In the lead up to Dead Ice hitting the shelves, I’m going to be doing a special blog series. I’ll be answering three of the most common questions I get about a character. I’ll be trying to include something not as commonly known with each answer. Then, you get a sneak peek of that character from Dead Ice. To kick off the blog series, we start with Jean-Claude – of course.
Question: Is Jean-Claude named after Jean-Claude Van Damme?
Secret to share: In fact, Jean-Claude’s birth name wasn’t Jean-Claude. Vampires only had one name in Old Europe, so if there was already an older vampire with your name, your master could force you to pick a new name or even choose one for you.
Quest: Why is Jean-Claude French?
Answer: Because he refused to be Spanish, the way I planned.
Secret to Share: Jean-Claude was first created in the late 1980’s. That was close enough to my school days that I could still read Spanish and understand it if it was spoken to me – slowly. Please, do not try to speak Spanish to me now, I am too out of practice. My pronunciation must still be good though, because Spanish speakers will still break into rapid Spanish if I answer any question in their native language. As for my knowledge of French, all I can do is apologize for all of it in the early Anita Blake novels because my language “expert” wasn’t nearly as good at French as they told me they were, and well, some phrases are just awful. As my own French has grown marginally better, even I don’t know what one or two phrases were meant to convey. *face palm* It taught me to be more certain that my experts in any field actually were experts. I still pronounce French badly, so much so that I’ve been told by more than one native French speaker that I can learn all the French I want, but I will never speak it as fluently and musically as I do Spanish. In fact, I’ve been told that I speak French as if Spanish was my first language. It was my second, but apparently it has left it’s linguistic mark.
Question: Didn’t I feel that making Jean-Claude French was too much Anne Rice’s territory, because of Interview with the Vampire?
Answer: Yes, I did, which is why I wanted him to be Spanish; but the harder I fought to force him into a nationality that he didn’t want, the more illusive he was on paper. I couldn’t get my main vampire to cooperate on paper until I got out of his way and let him be French. Only then did he show up in his full glory and write smoothly on paper. He showed up in his typical black and white clothing with the frilly shirt, skin tight pants, and great boots. I did not choose his clothes; he did. Though in an effort to keep his clothes up to his standards I would watch the Fashion Channel for the first time and read my first copy of Vogue. I joke that Jean-Claude taught me to walk in high heels; he helped me understand the magic of gliding in heels. I don’t envision ever being as elegant as he is, but writing and living with him in my head for a couple of decades has helped up my grace and poise content. Though he shakes his head over me sometimes, just like he does Anita. He’s been an interesting influence on both her fictional wardrobe and my real life one. People will ask if my husband and I are in a band, or if we’re visiting from New York, as we get off the plane here in St. Louis. I’m not sure exactly what it means that we get asked that so often, but I know that it’s Jean-Claude’s influence, or rather me writing him that’s changed the way I view clothes.
Sneak Peek from Dead Ice:
“Perhaps modern people do not speak of it so bluntly, but it is the age-old game of chase and capture. There is always someone in a relationship who begins the hunt for someone’s heart, and the pursued must decide whether she wishes to be easily caught, or to be a long and difficult hunt.” He smiled when he said it.
I frowned at him. “Have you ever not gotten to sleep with someone you set your sights on?”
He raised the dark, graceful curve of one eyebrow. “You led me on the merriest chase of anyone I had ever met, ma petite.”