around him and the monotony of immortal life. Determined to regain his zest for vampiric pursuits, he chooses a mortal girl and bites her with the intent to drain her. Instead, her intoxicating taste and enchanting beauty stirs feelings he has long buried. Scared by such mortal feelings, he gives her to another vampire as payment for a debt.
After eight long years, Bianca is still living a cursed life—singing on stage in Alexi's profitable opera and enduring the bites of the undead as part of his undercover auction when the stage lights dim. Doomed to become Alexi’s vampire bride, her future is bleak.
Aiden is horrified to find Bianca still alive and Alexi’s prized possession. Her image has continued to haunt him. Now he must find a way to free her from the life he unwittingly condemned her to and prove that he, unlike the vampires she has known, can be a man worth loving.
“Bianca,” he whispered provocatively near her ear, and felt her entire frame quiver in his grasp. With a wolf-like grin curling his lips, he bent nearer to that tempting pulse of her throat, but instead of biting her as he so ached to do, he grazed his lips against it, a feather light kiss, eliciting a soft, strangled gasp from her. Unable to help himself, he grew bolder in his endeavors and let the very tip of his tongue trail the same path.
Unwelcome and yet uncontrollable heat filtered through her body as it arched against him, desperate to get closer to that devil’s mouth. The voice in her head that should have been screaming at her to stop was only muttering fragments of musings, lost as well to the sensation, as she found herself unable to do anything but surrender.
Aiden burrowed his mouth against her throat, covering the sensitive flesh with seductive kisses. His tongue darted between his lips, teasing, tasting as she writhed fervently against him.
“Bianca,” he breathed again between kisses, “what is it that you want?”
“You!” she heard herself gasp out as though someone else had spoken.
“Oh? And what do you want me to do to you?” He gently nipped at her pulse, hinting at his desire, his hunger tearing at him to be satiated.
“Bite me… Oh, please devour me, Aiden!”
To own a copy of Opera Macabre by Michelle Rodriguez:
To buy links are:
The Wild Rose Press:
***For a chance to win a copy Michelle is running a contest on Good Reads(Ends Oct. 10, 2011.) : http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/14520-opera-macabre
Michelle, thank you so much for coming by and sharing your new release with us. I wish you the very best.