I’d like to start off by thanking Kayden for letting me be a guest on her blog. My name is Heather Kuehl and I write a lot of paranormal fantasy, a bit of horror, and the occasional sci-fi piece. I’ve published over 40 short stories and one novella entitled FADE TO BLACK.
In fall of 2004 when I started writing FADE TO BLACK, I knew I didn’t want to write about vampires. At least, not make them the good guys. A good author can sense trends before they happen, and I knew that with authors like Laurell K Hamilton and Charlaine Harris getting popular it was just a matter of time before vampire mania struck literary gold. I also knew that there was no way that I could write a book and get it published in time to jump on this. I was hoping that, with the emergence of vamps in literature, other supernatural creatures would become popular too.
I had my own thoughts about vampires and werewolves when I started to write FADE TO BLACK. I’ve always preferred Weres over vamps. I guess it’s just something about getting down and dirty with someone who’s cold, dead, and brooding that doesn’t appeal to me. I hate the cold, first off. Second off, wouldn’t a vamp smell dead? And wouldn’t their skin get all rubbery and nasty? Finally, I had my fair share of emo men in my life at that moment. I didn’t need another one. I know, I know, I was thinking too much into such a simple thing but I have to be attracted to my character’s love interest. I can’t do that when I’m having ew! moments. Weres though…they are warm, so not dead, very strong, and protective of those they love. All of the qualities I happen to like.
I choose Weres because I felt that they would be more likely to fall in love. After all, they have human life spans. A vamp that’s been around forever has fallen in love before. They have been there, done that. They know how to lie and what to say to make a human swoon. A human’s life is nothing but a blink of an eye for them. Would a vampire really fall so deeply in love with a human? I didn’t think so. Jared was created to be Sarah’s love interest, and he is everything that I would want in a Were. Strong. Loyal. Sexy as hell. He has his secrets, and one of them is a doozy.
While doing some research, I realized that Weres had a much more interesting back story than vamps. I mean, of course there’s Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, but relating anything to those myths has already been done in vampire literature. I discovered hundreds of children that had been raised by animals, dating as far back as Romulus and Remus of ancient Rome. How interesting, that a wild dangerous animal can raise a human from infancy. Is it instinct, or something paranormal? Would these children be given any “gifts” to help them cope with their primal life, such as the ability to change into an animal form? That “gift” would create my shapeshifters, but what about Weres? The more I thought about it, the more I decided the origin of Weres would be derived from a curse. After all, the change is painful and Weres are not born. They are made, and being made into a Were is a very painful process. Just ask Sarah.
I had so much fun learning about my creatures, and they had a back story that wasn’t already formed in literature. I could make up whatever I wanted! I didn’t have to worry that someone else had done it first. It was a freeing experience, and was what made writing about Weres come so easily.
I don’t hate the vamp literary trend. I loved the Edward, Bella, Jacob love triangle and I want Sookie to fall in love with Eric. I wish Richard would forgive Anita and get over his emotion baggage and I love Adam’s patience with Mercy. Vamps play a large role in all of my favorite book series. But, like I said earlier, they just didn’t do it for me when I was writing FADE TO BLACK. Maybe when I write its sequel (it looks like Damian is going to play a large role in it).
And speaking of Damian….here’s a little peak at FADE TO BLACK:
One of Damian’s vampires meets me at the door. He’s tall with dyed blue hair falling down his back. His eyes perfectly match his hair and I wonder how he’s able to do that. Contacts? A labret piercing shimmers from his bottom lip. He was wears jeans and a Metallica t-shirt, looking very human. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed he was a vamp if I passed him on the street.
“Damian’s expecting you,” he says as a greeting and leads me into the same sitting room where Jerrikin died. It’s already redecorated. Purple velvet curtains cover the walls, while polished marble replaced the previous floors. The same couches remain, while large pillows on the floor are big enough to be used as seats. The mirror that shone onto the dance floor has already been replaced and I wonder how they were able to fix everything up in such a short amount of time. After all, Jackilin died just hours ago.
Damian was speaks to another vampire when we enter. He smiles and nods his head at me in greeting. The blue haired vamp escorts me to one of the plush chairs and I sit down. I feel like an intruder. I don’t know what makes me think I can be safe here, surrounded by vampires. I admire Damian’s taste in décor in the room. Very nice.
I’ll be with you in a minute Sarah, says Damian in my mind. We are just finishing up some business.
I smile slightly and feel my phone vibrate. Checking it, I see that Jared is trying to get a hold of me. He must be back at Haven, realizing I’m gone. I ignore his call and turn off my phone. My hand shakes with anger and I growl a low warning when Damian touches my shoulder. He doesn’t move his hand, but squeezes slightly.
“Let’s go somewhere more private,” he says in my ear. Damian grabs my suitcase and leads me through a hidden door behind one of the many curtains into a room decorated in nothing but blue and white. A white four-poster bed occupies a corner; the blue silk sheets are embroidered with white. The walls are blue with white trim. Everything matches completely. Once again, I admire his taste. Damian leads me over to a white sofa next to a fireplace. I sit down with Damian across from me.
“How did you know I’d come here?” I ask before I think not to.
“I’d like to think it’s because you trust me.” He smiles at the expression on my face. “But I know that isn’t so. Now, what is your problem?”
I tell Damian about Jared. Damian’s eyes remain impassive through out my speech. By the time I’m finished, I shake uncontrollably on the verge of tears. I take several deep breaths. I need to control myself.
“What will you do?”
I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt from FADE TO BLACK. It is currently available as an e-book from Eternal Press: http://www.eternalpress.ca/fadetoblack.html
Or in print at Amazon.com.