Damned When I Didn’t by Cherie Colyer - YA Paranormal Romance - Can an eighteen-year-old virgin fulfill her succubus duties without losing her innocence?
Interview with Cherie ColyerWelcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder. Tell us about your newest book.
Damned When I Didn’t is perfect for fans of paranormal romance. This young adult novel follows recently deceased Avery Williams in her afterlife as Hell’s newest and youngest succubus, and she’s determined to defy Hell’s orders and return to her friends and family.
Cole has made the best of his afterlife, embracing his death sentence as one of Hell’s incubi. The alternative is an eternity burning in the River of Souls. Much to his dismay, the Queen of the Damned has tasked him with showing Avery the ropes. Something she’s making very difficult.
They’ll have to find a way to make things work or face Hell’s wraith.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing Damned When I Didn’t?
I love YA paranormal romances, and I really wanted to write something that hadn’t been done before. Writing about a succubus came to mind. And I thought, what if she’s a virgin? Typically, succubi are demons who seduce people through sexual activity. I had to find a happy balance in my book. One that kept it in the YA genre, showed character growth, and kept true to my characters. I think the end results do all of these things.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
The first novel I wrote was a middle-grade fantasy. I wrote it for fun, but I enjoyed the whole process so much that I decided to learn more about publishing. That led me to join SCBWI, a critique group, and to take a few writing courses. I never did find a home for that book, but it did receive great feedback. I wrote a few more books, one of which was Embrace, another YA PNR/thriller. That book ended up being my first published novel. In the ten years since its release, I’ve had published an adult paranormal romance, a middle-grade ghost story, and five YA novels, with Damned When I Didn’t being the latest YA.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
Oh wow, this is a hard one. Mostly because so much time has passed and things changed. When I sent my first query, agents didn’t accept email queries. Everything was snail mail and information wasn’t easily Googled. In fact, Goggle was quite new. But, that very first novel of mine went through so many revisions. I loved the characters and that world. Still do. I think I’d tell my past self to hire a developmental editor (DE) to help polish the story and writing before querying. Of course, finding a good DE wouldn’t have been easy. There is so much more information available now.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
There is a scene were Avery attends her wake, only her friends and family don’t know it’s her. There is so much emotion in that scene that I often found myself tearing up as I wrote it.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
They are. But I don’t set out to write a story with a particular theme in mind. It just sort of happens. At the core of all of my novels there are strong friendships; characters who are there for one another through thick in thin. Damned When I Didn’t is part coming-of-age and part redemption. My Embrace series and Challenging Destiny have the theme of good vs. evil. And my middle-grade novel Friends to the End tackles courage. I’m not sure I could write a book that didn’t end up with a strong theme woven into its core.
What are you working on now?
I’ve been juggling two projects. I have a novel PNR romance, Salted Caramel Bliss and a Wedding Kiss, coming out this summer. It’s part of The Wild Rose Press’ One Scoop or Two series and stars Peyton Woods from Merry Little Wishing Spritz. She’s a happily single seer who follows a spell to a small beach town in Maine, believing she’s meant to help the man and boy in her recent premonitions, only she ends up married to the man she hoped never to see again, and she has no memory of the happy event.
The other project, Atticus Everheart, Fifth Grade Tutor…and Monster Hunter, is a middle-grade fantasy that is Hotel Transylvania meets Sherlock Holmes. This story follows a ten-year-old boy determined not to be fed to monsters by his older brothers. More on this story to come!
Is there a release date planned?
Yes! Well, it’s more of a timeframe. Salted Caramel Bliss with a Wedding Kiss will be released this summer, and Atticus Everheart, Fifth Grade Tutor…and Monster Hunter will be out this fall.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
It’s a tie between Cole in Damned When I Didn’t and Caden in the Embrace Series. I have a thing for anti-heroes and bad boys.
In my middle-grade novels, I’m going to say Zach from Friends to the End. He comes such a long way in that book. And he hunts ghosts! This may change as I finish more novels.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
Escape to Witch Mountain. I was fascinated with the idea of kids having magical powers, and I secretly wished I had powers too.
What are your plans for future projects?
I’m currently working on a companion novel for Merry Little Wishing Spritz that includes Cassie, Jack, and a cast of new characters. It’s in the very early stages. I’m also playing around with a sequel for Damned When I Didn’t.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
You can learn more about my books on my website, www.cheriecolyer.com. I’d also like to thank Brandy for having me on her blog.
You're welcome. Good luck with Damned When I Didn’t, and thank you for being with us today.
“What’s your problem?” Cole asked. He stood a few feet from me, eyes narrowed.
“Nothing.” I breathed in deep, trying to calm myself. The stench of cheap perfume invaded my nostrils. I covered my nose with my hand. “You reek of imitation lavender and…and…onions.”
Cole tossed his keys onto the counter. Obvious confusion flittered over his features only to be replaced with the realization that I was referring to the scents of the waitress.
“You’re one to talk!” he spit back. “You stink of Sport Goofy.”
“Sport Goofy, I mean Marcus, barely touched me.” Cole gave off such a strong odor, I was sure the waitress had put her hands all over him.
Cole stepped closer, placing his hands on the counter on either side of me, caging me in.
“And I barely touched her,” he growled. “When a human’s life force flows from them to us, our souls grow brighter and—”
“We smell like them,” I said, finishing his sentence. He’d told me that once.
“And because our senses become sharper, we know when our kind renews.” The blue in his irises was more pronounced than I’d remembered. I bit my lip to keep from asking him if that was because of my heightened vision or because he’d renewed, as he called it. “Now, do you want to tell me what’s really bothering you?”
I felt my face warm, and I had to fight to keep my gaze from traveling to his lips. Did I want to admit that I was irrationally jealous that he’d kissed another girl? Nope. So, instead, I said, “Her smell makes me want to puke.”
“Eau de Jock is doing the same to me.”
“You’re the one who called Sport Goofy,” I reminded him.
He smiled, clearly happy that I’d called Marcus by the nickname.
“You’re the one who pissed off the Queen of the Damned,” he countered.
I twitched a shoulder. “I still can’t stand how you smell right now.”
“Fine!” He grabbed me just under my butt and lifted me over his shoulder. I screamed. He held my legs, keeping me from falling.
“What are you doing?” I grabbed his waist from my upside down position.
“You think I smell?”
“Reek. And you said I do, too! Now put me down!”
“Let’s fix that.”
He marched to the bathroom with me slung over his shoulder. The next thing I knew we were standing in the tub. He continued to hold me like a sack of rice.
He slid me down his chest so I stood in front of him with his arms keeping me from moving.
He reached behind me.
I glanced up at the showerhead, then to the knob next to me. “You wouldn’t!”