I've always loved telling stories, but my goal in life was never to pursue a writing career. After all I’m a trained archaeologist and Roman historian.
But, life has a way of surprising us.
I began to write Bloodgifted as a way to pass the time while I watched the Australian Open Tennis on TV that summer.
Ten months later I’d written a 115,000 word novel. But it needed editing. I sent it to a professional editor, and her comments were encouraging enough for me to hazard entering a writing contest.
So, with trembling hands, I sent my “baby” to complete with a couple of hundred others in a competition held in Queensland. For me, it was a test to gauge how well my debut literary skills stood when thrown into the fire of a national contest.
I got the shock of my life when I was, not only, shortlisted, but eventually came fourth.
After a bit more polishing, I entered Bloodgifted in an international writing competition – Search For An Aussie Star – held by Choclit, a British publishing company. The prize was a publishing contract. My manuscript was now competing with some well-known, international stars of the romance genre.
I didn't stand a chance!
But I thought the experience would be good, and if I got some feedback in the process, then even better.
I came seventh!
As for the feedback? I got that from another British publisher. With their suggestions, I rewrote sections of the book and finally had it published at the end of August 2013.
Tima Maria Lacoba writes vampire books, but not just any vamp books – hers are Roman soldiers cursed by a Pictish witch in the 3rd century.
So, how did she start this series? In a previous life (before writing) Tima was a practicing archaeologist and historian, specializing in Roman Britain. Later, she took up high school teaching, as it gave her the opportunity to take her students on overseas excursions to visit the amazing archaeological sites they’d only seen in books.
Then one day, she surrendered to the itch of writing. After many years reading and correcting her students’ creative writing tasks and essays, she decided it was time to write her own.
Bloodgifted is the result.
In 2011, it was shortlisted in the Atlas Award – sponsored by a boutique Brisbane publisher – and eventually came fourth.
In 2012, it was listed among the top seven in the Choclit, Search for an Aussie Star Competition.
In 2013, she was offered a publishing contract, but declined in favour of going indie. The idea of being in charge of her creation was more appealing.
Bloodgifted is just the start of a three part series entitled, The Dantonville Legacy. Later, Tima Maria intends writing individual books on the other characters in the series, for they all have their own story.
Book 2 in the series, Bloodpledge will be released mid 2014.
Currently, Tima lives on the Central Coast, an hour’s drive north of Sydney, surrounded by wooded hills, possums and seed-dropping rosellas. Between bouts of writing, she teaches English and History, enjoying long walks while dodging the nesting magpies and plotting the next series of books she’d like to write.
You can find her on:
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/timamarialacoba
Facebook – http://www.facebook/TimaMariaLacoba
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads/TimaMariaLacoba
Website – http://timamarialacoba.blogspot.com
How does a young woman live a normal life when she carries a rare genetic mutation?
Descended from a cursed Roman soldier, Laura Dantonville has stopped ageing in her mid twenties and much of her past has been hidden from her. That includes knowledge of her true parentage and that her unique blood is coveted by The Brethren, the secret society of vampires who reside in the affluent suburbs of Sydney.
She later learns it’s her blood alone that provides these creatures with the ability to tolerate daylight. As such, she is the epicentre of a power struggle between two rival vampire groups who want to claim her.
The oldest and most powerful of these factions is led by Alec Munro, whose position as leader, or Princeps, gives him sole claim to Laura.
Has she any other choice but to accept her destiny?
I pushed open the heavy glass doors and stepped into the cool, dark recess. The scent of old polished wood rose from the rows of pews stretching the length of the nave. To my left, a well-worn stone-paved path led past them and through the length of the interior, while a shallow ramp on my right disappeared into a semi-concealed alcove ringed with high-backed wooden chairs.
Which way? If in doubt, follow the yellow-brick road, I thought. Turning left I followed the stone-path down the aisle. What on earth am I doing here? I asked myself. Meeting a vampire, came the daft answer.
‘He will find you,’ my aunt had said. Right now, I didn't know if I wanted to be found! The truth is, I was nervous and even a little afraid searching for an unnatural creature in a Gothic building.
How appropriate. All I need is for the cathedral organ to start playing creepy music!
At least I wasn't totally alone. Here and there a few people milled around, even though most were outside grabbing that last minute Christmas bargain as shopping hours had been extended. It was only about nine p.m. In the balcony at the end of the nave a choir was rehearsing The Messiah. I’m sure they’d hear me scream if this Alec Munro proved less benign than the impression my aunt gave. Why didn't I bring Matt? I should have simply ignored her warning and dragged him along anyway.
I followed the stone-path to the back entrance, around the massive sandstone baptismal font and up the other side. Every now and then the Choir
Master stopped the singers mid-note for a correction before continuing their rehearsal. Three Christmas trees, bedecked with massive gold bows, had been positioned on either side of the communion table, while an impressive green wreath hung from the edge of the elevated pulpit.
I realized that the stone path I’d followed led to the small chair-lined alcove I’d originally noticed on entering. It was separated from the aisle by an ornately carved wooden partition, and there, leaning nonchalantly against the narrow opening, arms crossed over his chest stood a tall, broad-shouldered, impossibly good-looking man with hair the colour of a raven’s wing.
My feet stopped mid-stride as my eyes drank in this strikingly imposing figure who so dominated the space around him, that I wondered how I could not have seen him earlier? Nor the way his piercing lavender eyes gazed back at me, demanding my attention.
I sucked in a breath, not just for the affect he had on me, but that he was the visual confirmation of my aunt’s words even if he didn't fit my image of a vampire. But then I really didn't know what to expect – black cape, nasty protruding fangs, glowing red eyes and as pale as death perhaps? The man before me belied those preconceptions, and no vampire I saw in the movies ever looked that good in cream silk business shirt and slate grey trousers which hung seductively low on his lean hips. His sleeves were rolled up at the elbows and the top button of his shirt left undone allowing his tie to hang loose.
I swallowed. Was this the blood-sucking creature whose bite left those marks on my aunt’s wrist? No wonder she’d said I wouldn't mind!
He smiled and softly called my name. ‘Laura.