Is she ready yet?
Dylan! You are supposed to be backstage with Scarlet until we give you your cue to come out.
Well, Scarlet wants to know if we're going to act out the scene...
WHAT? Stop fibbing McDermott! I took down Ironman, I can take care of you without breaking a sweat. Lia, I told him we were just doing a dramatic reading but he insists on wearing those goofy fangs.
(the crowd breaks out into laughter and cat calls)
Shhhhh...Sloan will hear us and ruin the surprise. Dylan get rid of those dime store fangs and listen to Scarlet, please. I don't want to have to call an ambulance for you when she gives you a concussion!
(Scarlet pulls Dylan back through the curtain and gives him a piece of her mind. Their voices fade as they make their way back to the Green Room .)
Sorry about that folks. What is it about the men who come in to do these readings? Not one of them will stay back stage and keep quiet. Must be something in the air! Am I right? (cheers erupt again. "Bring her out!")
Yeah, I think you're right. Put your hands together and give a warm House of Taboo welcome to romance author Sloan Archer!
Come on in and sit down next to me, Sloan. Don't worry. We have a rowdy bunch tonight but they are always a lot of fun! (Sloan waves to the crowd causing them to cheer louder. She blushes a bit as she takes her seat next to me on the overstuffed chairs on Taboo's right stage. It's a little more of an intimate setting that we thought would be great for Sloan's first guest spot and we wanted to save the Center Stage for her surprise...shhhhhh!) Let's get started with what everyone wants to know from any writer. What inspires you to actually take pen to paper or tap out those words on a keyboard?
I usually have my best ideas when I’m on my long runs. (I try to jog at least five miles a day- I’ve got way too much nervous energy for my own good!) I’ll set the music to whatever mood I’m trying to create and let my mind wander.
Something as simple as a song or a conversation may also inspire a section of my book. My friends definitely have a big influence on my writing, too. I don’t model my individual characters after them per se, but sometimes the funny/bizarre/snarky things they tell me may stir up a concept for a conversation or an event in the book.
And, no, I never, ever use my own personal experiences while writing the sex scenes. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question! Of course, it’s always the men who ask this first. I can just see the lustfulness drain from their eyes as I report negative. Ha-ha.
I’d definitely say that I’m a little bit of both! I’ll begin writing with a general plot in mind, but I may change a few things here and there. I get really attached to my characters, too, so I’ll keep adding additional information about their personalities to enhance a particular scene.
In Mercy’s Debt, there were a couple of characters that I initially wanted to mention in only a couple of scenes. However, I grew to like and/or despise them through writing about them, so I started to think, “You know, maybe I’ll keep you around a little longer. Your character is safe… for now!”
Do you listen to music while writing? What kinds of music work best for you? Do different types of music help you for different types of scenes?
I don’t listen to music while I’m in front of the computer- I usually write in complete silence- but I definitely use it to help put me in the mood just before I begin.
For murder scenes, I listen to heavy rock/metal. If I want to kill somebody off in a story or have some sort of chase scene, Tool is my go-to band! I actually listened to their Aenima album just before I wrote in the “invisible killer chasing Mercy” forest scene in Mercy’s Debt. For the love scenes, I listen to songs with smooth, seductive beats. Honestly, I don’t think that it’s possible for anyone to listen to Portishead and not have some sort of filthy thought, so I’ll throw on one of their earlier albums to get into a ‘sexy time’ mood. Rolling Stones are probably my absolute favorite in all respects. They have a song for everything.
Tell us about the different types of characters you like to write about? Why are these types so appealing to you?
Conflict is the true essence of most good stories, so I like to pen relatable but flawed protagonists who maybe have a bit of a jaded past. I find perfection tedious! In ‘real life,’ it doesn’t matter how beautiful, smart, or accomplished a person is; if you delve into their closet, there’s bound to be a skeleton or two rattling around in there somewhere! That’s what makes a person truly interesting: the wickedness hiding beneath their picture-perfect façade. So, I try to ‘keep it real’ when it comes to my characters, especially when I use heavy supernatural elements.
I like outsiders, and those who have never really found their niche within society. Smart, ball-busting women are also a favorite of mine. I can pretty much guarantee that nobody will ever pick up a Sloan Archer book and read about a female who shrugs her shoulders and says, “Duh, I don’t know anything! But I sure am pretty, aren’t I?” Never going to happen! I also like to include all sorts of ages and ethnicities in my novels.
In what ways are your characters like you? In what ways are your characters not like you?
My characters are like me in the sense that they are very private. You know those people you meet and you think, “Wow, now there’s an open book?” This is so not me. I have many friendly acquaintances, but there are only a handful of people who genuinely know me. I think many of my characters reflect this. The whole premise of Mercy’s Debt also signifies this theme, as it’s about vampires who wish to maintain a public image of being human to help conceal their secrets. The vampires in the story choose to let very few inside their circle, and so do I.
The characters are different from me because they tend to hold back their feelings to either avoid confrontation or maintain a sense of decorum. This is absolutely not the way I handle conflict. I’m more of a “Let’s just throw it out there and get it out of the way” sort of person, and I’m usually the first one to point out the elephant in the room. Sorry, but I’m no vampire. I won’t live forever, so I don’t have time to pussyfoot around. Ha!
I'm the very same way as are my alter egos. Telling it like it is sometimes gets us into some hot water, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Now how about you?
Who are some of your favorite authors and why do you think they appeal so much to you?
I absolutely love Irvine Welsh. His novels are so gritty and whacked-out that you feel almost uncomfortable reading them. They elicit a definite emotional response, which is what I look for in a book. I like Marian Keyes because her characters are funny and make me laugh out loud, but they are at the same time frustrating and are their own worst enemies.
I also like Stephen King because, well, he’s Stephen King! He’s brilliant at taking something very basic and twisting it around to scare the hell out of almost anyone. I’ve had a few of his books frighten me to such an extent that I’ve literally had to hide them under the bed because the sheer sight of them inspired so much terror within me that I couldn’t fall sleep. To me, that is an amazing writer.
Ahhh...Taboo loves Stephen King as well. Don't we folks! (wild cheers and whistles echo throughout the night club.) We all have our favorite characters. What about your hero? What makes your leading man hot and lovable?
What I love about Robert Bramson is that he is very aloof around almost everyone he encounters, but he has this warmness in his heart that he keeps only for Mercy. I believe that this is the very crux of intimacy: revealing a private facet of yourself that nobody in the world but this one other person gets to see. There’s a certain sexiness in vulnerability, isn’t there?
Robert is also gorgeous and wealthy of course, which doesn’t hurt any man’s cause, but what makes him unique is his turbulent history. He also adores Mercy for being herself. He could have any woman in the world, but he wants Mercy because she’s clever and keeps him in line. I like him for liking her, if you know what I mean.
Is this book a part of a series?
Yes. Mercy’s Debt is book one of three in the Montgomery’s Vampires series. The second book, Mercy’s Doubt, which I’m currently writing, begins with a huge shocker. I think readers are going to like what I have in store. I hope they do, anyway!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the Montgomery’s Vampires series, and another novel called Lilac Coma. Lilac Coma is about two very opposite strangers, Clare and Lauren, whose lives are forever changed after one is inadvertently hospitalized by the other. I’m also penning my first horror book, The Frightened, which is a collection of short stories written under my pen name, V.L. Barz.
What can I say? I like to stay busy!
We like to hear that because that's our motto here at The House of Taboo. We constantly strive to give our patrons and guests a night of their lives. In that vein...pardon the pun...we have a surprise for you. Before we bring them out, would you mind reading the blurb for Mercy's Debt? You know, set the "stage" for your paranormal romantic thriller.
After graduating from the prestigious Dewhurst University, Mercy Montgomery finds herself in a bit of financial trouble: over $108,000 worth of financial trouble, in fact. She can’t find a job to save her life, and with bill collectors constantly at her heels, she has no idea how she will ever come up with the money needed in order to keep her head above water.
Mercy’s monetary worries seem to be over after a chance meeting with mystifyingly pale Michael Graves, who offers her a high-paying job at his company, Dignitary. But there’s a catch; the seemingly harmless Dignitary is an underground organization that offers human chaperones to wealthy bloodsucking clients.
As if congregating with the undead doesn’t make life complicated enough for Mercy, there’s a savage killer on the loose who appears to have a craving for her blood. Soon Mercy is torn between a dark and dangerous underworld of supernatural desire and a simple life of practicality, and business magnate Robert Bramson is the man she blames for her confusion. If he just wasn’t so damn sexy…and dangerous. As the killer closes in, Mercy realizes that she must make a decision. But will she make her choice too late?
Ahhhh...the stage is ready now! Hang onto your panties, Sloan. Here are two actors who have flown in today just for this appearance for you. Please welcome Scarlet Johansson and Dylan McDermott!
I ran my fingers though his soft hair, pushing his face into me, rubbing my slippery skin against his glorious face. The anticipation of this moment had been so fierce that I came almost instantly, flooding his mouth with my cream.
Emboldened by desire, I pulled his face back and gazed into his eyes. “I want you to taste me, Robert- to really taste me.”
His eyes flickered. He knew what I was demanding.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said softly.
I opened my legs wider, exposing the sensitive flesh on my inner thigh to him. “I trust you,” I murmured. “I trust you completely.”
He lowered his face to my leg in a deliberate motion. He looked up into my eyes, revealing his pointed incisors to me: Was I absolutely certain?
He was so close to my flesh that the tips of his razor-sharp fangs left behind tiny droplets of blood. I smirked longingly: Yes, drink from me. Take me into you.
He bit into me; gently at first, but his pressure increased as he latched onto my thigh. I gripped his shoulders, my mouth falling open to let out an inaudible shriek. My pulse surged, my plasma vibrated through my body. The feeling was thrilling; like being pushed but pulled, scared but lustful, and melancholy but euphoric simultaneously.
He shoved himself away roughly, his hands crumpling the sheets. He threw back his head and licked my blood from his lips, letting out terrifying grunts as he peered at me forebodingly with his blazing metallic eyes.
He reached for my ankle, pulling my entire body under him in one swift movement. He brought his face to mine, and kissed me so I could taste by own blood and musk inside his mouth.
I fumbled with the zipper on his slacks until I finally managed to get it down with my trembling fingers, and his impeccable prick sprang free. I licked my lips, marveling at its perfection.
I took the tip of his shaft into my mouth, tasting him, making circles with my tongue around the head. He clenched his buttocks and moaned, gently seizing the hair at the nape neck. I pushed him deep into the back of my throat, keeping my lips closed tightly around his member. He thrust into my mouth uninhibitedly, his moans echoing off the walls.
Robert attempted to pull back as he released his seed, but I sucked relentlessly, harder and harder until he relinquished control. I wanted- needed- to taste him, and he gratified my cravings by spurting down my throat unreservedly. His liquid surged out like lava, and I drank on him ravenously until he was dry.
He pulled out of my mouth and, amazingly, he remained stiff.
“An advantage of vampirism,” he said huskily, clasping his erection.
I smiled up at him impishly, opening my legs and exposing myself to him in a silent invitation for him to take me. He gazed down into my eyes with burning intensity, driving himself into me. He pumped at my insides fervently, his thrusts quickening as our grunts increased. I wrapped my legs tightly around him, telling him that he was the best that I’d ever had. Oh, and how I meant it. He groaned in agreement, and I pushed him deeper into me.
“I need to feel you come inside me!” I cried. With his final thrusts, Robert reached climax; my quaking interior tightened around him as we came in unison.
We rolled on our sides and remained still for a few minutes, softly panting until our breathing steadied. He pulled out of me, then, and I sighed blissfully. I pulled on my panties, catching his buttery fluid, and curled up against his wide chest.
I threw an arm over his magnificently chiseled torso. I couldn’t recall a single moment in my life when I’d felt more cared for by a man.
Well, while Sloan visits a bit with Scarlet and Dylan let me tell you a bit more about where to find her and her books. Click on the following links to take you to all her hangouts. Don't forget to stop in on Monday at Behind Closed Doors where she shares another excerpt (it's a little girl on girl fun!) and on Thursday she'll visit Sassy Vixen Publishing for one of our last Thursday Thirteen features.
More about Sloan
She is a seasoned world traveler whose journeys have taken her from Madagascar to Indonesia, and many countries in-between. In 2007 she founded a jewelry label, VIVI+VIVI, and received international recognition for her creations, her most coveted designs worn by celebrities and carried in trendy boutiques like Fred Segal in Los Angeles. In 2012, she closed her business to focus on her true love, writing.
When Sloan isn’t composing books, she enjoys traveling, running marathons, painting, reading, baking, and spending time at the beach. She is currently working on two novels: Mercy’s Doubt, the second installation of the Montgomery’s Vampires Series, and Lilac Coma.