With: Grey Francis
- King in Chains is the second erotic paranormal romance novel in the Into the Dark Woods seriesfeaturing the vampire trio Cassandra Monteclaire, KillianMonteclaire, and Alastair St. Germaine. What’s new for the trio in this sequel to Bound to a Vampire?
In the same way that Bound to a Vampire was told primarily from Cassandra’s perspective, focusing on her history and her journey, King in Chains is Alastair’s story. From his near death on a battlefield at age 10, to his early years as Killian’s Protector and Mate, this book sheds new light on the two men’s tumultuous and passionate relationship. In current day, the story picks up where Bound to a Vampire left off. Only now, it is Alastair who seeks answers. He questions Killian’s devotion to the sacred threesome when he refuses to take his place as King. Unlike the first book, there is a formidable single enemy, a female vampire from Alastair’s past threatening destroy all those Alastair loves and the realm he rules. It is his turn to fight, to visit the past and face his demons, seeking the answers he needs to save himself and his Mates.
- Much of King in Chains focuses on Alastair’s mental state. What are some of the psychological issues he deals with in this novel?
When the book begins, Alastair is in therapy, trying to reconcile the trust issues he has with his Master and Mate, Killian. Two hundred years apart after being abandoned has left scars. However, Alastair carries with him a much deeper wound. Inside him lives a very real death wish. He will always feel guilty for being the only survivor of a battle during the 1600’s. As a Protector, warrior and later as a King, he has always believed his fate would eventually catch up with him. Twice now, his death has been predicted by Seers. The first time, he was resigned to it, but against all odds, Cassandra beat fate and brought him back. Now, centuries later, his death has been seen in a vision experienced by his son Haven. Haven is a precognitive and his visions of death are never wrong. Only this time, Alastair is up against an extremely dangerous enemy. But instead of telling his Mates, whose presence in battle would greatly better his chance of survival, Alastair tells no one of the vision, once again accepting his fate as a warrior and validating his own sense of sacrifice.
- A necromantic Master Vampire of intense power stalks the streets of London in this novel. What can you tell us about this new villain, and how does it threaten Alastair and the rest of the vampire world?
Ever since Ashen was a little girl, she could speak to the dead. Her ability has always been exploited, but none worse than by her Vampire Masters, Violet and Ambrose. Ashen was also unfortunate enough to fall in love with Alastair after being sent to seduce him. Ultimately, she fails to break up Alastair and Cassandra, a plan orchestrated by her jealous Masters in exchange for eternal life. The last anyone saw Ashen, three centuries earlier, she had been sold to the vampire King of Russia, a collector of curiosities. In time, he would ultimately turn her into a vampire. But when Ashen becomes immortal, her dark gift transforms into something much more powerful and dangerous. Ashen, in her new form, can command the dead to do her bidding. And Ashen wants power. Even the strongest vampires cannot fend off her unearthly electrical attacks. But more than power, Ashen wants Alastair, the only man she’s ever loved, the vampire who rejected her, and the vampire who shares she wolf spirit. She has waited a long time and now that the Russian King has been murdered, she has nothing holding her back.
- What themes are explored in this novel and how do they affect Alastair, Killian, and Cassandra?
There are a few dominant themes in this book. The first is trust. Much of Alastair’s destructive actions throughout the book are driven by a lack of trust, primarily in Killian’s commitment to him when he refuses to take the throne that Alastair has held safe for centuries. Another important theme is the gift of life. Alastair has always struggled with his own long life when he believes he should have been dead centuries earlier. Alastair, deluded by the idea of sacrificing himself for the survival of his family, is forced to come to terms with the true value of his life and all those who depend on him. In a dream-like afterlife, wandering through death’s landscape, Alastair must revisit key moments in his long life to truly appreciate what a precious gift his life has been. And what it could be again – as a King, as a father, and a Mate. And what it means to lose it all.
- King in Chains is your second erotic paranormal romance. What do you find challenging and/or interesting about this particular genre, and what have you learned after having written two books in this type of series?
The biggest challenge for me when writing this series is deciding which character’s story I want to tell next! I feel completely committed to Alastair, Cassandra and Killian’s world and all the fascinating vampires who inhabit their past and present. If I could change anything, it would be the ability to write faster! Writing erotica is very interesting because it needs to stay fresh and interesting. You don’t want to write the same bondage scene over and over. It needs to personify the characters and what they are personally going through at that moment. There is also a psychological component playing out in most of the erotic scenes. A Master must understand what each submissive needs in order to feel loved, safe and fulfilled. For Alastair, this might mean pain. For Cassandra it means to be completely overtaken. Balancing the psychological and erotic is always interesting for me. It became especially interesting with a character like Ashen, who simply don’t understand love and only wants control. That led to some pretty rough scenes. Going to the edge without going over it is a delicate balance and stretches me as a writer.
- Are you working on another book and, if so, what can you tell us about it?
Yes! It’s called The Shapeshifter’s Heart and it focuses on Tristan, Forrest, and Eloise. Tristan is such an interesting character to me. The ability to transform into any human or vampire opens the door for all sorts of exciting storylines. Aside from being completely devastatingly attractive and irresistible to both males and females, Tristan is very old, a political mastermind, and a renowned Sexual Dominant. Even though he has been mated for centuries to Eloise, his heart stopped beating the minute his Natural Mate, Bella, was murdered by Torians in the 1500’s. In a way, Tristan takes care of everyone in his realm, including his King, but he is unable to truly feel anything for himself. When Tristan takes over for Killian on a diplomatic mission across Europe while mentoring Forrest, Tristan discovers that Forrest’s former boss, and guardian, Cyril Winterman, who betrayed the entire Sentient organization, is hiding out in Scotland. In Scotland, Tristan finds himself in tremendous danger as he confronts the very vampire who killed his human clan and made him a vampire. Facing danger and exploring their growing bond to one another, Tristan and Forrest set out on a journey that will reveal great truths and change them both forever.
Two hundred years. For two hundred years, vampires Alastair and Cassie lived without their Master, Killian. Killian’s return is cause for rejoicing—and nights of unquenchable, burning passion—but Alastair still harbors the fear that his True Mate will abandon them once again.
Complicating matters, Killian still refuses to take his place as the rightful Vampire King, leaving it to Alastair to rule in his stead rather than serving as the Arm of Power.
As Alastair struggles with his doubts, a new threat appears in London. A new Master Vampire stalks the streets, launching brutal attacks on Alastair’s warrior patrols. When this dark new presence makes a brutal attempt on the life of Alastair’s son, war becomes a certainty.
With Cassie and Killian away on important business, Alastair must lead this war alone. He faces a dangerous foe: a necromantic Master Vampire of intense power and uncertain motivations—and intimate ties to Alastair’s past.
The second installment of Grey Francis’s erotic Into the Dark Woods series, King in Chains continues the sensual tale of Alastair and his lovers—and threatens to rip their eternal passion to shreds.
Grey will be giving away an ecopy of KING IN CHAINS to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry.
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