Monday, February 14, 2011

Blog Tour: Author Jon F. Merz, talking about his new novel "The Kensei"

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Please help me give a warm welcome to author Jon F. Merz, author of the Lawson Vampire series, and all around cool guy (he's a ninja!). Since it's Valentines Day, he's talking about the relationships present in the Lawson series. To learn more about Jon, make sure to visit his website and play around - so many things to see! So without further ado... Here's Jon!

The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire NovelRelationships in THE KENSEI

by Jon F. Merz

One of the things I think makes my latest novel THE KENSEI such a fun read is the relationship between the hero, Lawson, and his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Talya. These two are about as unusual a pairing as you're likely to find in the pages of urban fantasy, but somehow, they work. And exploring their relationship is always interesting for me as a writer.

Of course, Lawson is a vampire. But he's not any old type of typical vampire. He belongs to a race of living vampires that have evolved in secret alongside humanity for thousands of years. And within vampire society, Lawson is pretty special. He's a Fixer - destined from birth to protect that secret existence of his race from humans. He's part-spy/part-commando and he's pretty damned lethal. Mix in with that a hefty dose of sarcasm and witty one-liners and you can see that he's some kind of dude to get involved with.

Talya, on the other hand, is human. She's a former KGB assassin who now freelances for various governments and private individuals. The product of a rape by a Chinese soldier on the border with Kazakhstan, Talya could have chosen to live her life wallowing in horror of her past. But she has instead chosen to be among the best at what she does and channels her money into helping children in impoverished third world countries. Her Eurasian beauty is compelling but it's the fact that she is every bit Lawson's equal that makes her so incredibly fun to write. Talya is no shrinking violet, even when confronted with Lawson's sarcasm or rather generous libido. Talya is empowered and fully in control of her own destiny, desires, and foibles.

When they first met in the pages of THE FIXER, Lawson had no idea what he was getting himself into. Neither did Talya. And as is so often the case with two relative equals, the dance they engaged in was very much a feeling out process that quickly developed into mutual respect and later affection. Lawson, as a vampire, is forbidden from openly being in a relationship with Talya, so they make it work covertly - something they are able to do quite well given both their backgrounds.

Talya, rather than cling or try to turn Lawson into a domesticated guy, is happy being off on her own. When they're together, it's great and it works, but these two don't see much reason to compromise their own lives and destinies for the sake of being with each other. At some point in the future, they'll probably reach a point where that may happen. But for now, they are two equals who enjoy being together when it works for their schedules. Otherwise, they're free to come and go and do as they please.

Given Talya's past and her upbringing, it wasn't too hard for her to buy into the notion that her boyfriend is a vampire. She's seen far too much during her wet work years with the KGB to even be surprised by the revelation. And Lawson, for his part, marveled at how easily she took the news. Talya's steadfast resolve is one of the many things that Lawson adores about her.

In THE KENSEI, Lawson and Talya get to reconnect in pursuit of a crazed evil genius intent on creating an army of vampire-human hybrids out of stolen body parts. The action is fast and furious and forces the two of them to learn how to work together the way they did once before. There are complications and challenges unique to their relationship that I think only enhances what they feel for each other. As a result, they come away with a better understanding and probably a whole lot more love than when they started out on this adventure.

In writing THE KENSEI, and the other Lawson Vampire books, it's always been one of my goals to make sure that the relationships I portray are as realistic as possible - even given the universe they inhabit. Blending that reality with the fiction and blurring that line between their world and ours is one of the ways I hope to make THE KENSEI a truly memorable and fun read.

And if things go well - then we'll be seeing plenty more of Lawson and Talya for many years to come. I hope you all grab a copy of THE KENSEI at your local bookstore. And you can also get caught up on the other books and stories in the Lawson Vampire universe with your Kindle or Nook.

A HUGE thank you to Jon for coming to celebrate his new release with us! Keep a lookout for my review of "The Kensei" coming later this week! And make sure to pick up your copy of "The Kensei" at!

Happy Valentines Day everyone! And as always, Happy Reading!
~!~ Amanda ~!~

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