Frequently Asked Questions
(Click on the question to reveal the answer)
A: In my mind and heart,
Michael and Nicole's story is far from over. I believe that Michael and Nicole are
each other's perfect other half, and I believe in the power of true love. Is there a way for them to have a happily ever after? Hmmm... who knows what the future will bring! If you'd like a sequel to Nocturne, please let me know!
My publisher asked the same thing when I turned in the manuscript for Nocturne, because she said it felt so real to her. In fact,
Michael's Colorado sanctuary is entirely a figment of my imagination. But I spent a great deal of time researching it and plotting it out, even going so far as to draw an architectural
blueprint-of-sorts of his house and the physical layout of his property.
It's now become so real to me, that in my mind's eye I can see Michael’s beautiful house perched up there high in the Rockies on that bend of Highway 40, nestled between the pines.
A: Nocturne came to be because the wonderful team at Vanguard Press loved my portrayal of a dashing, charismatic vampire in my novel Dracula, My Love.
They asked me to write a contemporary romantic vampire novel for them, to come out in time for Valentine's Day.
It was the first time I'd agreed to write a book without knowing what it was going to be about. But almost immediately, inspiration struck. There is something very compelling to me in the idea of a "good" vampire--a tortured being who cares deeply about humanity, and struggles daily to overcome his primal instinct to kill. In Dracula, My Love, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring a new, more sympathetic version of Dracula--a man who has spent an eternity on a determined quest to improve his mind and talents. I was eager to write about another such vampire, and another such relationship--but this time, I could invent my own characters from scratch.
A union between a vampire and a human is fascinating and compelling, yet so problematic. What if, I thought, a woman was stranded for days with a reclusive, gorgeous, fascinating man, who turned out to be just such a vampire? What if they fell deeply in love, and when she discovered his terrifying secret she had nowhere to run? For some reason, I knew the story had to take place on a mountaintop in Colorado during a blizzard. I was excited about that idea, and so were my agent and publisher.
A: I loved writing about just two characters. As a reader, with many love stories, I become so invested in the main characters and their relationship
that I'm tempted to skim or skip all the scenes with minor characters and just get to the main, romantic plot.
I wondered: was it possible to write a book that focused entirely on the hero and heroine, and didn't include a single other character? Would it work?
The challenge was to make them complex enough to keep the sexual tension and the twists and turns of the plot going. I designed the situation (trapped together in the middle of nowhere with a raging blizzard outside) to make the relationship center stage with no escape. I hoped this would make every action more intense and accelerated - with nothing to distract from their relationship.
It is important to me in every novel that the main characters go through some kind of learning curve--that they begin with a deeply felt inner wound that has in some way prevented them from moving forward in life, and over the course of the story, they grow and change, and come out on the other side transformed and ready to tackle life's challenges with new insight and perspective.
I believe that Nicole and Michael did that for each other; that the four magical days they spend together have changed them forever. Ultimately, though, I believe that Nocturne is about so much more than just the two individuals - it is all their history coming together in one place and time. I am so glad you enjoyed the result.
A: The book required a great deal of research. First, I had to consult with Colorado experts to help me pinpoint the precise, remote location in the Colorado mountains
where it was possible for Michael to own his land, and for him and Nicole to be snowed in for four days. I spent a lot of time researching and designing Michael's property, and
the details of Nicole's car accident during the blizzard.
I also extensively researched the realities of life and survival during Colorado winters and blizzards in a remote mountain location, road clearing, cross-country skiing, wild animal behavior, and ... the world of medical insurance claims.
I researched the care and training of horses with two experts, and learned all about the Indian Hackamore. I met Posse and Pockets several times--they are based on real horses-- and I learned to ride Pockets bareback.
I read a lot about Robert Burns, Charles Dickens, and other historical figures. I listened to tons of music to find just the right pieces to include in the story at each appropriate moment. To assure accuracy with regard to various medical treatments in the story and particulars of the medical profession and education, I consulted with doctors and nurses.
A: I didn't really plan which historical characters to include in the story--they chose me. I wanted Michael to have a signed novel in his library.
It had to be a famous British writer from the Regency or early Victorian era, but it couldn't be Jane Austen or one of the Brontës, whose books were published
anonymously during their lifetime. I didn't know it was going to be Charles Dickens until Nicole pulled the book off the shelf, and then it was fun to research and invent
how and when Michael knew him in a way that was historically accurate.
As for Robert Burns--I asked my husband to please help me find a wonderful, romantic song to serve as the theme for the novel, that could also be played on a music box. Bill played the CD of one of his favorite songs, "My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose," and it was so perfect I started crying. When I learned more about Robert Burns, I decided that Michael had to know him, and I added a jaunt to Scotland to Michael's backstory.
And then, of course, there's my favorite character from Michael's past (who I like to think of as real)--a subtle reference to the alter ego of the title character in Dracula, My Love. See if you can find it!
A: Music plays a major role in this novel, and one of the great pleasures of writing it was finding the right pieces of music to include, both to showcase the theme and
the characters' emotional state. At different points in the story, Michael and Nicole each sit down at the piano and play pieces that are difficult and dramatic, emphasizing the
frustration they feel at the time. Their shared love of music and the piano is one of the many things that draws them to each other.
The title of the book is both a tribute to music and a description of the story itself, since a nocturne is, by definition, a short, lyrical piece of music of a dreamy or pensive character especially for the piano, that is appropriate to the night or evening.
And the centerpiece, "My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose," represents the theme of the story: that Michael's love for Nichole is everlasting, and like Michael himself, it will last forever.
A: Interestingly, the forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is not identified, although popular Christian tradition holds that it was an apple.
Magical, golden apples are featured in both Greek mythology (as growing on the Tree of Life) and Norse mythology (they keep one young forever), and they appear
frequently in fairy tales such as the poisoned apple in Snow White.
I had all this in mind when Michael hands Nicole that slice of apple. It's a symbol of all that he is: the forbidden fruit, a combination of poison and youth elixir, whose very bite could kill her yet make her immortal. At the same time, the apple is a source of life: the nourishment she needs to recover and survive.
A: The universe is a fascinating place, full of wonders that mankind has yet to understand, discover, and explore. Many of the advances that modern scientists
have made and which we take completely for granted today were once considered impossible--the stuff of superstition--and would have gotten our ancestors burned as witches.
It is certainly possible that many things we see as mere superstitions could be true, or founded on a kernel of truth. I believe that anything is possible.