OBS Staffer Erin had the opportunity to interview author Joanne Valiukas. The review of Danann Frost Falls from Grace can be found here
I want people to understand the true depth there is to the story and
the journey that Danann undertakes. Some people have called it a love
story but it is so much more than that. It is about one woman’s
journey through life and adversity and all the things that she learns
along the way. She is flawed and makes mistakes, just like all of us
but it is what we learn and how we apply that knowledge that makes the
I also want people to get more out of the book each time they read it.
There is a lot there, if you just look for it and after the sequel
comes out, you will want to go back and read the first one again, just
to see what hints you missed the first time around.
Why did you want to write about vampires and fallen angels together?
It was an accidental inspiration. I was researching material for my
main series The Ancient Blood books and I was deep into Celtic
mythology. I read the story of Mananann Mac Lir and how his second
wife cursed the children from his first marriage. They were to be
swans for 900 years before the curse was lifted. My head began
exploding with ideas as I pictured an Ancient Irish vampire prince who
stood watching a girl with snowy white wings, washing herself by an
Irish lake. He thought that she was the goddess daughter of Mananann
but it turns out that she is not.
Celtic myths aren’t very common as the basis for modern book settings. What made you choose this one?
It actually sprang forth from the origins of vampires in my world.
They do not originate in celtic mythology but they do have cause to
make use of it in their travels; something that can only be understood
by reading the Ancient Bloods which at this time, are unfortunately
You’ve changed some of the details of what the angels and archangels are as well, did you do this consciously or did they change as the story progressed?
I did this deliberately. I did not want to subscribe to any
particular relgious ethos, instead I wanted bridge the gaps and
question without offending the ways and beliefs of mankind. Father
Seamus is the perfect example of this. He held his own beliefs but
struggled to forgive evil doers and in the end couldn’t and I wanted
to admire that conviction in him, that his conscience was more right
and powerful than the laws to which his religion subscribed.
The vampire origin myths are different too. Why are there different types, and why did you make them monthly shapeshifters?
Two reasons. Firstly…I had to do something different, something
that would make my ethos stand out against others and secondly and
most importantly, I am the sort of person who relishes a challenge. I
wanted to constrain my world and the laws under which they lived.
Limiting myself in this way meant that I had to find creative ways
around difficult problems. One thing I never wanted to do was use the
Deus Ex Machina or some easy convenience for difficult problems. I
never wanted the answer to anything to be ‘just because’.
Seth turns into a wolf; since you used Irish myths before it made me wonder, does his sister Mab change into a raven?
Can I say Erin, that I love just how much you’ve clearly thought about
these things. It is for readers just like you that I actually wrote
this book. The readers that want to know more and more and more. As
for Mab, she is in fact also an Irish wolf. The way that it works is
that a vampire, once undead, becomes the animal their sire or maker
was at the full moon. This can change only if the body is attacked by
some other creature before rising and the DNA of the new animal has
somehow mixed with the body. It may interest you to know that
Mananann himself was not an Irish Wolf. You’re the first person I
have told this to! (I am laughing gleefully, because I love that you
want to know these insights.) Mananann deliberately introduced other
DNA to the bodies because too much would have been given away had he
not. Any that still rose to be like Mananann, he killed. The
children that he changed to become living vampires, he changed at the
times they chose to to become undead. I hope that makes sense?
How much research was involved in the books?
Lots and lots and lots. Whatever would we do without the internet? I
have files and files of research and project books with articles and
pictures pasted in; all the things that inspired me.
Read the Complete Interview here