Interview & Giveaway (US/Int): Straight-talk with Blackthorn’s intimidating lycan leader Jask and author Lindsay J. Pryor
In an imaginary future, the world is controlled by humans who rule over vampires with an iron fist. Society is divided and ‘third species’ are both feared and discriminated against. Additional seeds of unrest are sown by whispers of a vampire prophecy foretelling the overthrow of the human regime.
Blackthorn itself is the most impoverished of several administrative districts – a real melting pot for vampires, lycans and humans – and a subsequent hive of social unrest.
This dark and dystopian backdrop is the perfect setting for intense forbidden romances – romances that will not only impact on the fate of humankind, but also on the fate of the ‘third species’ who have spent far too long waiting for their time.
Please help me welcome Blackthorn creator and author Lindsay J. Pryor and a very special guest from the feared and respected Blackthorn lycan pack!
Lindsay Pryor, author (LP): Let’s start with the basics. We all know vampires don’t have souls, but what about lycans?
Jask Tao, lycan leader (JT): Like vampires, we also have what you like to define as shadows where our souls should be, categorising us as your so-called ‘third species’ too. But this deeply-flawed ideology as to what makes someone good or bad is nothing more than an excuse to justify sustaining this divisive system your Global Council has created purely for its own ends.
LP: We all know it’s about more than just that. There is the small matter of these whispers of a vampire leader one day rising and bringing about the downfall of humankind. You can’t blame humans for protecting themselves.
JT: No, but I do blame them for breaking their promises, creating an unfair and immoral system, down treading anyone who doesn’t meet their ideologies, and enforcing a structure based on control, fear and oppression.
LP: Tell me more about lycanthropy. You claim it’s not some transmittable disease or evil curse but that you’re merely a different species like the vampires are.
JT: Our transformation is an allergy to the lunar cycle. We’re taught to deal with it from a young age, the same as you humans are with your allergies. We use our specialist concoction of herbs to inhibit our condition and have done so successfully for centuries. This is even more important now that we’re confined in dense, urban areas. We can’t make mistakes like we used to be able to – the implications for our pack are too great.
LP: So it’s because of these circumstances that you don’t you let your pack transform with the full moon? But aren’t you denying who you really are and playing nice for the humans?
JT: We’re not denying what we really are, any more than your allergy sufferers are when they control their conditions. The transformation is excruciating. Many lycans have died as a result of it. Individual members of my pack make the choice whether they want to face this or not but, if they opt in, I only agree with their consent to be secured during their transformation. I have to secure them because a transformed lycan is driven purely by their base instincts. Only a rare few learn how to control it, and even then it takes decades to perfect. Unfortunately, under this new regime, we no longer have the liberty to ‘practice’ this skill to better ourselves – not without the risk of being shot down in the street or me being imprisoned for not controlling my pack. I’m not willing to take the risk with either, or give the Global Council the satisfaction of the perfect excuse to cage us all as a result.
LP: What do you expect from your pack in return for your leadership?
JT: Putting the needs of the pack above their own. Loyalty. Obedience. Co-operation. Honesty. To treat each other, and me, with dignity and respect.
LP: You make it sound like you’re always thinking of your pack’s best interests, but yet you sometimes banish pack members. What’s the reasoning behind that? Isn’t abandoning your own into Blackthorn a little cruel?
JT: We are a minority species here in Blackthorn and that means we have to be tighter because of it. If a fracture in our key strength is seen, others will look to break us further. In order to minimise threat, we work only as a team. I would never banish a pack member unless they are seriously compromising the safety of the rest of us.
LP: You’re certainly painting a very fragile picture of your position trapped in Blackthorn. I’m guessing you’re not happy that the Higher Order vampires chose to out all you third species for their own advantage, thus creating this situation?
JT: I despise the Higher Order for what they’ve done. They had no right to expose and confirm our co-existence without consultation. They have jeopardised us, the humans forced to live amongst us and, more treacherously, their own, whilst they hide in the luxury of Midtown.
LP: You’re facing some tough times ahead. Do you seriously think you can protect your pack through all of this? After all, if you couldn’t even keep your mate safe, what makes you think you are the best lycan for the job?
JT: What happened to Ellen is completely different. I’m still here and I’m still this pack’s elected leader. If I’m right for the role in their eyes, that’s all I need to know. I will protect them.
LP: And what about protecting Phia? She’s got this huge, predestined mission to bring down the destined vampire leader. How can you protect her from that?
JT: Me and destiny don’t exactly see eye to eye. It stole my mate from me once, it won’t steal from me again. Knowing what I do about the Higher Order, and if Kane is right that the destined leader is one of them, I’m not letting Phia anywhere near them.
LP: But what right have you to stand in her way? Isn’t that a bit selfish? Surely it’s in your pack’s best interest to prevent vampire rule too?
JT: Call me selfish if that’s how you see it – I say it’s protecting the woman I love. I don’t know whether it will be for good or bad if the prophecies are fulfilled and the vampire leader comes into power, but if they are from the Higher Order, I can assume it’s the latter. Phia is nowhere near developed in her serrynity enough to take this on. If destiny plans on using that to its advantage, it’s got another thing coming. But so have the Higher Order if they think I’m going to make this easy for them. They can find themselves another serryn – they’re not having Phia.
LP: You could have anyone. Why her? She’s not exactly the most endearing of heroines. Shouldn’t you stick to your own kind?
JT: You look her in the eye while she’s breaking under the weight of her own self-condemnation, her own self-hatred, and then you decide how ‘unendearing’ she is. She’s easy to judge because she makes it easy and that tells me more about the truth of who she is than any smart-arse remark or outburst. I choose to see beyond the façade because behind it is a compassionate, loyal, feisty, intelligent and strong woman. I love her for those reasons and more. I also believe an individual should be judged on their potential, not their circumstances. Just because she hasn’t had the chance to flourish yet doesn’t mean she’s incapable. As for sticking to my own kind, it’s about who the person is, not what they are.
LP: Okay, so what if you were to lose her like you did your mate? What if you slip into a spiral of self-destruction like you did before and jeopardise your pack all over again?
JT: I’m not going to lose her. I’m making sure she is equipped to deal with her serrynity and cope in Blackthorn as best she can. If she falls, I’ll be there to pick her up – and I’ll do that for as long as it takes. As for jeopardising my pack, I learn from my mistakes. I would never put my pack through that again.
LP: But what if she chooses to fulfil her destiny over being with you? You know how much she loathes vampires. What if her loyalty to her mother, who was murdered by one of them, supersedes her loyalty to you?
JT: Maybe it will. I don’t know. But I think she’s learning to trust me enough to know that any decisions I make are in her best interest. She also knows that with her inexperience, she’s more likely to be giving the vampire leaders exactly what they want by going up against them. Her best way to prevent this rising happening is to stay as far away as possible.
LP: But if it comes down to it and you have to side with the vampires or the humans, who will you choose?
JT: This is about far more than third species versus humans. That kind of differentiation is exactly where the problem stems from in the first place. I will side with those who agree that the time has come for this system to finally be overturned.
LP: I’ve got to ask you this. You’ve been furious with Kane this past couple of weeks. Have you guys worked it out yet? And what do you really think of him?
JT: We’ve had a couple of conversations since, enough to appease my anger for now. But do I trust him unequivocally? No. Anyone would be a fool too. Master vampires are a law unto themselves. They don’t abide by anyone’s rules. I don’t fully know what he’s up to, but I plan to find out. Ask me again when I do.
LP: Caleb versus Kane. Who would win?
JT: If it ever came to that, there would be no winners. If it was any other vampire, I’d say Kane. Master vampires are far superior in every way. But Caleb? That’s an interesting one. Aside from Kane, he’s the most powerful vampire for a reason, just as there’s a reason every attempt to knock him off that pedestal has failed. Honestly, I can’t call it.
LP: You versus Caleb and Kane. Who would win?
JT: If I was transformed, nothing can beat a lycan one on one, or even ten on one. As for untransformed – you’ve never seen a lycan lose their temper, have you? Just hope you never do.
Jask Tao, lycan leader, rules his pack with fierce dedication and demands the same loyalty in return. In the world of Blackthorn, where respect is a rare commodity, Jask has earned his – few dare to cross him, and fewer survive to tell the tale.
When he captures Sophia, a rare serryn witch whose blood is lethal to vampires, Jask knows just how valuable she can be. Despite her fiery nature, he also can’t shake the feelings that she rouses in him – feelings that he thought died along with Ellen, his mate.
Sophia knows she has to escape from Jask’s lycan compound – and fast. Inheriting her sister’s serryn powers can only mean one thing – that her family is at risk. She’ll have to get past the dangerously attractive Jask first but, scarred by memories of her mother’s murder, Sophia won’t ever give up.
Sparks fly between Jask and Sophia but, as both her family and the pack come under threat, they might just need each other if they, and their loved ones, are going to stay alive…
Buy Blood Torn on Amazon here! Click below to see more about the other books in the Blackthorn series…
|Blood Shadows on Amazon
Read our review here
Find out more about Kane!
|Blood Roses on Amazon
Read our review here
About the author
Blackthorn really captured the imagination of Lindsay’s publisher as a fantastically vivid and complex world, one which readers will utterly lose themselves in. She paints this multi-layered world effortlessly, and uses it as the setting for intense forbidden romances.
Lindsay has been at number 1 in both the U.S. and U.K Gothic romance charts on Amazon, as well as being number 1 in the vampire romance chart and the number 1 ‘Most Wished For’ paranormal romance on Amazon UK. She has also skirted the top 100 in Amazon’s overall kindle charts in both the US and the UK.
Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, when she quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. She thought she’d grow out of it but hasn’t yet.
Her writing was first discovered through Harlequin Mills & Boon’s international New Voices competition, where she was the only entrant to have been a finalist twice – both in 2010 and 2011. Within months she was signed by Bookouture, who have since published the first three books in the Blackthorn series and now signed the fourth.
Lindsay holds an honours science degree in Psychology and Communication, is a qualified lecturer and English teacher. She currently teaches children with special needs. When not writing or teaching, Lindsay indulges her fascination with mythology and is a keen supporter of animal welfare. She’s Welsh but now lives in the South West of England with her husband and their rescue bunny.
Bookouture, boutique publisher of the rivetting Blackthorn series, is sponsoring a giveaway of 5 e-ebooks to commenters on today’s post! 5 lucky winners will get their choice of any book currently available in the Blackthorn series (Blood Shadows, Blood Roses, or Blood Torn). To enter to win, leave a question or comment on this post for Lindsay or Jask, then fill out the prize widget below. Good luck!