Author Interview & Giveaway: Vespers by Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt

About the Authors

About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Where to find Irene

About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

Where to find Liv

First off we’d like to thank the gang at the Zipper Rippers for having us on the blog. Interviews are always fun, and for this one Irene and I each took a stab at answering the same questions…

You're welcome!

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

Irene:  I plan almost nothing. Well, that’s not true. It’s just that none of the stuff I plan generally makes it onto the page. I have zero control of my characters and they run around doing all kinds of stuff I didn’t plan and leaving out the stuff I did. Liv (who does plan stuff), will probably laugh when she hears this, but I think I’ve actually done more plotting/planning for this book than all my others combined. 

For most of the first part of the book, we basically passed pages back and forth. Surprise! I left you in the middle of a swamp! But at some point we needed to start agreeing on common goals and making sure we were on the same page with the world building. There were a LOT of chat screens, let me tell you. Despite all that, at one point, AFTER THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN, we realized we were still going different directions on a particular plot point. There was a huge, wait… what?!?.. moment on both our ends. Maybe we’ll confess the details after we work it out in the sequels. 

Liv: Hahaha…yeah, that was a memorable moment. Hold on now. That is NOT why thus-and-so happened. I think we got it worked out, though, and since we mostly communicate by FB chat, we can always scroll back and see who said what. 

Working with Irene has taught me a tremendous amount about grounding the action in the characters, rather than fitting the characters to a predetermined plot. Even though I like to do some planning ahead, I don’t work out every detail before I start. I usually have a beat sheet where I sketch in the major plot points, and sometimes I’ll break down how many scenes I need to get from one turn to the next, but that’s about it. I figure out what happens next as I’m writing, and if what happens next screws up my outline, I change the outline.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Irene: Ha. My characters walk all over me. Seriously. Also my kid and my puppy. It’s a trend.

Liv: Irene is exaggerating. She’s no more a pushover than I am. (lol!) I’m something of a control freak, I guess, but I’m learning to give my characters more freedom.

What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

Irene: It just sort of… happened? I made a commitment to open myself up to more diverse stories, and BOOM, there they were.

Liv: I tripped over my first m/m romance a few years ago, and in a very short amount of time it became my preferred genre. The more m/m stories I read, the more I wanted to write them, so I did.

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

Irene: I have one M/F. There is at least on F/F in my head that I don’t know when I’ll have time to write. I’d say pretty much everything is romance or has as strong romantic element. I wouldn’t like to think that I’m limiting myself to specific pairings. My personal belief is that if you can find someone to share your life with, you are very fortunate. I hope my writing reflects that.

Liv: I have written contemporary, paranormal, and historic m/f, along with contemporary, paranormal, and historic m/m and one historic f/trans-f that’s actually linked to Vespers. I, uh, have a short attention span.

What is your favourite food?

Irene: Today it was seared scallops, because that’s what Bones made me for supper (and he’s makes really good ones.) I’m very fickle. Most of my answers to “favorite” questions tend to change with my mood.

Liv: Pizza and beer. Next question? 

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Irene: Neither. I’m more productive at most things in the morning, but I dislike getting up too early. I’m married to an owl and I’ve adapted a bit. A lot of my writing is done at night. Really night. Like midnight. I’m not sure if that makes me a night owl or just a big procrastinator.

Liv: Look! There’s a question Irene and I agree on! I work night shift, but generally switch back and forth between days and nights when I’m not working. So, I’m a little of both, too.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Irene: Gosh – everywhere. One of the places on my bucket list is Machu Picchu. It’s so beautiful and remote and ancient. And for some reason, this type question always brings to mind Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. I’ll confess, I’m not sure I would go into space.  (Bones says he would, so I suppose I would tag along. But it’s not my first choice).

Liv: I’d love to spend six months or so hanging out in Europe. I want to go to London and spend a couple weeks in a small town in Ireland and see Paris and hang out in the south of France. I want to take a train through Germany, with many stops for beer. Oh, and then I want to take another six months driving around the US. There are so many cool places I haven’t been to yet, so many places I want to see.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Irene: So far all my books have been set in the U.S. Strangely, I wouldn’t mind writing about going into space. Maybe I’ll pitch that to Liv next!

Liv: Well I haven’t tried sci-fi yet, so if Irene pitches it, I’m sure I’ll be game. :)

Really, though, I’m a lot more comfortable writing about a place if I’ve been there. Most of my stories are set in Seattle where I live, in L.A. where my sister lives, or in Hawaii where I went to college. I did spend a week in New Orleans a couple years ago, but didn’t do much outside the French Quarter, and writing the Bayou scenes in Vespers was a lot harder than the scenes set in the city. Irene was forever leaving me helpful comments: Um, nope, no hills. No stones, either. And more water. 

Do you listen to music while writing?

Irene: I never used to. It influences my mood and therefore my writing to much. However, lately I’ve been writing in the living room more while Bones is watching TV or gaming and sometimes I need to tune that out. A lot of times I put something familiar on loop. I rarely want a soundtrack for the scene. I’m looking for something familiar enough to not distract me and probably a little moody in a certain way that lets me write. Natalie Merchant is almost always a safe bet.

Liv: Usually, but it’s not a requirement. I’m not one who uses music to get in the mood for a scene, but I sang in bands for over 20 years, so will often have Pandora or Youtube playing in the background. I’ll listen to pretty much anything, from roots country (think John Doe or Steve Earle) to Adam Lambert to Bach’s piano concertos. 

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Liv: Vespers is a full-length m/m paranormal romance about a 115-year-old vampire monk who kills demons for the Catholic Church in the hopes of redeeming his immortal soul, and a 22-year-old college grad who gets hired – accidentally – as his assistant. Thaddeus Dupont is gay, but he’s spent many lifetimes using Church dogma to stifle his inclination. His “assistants” are hired on one-year contracts, intended to be his sole food source, and they’re women, to help him keep him from confusing his hungers. Sarasija Mishra is an out-n-proud gay man who goes by the nickname Sara - hence the confusion and the error in hiring.

Now, figuring out “how to feed Thaddeus” is a problem, but the story barely starts before they come under attack by demons. As important as the evolution in their relationship is, solving the mystery of who’s behind the demons does almost as much to keep the reader turning pages. Irene and I wanted a story with some heat to it, but we were just as inspired by the urban fantasies of writers like Charlaine Harris and Jeaniene Frost. Hopefully we achieved a similar mix of sexy and adventure.


About the Book

Vespers Blurb

Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky.  On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice.  Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.


Sara filled the silence between us with a hard slurp on the straw in his bon rien drink. “Might as well get really, really hammered,” he said under his breath.

I had a sudden longing for a glass of bourbon. We’d drunk beer in the monastery, though I’d had nothing alcoholic since 1925. January twelfth, 1925. The warmth, the relaxation, the release had some appeal. I eased back, stretched my legs, and my eyelids slid shut.

No. I jerked upright and grabbed Sara’s arm. “What do you hear?” I whispered. “What do you sense?”

I never drank bourbon, and I never fell asleep in public.

“What are you talking about?” Sara’s words were crisp despite his befuddled expression.

I half dragged him to standing. “We’re not safe.”

“Well, by all means, let’s get the hell out of Dodge.” He took a staggering step toward the door. “It’s been a good half hour since you said anything truly batshit, anyway. You were due.”

The club was still virtually empty, except for the poor skeleton gyrating on the stage, our two waiter friends, and a bartender.

A bartender who had very dark eyes and a foul odor. Rancid roses. Cheap perfume left too long in the bottle. “Now, Sara. We need to leave now.”

“Be nice if we had a car nearby.”

I dropped his arm before I snapped it off his body. “Please. If you cannot say anything helpful, fermez la bouche.” I stalked off, hoping he had the good sense to keep up. And stopped three strides later. I could not let him die.

“Fairmay lah boosh? Did you just call me a cow?”

The rancid rose scent grew stronger. I had no choice. I scooped him up, stifling his squeal of protest with a hand over his mouth, and dropped into the shadows. Roses. Strong enough to make me dizzy. On my own, I could take two demons. Sara’s vulnerability was my weakness. I lowered him to the ground. “Get your arms around my shoulders.”

“Dude, you’re crazy, you know?” He shifted out of my grasp. “Oh wait. Not crazy. Vampire.”

We had no time left. The demon bartender came out, aimed toward us, and I could sense his partner down the street. I ducked, put my shoulder in Sara’s midsection, and grasped his hips. He flopped over me, hollering a string of curses.

I took off running, knowing the demons would follow. The streets of the French Quarter were narrow and nearly empty of people. Half a block up, I spied an ornate balcony with the French doors open and no lights on in the room beyond. I leapt for it, grasping the wrought iron with my free hand and pulling both of us up.

I thrust Sara into the room. He landed on his butt and immediately crab-walked away from me, his dark eyes huge and his mouth working. I pulled out a small vial of holy water. “Invite me in.”


No time to explain. I pushed more conviction into my words. “Invite me in.”

He opened his mouth. Shut it. “Come in.” I stepped across the threshold, sprinkling holy water behind me. Once I had entered a home, nothing could keep me out. The first time, however, required an overture. After locking the door, I faced my assistant. “Listen to me,” I said, adding as much persuasion as possible without rolling his mind. “The blessing won’t hold them for much longer than the lock on those doors.”

“Julio, is that you?” a young woman called from the room next door.

“Oh man oh man oh man,” Sara muttered to himself. Short of knocking him out, I didn’t know how to make him calm down.

The door opened, silhouetting a young girl in the hall’s light. “Who the hell are you?”

Short and plump, she wore too much makeup and not enough fabric in her dress.

“Our names are irrelevant. Do you have a car?”

“I’m Sara, and this is Mr. Dupont.” Sara found his feet and his voice in the same moment. “We’re so sorry to intrude on you. We’ll be going now. Have a good night.”

“We can’t leave her, Sara.” I raised my hand to stop his protest. A thump behind me said the demons had reached the balcony. If we left the young woman alone, she was as good as dead. “Miss…”

“Rayna, but I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“I apologize for the inconvenience, Miss Rayna. For your own protection, you must accompany us. If you had a car, things would be much more efficient.”

“So you’re, like, carjacking me from my living room.” She grabbed a purse off a nearby bookcase. “And yet somehow I’m going along with it.”

She led us down a narrow hallway with overbright fluorescent fixtures and a squeaking floor that had been in place since the year 1820. We followed her out to an alley, where a tiny Fiat sat under an awning. Soon we were loaded in, easing down the narrow streets. Sara sat in back, continuing his litany of complaints, while I kept a lookout for our pursuers.


“Oh man oh man oh man.”

“Sara.” I leaned over the seat and grasped him by the chin. “I need you to call someone for me.” He stopped muttering only long enough to pull out his phone. I gave him a phone number for the monks. “Tell whoever answers I need a representative at my First Street house, and I’ll need a team to repair whatever damage happens to Miss Rayna’s home.”

“Damage to my home!” She jerked the wheel to the right. I covered her hand with mine, calming her so she could focus on the work of driving.

Sara did as I asked as if I had compelled him, though I had not.

“So, we’re going to stop and get my car, right?” Sara interrupted my murmured directions to our driver.

“I’ll make arrangements for it.”

“What?” He threw himself against the door. “That’s like, the only thing I own, and all my stuff is in it. We have got to go get it right now.”

“Where is it?” Rayna asked. “Maybe we can swing by on the way to—”

“Stop!” I all but cracked the tiny vehicle’s front window with my roar. “We are going to one-two-three-seven First Street. When we get there, there will be men who will assist us in all we need to accomplish. Until then, we will all sit quietly and let Miss Rayna concentrate on her driving.”

The eastern edge of the sky had turned a soft purple, the first sign of the coming dawn. In the privacy of my own mind, I began the chant for Lauds.

Deus in adiutorium meum intende.

Dominum, ad adjuvandum me festina.



Prize pack includes $25 Gift Card to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or plus seven free books from top LGBT paranormal romance authors (Alexis Hall, Claire Cray, Jax Garren, Jordan Castillo Price, Kelly Jensen, Santino Hassell, Tal Bauer)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Post a Comment

Zipper Rippers Blog Design by Ipietoon