A quick interview with L. L. Hunter: paranormal romance writer

My December author interview is with L. L. Hunter, whose Midnight Ball series concludes this month. Here’s some info from Laura about this particular series:

The first book, Reign of Secrets came to fruition about 7 years ago. I had this image of a princess with magical jewellery that could portal to different worlds. But the full world building of this series didn’t happen until earlier this year. My writers’ group helped me plan it out. We chatted about the rules that governed the world. I also wanted to write a story featuring gods and goddesses. At the time there weren’t many around in bookstores, but it seems stories of gods and goddesses are quite popular haha. I was glad in a way, because the book was received really well and is one of my highest bestsellers to date.

The sequel Crown of Lies, begins straight after the end of Reign of Secrets. I left it on quite a cliffhanger (sorry, readers!), but I planned to release each book fairly close together so readers wouldn’t have to wait that long.The last book, Queen of Midnight, follows Grace, as she not only deals with the aftermath of the gates of the underworld being opened, but her power growing stronger, and a couple of bombshells being dropped on her in the form of family secrets. She also doubts herself a lot in this book, so there’s a personal journey she has to take as well so she can eventually be queen and unite the kingdoms.There’s also the angsty romance between Grace and Maddi which I absolutely LOVE. I think they’re my new favourite couple.

So now I’ve whetted your appetite, it’s time for the interview to begin!

You mention in your bio you used to write fan fic. What fandom did you love and how have they influenced your original works?

Yes, I have written some fanfics. I loved writing Supernatural, and a few others. My friend and I actually wrote a Supernatural / X files crossover. I also had a Vampire Diaries one that was pretty popular online, as well as a few based on the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare. They’re still published on Fanfiction.net. And no, I will not tell you my penname…

You’ve studied many different fields … vet nursing, forensic science, dramatic arts … how do they inspire this trilogy?

I’ve found that in studying many different subjects, it’s prepared me well for research when writing a book and as an author. I used some of my forensic science knowledge to write the Adelaide Paige Saga for instance.

You mention writing plays and musicals in your bio which I think is so cool! Any faves and how do they inform your novels?

With my drama class, back before I started writing my first novel, I wrote, produced and directed a series of musicals entitled No Frills Airlines. They were so much fun. Play writing and screenplay writing is a whole different ball game to writing a novel, but I guess they help you with plot. They use the same story arcs.

What speaks to you about paranormal romance? How do you think this trilogy stands out from the crowd? Also, any other great paranormal romances you’d recommend to readers?

I have loved paranormal romance since as long as I can remember. I love writing the creatures, their powers, you know, angels and demons with wings and glowing irises, and a man that can change into a dragon, etc. I think there’s something so interesting and magical about paranormal stories.

In thinking about the Midnight Ball series, when I was trying to market it, I couldn’t really think of a series that was similar. That’s good and bad. You want something to stand out from the crowd, but also something that fits, so readers finished one fantasy or paranormal series, can pick up another similar in theme and genre etc. When I first started writing and plotting Reign of Secrets, there wasn’t anything published that was like it at the time. And now a year later, I’m finding a lot more stories featuring gods and goddesses and epic adventure fantasies out there.

Can you give us an elevator pitch for the series as a whole?

The Midnight Ball series is about a young princess named Grace with magic blood. She lives in a kingdom named Sydlandia, which she then finds out is part of a bigger world called Aurum, and then that world is part of a bigger universe. There are secrets and magic and curses, witches, mysterious demi-gods as well as gorgeous gods and goddesses. Grace finds out her parents had been lying to her throughout her entire life, and she is part of a hidden destiny meant to restore peace throughout all the kingdoms and to unite the worlds. There is also a LGBTQ romance at the heart of it.

Tell us a bit about the trilogy’s protagonist and why we’ll love her.

Grace is naive at first, but only because everyone has been lying to her. But when she finds out about the lies, and experiences further betrayals, she really grows into her own skin and has to grow up quickly. She becomes strong and powerful and empowered, and that’s why I loved writing her. I hope you will love her as much as I do.

Why gods and goddesses? What about them appeals to you? Did you draw upon particular myths and legends for your trilogy?

I hadn’t written about gods and goddesses really before, and it’s something I’ve wanted to explore for a while. As well as creating a brand new world built from the ground up that has its own lore and rules. The trilogy was inspired by Greek mythology, such as the tale of Persephone and Hades, but in my books, Hades calls himself Aed.

Tell us a bit about what we can expect from the romance in Book 3.

Without giving away any spoilers, Grace and Maddi’s romance and relationship as a whole will really be tested in Queen of Midnight. But I promise you, there is a happy ending 😉

What kind of research did you do for this trilogy and what’s the coolest thing you discovered writing Book 3?

As this series is epic fantasy, and the world totally created by me, I didn’t really need research that much. But at a writing retreat, which is where I finally finished Book 3, I threw out a question to the rest of the ladies: If you could eat anything in the world, say it’s your last day on earth, or wanted that special dish you couldn’t get anywhere else, what would it be? Something gods and goddesses would dine on.

Some of the answers floored me, such as Strawberries served in fairy floss tasting clouds, golden pear tarts, and thousand year old mushroom risotto using mushrooms found at the end of the rainbow in the land of the unicorns … most of them made it into a scene toward the end of the book.

Do you have a fave passage you’d like to share with readers to tease the final book?

I can’t really share a quote that won’t spoil the book, but there are so many favourite scenes in this book that I love. It’s my favourite in the whole trilogy. Especially the very last epilogue scene…

Awesome Laura! Thanks so much for chatting to me at my blog! Readers, you can read the complete Midnight Ball series now.

Reign of Secrets: https://books2read.com/reignofsecrets

Crown of Lies: https://books2read.com/crownoflies

Queen of Midnight: https://books2read.com/queenofmidnight

L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Eden Chronicles. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. She has been writing since her teens – everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog – http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

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