How long did it take you to write this book?
About a month for the first draft and a year of editing.
Are you a more character-driven or plot-driven writer?
My books focus more on characters, their relationships, their journeys.
What makes your characters unique?
In The Superiors series, I tried to stay away from paranormal tropes. The hero, Draven, isn't supermodel gorgeous with a bulging six-pack. And he's not the reluctant, mysterious hero, since the books are mostly from his point of view.
Which character do you like best?
I can't really choose a favorite character, since they are all sprung from my imagination and therefore special to me. The most fun character to write was Marisol, but she's only a minor character in the first book. Writing very ambiguous characters is always fun!
If you could be any character from any book for a day, who would it be and why?
That's a hard question! Most of my favorite characters have difficult, tragic lives. So I don't think I'd want to trade places with them. I'd probably pick someone with a really cool superpower or who could do anything he wanted and he chose to do good in the world. But I can't think of a character like that right now!
What motivated you to write this current novel?
After reading a few fantasy novels involving vampires, I wanted to write something different and more 'realistic,' if you can call a vampire novel realistic. I know it's not the current trend to have flawed heroes, but there you go. I wanted to focus on a very unexceptional person who goes through extraordinary circumstances that test his limits. I've also been bothered by fantasy heroes who seem static and never change throughout the books, while the woman changes to accommodate him. Draven goes through a lot in the series, and he's a changed man at the end. The heroine grows, too, but in different ways.
Do you plot your novels in advance, or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I'm a 'pantser,' through and through. I've written outlines, but I ended up changing them so much they hardly resembled the story I began. I like to start with an idea (for the beginning or end of a tale, usually accompanied by a character but not always) and then let the characters go and see what happens. The idea for The Superiors started out something like this: "Vampires rule the world and keep human as livestock. One vampire guy meets this human and wants to buy her and goes through all this stuff trying to get her." Then I just started writing. I had no ideas for other characters or any of the challenges they face.
What is the first book you remember reading that totally took your breath away?
Great question! I'm not sure I could say what took took my breath away, but I remember the book that opened my eyes. I'd been reading a lot of Fear Street and Christopher Pike and High books in middle school, and then I picked up Tommyknockers by Stephen King at a garage sale for a quarter. I know, it's cliche to pick Stephen King. But going from Sweet Valley High to Stephen King was a definite in my reading life! I can't remember what book first took my breath away, maybe Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
You can find Lena online everywhere, but these are the sites she frequents the most:
Lena's blog: http://lenahillbrand.blogspot.com
You can also find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZGB2I4