Interview and Giveaway: Sarah Jane Stratford, author of The Moonlight Brigade

Please welcome Sarah Jane Stratford to the blog today! Sarah Jane is the author of the awesome Millenial series (The Midnight Guardian and The Moonlight Brigade), and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions! Also up for grabs are 3 copies of The Midnight Guardian (Book ONE) to 3 lucky winners, so be sure to check out those deets at the end of the post!

Sarah Jane, I read that you wanted to be a theatre actress growing up. What made you decide that writing was a better fit?
Well, recognizing I didn’t have an overabundance of acting talent was my first tip that I was heading in the wrong direction. But mostly, I was just so enamored with (and addicted to) telling stories, rather than acting them, that it became natural – and necessary – to steer my energies behind the scenes. I especially wanted to create strong, multi-faceted female characters, rather than attempt to embody them.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Millennial series?
Millennials are vampires over 1000 years old. They are stronger and harder to kill, which makes them perfect candidates to conduct a stealth mission in 1938, attempting to infiltrate and destroy the Nazi party. They have some personal reasons for wanting to accomplish this – the Nazis assembled a crack team of vampire hunters called the Nachtspeere, and they managed to decimate much of Europe’s vampire population. The first book, The Midnight Guardian, focuses on Brigit and uses three interweaving timelines to tell the story of the British millennial mission from 1938 to 1940; Brigit’s long past and romance with her partner, Eamon; and her tense escape from Berlin in 1940, with contraband cargo in tow.

The second book, The Moonlight Brigade, brings one of the secondary characters from The Midnight Guardian into the spotlight. This is Mors, a sexy, bad boy vampire who was a general in the Roman republic when he was a human. He still knows his way around a battle (he never let being undead stop him from participating in interesting conflicts) and it’s he who was at the forefront of the millennial mission. Now, in 1941, he’s out for vengeance as he searches for his missing friend, Cleland. The search leads him to his first home, Rome. That’s where he devises a new strategy: team up with human partisans and train them into an underground fighting force to assist the Allies from within enemy territory. That the leader of the partisans is an attractive woman, Giulia, doesn’t hurt.

Overall, I was interested in exploring the nature of evil and what it really means to be human. This is the result, thus far.

Your newest novel, The Moonlight Brigade, just came out. Do you have plans for more in the series?
I intend on finishing out the war in the next book. I’ve already written a few sequences and they are shaping nicely. After that, it would be fun to go further back in time, perhaps to the War of the Roses. Or go the other direction and see what the millennials think of the Beatles.

What were some of your favorite writers growing up?
I fell in love with the classics early on, so I was reading Jane Austen long before I really understood her. Anything that was literary, funny, or theatrical was read over and over – Alice in Wonderland and the Noel Streatfeild “Shoes” books, for example. And Judy Blume, of course. In my teens I got into Kurt Vonnegut and some of the Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries. I also loved reading plays and musical librettos – especially those for Stephen Sondheim shows.

Do you have any contemporary favorites?
I always love Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman. I’m also a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri, Sebastian Barry, Fannie Flagg, and JK Rowling. On the theatre side, I adore (among others) Tom Stoppard, Alan Ayckbourn, and, although he’s sadly not contemporary anymore, Harold Pinter.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
I recently finished Summer Loving by Allie Spencer and am now alternating Jeremy Brown’s Suckerpunch with AS Byatt’s Morpho Eugenia. I like to shake it up a bit.

What are some of your favorite stage productions?
Er, how much space do we have here? Okay, a few things I’ve seen over the last five years that thrilled me down to the bone (understand these are only a few even from that category) include: The History Boys (Alan Bennett), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Martin McDonagh), Sweeney Todd (Sondheim), Sunday in the Park With George (Sondheim), The Norman Conquests (Ayckbourn), The Winter’s Tale (starring Simon Russell Beale), The Coast of Utopia (Stoppard), Red (John Logan), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Alex Timbers & Michael Friedman), The Temperamentals (Jon Marans), Passing Strange (Stew & Heidi Rodewald)…okay, I’d best stop there.

I read that you spent some time in the UK. If someone were to visit for the first time, where would you tell them to go first, and what do you love most about the UK?
No, seriously, how much space do we have? Most people go to London first, which stands to reason as Heathrow is the busiest airport in the world. And although it’s losing a lot of its historical beauty, London is still amazing. It also has fantastic theatre.

But for a different, very rich experience. I always recommend York. I went there for my master’s degree and just fell in love with it. It’s a remarkably well-preserved walled medieval city. It still has some snatches of its Roman and Viking past, cobbled streets, breathtaking architecture, an incredible Norman cathedral, and wonderful food and drink. It’s a very beautiful, inspiring place and as a small city, you can feel like you know it within a few days. It’s also called the most haunted city in Europe, which just adds to the charm.

It’s hard to say what I love most about the UK, because there’s just so much. The people, of course. The “green and pleasant land” aspect. And the history. Mile after mile of it. When I’m there, I feel like I’m walking through stories. And always discovering something new. It makes me ridiculously happy.

If you could travel back in time, and meet anyone you wanted, what time period would you visit, and who would you most want to meet?
Ack, do I have to narrow it down? I want to visit any number of time periods – and hopefully keep the clothes. And I’d love to meet a whole host of dead people. Perhaps first I’d choose Richard III to apologize for the way history’s mistreated him.

When you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Well, I do like to go to the theatre (you’re astounded, I know). I’m also a serious student of yoga, which keeps me calm when I’m indulging my inner political junkie. I love to read, of course, and take long walks and bike rides. Most of all, I love spending time with my many fantastic friends. And if there’s good food and green tea in the mix, so much the better.

Is there any news of upcoming events or projects that you’d like to share?
In addition to the next Millennial book, I’m working on two new plays which I’m cautiously excited about. One is a jolly comedy about censorship and sedition and the other is a thriller about the Black Death. The above-mentioned Allie Spencer and I are also planning to collaborate on a comic venture or two. Finally, I’m working on a novel that has nothing to do with vampires and is instead a feminist tale within a medieval setting. With a ghost or two, though.

Stalk Sarah-Jane: Website | Twitter | Facebook

*Read my review of The Midnight Guardian

**GIVEAWAY DETAILS**
1. Giveaway is for 3 copies of The Midnight Guardian (Book ONE) to 3 winners.
2. To enter, leave a question or comment for Sarah Jane, along with your email address. Following the blog is not necessary, but much appreciated. If you do, tell me how for ONE extra entry, and leave me a SEPARATE COMMENT!
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
4. Giveaway ENDS 9/26/11
5. Giveaway books generously provided by St. Martins Press

About The Midnight Guardian:
It’s 1938, and Hitler’s tentacles have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be purged of all “tainted” bloodlines…including vampires.

London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent and resolves to send its five most formidable vampires— immensely powerful “millennials” who have lived more than a thousand years— to infiltrate and destroy the Nazis. Brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, for it means leaving behind her vampire lover Eamon, whom she made eight centuries ago. But go she must; her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success.

As the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable and more monstrous than they’d ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free world. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.

79 Comments:

  1. Great interview. This book sounds very interesting. I can’t wait to check it out.

    ~Kayla
    kcrochet002@gmail.com

  2. This series sounds very interesting, I love the mix of UF with history. Good luck on your plays and other upcoming projects!

    dragon_tear@cox.net

  3. I also follow via GFC =)

    dragon_tear@cox.net

  4. I love the ideas behind these stories. I’m very excited for this giveaway.

    ashley_e_prince@yahoo.com

  5. I am now following this blog via GFC. 😀

  6. I’m sooo excited for this series! I just discovered Ms. Stratford’s books and I have book 1 ordered and I’m waiting impatiently for it in the mail! I would love to win book 2 🙂

    My question… of all the periods in time, why did you focus on WW2? It’s such an intriquing concept and original!

    Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

    GFC ~ erin
    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Oh… pooop! this is what happens when I try and cut back on the coffee 🙂 I have book 2 on order!!! Please re enter me… I will go away now I promise! But thanks again!

    GFC ~ erin
    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. This series sounds awesome. I picked up book one The Midnight Guardian. I love falling into a story that takes me out of this world. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jnmt3@hotmail.com

  9. I follow on GFC Rain Maiden

    and Twitter @RainMaidenJen

  10. Thank you for the giveaway!

    rosez_8[at]hotmail[dot]com

  11. This book sounds so interesting. This is a new author to me. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. I follow through email

    s_walters at yahoo dot com

    Forgot to include email on earlier post 🙁

  13. Thanks for the interview. I have these books on my wishlist. I love the mix of history and paranormal that the books have.

    rachaelmccully@yahoo.com

  14. I love the cover! Did you get to choose it? edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

  15. GFC Krystal Larson

  16. Yeah!!! Looks great!
    pam
    blomette at yahoo.com

  17. Can’t wait to check out this new to me author!

    emilytardy@yahoo.com

  18. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

  19. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

  20. I would love to read these. They have a new twist that is interesting.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    musicalfrog at comcast dot net

  21. GFC Patti P follower.

  22. I really enjoyed the interview! I love learning about the authors who I read or the new ones (which you are to me). Your books very good. I love the covers.

    Judy
    magnolias_1[at]msn[dot]com

  23. GFC follower-judy

    Judy
    magnolias_1[at]msn[dot]com

  24. Thank you so much for this giveaway! This book looks great!

    chelle2006 @ aol .com

    -Michelle @ Book Briefs

  25. Wow! This sounds like a wonderful series. I’m excited! Thanks for the contest.

  26. Curious about these books. Please count me in.

    tatiana_lwg(at) yahoo.com

  27. I follow the blog through your newsletter and also on Facebook. Thanks!
    jkatsitkei AT aol DOT com

  28. Looks promising, I would love to win a copy.

    kliu107(at)gmail(dot)com

  29. I’m a GFC follower.

    kliu107(at)gmail(dot)com

  30. Great interview-sounds like one busy lady! I’ve been meaning to check these out!

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  31. +1 GFC follower: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  32. Well I think this series sounds awesome. I am also interested in the story in the works with the medieval feminist and ghosties – that one sounds like a hoot and I will be watching for it to come to fruition. Thank you for taking the time to share with us today and for the wonderful giveaway opportunity.

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  33. Well I am a follower of course because all of us cool folks are (I had a typo and put kook and am now LOL) Thank you for your generosity of sharing and all the fun.

    GFC – Denise Zaky

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

  34. I can’t wait to read this series!! Thank you for this giveaway.

    GFC- Angie

    ajiehuang1997 (at) gmail (dot) com

  35. Sounds like a fascinating series! Wonderful interview as well. =^-^= Thank you for the giveaway. Win or lose, I’ll be adding this series to my TBR pile.

    Ldyskyfire@hotmail.com

  36. Thanks for another great giveaway! I love vampire stories and this series looks like a great one! I’m adding the series to be TBR list.

    BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

  37. Already follow via GFC (Bornajhawk).

    BornajhawkATaolDOTcom

  38. Great interview. 🙂 thanks for the giveaway.

    Terri m
    Oklahomamommy0306@gmail.com

  39. I follow through email and gfc

    Terri m
    oklahomamommy0306@gmail.com

  40. An interesting take on the whole Nazi era, sounds like a good series. A new author for me, but one that has to be added to my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win a copy and check out this series!

    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  41. Still a great blog!
    GFC follower Lexi
    Email follower too (leximadson yahoo)

  42. Great interview. I like the premise of your books. I’ve always been interested in WWII, vampires & taking Hiltler down. Can’t wait to check the book out.

    Thanks for the chance to win.
    gsryley(at)gamil(dot)com
    I’m a follower

  43. This sounds like something different. Would love to read it.

  44. GFC follower and email subscriber.

    yadkny@hotmail.com

  45. I love the cover for The Midnight Guardian. It makes me want to read the book.

  46. I am a GFC follower.

  47. The Millennial Series sounds fantastic and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  48. I’m a GFC follower.

  49. I’ve been wanting to read this series for awhile now. Thanks for the opportunity to win it!

    Poisnivyred AT gmail.com

  50. I’m gfc follower Kel.

    Poisnivyred AT gmail.com

  51. The books sound great, they have both been on my TBR list for awhile. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    areeths at new dot rr dot com

  52. GFC follower-areeths

    areeths at new dot rr dot com

  53. This looks really good. I am moving to England next year, so I am excited to read anything about the UK. Do you think the nature of being human is to be on some level evil?

    teressaoliver@gmail.com

  54. I think it’s a great idea to fight Nazis with vampires.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  55. I follow on GFC
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  56. It’s amazing just how creative writers are with vampires. I’ve been a lover of vampire books since I was a kid and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of plot lines, characters, scenarios, etc. Long live the Vampire!!!

    I’m an email subscriber – I don’t want to miss any of your posts 🙂

    Saph
    saphsbookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

  57. Count me in! I would love to win a copy of this book 🙂

  58. I am a GFC follower 🙂

  59. This looks awesome I have to get my hands on it .Thank you for the chance to win it .

    flanagan@mebtel.net

  60. I follow via email and gfc
    wanda l flanagan
    flanagan@mebtel.net

  61. Oh wonderful interview. 🙂 And sorry you didn’t get into acting. But writing could be just as fun, as it seems. 😀

    I would love to have a trip to the UK one of these days. Thank you!

    MyWorldinwordsandpages{at}gmail{dot}com

  62. I’m lovin the cover!! 😀 Sounds awesome!! Thanks for the giveaway!! 🙂
    Kait.Reader at gmail dot com

  63. Thanks for the interview! And thank you for reading (and liking!) my Goodreads review, Sarah Jane.

    I’ve been telling everyone at work to get out and read these books!

  64. Pingback: Book Bits: Downside Ghosts, BDB, Carolyn Crane, Molly Harper, more | Vampire Book Club

  65. Aww, I’m an actor and a writer!! 🙂 But I can’t seem to write on command 🙂 It drives me crazy if people tell me to write. It’s not like I’m inspired all the time… I’m better off acting..

    email: cruz042 at csusm dot edu

  66. Sounds like a great book! I would love to be entered to win!

  67. Thanks for sharing the great interview! This sounds like an exciting series. I like the blending of genres (UF/history). Congrats on your plays in the works and other novel as well. Will that novel be a standalone or part of a series?

    pams00 @ aol.com

  68. gfc follower – pams00
    email subscriber – pams00@aol

    pams00 @ aol.com

  69. Wow – thank you, thank you for all the incredible enthusiasm and good wishes! I am absolutely overwhelmed.
    To answer your questions:
    Erin – I focused on World War II because it’s a time of so much inhumanity, and juxtaposing human monstrosity against creatures who are ostensibly monsters was fascinating. Of course, there are also stories of people rising above what they had thought was their capacity, and that compelled me as well.
    Krystal – The covers were designed by the publisher’s hugely talented artists and I just fell in love with them on sight.
    Teressa – Whether human nature means to be on some level evil is the sort of discussion that seems to demand a glass of wine or three. We certainly have that capacity, though, and far too many people exercise it. So we always have to fight it when we see it!
    Wendy – HUGS!
    Pam – the other novel is a standalone. I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes out. 🙂
    Thanks again to the superb Kristin for the interview – it was so much fun!
    Cheers,
    Sarah-Jane

  70. Great Interview. The book sounds interesting.
    I do have a question for Sarah:
    Why did you choose WWII as the back drop, instead of another point in history?

    I’d love to win a copy of the books
    j-9-books (at) hotmail (dot) com

    Cheers!!!

  71. Series sounds really interesting and its great that you’re giving away the first book, my trb pile is huge but wouldn’t mind adding another series to the list!
    pypercharmed@yahoo.com

  72. Wow, Nazi’s and vampires! I haven’t heard that before. Looks like a good read!
    lovemybabysquid@yahoo.com

  73. I’m a GFC follower.
    Cathie
    lovemybabysquid@yahoo.com

  74. This book sounds so interesting. It would make a great addition to my paranormal shelf.

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