Author Piper Maitland joins SciFiChick.com today on the latest stop for her blog tour for a Q&A talking about vampires and her latest release, Hunting Daylight! Follow Piper on Twitter at: @PiperMaitland, and keep reading for a chance to win a copy of Hunting Daylight!

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Can you tell us a bit about Hunting Daylight in your own words?

It’s a love story, blended with adventure and the science of vampirism. The action opens a few years after Acquainted With the Night ends. A vampire cabal has chased Jude and Caro Barrett around the globe, but that’s the least of their problems. Jude is having trouble adjusting to vampirism, Caro is plagued by nightmares, and their three-year-old daughter, Vivi, might be at the center of a disturbing 8th century prophecy. When Jude disappears on a scientific expedition, Caro’s life flips upside-down.

Describe your vampires. (Are they of the traditional Bram Stoker variety?)

I honored the core myths but reinforced them with science. I have a B.S. in nursing, so it seemed logical that my vampires would have a human-like physiology. A unique type of stem cells are responsible for longevity, rapid healing, athleticism, and hyper-immune systems. The thirst for human blood is driven by the need to replenish stem cells, which are found in the bone marrow and vascular system. And it takes more than three bites for a human to turn into a vampire. Transformation is possible but requires large amounts of stem cells, usually through intravenous infusions.

When vampires perspire, a fragrant terpene, similar to cat nip, is emitted. As humans inhale the “bat-nip,” they relax, allowing the predator to move in for the bite. A mild neurotoxin is also excreted in a vampire’s saliva, and this further subdues the victim.

A vampire’s brain is super-developed, with heightened senses of smell, hearing, touch, taste, and vision. Some immortals are telepathic and/or possess psi talents; others lack these skills. They can by killed by a catastrophic injury or certain blood-borne diseases.

Psychologically, vampires can be neurotic, prone to obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, phobias, and psychoses. When a human becomes a vampire, his personality quirks are magnified—a slightly suspicious human would become a paranoid vampire.

Vampires are photosensitive due to an inborn error of metabolism and an overproduction of a compound called IgE, which causes an extreme exothermic reaction, resulting in blisters, second and third degree burns, and death.

How many books are planned for this series?

Several!

Did you choose to write under another name to keep the darker fantasy separate from your other novels?

Not initially. My agent advised me to do it because my southern novels are wacky and comical.

What inspired you to change direction and start writing this vampire series?

When my children were grown, I finally had time to write a vampire novel, something I’d longed to do. Normally I hate writing first drafts, but each morning I couldn’t wait to open my laptop and reunite with Jude, Caro and Raphael. The second and third drafts were even more enjoyable—I was totally swept into that world. I had the best time ever.

With Hunting Daylight, I didn’t want to rehash old storylines from the first book, and I was eager to hit my people with harder challenges. I discussed this with my editor and agent, and they encouraged me to continue. There are many ways to write a novel, but I had to find the right one. The process always comes down to the characters. If I listen, and if I’m flexible, they will show the way.

What’s next for you, besides this series? Any other stories on the horizon?

I’m revising the third book in a mystery series.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I always wrote stories, but my mother steered me into the nursing profession. I’m a self-taught writer, and it took ten years to sell my first novel. I wrote every single day. I still do. For me, writing is about the journey, not the destination.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

I’m obsessed with English history, particularly the Wars of the Roses and Tudor Period. I’ve read everything that Alison Weir has written. I also love Antonia Fraser, Philippa Gregory, Margaret George. I adore Jane Austen.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

You’ll find me in the kitchen, icing cupcakes or kneading bread. I have a food and style blog, concentrating on recipes for exhausted people. Every Friday I host an online recipe exchange called Foodie Friday.

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Here’s the opening paragraph to Chapter I/ Caro:

Republic of Sāo Tomé, Africa

All I ever really wanted was true love and a calm life, but those things are mutually exclusive when you’re married to a vampire. In many ways, Jude and I are a typical couple, except that my grocery list includes fresh blood. And I shop in dodgy places, not a supermarket.

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How can you tell if your boyfriend is secretly a vampire? To find out, check out Piper’s next stop on her blog tour (2/7) at http://www.magicalurbanfantasyreads.com!

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Courtesy of Berkley, I have a copy of Hunting Daylight for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends February 15. I’ll draw a name on February 16, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!