On July 31st, Cat Miller, author of Unbound, will introduce the second book of her Forbidden Bond Series! Unforgiven will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords!
Happily ever after is interrupted and the vampire nation is turned on its ear. Brandi Vaughn struggles to find herself in the shadow of her powerful vampire family and her socialite twin sister. The search for her abducted half-sister, Danielle, lands Brandi in an emotional tug of war between the light and the dark, good and evil, a warrior and a rogue. Good people do bad things. Sometimes the bad guys have a good reason. Could you forgive the unforgiven?
Betrayal, passion, family secrets, murder, and vampires ... What else would one expect during their freshman year of college? Danielle Vaughn is secreted away after her birth and hidden until she leaves her small town in search of high education. She quickly finds herself maneuvering through a maze of enemies and lovers who are all out to capture her at any cost. Danielle’s life is turned upside down by the return if her father and the society of vampires that shattered her human mother’s life. She must find a way to survive in the new world she is thrust into by a power hungry rogue on the hunt for gifted vampire youth. The hierarchy of the vampire nation is rocked by the existence of a demi-vamp who challenges their narrow-minded views of the human race.
About Cat Miller:
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and now I live not far from my birth place in Perry Hall, Maryland. I have two teenage daughters and a man that keep me busy when I'm not working full-time as a Certified Medical Coder. I'm an avid reader and I love all genre of romantic fiction from historical to contemporary to paranormal. Sleeping has always been a problem for me so most nights I can be found in the living room reading or writing instead of in bed like the rest of the world. I don't watch television. It's not a conscious decision, it just never occurs to me to turn it on when I have books to read and writing to do. It can actually be a hazard, because I never know what the weather will be until I look outside and I have to rely on my kids and coworkers for local and world news. I love creating the characters you love and love to hate. My characters remind me of people I know and people I wish I had never known.
Cat Miller graciously agreed to allow me a sit-down with she and several of her yummiest characters! She remained, to ensure my safety (and to be sure that I didn't get too grabby with my love Cayden) Please, enjoy a glimpse into our fun night out.
Ms. Miller – The ‘Cats Meow’…
Tyra (BookSnobs): Cat, thank you so much for joining me today, and for bringing your dear friends along as well! I know that your time is valuable, so let’s skip the formalities and get right down to the nitty-gritty shall we?
Tyra: Who’s your favorite character to write for?
Cat: I have two favorites that I enjoyed writing for. First I loved writing for Cayden. (Cayden smiles his special smile at Cat. The one that says somebody could be getting a reward later. Cat blushes slightly and clears her throat.) Cayden is the consummate wild child. He is the original bad boy most girls don’t want to admit they are attracted to. Watching his growth as a man throughout Unbound was an experience for me.
Also, I enjoyed writing for Vince. His way of speaking in the third person is a hoot. (Just then Vince stuck his head in the door. He was on guard duty during the interview. Danielle was at risk whenever she went out in public and it made everyone a little edgy.)
“Did the Kitten call Vince?” He inquired while scanning the room for danger.
“No, Sugar. I was just telling Tyra how much I enjoyed writing for you.” Cat explained. She loved it when he called her Kitten. Vince gave Tyra a heated once over before he addressed her directly.
“Tyra, princess, you just let Vince know if want a more… private interview with him. Vince will do anything Tyra likes.” He gave her one more head to toe perusal before ducking back out into the hall. Tyra’s pink cheeks did not go unnoticed.
Tyra: Did you have the whole story mapped out in your head when you began writing The Forbidden Bond Series? Or do you make it up as you go?
Cat: When I began writing Unbound I hadn’t planned for it to be a series. I had the main bullet points all mapped out and was prepared to fill in the meat of the story as I went along. So, basically I had a story board but as I wrote and characters took shape I knew I had to expand to a series. My characters had too much to say far a stand-alone novel to tell the story effectively. (Sounds of agreement went around the room and Cat smiled at Dani, Chase, and Cayden.)
Tyra: With so many, how do you keep all the characters and their separate storylines straight in your head?
Cat: For me, my characters are like friends and family members. It’s hard to explain, but I will try. (Cat crossed her legs and began to tap her chin in thought. Her eye suddenly brightened, as if a light had popped on in her head.)
When you go to your family reunion and you look around at the people you instantly remember who is married to whom; who had a baby this year and why Cousin Ed isn’t speaking to Uncle Jake. When you go out with your friends you know who your best friend is and which one you don’t really trust with the big stuff. It’s like that for me. I created these people so I know all of the history that made them who they are. It’s just there in the back of my mind when I start to type.
Tyra: Which of your characters do you think your readers are most opinionated about?
Cat: My readers are most opinionated about Danielle. She isn’t your typical heroine. In a standard love story boy meets girl and that is that, but I didn’t write her that way. I have created fictional characters that live through real life relationship situations. Danielle behaves like a real person would at her age. If our first love was our only love I fear this would be a very lonely world. We live and learn. When we fall off the horse we climb back on.
Some readers do not enjoy this real life aspect of Unbound. While others love it because Danielle makes mistakes and pick herself back up. When she is betrayed she pushes through the only way she can, by moving on. Some readers who enjoy more fiction and less real life in their romance don’t enjoy her character.
Tyra: Vampires… a long-standing passion or just for THIS particular series? Do you plan any other avenues in your writing future?
Cat: Vampires are indeed a long-standing passion for me. I have loved vampires since the movie Interview with a Vampire came out in 1994 but I read kinds of romantic fiction. I think at some point I would like to write a contemporary romance. (Cayden coughed into his arm and it sounded strangely like the word “boring” was being forced from his lungs repeatedly. Tyra laughed. Dani smacked Cayden’s arm. He smiled, not looking at all apologetic. Apparently he didn’t care for contemporary romance.)
Tyra: On the “sensual romance” … How did you come to the decision to steam it up to an adult level, but remain light enough as not to garnish the ‘erotica’ label?
* Dani spoke up, “May I answer this one for you, Cat?”
Cat quirked and eyebrow but smiled indulgently, “Go head.”
Dani turned to Tyra, and as many people do when first faced with the full force of Dani’s diamond-eyed gaze Tyra seemed a bit hypnotized. She cleared her throat and blinked a few times.
“Cat is like a mother and a friend to all of us characters. You know from reading Unbound that most of the characters are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. Cat has a daughter that is my age. We are college students and young adults, but not in the YA fiction definition of that statement.
There needs to be a new classification of romantic fiction for young adults that are old enough and mature enough to handle adult content. As much as all parents want to think that people in this age group aren’t sexually active it just isn’t the reality of the world today. From the perspective of a college student there isn’t much fiction out there that is meant for our enjoyment, particularly in paranormal fiction. You find the traditional YA novels that may skirt the line of adult content but not cross it or you get the “erotica” that is mostly geared toward people in their late twenties and older.
Our age group is totally neglected. Cat made the choice to fill in the gap left by those that aren’t comfortable writing sexuality for my age group.” Dani looked to Cat for confirmation of her thoughts, “Is that close to your feeling, Cat?” Cat nodded and smiled.
“You know me very well. You can find a lot of romance that uses less graphic language and more descriptive terms but they tend to be contemporary and written for a much older audience. It was important to me to write this series with an eye toward portraying a realistic view of a college age person without being so graphic that I wouldn’t want my own college age daughter to read it.”
Tyra: Said “sensual romance” must limit your reading audience. Do you think this hinders or helps you in anyway?
Cat: I think my brand of sensual romance has limited me at times. I have had people read the first couple of chapters and put it down because they believe it is too soft and leans too far toward YA fiction. It’s too bad they didn’t keep reading, because just like any real person, Dani’s experiences get hotter as she grows into her sexuality. I have also had readers that are into the more adult fiction praise the story but express a need for more steamy sexuality. All I can do is hope that I have written a storyline that will captivate the readers no matter their preferences. I know people who read Harry Potter one day and Fifty Shades of Grey the next. If the story is good the readers will come. At least that’s what I hope will be true.
(Dani was now blushing fiercely. All this talk of her sexual experiences had her flustered. Chase tugged her into his lap and stroked her back. She tucked her face into the expensive silk of his shirt. Cayden looks away, uncomfortable.)
“Don’t be embarrassed, Lovely. You are way more than just your sexuality,” Chase kissed the top of her head. “You are an intelligent and brave woman who is loved.”
(Cayden growled in the back of his throat. Tyra’s eyes widened when his eyes bled from hazel-green to obsidian black in a matter of seconds. Doing his best to conceal the fangs that pressed into his lower lip Cayden excuses himself from the room, slamming the door on his way out. Seeing Chase handle Dani was more than he could take without an outward display of emotion. Dani crawled off of Chase’s lap and went back to her chair to compose herself. Chase seemed not at all phased by Cayden’s reaction. Cat shook her head and stared sadly at the door Cayden had disappeared through. In an effort to dispel the tension in the room Tyra asked the next question.)
Tyra: Your vampires aren’t like any I’ve ever read about before. Where did you come up with such a unique spin on such a long-told concept?
Cat: I wanted to write vampires in a way that would have you looking around at the people in their life and wondering if maybe things aren’t as they seem. I realize that it’s odd for a paranormal writer but I wanted to have a solid reason for all of the things vampires can do that we humans can’t. So I wrote my vamps in a very humanizing way. The day after you read Unbound and get ready to move on to Unforgiven I want you to think about your neighbor, you doctor, and your best friend and wonder if maybe, just maybe, they could be a vampire.
(Cayden reenters the room looking much calmer.)
“I apologize for that interruption. I had…something urgent to take care of…outside,” he explained without looking at anyone in particular. Be bent to kiss Cat on the cheek and shot Tyra a questioning glance, “What did I miss?” Cayden looked like nothing was amiss. Dani fidgeted in her seat. Chase examined his nails.
Tyra: Not everyone can have a happily ever after… When the series wraps with the final book, any plans for a spin-off to follow up with our favorite NON-main characters??
Cat: I have four full length novels and a prequel novella planned for the Forbidden Bond Series. So I’m at least a year away from my nest project. I do have a plan to spin off of this series. My hope is that folks will want to see more the vampire nation and its varying social classes outside of the upper hierarchy. The next series I have planned will be dedicated to the warrior class. I want to explore the inner workings and social structure of the warriors and Wrath teams. The next series may be a bit more adult. In order to get into the nuts and bolt of a military man and his world I will need to adjust to the reality of his life. There are several members of the Wrath teams that may come back to visit you in the future and bring some new friends with them.
There is also a character that is close to my heart but too young to play a huge role in the Forbidden Bond Series. I want to come back in the future and revisit JR Vaughn. I believe growing up in the life and time of the Forbidden Bond is going to make him a very interesting man.
Tyra: The whole world witnessed some very intimate exchanges in your personal life. Does it bother you being so exposed to all of our prying eyes?
Dani blushes and squirms uncomfortably in her seat. She is very well away Cat’s readership, including Tyra, has very personal knowledge of her love life.
“I honestly try not to think about it. My life is like a reality television show. Only for me the viewer isn’t banned from the more private exchanges. Nothing is cut or edited out. It’s hard to sit across the table from a person that witnessed your loss of innocence.”
Dani pauses and blushes again when Chase and Cayden both grumble under their breath. It’s a very sensitive subject. Cat shoots both men a look full of censure and disapproval. Neither of them was Dani’s first.
Dani continues, “Like I said, it’s harder than I could ever explain.”
Tyra Many have criticized your for your “Playing the field” ways. What do you have to say to those critics?
“I say get real. This may be fiction but it’s not a fairytale. I challenge you to find a person that never dated or actually ended up spending a life time with their first love. I know it happens and the people it happens to are blessed. All of us change as people as we age and our experiences alter us in unforeseen ways. Sometimes the person you change into doesn’t fit with the person your lover becomes. I am not ashamed to have lived and learned and love on the way to finding one true mate.
Tyra: After all your struggles, you seem to have finally found your “Happily Ever After” with Chase. Any plans for the future?
“We plan to be mated very soon.” Dani smiles at Chase when he reaches over to take her hand. “After that the future is unclear. We have the threat of the Rogue to deal with before we can think too far ahead.”
Tyra: Man calories... you seem to be on a Chase only diet these days, but how did you deal with having all that luscious man meat available to sink your teeth into?
Dani clears her throat but smiles broadly.
“I did my best to stick to a diet plan but… Damn! Sometimes you just gotta splurge!” She giggled, “I’m just joking.”
Chase didn’t find the humor in it at all. Cat laughed out loud.
“Let’s just say it was fun while it lasted but too much of a good thing gets old quickly.”
Tyra: I’ve got to admit that your playboy ways had me scared that Danielle’s heart wasn’t safe in your hands. What was it about her that turned the tides for you?
Chase looked at Danielle and connection between the couple hummed through the room. He stared into her eyes while he answered Tyra’s question.
It started with that delicious scent and a heavy dose of physical attraction. She is a beautiful woman. But it quickly turned into a binding love for the brave soul that would give up everything she knew, even her identity, to protect the ones she loves. She is strong, compassionate, fearless, and sexy as all hell, but more than any of that she is mine. From the night I met her she became my Lovely.”
Chase finally looked over at Tyra, “Trying to explain why I love her is like trying to explain why my heart beats. It just is. In the end she was literally worth more than the world to me.”
Tyra: Having a girl come between you and your best friend must have been tough. Did you ever fear that you’d lost either of them for good?
“I was sure that I had lost my Lovely when I my life suddenly came down to a choice between my duty to my family and the vampire nation, and the woman I wanted but knew I couldn’t have. I knew when she started dating Cayden that I would never be able to watch them grow as couple and be happy for them. I am selfish bastard. I wanted my Lovely for as long as could be with her and I wanted my best friend to go along with the plan. Losing them both at once was crushing. Yes. I was afraid.” Chase looked uncomfortable admitting for weakness. Dani moved closer and stroked his arm. “Can we move on the next question, please?
Tyra: When you finally stood up to your family, I think the heavens opened up and the angels sang! What took you so long to come to the decision to follow your heart?
I loved her but it wasn’t about our love. It was about the future of my generation. My people are being hunted and murdered. My family and the council were convinced my union to a daughter from the House of Vaughn was the key to saving us all and destroying the threat to our species. How do walk away from an obligation that tremendous for the sake of your own heart? Honestly, it was another selfish move when a turned my back on my family, but fate had a hand in it the whole time. I ended up where I belong. I will make no excuses for my tardy turn around. I was an idiot.
Tyra: So, the question begs to be asked… Samantha – what the hell were you thinking with nightmare barbie?
Danielle perked up. She wanted to hear this answer as well.
Samantha was not the shrew we all know when she was younger. Or at least I was too blinded by her beauty to see her flaws. I was young and dumb. She was every young man’s dream. She was there for what I needed,” Chase glanced at Dani for her reaction but she was stone faced, “And when it was over she was gone,” He shrugged. “I didn’t expect to bond to her forever.”
Tyra: Hey baby, how’s it goin?
“I’m sorry, Sugar. I can’t hear you.”
Cayden gets up and strolls to the seat next to Tyra. He turns the chair to face Tyra and sits down but doesn’t lean back in his chair. He has positioned himself so his long muscled legs are bracketing her chair, his leg resting against her knee. He crowds her and gets all up in her personal space.
“There. I’m doing much better now, “he grins at Tyra.
Tyra: I’m just going to put it out there. I was team Chase when it came to Dani, but only because I wanted you for myself. (That’s not really a question is it?)
“Your honesty is refreshing. I love a woman who speaks her mind. Cat tells me always say what you mean and take no prisoners.” Cayden runs one long finger down Tyra’s arm.
Tyra: Right, back to the interview… I just KNOW that when you turned away from Danielle at your bonding ceremony, after learning the truth, the world really had daggers for you. Do you ever regret that decision?
Now Cayden sits back in his chair. Tyra hit a nerve. He was playful and teasing before, but his expression turns solemn when he looks at Dani sitting next to her future mate, his best friend.
“I will regret that night for the rest of my life. I was a kiss away from forever, but I let fear of the unknown make me coward. I was already regretting when Mason carried Dani from the room. I still have the ring. But that’s all I have, just a ring and a few memories.”
Dani couldn’t look at Cayden while he stared at her with regret and sorrow in his beautiful hazel green eyes.
Tyra: Are you still looking for your happily ever after? (Because I can think of a good place to start)
I think for the time being I’m just looking for “happy for the night.”
Tyra: It was suggested that you often lived in Chase’s shadow, under his thumb so to speak. Was this an accurate reflection of your relationship with your best friend?
Chase is a future Councilman from the House of Deidrick. I know that our society is hard for the modern day human to understand but it is what it is. My father and the warrior class, as well as the rest of the vampire nation defer to the laws and wishes of Council. I was trained to follow his lead as my father follows his father. He is also my friend and a man who has had my back man times. It was hard to separate our friendship from our uneven social stations. Am I under his thumb? No, not any more.
Tyra: So, what are you doing later???
**And Cat calls the interview to a close….
(Vince enters the room swiftly and begins to herd Dani toward the door.)
“Vince thinks we may have a security breach. He feels twitchy. It’s time to go.” He barked.
(Cayden and Chase both block his path.)
“Where are you going with my Lovely?” Chase hissed through his fangs and glared at Vince with narrowed, blackened eyes. Cayden stood at Chase’s back baring his fangs as well.
“Do want to stand here beating your chest and wait to see if Vince is wrong? Or do you want to ensure the little lovely’s safety?” Vince rolled his eyes, so sick of dealing with the young future councilman and his warrior buddy.
(Dani leaned around the tangle of men to find Cat, who seemed to be protecting Tyra from the fight brewing in the room.)
“I will be with you for the release of Unforgiven on the 31st. We have to go now.” Fear shone in her eyes but she pulled it together to address Tyra.
“Thank you for allowing us to visit, Tyra. And thank you for supporting us from the very beginning. It has meant the world to me and Cat.”
Before she could say another word Dani was hoisted over Vince’s shoulder and carries from the room. Tyra and Cat watched Chase and Cayden followed hot on Vince’s heels while Dani struggled and complained that she could walk just fine until they all disappeared down the hall.
Cat slumped into a chair looking exhausted by all the drama.
“That was crazy.” Tyra still stared down the hall.
“Yeah. It’s how we roll.” Cat grinned at Tyra, “Let’s go get a drink, or ten.”
Check out my review of Unbound, Book 1 in The Forbidden Bond Series HERE.