I blame it on the old soap opera
Well, that's my excuse, anyway.
Hello, my various pretties, how are you? I'm on what I shall refer to from here on out as my "UNPAID Sabatical" from my normal bus driving job.
Well, I see it's only a week away from
all 5 books of the Sabrina Strong series
to go on sale on May 21-27!
So, I thought I might post this up here, even though I've sent it to my publisher to put on his site. This is because I know that those of you who stop by here may not go over there.
The following is about how I came up with my first book (which was at first titled "Vampire Ascending"), Ascension
Now without further ado, I give you today's feature...
I blame the day-time soap “Dark Shadows” for believing in vampires.
I began writing in high school (a very long time ago). In the early years, I must have written a million pages (not at all good), in longhand, and typed—practicing to become a writer. I took writing courses in college, went to a writer's conferences, read books and writing magazines on how to write.
It usually takes a few years to work on a new book, creating the main characters' background, world, re-writing, and polishing. I spent more than a few years working on what was then called, “Vampire Ascending”. Part of the job is deciding what sort of world my characters live in—like an “open world”, where everyone accepts that vampires exist (Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison novels for example), as apposed to a “closed world”, meaning not everyone knows/believes there are vampires, werewolves and such. I chose the “closed world” for the majority of the series, except when Sabrina Strong goes to other worlds.
“Ascension” Book #1
Touch Clairvoyant, Sabrina Strong
Sabrina Strong is a touch clairvoyant, which means that anything—and I mean ANYTHING—she touches she will get a vision from, which may put her under, or out, for a while. The only beings she does not get any “reads” from are vampires, and other assorted paranormal creatures, like elves, leprechauns, but werewolves she gets a little read from them, if they're in human form. In some cases, she simply “knows” things, about a place, or about people. I didn't want her to be strictly a “vampire hunter”, or become involved with any one guy in the series. She would never become a vampire either. This is not a cookie-cutter type of book(s).
When it came to the vampires in my story, each had their own unique abilities, maybe one could see auras, one had a bit of ESP, and so on. But I had to decide about their power and vulnerability as vampires. I didn't care for the newer style of vampire I've been seeing in novels (such as Anne Rice) where they were not affected by crucifixes, etc. If you make a vampire indestructible, then you don't have any way of throwing danger at them, or being able to kill them. I didn't want that. I decided that the older the vampire, the more powerful they would be, and harder to kill. There would be a chain of command, of course, as in any society. Because the world at large didn't know vampires existed—and the vampires themselves do not want anyone to know, but yet have it so they can glide through the human world as though they were one of us—I gave them their own ruling class, and rules/laws to follow, and even their own police (who are demons).
What hurts, or kills them? I wanted to go with traditional holy water, the crucifix, wooden stakes, and silver. Holy water burns, as does the crucifix but for some, depending upon their religious up-bringing, it either does or does not bother them. A stake in the heart can kill, but not instantly. They could survive if it's pulled out. Silver will kill them if it's somehow introduced into the blood, or if it hits them in a vital organ—the heart especially. The silver dagger Sabrina later inherits in Book #2, comes into play a lot.
When Vampires Fly...
I also had to decide whether vampires could fly, or become another being, or mist etc. Only the very old ones can do this. And the ancient ones have wicked looking wings.
oh, and B-L-O-O-D
Sex and blood for a vampire are of equal need/desires, in the series. In other words, the two needs must be met, and at times simultaneously. I decided that for this, they would have willing (paid) “donors”, and especially in Tremayne Towers—the hub of vampire activity for the first book—based in Chicago. It is illegal for vampires to hunt humans (at least in these first few books).
TOP DOG VAMPIRES
who rules/who's a rogue etc.
When it came to my main/top vampire, the one who hires Sabrina, Bjorn Tremayne had to be bigger than life. And he is. He stands seven feet tall, was a Viking when a living man. If I were to cast an actor to play Tremayne it would have to be Matthias Huse (actor, body builder). I based Tremayne's personality on someone I once knew who had the propensity to use the F-word liberally. It would be one of his many foibles. And his one main hang-up would be/become Sabrina. He wants her, and what Tremayne wants, he will have. Or... will he? Sabrina and Tremayne mix like ice in a hot frying pan.
Nicolas Paduraru, originally from Hungary, a somewhat stoic, and dangerous vampire at over 600 years old, is second in command, with black hair and 5'8”. He looks a little like John Stamos without the smile and personality. He is the one who hires Sabrina, becomes attracted to her, and his particular talent is “mind-melding” and is able to enter Sabrina's (or anyone's) mind. When she is attacked by a werewolf in the beginning, going to meet with him, he turns into a wolf and fights off this intruder, thus, she “imprints” on him, and is attracted to him. Their blossoming relationship is like a house of cards when a new player in shape shifter known as Dante Badheart, who is to become her protector, and later, lover.
Vasyl, the rogue, is the other old-as-dirt vampire. French, blue/violet eyes, long, wavy hair, he looks something like a rock star to Sabrina. In his human life he was a priest who spent his young lifetime looking for the next sibyl, and when he did not find her as a human, and became hunted by Nephilim, he had himself turned so that he could both, hide out, and continue to search for her. I won't go much further on this, as Vasyl's background and history is dealt with in the second book, Trill.
Multi-layered, with plot twists, surprises, and evil lurking in every dark corner, you could say that my books are similar to (but not exclusively), Kim Harrison and Charline Harris (of Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood fame). The Sabrina Strong books are a mixed-genre of horror, mystery, romance, urban fantasy, and adventure. I never wanted her to stay with any one man (not until she finds her “true love”), nor did I want it to follow any sort of formula.