This has been a long time coming. I’m just a touch excited. A little. A smidge. To put it mildly.
Okay, fine: I’m so damn excited.
Here’s the cover for Blood Chimera, a paranormal mystery coming August 12th from World Weaver Press. [Correction: OUT NOW! YES!]
Warning: what follows is a whole lot of author gushing about how the hell this book happened and that includes some world-building thoughts which might be considered spoilery (at least as far as meta book details are concerned).
I’ve always wanted to write a vampire book (well, since I was eighteen and first read Dracula, or maybe since I was fourteen and first saw The Hunger? Back during the Triassic, in any event.) I was always told not to. “It’s been done,” I heard. “Anne Rice owns the genre. The publishers don’t want to look at that.” (Which later became ‘Laurell K Hamilton owns the genre’ or ‘Charlaine Harris owns the genre’ or ‘Stephanie Meyers owns the genre’ but always with the strong suggestion that vampires are overdone and nobody wants to read about them anymore.) And one evening, while I was discussing my frustration with this very fact to my then boyfriend, now husband, he said, “Write the story you want the way you want. Don’t pay any attention to someone who tells you that you’re wasting your time.” (He’s a good one, that guy.)
I was in the middle of not-finishing two other books at the time (later to become Marduk’s Rebellion and The Culling Fields) so I figured, sure, what could possibly make the situation worse than starting a THIRD BOOK.
I did this thing.
As it happens, the last book I started was the first book I finished.
Normally I start with characters, but not this time. This time I started with the vampires.
I started with mythology, specifically with the word itself, ‘vampire’ and its etymology. The word’s not really that old, and its original meaning was a bit more all-purpose than what we think of today. It basically meant ‘monster’ — and that monster could have been any number of creatures, only one of which was what we think of as a modern vampire. Also, I became intrigued by the Romanian strigoi legends, and the idea that someone might become a vampire, not because they were attacked or killed by a vampire, but by accident of birth. Some other ideas collided with all of this. I threw a lot of things into my stew, from Lovecraft to ancient Babylonian mythology, because that’s how I roll.
When I was done, I realized that I’d created something wasn’t really a vampire — not the way Hollywood classically portrays them anyway — but which I could easily imagine being the source of various myths of supernatural creatures. It was also (and this was very important) not confined to European mythologies. The same beings responsible for myths of vampires in the Carpathians were also responsible for the wendigo of North America, Lamia of ancient Greece, and the nine-tailed foxes of Asia. If humanity was going to have a hidden world of supernatural entities, every culture got a slice of that pie, and those cultures wouldn’t necessarily get along with each other because they were all monsters any more than their mundane equivalents did. One culture’s angels were another culture’s demons.
Into THIS fine mess, I dropped my hero, Jackson Pastor.
Jackson has no single inspiration. He owes a lot to Nick Knight, but just as much to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. He was, briefly, a police detective (I now cannot even imagine that working out now) before I finally settled on kidnap & ransom negotiator, a career path which seemed like an bizarre combination of traditional soldier of fortune and support therapist by way of Michael Weston.
I’m going to have so much fun with this series.