Conjuring Raine is also available from Amazon for Kindle.
Here’s a bit of ‘dvd extras’….a behind-the-scenes featurette:
I’ve been reading vampire books forever, my guilty pleasure, and at one point a very wise writer friend of mine, Norma Fox Mazer, asked me why didn’t I write one myself? I hemmed and hawed and pshawed. You see, I didn’t want to write a vampire novel. I didn’t want to be one of those people who writes vampire novels. I was bookist! (Aren’t we all about some sort of book? It’s so easy to judge the stories that other people love. Or in this case, the stories I loved.) Anyway, several years later, I was still thinking about her question and so, still bookist, I started out on novel where the plan was to try to get the feeling that I liked about vampire novels, without a vampire. In fact, I wrote almost a hundred pages of a novel where the main character was NOT a vampire—see? here he is NOT being a vampire!—and then I got to the part where the main guy and the main girl were supposed to get it on and I wrote a fade to black.
Huh? Me? I wrote a fade-to-black? I never do that. I HATE fade-to-blacks! If I care about two characters enough to read a book about them, and they’re getting it on, I want to see it! Big wake-up call that the work-in-progress was in deep doo-doo. And after some soul-searching, I realized the problem was that I had devampified a vampire story, de-fanged it, if you will. So I faced my fears, sort of, and put the vampire back in. Things started going along much better and I had to admit, it was a ton of fun to write, once I got over myself. What was up with all that anyway???
All along, from pre-vamp to post-vamp, my guy character was an abolitionist. I’m not sure where this came from, maybe from growing up in the South? Maybe from the episodes of Highlander where Duncan is an abolitionist? He always made it look so good to save people. For research, I began reading a tremendous amount of material about slavery, both the legal slavery from a century and a bit ago, and the non-legal, but wide-spread, slavery that goes on now, under the name human trafficking. In the process, I found amazing archives of slave narratives, that is, stories and books written by people who were slaves when it was legal in this country, for example, here and here. I also read several expose-style books about the modern stuff. One riveting one was A Crime So Monstrous.
That stuff is shattering to read. For a long while there I didn’t think I could write anything about it—maybe not write anything at all, ever again—because I didn’t want to belittle any of these people’s experiences. Eventually I set out to try to describe a little of what goes on, without milking drama from it for entertainment purposes. I hope I succeeded. Much of what I read, particularly the historical stuff, did not make it to the final novel. Large sections were left out, for example, when I cut several flash back sequences that described more about plantation life. Maybe I’ll use that material in some other book. In the end, the thing that moved me the most wasn’t the horrors that people do to each other, but that always there were other people willing to put their lives on the line to stand against it. I’m telling you, you want some gratitude for your life, read some slave narratives. Stops whining in its tracks.
Another thing I researched a great deal was the Great Dismal Swamp, particularly the history of the canal, one long story of greed and land-rape. On a more positive note, I exchanged some wonderfully informative emails with several people who were experts on the flat-bottomed, double-ended, boats, called batteaux, that were used to pole materials up and down the canal until the steamboats got going towards the end of the 1800s. Fascinating!
I also spent a lot of time on Google Maps, looking at San Fransisco and the Tenderloin. How did writers do anythingbefore the internet???
Okay, actually, it’s a still from the unaired pilot for the show that later became Moonlight. Which I enjoyed, though it was, imo, deeply flawed. In the picture, he’s a vampire, saving this little girl from his murderous vampire ex-wife, and I loved that idea, a vampire saving a child. Also, in the picture, the actor has such a mixture of determination and suffering on his face, even self-revulsion. And I loved how the little girl is clinging to him, even though he is a monster. This image really stayed with me, morphing into my own characters. That’s the way it is with writers. We see bits here, images, moments, snips of dialogue, story turns…and then we steal them.
Moonlight got some things so right, and some things so wrong—the mash up of that was part of what inspired me to write this book. What if, thought I, I could get some of the right stuff, and get rid of some of the wrong stuff…? What would one version of my personal, perfect vampire story be? I don’t know if I succeeded, but it was a lot of fun to try.