Surrender the Dark
By Tibby Armstrong
May 23, 2017
Surrender The Dark – May 2017
Taste The Dark – August 2017
Ebook Available for Pre-Order
Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by to find out what the lovely Tibby Armstrong is up to. She was kind enough to grant me an extended interview because, well, I just had so many question and tidbits that I wanted to give light to. I hope this piques your interest in Surrender the Dark and Tibby's work in general. I know Tibby is happy to answer any questions you might have, so don't hesitate to comment below :)
You can read my full review of Surrender the Dark, here.
Hi, my friend Tibby, I'm so glad you could share some insights into your big new paranormal project with us. Thank you for being here. I believe this is your first writing venture into the paranormal world, is that right?
My first published writing venture into PNR! The first three unpublished novels I wrote were all PNRs. It’s my first love, along with Urban Fantasy.
How long has Tibby Armstrong been writing/publishing books?
I’ve been writing seriously since I was 35. Before then, I would have to have called myself a dabbler!
Can you tell us if you were inspired by other PNR authors? Favorites?
Oh, so many to choose from! I’ll pick from some Fantasy and Urban Fantasy authors too, if you don’t mind?
Charlaine Harris (Sookie of course, but also her Harper Connelly series)
C. S. Pacat (Captive Prince)
Maria V. Snyder (I adore Poison Study!)
Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake is a favorite, kickass heroine)
I just realized that none of these are m/m, so please everyone give me some great dark vampire m/m recs in the comments! I need them!
Before moving to Georgia, I lived in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts for three years. Walking around a city as old as Boston at night is inspirational, to say the least. So much atmosphere, it made my imagination run wild!
Is this vampire book scary?
I think the opening chapter can strike folks as scary or creepy. I don’t generally get scared when reading (and I know what a sweetheart Tzadkiel is underneath it all), so I’m probably not the best judge!
How long have you carried this story/these characters with you?
About three years!
Is there a hero? Heroine?
Two heroes! Benjamin Fuller, vampire hunter, and Tzadkiel Dragoumanos, his nemesis and a vampire.
Benjamin is blind. But he also has a ‘gifted-sight’. Can you explain this?
I’m assuming you are asking why I chose to give him a second sight although he is a blind character? It was a deliberate choice and one over which I struggled.
Ultimately, though I knew it was a trope that had been perhaps used a tad too often, I believed that the magic of the world supported the choice. It also allowed me to share with readers some unique moments during which Benjamin himself explores how he feels about having been blinded as a child. That aspect of his experience fascinated me, and continues to form some of my favorite parts of the novel.
Tzadikiel, the War King, is old. Is he immortal? Or just really long-lived?
Tzadkiel can be killed, but it’s not easy to do. Barring any mayhem, he is immortal.
Do you have a favorite scene, whether it’s the way it came to you or the end result?
The first is the moment when Tzadkiel first sees Benjamin in the Whiskey Tango Lounge. I saw Benjamin myself for the first time in that moment through Tzadkiel’s eyes.
I was going to mention another, but it’s a spoiler!
How should we pronounce Tzadkiel? And can you drawl out the gorgeous way Tzadikiel prounounces Benjamin in Greek? Yum.
Well, there are two pronunciations. The first is the one I prefer, and the second is the one I put in the book to make it easier on readers.
Benjamin’s Greek name is Veniamín, but I had Tzadkiel pronounce it with a B as in the Biblical Greek.
Benjamin starts out as a young boy in the beginning chapters. You aren’t particularly nice to him. Do you have something against children? Lol.
My agent, Deidre Knight, pushed me to up my game in that chapter several times before I struck what I think is the right balance. I am amazed every time I read that chapter that I wrote it, and I can’t thank Deidre enough for pushing me to not look away from the hard moments and write what needed to be written.
Can you tell us a little about Ben’s two best friends, Nyx, and Akito?
Benjamin met Nyx and Akito while in a children’s mental hospital in Boston. Nyx is the child of two of Boston’s most powerful magical leaders, and Akito is a lost soul with a hero complex that feeds his deep need to protect his chosen family—Benjamin and Nyx. I don’t want to give too much away, because each is getting their own book!
Is everyone in the book redeemable, or are there real, true bad guys?
There are some characters who do not choose to be redeemed. The back story for the villains comes out in books two and three. Because of what they have done to the characters in these stories, I can’t see a way for them to be redeemed except by an act of extreme self-sacrifice. I haven’t decided yet whether that is something that will happen. Stay tuned!
Benjamin is an admitted alcoholic. Some readers could be off-put by that. How were you able to handle this tough subject and still allow the reader to care so much about him?
I think not flinching away from what Benjamin has been through, and by showing him as a child, we gain sympathy for him. That is why it was so important not to flinch away from his accident in the prologue. Establishing character motivation can go a long way toward engendering relatability.
Also, let’s face it. Some demons can only be shut up by twenty pounds of good chocolate or a few fingers of whiskey. Me? I choose the chocolate.
Benjamin and Tzadkiel are just downright hot as hell. Together they exude sexuality. Was it hard to give them both so much sex appeal?
An author doesn’t often have characters leap onto the page who were as easy to write as Benjamin and Tzadkiel. Their motivations sang, and their conflict was genuine. I wondered multiple times how I’d ever get them to stop hating each other long enough to have sex.
All that waiting and hatred, however, translated into some serious sexual tension. It was so much fun to write. I can’t even describe how vivid these scenes were to me. It was a true gift from the Muse!
I know you spent a long time creating these characters and developing the world, were you surprised at anything in particular as this all came together?
Two things. The first was how important it was to understand character motivation for everyone on the page, not only Benjamin and Tzadkiel, in order to write the story.
The second, I already mentioned, but it bears repeating. I was surprised at exactly how difficult it was to get these guys to pounce on each other! Tzadkiel just wanted to bite Ben, and Ben was like, “Bite me.” Having read the book, you’ll understand why that was problematic!
The feeling is very much contemporary, but you definitely delve into other timeframes and settings. How were you able to cover so much ground?
I’m so glad you picked up on this! Boston is such an old city. By making the city a character of sorts in the story I could evoke a time long past without time travel. The fact that Tzadkiel lived through those times and saw the city grow up around him also helped elicit that feeling. His archaic and formal speech patterns—those that are not of a native English speaker—helped too, I think.
Back to the world-building, we see old-Boston walk-ups, subterranean dwellings, ancient Greek mythological settings, a tavern, and even a glimpse of ‘heaven’ (no, I don’t mean in Benjamin’s bedroom). Did you use any graphic images as inspiration?
Because I lived in Boston, I didn’t need too many graphical representations. An amazing (cough—Lisa—cough) Beta reader found a map for me that is a spoiler if I share it here. That contribution broke the wider plot open for me. The story would not exist in its present form without that map!
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What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers have a great read! I also would like them to understand that despite our differences we all have common experiences that can bring us together. No matter how great the divide, we are all human . . . or perhaps vampire, or were, or witch, or fae . . .
Thanks Tibby, as always, you are a delight!
Ebook Available for Pre-Order
The Dark Series
Surrender The Dark(May 2017)Taste The Dark(August 2017)