Yes, two more days of writing until I finish my Berkley Vampire Underground book! Now, this doesn’t count the polishing and the revisions I know I’ll be doing. But I’m excited anyway!
I figured that now might be a good tiime to relay my favorite three things about this story.
It’s ironic that, when I was a little girl, I hated the sight of blood. Playground injuries would send me into a dither, and woe to the audience who was sitting with me in a movie that had even a pinprick of gore in it. I remember seeing ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, long, long ago. I’m not even sure my memory is correct, but I recall there being a teeny-eeny bit of blood. I squealed and my dad told me to chill out, more or less. That was a defining moment for me because I knew that I was making a big deal out of blood because I was being dramatic, not because I was really afraid of it. What’s interesting is that I went to the other extreme, watching slasher movies and never batting an eyelash while I read Stephen King’s short stories. In school, I wrote scary stories, myself, and it’s really strange that I started to create vampires as a published author only last year. It’s been in me all along—I wrote my requisite Jack the Ripper story in college and you should see some of my adolescent poetry. So what kept me? Who knows. I’m an eclectic reader and that’s reflected in my writing, but I always knew there was a darker kind of story in me. As for vampires themselves, I love their odd beauty, the old-world mystique, the edgy sexiness. So there you go.
- The Characters
My heroine is fairly Bombshell-ish, but the Vampire Underground definitely isn’t a one-woman show. It’s more of an ensemble piece that features a kick-ass ex-stuntwoman with huge issues. Dawn Madison is a tough nut to crack—someone who you’d want on your side during a bar room brawl. But along with her toughness comes discipline: she’s very proud of her stunt work, even though she’s had a falling out with the industry. However, she’s also what you might think of as a sex addict, filling the holes of her empty emotional life with physical encounters. She’s actually the most messed-up completely together person I’ve ever written about. And she’s just met some new people who might be able to “bring her into the light.” One is named Kiko Daniels. He’s a “little person” actor who also happens to be a psychic/empath. The other is named Breisi Montoya, and she’s a technological whiz and a maternal figure for Dawn, who lost her own mom at an incredibly young age. These three end up working together at a paranormal P.I. agency, and they’re employed by a reclusive cipher who refuses to come out in the open. It’s a fun bunch, frequently surprising me with who they are and where they want to go with the story.
- The Setting/Tone
Most of the trilogy takes place on the night streets of L.A. My Berkley editor, Ginjer Buchanan, has described the trilogy as “noir fantasy-mystery vampire.” I guess I knew I was doing noir when I started the project, but I never thought about it too much. Yet when she pointed it out, I got really pumped. When I think of noir, I think of wet midnight streets, seedy players and detectives who don’t necessarily have a moral compass. I’m also using a lot of horror/gothic elements—“haunted” houses and alleys that echo with screams in the dark. I also like this bar that’s pivotal to the action; it’s called Bava, named after the great Italian horror director Mario Bava, and the décor follows the black-and-white art direction of BLACK SUNDAY, one of his masterpieces. Inside, Goth patrons hang around with… Well, you’ll have to wait until the first book is released to find out. And, no, I’m not ashamed of being so coy. : ) There’s another setting, too—the Underground, and I’m not even going to begin to describe it because it’s part of the unraveling mystery….
Though I don’t know the title or release dates yet, I’ll be updating you as I go along, all right?
Two days left!!!