"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Noelle Mack is a designer for a major California entertainment company. Three was her first erotic novel, followed by Red Velvet, and Juicy, and novellas in Sexy Beast, Sexy Beast II, The Harem, and Perfect Kisses. Her tale of love in Venice, Nights in Black Satin, began a new series that moved to London with Nights in Black Leather and Paris for Nights in Black Lace. She lives in Los Angeles.
An Interview with Noelle Mack
PNR: Welcome Noelle, I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about The Pack of St. James series, and your work.
Noelle M.: Thanks. Online interviews are a pleasure to do—and they are more and more important because, Insert Frowny Face Here, newspapers are cutting and eliminating their book sections.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Noelle M.: I do a lot of visual research in my day job as a designer in entertainment (any excuse to buy/borrow hundreds of books on art, architecture, and costumes!) and was deep into historical Europe from the 18th to the 19th century --everything from the weird engravings of Gustave Dore to Regency fashion plates. It’s easy to imagine characters in the intriguing settings and costumes of long ago, and so I started noodling with story ideas. The fabulous, sensual, bizarre, Art Nouveau-esque illustrations of Kay Neilsen, the brilliant Danish illustrator and stage/theater designer from the very early part of the twentieth century, also influenced me. His first name rhymes with “high” but Kay is how it’s spelled. Late in life, he created the “Night On Bald Mountain” sequence for Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Well worth a google for those not familiar with his unique and remarkable work.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Noelle M.: Oh me oh my. I did more than ten books in about three years, if you count single titles and anthos together, just for Aphrodisia and now Brava. At the moment, am enjoying not writing. My work is very hands-on and tactile: pen and ink and fabric and buttons and spangles and little-girl goodies like that (and okay, yeah, a big zoomy computer with a backup hard drive as big as a hippo). One of these days I will have to grow up. I’m putting it off as long as possible.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Noelle M.: Charles Dickens, at the moment. Just finished HARD TIMES and DOMBEY AND SON. Rereading thundering Victorians who loved the dark and dreadful and the shamelessly sentimental as well, is an excellent refresher course and inspiration.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Noelle M.: Passion, even if there isn’t one second of sex. If the characters don’t care tremendously about what’s happening to them, the story is generally a big fat yawn. An intriguing setting that frames the story well without overpowering it.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the July 2008 release of WANTON from Kensington Brava; this is the second book in your The Pack of St. James series. Could you tell us what inspired this historical paranormal series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Noelle M.: Well, back to those art books…in centuries of portraits of noblemen and noblewomen, adventurers and adventuresses, etc, a type of face occurred again and again. High cheekbones, unusually intelligent eyes, and a combination of bravado and cheek. Not necessarily handsome or beautiful, but always arresting—portraits that looked at me as intently as I looked at them. With, yes, something wolfish and wild in the face. I love, love, love London then and now, and Regency-era gentlemen in particular were notoriously wild and free-living and fond of one another’s company. Hence, daydreamer with a long commute that I am, the Pack of St James was born. Given that wolves had died out in England by then (not Scotland I don’t think), I made them Russian in origin.
PNR: You have been complimented on your excellent world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in an historical setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Noelle M.: A lot. Besides too many history books to list, I used different old maps of London, especially for the Thames and the docks that play such a big part in the story, wanting to get it right—much has changed in two centuries but there are still traces of Russia (meaning place names) in the same area to this day. The southern side of the Thames across from the Isle of Dogs was where the Baltic and Russian docks were located, apart from the West and East India docks to the north. The British Society of Merchant-Adventurers had opened Russia to trade in the 1700s—guns for furs and timber, that sort of thing. The Tsars liked British silver knickknacks too. There’s an amazing amount of historical material on the connection between the two countries.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Noelle M.: Character driven, definitely. People, real or fictional, behave in deliciously irrational and unpredictable ways, and readers identify with that. However, plots have to be much more logically constructed or readers get ticked off. I’m always going to favor the characters. And reading Dickens and Wilkie Collins and writers like that, I find some comforting howlers in their plots!
PNR: Kyril, Marko, and Semyon are wonderfully complex Alpha heroes that readers really connect to; could you tell us about their development? What was your inspiration for these characters? Who has been your favorite to write?
Noelle M.: Um, men I have known…is my significant other reading this? Did you finish building the new bookshelves, honey?
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Noelle M.: They are very sensual and no, it’s not challenging, it’s fun and hot. I started in Aphrodisia, which is very, very, very sensual and kept getting told to tone it down some for Brava. Is my editor reading this? [Yes. –HS] How did I do? [You did good. –HS]
PNR: Stories of shapeshifters have long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel that characters with the ability to morph are such a popular theme with readers? As a writer, what is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Noelle M.: They transcend mundane reality. And they let us experience the world we know from an animal’s perspective—generally a powerful, not very civilized animal. Think about it: characters don’t shapeshift into worms or washing machines. Not in romance. Okay, there was Kafka and his cockroach, but that was farce. I can’t imagine a hunky paranormal hero lustily waving his antennae at me.
PNR: Just for fun; if you could shapeshift into any creature, what would it be?
Noelle M.: A cheetah. Just to run that fast (and have cute polka-dot young). Or a panther, for the sensual strength and muscle tone. Eat lots of really rare steak, no guilt. And oo, to have big golden eyes! No eyeliner needed. Lots of naps, too. Wake up looking fab, always.
PNR: You have written in the erotic, historical and paranormal genres, which has been your favorite? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Noelle M.: Historical paranormal—you can do so much with it—and who’s to say it couldn’t have happened? Would like to try urban fantasy. Think Tank Girl more than Blade Runner. I did a story in EVERLASTING BAD BOYS with a touch of it: the hero is made of light. How did he fall to earth, get a body (and what a body) and meet a nice girl? Find out in August 2008.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Noelle M.: The third book in the Pack of St James series in early 2009. WICKED. Semyon’s story. The youngest brother and the baddest of them all.
PNR: Thank you, Noelle, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Noelle M.: I am working on a website. Until then, my thanks to ParaNormal Romance and Dee Gentle for letting me ramble on late into the California night. Best, Noelle Mack
Featured in this issue: ~Shapeshifter Romance ~Immortals Contest Interviews with: C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp Selena Blake Kendra Leigh Castle Virginia Kantra Noelle Mack Terry Spear Hot Spot Jacquelyn Frank
July 29, 2008
The Pack Of St. James: Book 2
Kyril. Marko. Semyon. Brothers like no other, sharing an ancient blood bond and descent from Russian wolves. Sworn to lead the Pack of St. James and defend the English crown, their seductive charm is legendary among the women of London. But no one knows of the supernatural powers that raise them far above the ranks of mortal men. In WANTON, the second book of her compelling trilogy, Noelle Mack presents Marko’s story…
A Dangerous Pleasure
In the year 1816, the Pack of St. James meets in secret in their London lair. An unknown assailant has begun to prey upon the women who consort with the men of the Pack—two have already died in mysterious ways and a poisoned communication threatens still more. With Kyril Taruskin and his love Vivienne away in the far north, attending to the clan’s business in the Russian port of Archangel, his brother Marko begins to investigate—and finds the trail leads to a scandalous beauty known only as Severin.
One of the victims was Severin’s half-sister, but that alone is not enough to explain her intimate knowledge of the strange case. Well aware how a clever woman can hide more than she reveals, Marko employs all his powers of sensual persuasion, barely able to resist the allure of her amber eyes and softly seductive voice. He has never been outwitted by a woman. But Severin is different from all the rest—very different—and loving her is a dangerous game indeed…~~
February 26, 2008
The Pack Of St. James: Book 1
Kyril. Marko. Semyon. Brothers like no other, sworn to lead the Pack of St. James and defend the English crown, though the blood of Russian wolves runs in their veins. In 1815, every woman in London has heard of their legendary passion for seduction-but no one knows of the supernatural powers that raise them far above the ranks of mortal men.
In pursuit of a priceless treasure stolen from his homeland, Kyril commands the Pack to gather in secret. A rash act by one woman-one extraordinary woman, the sensual and utterly alluring Vivienne Sheridan—has put their ancient clan in peril. He vows to find her-and find out her every secret—before it is too late.
Hidden in a ruined mansion, concealed by the shadows of a moonlit night, Vivienne comes forth, drawn to Kyril by a mysterious magic she is unable to resist. In his powerful embrace, Vivienne senses the wild nature beneath his gentlemanly Façade—and she surrenders to his intimate touch. Whatever he wants, she will give.with all the passion of a woman mesmerized...
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