Last week, I explained that part of why I came to be interested in paranormal creatures was that I was a lonely kid, an outsider, and felt a kinship with paranormal beings.
I have other connections to creatures of the night. Interestingly—and perhaps prophetically—when I was a kid, my friend’s father used to call me a vampire because I only came out after dark. There was a logical reason for this. Both my parents worked , and I was a latch-key kid and was forbidden to leave the house until my mother got home, at which point I’d have to wait for dinner, and then I could go out. But the vampire identity kind of stuck with me. Then there’s the fact that I really don’t like the light very much. I love sunlight, but artificial lights annoy me. Yes, I get dressed in the dark in the morning—which probably explains why I sometimes end up with two different colored socks or with my underwear inside out. Whatever.
Anyway, in the early 90s, having already written a novel and put it away in the back of a dark closet where it belonged, I decided to try another one. This one would be about a vampire named Fiona. But I did not create Fiona as a reflection of me, despite everything I’ve said. Rather, I created Fiona’s love interest, Rose, as a reflection of me. She lives a sheltered life, being a “good little girl” for her family, until she discovers what she wants and breaks through the barriers of social expectations.
Fiona became an expression of both what I wanted to be (invincible, fearless) and what I feared (having my freedom and choices taken away from me). I love historical fiction so, naturally, I set it in a bygone era. I chose the Edwardian period, at the turn of the twentieth century, when elaborate dresses and formal greetings were the norm. And I decided to set it in New York because there was such an elegance and grandeur to New York City at that time. Yes, there was a seedy underbelly (as all cities do in all eras), but there was also an element of refinement and sophistication. And I needed Rose to be part of the aristocracy (I would say that today there is no aristocracy, only rich people).
Fiona also moves away from the vampire-as-evil-predator trope (although that’s being done more these days). She’s a sympathetic antagonist who illustrates that people sometimes do the things they do out of desperation and it doesn’t necessarily make them bad people.
These characters, and Ursula, the third person in this love/fear/hate triangle, are the core of what eventually became Twice Bitten, published in January 2012 by Regal Crest.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
The six-month anniversary of the publication of Twice Bitten is coming up, so to celebrate, I’m giving away a copy.
You know the drill—leave a comment on this post. Do NOT put your email address in the comment body (we’re saving you from spambots), but DO include it when you fill out the comment form. I’ll randomly draw a name from a hat (or bag or whatever) at MIDNIGHT EST FRIDAY, May 24. I’ll then contact the winner offline. Good luck!