THE MASTER OF WHITEHALL
After the brutal murder of her parents in a robbery, Katelyn Corbin, a thoroughly modern 21 year old college senior, finds herself attempting to re-start her life in Charleston, SC, where she finds love, healing and a brand new life in a most unexpected avenue. This story follows Katelyn from her hometown just outside Atlanta to her new school in Charleston. There she meets James and is deeply intrigued by him from their first meeting; feeling as if he has touched her very soul. The more she considers him, the more intense her interest becomes. He is a wealthy patron of the arts, especially at her school. He is tall and handsome with a strong persona; a young widower, living alone in a huge, but beautifully restored old plantation house called 'Whitehall'. Their friendship soon becomes serious, becoming a full on relationship as Katelyn falls madly in love with him. James soon makes his love for her just as obvious. Their lives begin to blend, twisting and turning, as they continue to grow closer. After several strange incidents, Katelyn begins to develop a series of unsettling questions about her new love. However, she knows that after facing the catastrophe of her parent’s deaths, she can face anything life throws at her. She begins looking at the questions, searching her own soul. Finally deciding that she must know the answers, she confronts him. She soon discovers James' true nature; confirming her fears that he was indeed not the man she thought, but the man she feared him to be. The confirmation of her suspicions are shocking to her, turning her world view on its side. She is forced to acknowledge things about herself and her world that she never thought possible. With her new found knowledge, Katelyn realizes she must make a choice to live with or without James. She quickly decides to adapt her life and adjust her beliefs in order to continue to be with James. Their love for each other develops and continues to grow as he assists her to close the gaping wounds left by the tragedy of her parent’s murders. Katelyn continues to uncover other secrets, discovering another existence, as she begins her new life with James. The story reaches a highly emotional and completely unexpected ending that fully illustrates Katelyn's personality of love and care for those around her. The Master of Whitehall story unfolds over the course of nearly a year, and features flashbacks that more fully develop each of the characters, offering insights into their personal histories. The story is narrated in first person perspective by Katelyn as she offers a window into the world of possibilities of love between mortal and immortal. The Master of Whitehall will be very appealing to readers of Rachel Caine's 'Morganville Vampires', Charlaine Harris’ ‘True Blood’ series, and Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles'.
Lexi’s Legacy, a contemporary adventure romance set in Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA., is the second book in the continuing saga of The Master of Whitehall. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Lexi discovers an unexpected cure from an unlikely source and two best friends become eternal friends. Lexi tells her tale of life, lost and found, relating her experiences as she leaves behind her human life and begins her journey into a new immortal life. She recounts the changes that take place as she enters a supernatural world she never knew existed, joining Katelyn and James at Whitehall Plantation. Lexi has much to learn about her new world as she grows and matures into the life of a vampire. Join her as she takes you on an adventure of life changing proportions. Let her tell you about how her life changes, about love … found … lost … and found again. Lexi’s Legacy is an exciting and enjoyable adventure in the on-going epic of The Master of Whitehall.
Rick Veal was born sometime during the last century and has lived most of his life in the Upstate of South Carolina. 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 has been a reader for most of his life and enjoyed most of what he's read. He is a big Anne Rice fan ... Go Lestat! He has always enjoyed reading and watching movies about 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 ... he decided that if they could write a vampire story, then so could he and he set out to do just that. He wanted a setting in the Low Country of South Carolina with a lot of history surrounding it. The rich history of Charleston, S.C. and the lore of Vampire stories just seemed to be made for each other. So tying the two together he formed the initial idea and then built on it from there. When speaking of himself he says, there's not really a lot to say ... he thinks maybe his characters are more interesting than he is. He currently lives alone and shares his home with his "daughter", a three year old Tuxedo cat who graciously allows him to think he actually owns the home. 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 loves Cussler's storytelling ability and Rice's attention to detail. Both of them have a way of bringing their characters to life so that you feel as if you personally know them. He hopes that his readers will be able to see their influence in his writing as he tries to convey that same thing with all of his characters. It has been said that that if you want to write, you should write the book you want to read, then others will want to read it too. That is exactly what he has tried to do with "The Master of Whitehall", his debut novel.
INTERVIEW WITH RICK H. VEAL
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. The decision to write though actually came after surviving two heart attacks in the same weekend. I began to look at how short life can be and realized that if I wanted to write, now was the time … not next week or next year. I decided to write the kind of story that I would enjoy reading.
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 was hooked by Barnabas Collins in “Dark Shadows” way back in 1966 and have enjoyed reading and watching movies about vampires ever since. For 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 and built on it from there. I needed an old plantation to use as a setting and there are several Whitehall Plantations in and around the Low Country. The one I chose was located outside of Charleston and is now nothing but ruins. The tour I was on when I found it said that nobody really knows what happened to it … it just went away. That opened all kinds of ideas for some ‘what-if’s’ and so Whitehall Manor was reborn.
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 is reality for a ‘plausible reality’ that is often the foremost question in my mind when I write. I find myself asking that and then attempting to find a workable solution around any obstacles. The other big challenge is just where to draw the line with the sex scenes so that they are sensual but not pornographic.
Vampires by their very nature are and always have been erotic. Beginning in 1897 with Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, vampires became extremely sensual, and with the development of the genre in recent years, are even more so 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.
“The Master of Whitehall” and “Lexi’s Legacy” does 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” 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. There were plenty of special times when I had to stop and 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 the actual character. 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 an 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 in the book 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 Charlotte Ann. I am a historian by trade and she is over four hundred years old so she has to have a wealth of information. Although she was born and raised in the early 1600’s she seems to be perfectly comfortable in wherever era she lives in. She has come to know that she cannot remain in the seventeenth century so she has managed to grow, change with and adapt her life to the times. Besides, she’s pretty hot, too … although I might be a little skeptical should she 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. It’s difficult to put down one of his books once you start it.
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 my characters to life for my readers. I want all of the characters of the Whitehall family to become a part of your life, numbered among your friends. The greatest reward for me would be for someone to tell me that they laughed, loved and cried with Katelyn and Lexi as they told their stories in “The Master of Whitehall” and “Lexi’s Legacy”.
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.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Wow … that’s a hard one! I’m sure that there is always room for change but I haven’t thought a lot about it lately. Most of my time is spent thinking about and working on the next book. But if I did make any major changes, such as added chapters or deleted material, they would be reserved for any special edition I eventually do.
What goes through your mind when reading reviews (positive or negative) of “The Master of Whitehall” or “Lexi’s Legacy”?
First of all I am glad that someone took their time to read my book and comment on it. I realized from the beginning that some people will love it, some will hate it, and some will fall right in the middle. As long as a review is constructive, positive or negative, I try to learn from it and grow. But, in the end, whether someone loves it or hates it, it is their opinion and I respect that.
Who do you think should read your books?
Everybody! But, seriously, “The Master of Whitehall” and “Lexi’s Legacy” are meant for anyone who enjoys a good romance story. Although both 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. I think that if someone likes Sookie Stackhouse, Clair from “The Morganville Vampires”, or Bella Swan, they will likely enjoy the story of Katelyn, Lexi and James.
Finally, what’s coming next in the story and when can we expect it?
I am currently working on book three, “Dale’s Descent”. It’s a bit darker in the beginning than the other books due to the events that surrounded Dale’s early life as an immortal. He is an immensely intriguing character. I am approximately half way through it and look forward to completing his story. You can expect a completely unforeseen twist in this chapter of the story. I hope to have it available in early spring, possibly March or April, with a cover reveal a month or so earlier.