Author Spotlight on Rick H. Veal




Today we are learning about author Rick H. Veal, thanks Rick!  Yes, I've read Rick's epic sage The Master of Whitehall.  It appeals to my paranormal and my romantic side.   A big thank you to Rick for taking the time for me!  I really appreciate it.  

Author Bio
Rick H. Veal was born sometime during the last half of the twentieth century in the upstate of South Carolina and has spent the majority of his life there. He joined the Navy immediately out of high school becoming an aircraft mechanic. During a six year span he sailed four times around the world and had the pleasure of visiting eighteen different countries. He says of that time that he did about two thirds of everything there was to do and was accused of taking part in the other one third.
After returning home he attended The University of South Carolina graduating with a double Associates Degree with Honors. He completed his education at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in History and Education. Since that time he has worked in the education field as a teacher and in various management positions in industry. He currently lives alone and shares his home with his ‘daughter’, a six year old Tuxedo cat who graciously allows him to think he actually owns the house. Her name is ‘Daddy's Pretty Girl’ but she will actually answer to anything except ‘Late for Dinner’.
His two favorite authors are Anne Rice and Clive Cussler. He enjoys Cussler's storytelling ability and Rice's attention to detail. He considers Anne Rice, The Grand Dame of Vampire Writers, to be the architect of the modern vampire genre. Her works are the foundation on which current writers continue to build and expand the field. He believes that current writers of vampire lore owe her a huge debt of gratitude for laying that foundation. Clive Cussler, his other favorite author, is the quintessential American storyteller, one who is able to spin a yarn that draws the reader in from the very beginning. Both of them have a way of bringing their characters to life so that you feel as if you personally know them. Veal hopes that his readers will be able to see the influence of those two great writers in his writing as he tries to convey the same believability with his characters.
He has been a reader for most of his life and enjoyed much of what he's read. He has always enjoyed reading about and watching movies on the subject of vampires. He was completely hooked by Barnabas Collins in ‘Dark Shadows’ way back in 1966. After reading all the vampire books he could … Rice, Smith, Harris, Craine, Meyer … he decided that if they could write a vampire story, then so could he and he set out to do just that. 
He decided that a setting with a rich history surrounding it would be ideal for a paranormal love story. Charleston and the surrounding Low Country of South Carolina, replete with an abundant history of ghosts and the unknown, combined with the lore of Vampire stories just seemed to be made for each other. So tying the two together he formed the initial idea and built on it from there.
The result of his efforts is The Epic Saga of The Master of Whitehall, a sweeping three volume narrative set in historic Charleston and the surrounding Low Country of South Carolina. A forth novel, the first of a two volume prequel to The Master of Whitehall, is in progress with one more planned for a total of five volumes in the series.
His other works include Jennifer’s Ghost, a short story set in beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina and Hannah’s Heartache, a Master of Whitehall novelette, set in Savannah, Georgia.
It has been said that that if you want to write, you should “write the book you want to read, and then others will want to read it too”. That is exactly what he hopes he has accomplished in his own writings.
All of his books, Katelyn’s Chronicles, Lexi’s Legacy, Dale’s Descent, Charlotte Ann's Coven, Jennifer’s Ghost and Hannah’s Heartache are available at Amazon.com in both print and e-book formats. 
Should you wish to receive a personally inscribed and signed copy of any of his books please contact him directly for more information. He can be contacted via e-mail at author@prtcnet.com, his website, TheMasterOfWhitehall.com



What inspired you to write the story of The Master of Whitehall?

I have read and enjoyed vampire stories all of my life and the idea of writing my own story has been around for a long time. I actually wrote my first ‘spooky’ story when I was still a child. However, the decision to write actually came after surviving two heart attacks in the same weekend. During my recovery, I realized how short life can be and how quickly it can potentially be over. I came to the conclusion that if I intended to leave anything behind that was lasting, now would be the time to do so. I began to consider my own mortality, and realized that if I really wanted to write, now was the time to begin … not next week, next month, or next year … and that was five and a half years ago. When I decided to begin my story, I followed the advice of Anne Rice to “write the kind of story I would enjoy reading, and then other people would enjoy it too.”
I chose to write “The Master of Whitehall” for the new adult/college age reader because most of the books I have read in the vampire romance genre are either in the young adult/high school or adult age range. There just didn’t seem to be anything for the transition age range. I wanted something that would fill in the gap between L.J. Smith and Anne Rice.
I’m a big fan of Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles”, Rachel Craine’s “Morganville Vampires”, Charlene Harris’ “Sookie Stackhouse”, and L.J. Smith’s “Night World”. I came to the conclusion that if they could write a vampire story, then I could do the same. I began to think about the best traits of all the characters of all the books I have enjoyed over the years and “The Master of Whitehall” was born.

Why did you choose vampires and Charleston?
    
I have to thank my very first childhood sweetheart, Robin Waters, for introducing me to vampires. She and I used to watch “Dark Shadows” together beginning in 1967 and we both thought Barnabas Collins was the coolest thing to come along. I was hooked by his character (Jonathan Frid once said of his role, “I don’t play a vampire, I play a man with a secret) and have enjoyed reading and watching movies about vampires ever since.
When it came time to write my story I wanted a setting in the Low Country of South Carolina with a lot of history surrounding it. Charleston is such an old and romantic city with many supernatural stories attached to it. It seemed only natural to pair Charleston with vampires and the two seemed to mesh perfectly together. I began to think more about how the two could play into each other, came up with an initial idea, built on it from there, and so Whitehall Manor was born.

You mentioned your very first childhood sweetheart, would you mind telling us about her.
I would love to tell you about her! Her name was Robin Waters, and as I’ve said she introduced me to ‘Dark Shadows’. Robin and I met when her family moved into the house next door to us in 1965 and we quickly grew into best friends. We played together, grew closer, and like all children, we had hopes for the future. In 1971, at the age of 13, she was diagnosed with what was at that time an inoperable brain tumor … and on June 3, 1972, at the age of 14, she quietly slipped into the arms of God, taking all our hopes, dreams, and plans with her … may you rest in peace dear sweet Robin - until we are once again reunited.

What do you think causes people’s enduring fascination with vampires?

There are so many fascinating aspects to the vampire that would be attractive to people. By nature the vampire is and always had been extremely sensual … there is also the eternal life and never growing old part of them … and of course their dark side is especially alluring to our own human natures. Perhaps their most appealing aspect though is their ability to have anybody or do anything, without the possibility of either rejection or punishment for their actions. I believe that each of us has our own special and deeply personal reason for being drawn to vampires.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging about being a writer?

“Is that possible, does it make sense and will it be believable?” Since I am asking my reader to suspend what they know to be reality for an ‘alternate plausible reality’, that question is often the foremost in my mind when I write. I find myself asking that and then attempting to find a workable solution around any obstacles. As long as my reader says to themselves, ‘That’s possible, I believe that could happen’ then they will remain engaged with me. But, once I take them beyond the pale to the point that they say ‘That’s not even possible, I don’t believe that could ever happen’, then I’ve lost them as a reader and they will look for something else that they can believe.
Vampires by their very nature are and always have been erotic, so another big challenge is just where to draw the line with the sex scenes so that they are sensual but not pornographic. Beginning in 1897 with Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, vampires became extremely sensual. If one understands Victorian English and its nuances, they would find Dracula to be very erotic for the times it was written. Then with the development of the genre in recent years, Vampires are even more erotic now. I think the most difficult part of writing a paranormal romance is that you are beginning with a sensual character, the vampire. It can become quite challenging when you combine that with a romance, and attempt to prevent the story from becoming overly erotic and even downright pornographic.
All of the books in the Master series have some steamy scenes in them. The thought provoking part of those is fitting them in the story so that they are a part of and flow with the story and are not just tossed in as a “sex for sex sake” filler scene. Writing the various love scenes can be difficult because you have to consider each character and their personality. There are some things that one character will do that another would not. I want to always keep it fresh and not ‘cut and paste’ old ideas from one scene to another.
Finally the most problematic part of writing, after all the editing, reading and re-reading the manuscript is to know when to tell yourself, “That’s enough, it’s finished, edited and as complete as possible. Send it to the printer!”

What was the most challenging part of writing a female protagonist?

I think the most challenging part of writing through a woman’s eyes is having to stop and think about what, how, and where she would say something. Sometimes just getting Katelyn and Lexi’s perspective correct, not only as a woman, but as a young woman with limited life experiences, was extremely thought provoking. Charlotte Ann, on the other hand, a woman with nearly four hundred years of life was a little easier because she has grown into herself and become comfortable with whatever she needs to be or do to survive. There were plenty of times when I had to stop, think, and ask myself would/should she really do this or say that? Fortunately, I have a lot of female friends of all ages that I was able to call on for advice and answers.

How do you pick names for your characters when you are writing?

I try to use names that fit the time period of when the actual character was born. For instance, James, who was born in 1725, was a fairly common name during that time period being the name of several British Kings. Katelyn and Lexi are more modern names and plausible for young college aged girls born in the early 1990’s. The best way to name a character is once you identify the current age of the character, subtract that age from the current year to determine when they would have been born. Then do a search for popular baby names around that time and choose one you like.

Who is your favorite character and how would you spend a day together?

I feel like I know all of my characters and love all of them, so it’s difficult to choose just one. But if I had to, I think I would like to spend a day with either Charlotte Ann or Gale. I am a historian by trade so with Charlotte Ann being over four hundred years old, and Gale around sixteen hundred years old, both of them would have to hold a wealth of information. Although both were born and grew up hundreds of years ago, they seem to be perfectly comfortable in wherever era they find themselves. Both of them have come to understand that they cannot remain the same and so have managed to grow, change with and adapt their lives to the times. Besides, both of them are pretty hot, too … although I might be a little skeptical should either invite me to dinner!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I have two favorites, Anne Rice and Clive Cussler. Both of them have a way of bringing their characters to life so that you feel as if they are not just characters in a story but personal friends and a part of your life.
I love Cussler’s storytelling ability. He has a way of spinning a story that will draw you in from the very first page. He will take you deep into the lives of his characters and their adventures making them become a part of your life.
Anne Rice tells a sweeping saga while paying great attention to detail. She has a special way of getting into her character’s lives and surroundings. She brings them to life with such sharp detail that you can often feel like you are in the room with them.
I think that if you have read either of those you will see their influence in my writing. I have tried to emulate both of these great writers in bringing the characters of Whitehall Manor to life for my readers. I want all of the characters of the Whitehall family to become a part of your life and numbered among your friends. The greatest reward for me would be for someone to tell me that they laughed, loved and cried with each of the characters as they told their stories.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The best advice I can give comes from Anne Rice, the Grand Dame of the vampire genre:

“If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write. If you stop, start again. Save everything that you write. If you feel blocked, write through it until you feel your creative juices flowing again. Write. Writing is what makes a writer, nothing more and nothing less. Ignore critics. Critics are a dime a dozen. Anybody can be a critic. Writers are priceless.”

I would also add to that not be a hurry to get your book out there – there will be plenty of time to see your name on the cover of a book (probably one of the best feelings in the world) but take your time and make sure that your book is right … because once it’s out there, it’s out there forever, complete with all the bumps and boo-boo’s.

Who do you think should read your books?

Everybody! But, seriously, The Epic Saga of The Master of Whitehall is meant for anyone who enjoys a good romance story. Although the books are Paranormal Romance, neither is overly dark. My intention has been to open a window into the lives of two everyday girls whose lives are tremendously affected by their introduction to James. My desire was to make a way for the reader to follow them as their lives blend together eventually becoming one family. Of course they are all faced with obstacles to overcome as they face new lives and new worlds to make that transition a reality.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions that you think people have about authors in general?

Sometimes I think the public in general thinks being an author is a life of ease … all we do is live in a fantasy world and write our stories. They have no idea how much blood, sweat and tears, goes into developing and growing a character and their story. They’ve never been woken up at two in the morning by a character that suddenly decides to share a major part of their story, then have to get out of bed and get a draft of it down on paper. After that you’re awake for the remainder of the night!

If money was no object and you could travel to any place in the world for your dream vacation where would you go and what would you do?

I have traveled around the world four times, visited eighteen different countries and many other places besides so I am content being right here at home. But for just a few days away, there’s no place like Charleston, South Carolina and New Orleans, Louisiana. The first is the setting for my books and the second is the traditional ‘Land of Voodoo and Vampires’ … and both have the best seafood and entertainment ever!

If vampires were to really exist and you had the option to become immortal would you do so yes or no and why?
Can I answer ‘Maybe’ – although I lean toward the yes side of that question but only if no one else knew that I was an immortal. I would enjoy watching the advancements of mankind and see where they would take them and what they would do with them. Imagine having been around and watched such advancements in transportation as the invention of the railroad, the airplane, the car, or the spaceship. I think perhaps it would be difficult for the first couple of centuries because we are all men and women of our time, making the most difficult part of immortality being able to adapt to the times in which I lived.


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