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Author Sydney Winward Guest Spot/Bloodscourge

Today I get to host author Sydney Winward on my blog to discuss her book, Bloodscourge. If you're looking to sink your teeth into a great read for the Halloween season, Bloodscourge has you covered. I was hooked from page one, and you can check out my review here:

4 Stars. Author Sydney Winward has done a fantastic job of throwing me into an intense world filled with fantasy. Elisabeta is a young thief, and a con-woman stuck in an abusive relationship with the only family she has left, her brother Miles. When the opportunity to steal a priceless item from an island on the brink of war, Miles gives Elisabeta no other option. She must steal the item no matter the cost. Only, she didn’t plan on falling for the half-human/half-vampire army captain, Dracula. But what happens when Dracula finds out that Elisabeta isn’t who she claims to be? When war breaks out, loyalties are tested, and truths are revealed. Can Dracula trust Elisabeta? Can Elisabeta let go of what’s holding her back from starting a new life?

If that doesn't make you wanna dig into Bloodscourge's a blurb and a short excerpt to get you moving.

Blurb: Fate has given her a second chance. The only things Elisabeta knows how to do is lie, cheat, and swindle. When her brother learns of a treasure worth kingdoms lying in the heart of Ichor Knell, the great vampire city, he sends her to steal it. However, the key to the treasury is safeguarded by the captain of the guard, a brute named Dracula.

Dracula cannot resist the beautiful and mysterious Elisabeta. As danger erupts in Ichor Knell, he is forced into a precarious position to resist the evil within the city and to protect his family and the woman he cares for immensely.

Despite the connection he feels for her, the secrets she hides could be deadly to them both. Will the truth tie them for eternity or set them on a path of destruction?

Excerpt: He was in so much awe he nearly missed the breathless way Elisabeta watched the raining stars as if she had never seen anything more beautiful in her life. He only wished to watch her reaction longer, but Ilona would likely notice.

“Do you know what makes them red?” Elisabeta asked.

Nicolae answered, “The blood moon happens once a year, and in turn, the stars become red and fall from the sky. As vampires, we believe our god, Ylios, weeps for the loss of devout vampires. If you are lucky when you die, you will become one of those fallen stars to give hope to the family you left behind.”

“That’s very poetic.”

With a frown, Dracula said, “If that’s the case, there will likely be a lot this year with how many deaths have occurred.”

“Dracula,” Madeleine warned. “Don’t ruin tonight with your pessimism.”

“It’s not pessimism,” he muttered under his breath. “It’s reality.”

Their group quieted as they observed the red stars fall from the sky. A deep ache settled in his bones. A part of him didn’t want to believe it was true. Yes, it was poetic. But it was also sad.

Wanting to share this moment with Elisabeta, he inched his fingers toward her while continuing to gaze up at the sky. He rested his fingertips on top of hers. Her breath hitched, but he still didn’t meet her gaze. Especially because he didn’t want to draw attention to his actions.

To his delightful surprise, she returned the gesture by intertwining the tips of their fingers together, making his stomach become a jumble of nerves. He found the jumble of nerves to be pleasant. Exciting. A little bit dangerous.

Also to his surprise, her hand was warm. Vampires had colder skin than humans, elves, or dwarves. Why was her hand warmer than his?

He didn’t get the chance to think on it more when she caressed the top of his finger so lightly, he could easily mistake it for a gentle breeze. He craved more. His fingers traveled up hers, across the top of her hand, and then he stroked her wrist, now hardly able to pay attention to the raining stars. There was someone much more exciting sitting beside him.

Author Interview:

1. How did you come up with the idea for Bloodscourge?

I wrote several books in the series before Bloodscourge before I realized Dracula needed his own story told. I drew on some of the histories of Vlad the Impaler while combining it with the lore and worldbuilding I created for other books in the series. In Bloodbond, you get a glimpse of the events in Dracula’s past that made him the vampire he is.

2. Elisabeta is strong and brave, yet she has an air of naivety about her…how do these personality traits play into the story?

Elisabeta has more of a character arc to grow into than Dracula. For all her life, she was used to being bossed around by her brother. Only when she escapes him for a brief time does she have more room to grow as a character and find the strength and bravery that’s been suppressed for so long.

Of course, she is a frustrating character as she fights against what is familiar and what she knows is right. And given her youth, she has to go through some ups and downs before she is able to truly come to terms with what she wants and needs, as well as to become a better person than she was when she first started her journey.

3. I love how soft Dracula could be when it came to his friends. Was it always your plan to give him a gooey side?

Every intense Mr. Grump also needs a gooey side, if only just for the people he cares about most in his life. Dracula is a very intense character, always focused and always ready to shed blood to protect important people in his life. Although he doesn’t often show his gooey side, if someone becomes important to him, he’ll go to the ends of the earth for them.

4. How did you create Ichor Knell?

Ichor Knell needed to be a place where vampires could live and prosper away from people who might mean them harm. Naturally, they needed a place to live that didn’t have sunlight that also wasn’t deep underground. This is where the dark clouds come in and also where their religion comes into play.

Other identifying factors of the vampire city are jewel trees, which also stems from vampire lore and religion, and a gigantic black castle that would scare off anyone not brave enough to enter Ichor Knell.

5. There was a death in Bloodscourge that was completely unexpected and hard to swallow. Was it something you had planned from the beginning?

Unfortunately, the death was planned. I wrote Bloodscourge after the first four books in the series, and in those books, they briefly gloss over what happened. Dracula’s backstory is somewhat tragic, and to give everyone the happy ending they truly deserved just wasn’t in the cards. He has one of the darker backstories of all the other characters in the series, and I wouldn’t be doing it justice by not breaking a few hearts along the way.

Author Bio: Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.

Sydney is the best-selling author of The Bloodborn Series, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband, two amazing kids, and one stubborn fish.

Follow Sydney here:

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