Interview with Denise K. Rago
Paranormal romance writer and author of Immortal Obsession
Denise K. Rago is a lover of books, art museums and vampires. We met when she did an interview here on April 27, 2011. Visit www.denisekrago.com to read reviews, interviews and guest posts, and to see portraits of some of the characters from Immortal Obsession.
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 stranger who sat down in a booth behind my husband and I. He was very tall with waist-length blond hair. He wore a long black duster, black pants and boots. When our eyes met, he said hello and I felt as if we had met before. His voice was deep and silky smooth and I seemed to fall into his dark eyes.
That weekend I began writing Immortal Obsession. When my husband and I talked about this mysterious stranger, we described two very different men. The experience was unnerving, yet exciting because I knew he was the inspiration for my main character, the vampire Christian Du Mauré. His personality came to me effortlessly; his hopes and dreams, sorrows and losses. I have since learned he 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.
Tell us about your book.
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 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) urgently needs her help; 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.
Did you do a lot of rewrites?
Yes! After completing my first draft in 2005, my path crossed with a gentleman with decades of experience in the publishing business. He is a publisher, editor and author himself. He was kind enough to read the first several chapters of Immortal Obsession, and then he requested my entire manuscript! After receiving his eight-page letter, I took his suggestions to heart. Though I disagreed with some of them, I agreed with most of them. After considering his suggestions and rewriting most of my novel I began my search for a copy-editor to fine tune my manuscript.
What’s the back story in terms of publishing?
Once I had completed my novel I spent the better part of 2008 querying dozens of agents, but only one asked for the first 50 pages of my novel. After too many rejections to count, I was beginning to rethink my position as an unknown author. When someone I know and trust suggested self-publishing I purchased some reference books on the subject. Coincidentally, two people mentioned the same self - publishing company in the same day and I took that as a sign. After much reading I decided to go with Createspace. They have been professional, prompt and very supportive. Together we created my book cover which combined a photograph I had taken of the angel on top of Bethesda Fountain in Central Park with their background of a full moon and blood red clouds.
How has the book been marketed?
I have author page on Facebook as well as a page on Goodreads. I am on Twitter, Smashwords and Indie books. I also have my favorite blogs/websites which I visit weekly. I have built relationships with other writers, book reviewers and bloggers by being present on their websites. I tend to do a lot of interviews, guest posts and I offer my novel for review to them. This gives my novel exposure as well as reviewers a chance to do what they do best, read and review books.
I have several copies of my novel in a local bookstore as well as having donated copies to several local libraries. With the help of Well Versed Creative, a San Diego based company I created a website that lures the reader into the world of my vampires, complete with portraits done by a professional artist, Pauli Verridicci. I also have a blog on my website and encourage feedback.
What has the response been?
The response to Immortal Obsession has been excellent for the most part. I understand that not everyone will like my novel. It is unrealistic to believe so. As an avid reader, I don’t always like everything I read, whether it is by a self-published author or a best-selling one. I think it is important to read reviews but not to let them sway me.
What was the hardest part of the process?
The marketing of my novel requires which requires my constant attention and so leaves me less time for my writing. The self-publishing market is flooded which makes marketing my novel more difficult. It is a wonderful time to be a writer. We have so much control over our content and getting it to the public, however, this freedom leaves the writer responsible for all aspects of marketing and public relations.
I would say writing has been the easiest part of this journey. I generally keep everything I write even if I find I may not use it in the novel I am currently working on as one never knows so I have about three manuscripts worth of material right now. My plan is to write three books in this series.
The most satisfying?
If a reader likes my novel perhaps it opens a window into another world and if it is really good, it might open a door for them. I am an avid reader as well and through books I get to meet characters I might not normally meet in my everyday life. How often could I meet a werewolf with a conscious, a Swedish hacker or an innocent child trying to solve her own murder?
It’s the possibilities within a novel that compel me to read; compel me to write. I want to learn about these people and their world and to create them as well. So, when someone asks me how many books have I sold I think to myself, if I can open a door or a window for someone, if they remember one of my characters, something they said or did or how my book made them feel then I have succeeded.
About the author:
Denise K. Rago is a lover of books, art museums and vampires. She received a Masters’ Degree in Museum Professions which included an internship at her favorite museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In addition to writing, her career has revolved around working for one private, non-profit school that she is extremely devoted to. She lives in the New York metropolitan area with her family. Visit her website at www.denisekrago.com to read reviews, interviews, guest posts and see portraits some of the characters from Immortal Obsession.