His beautiful, unstable older brother, however, makes it increasingly difficult to conceal the family secret, and when the Delaquires’ dark rivalry spills into the lives of four unwitting strangers, it sets in motion the intricate gears of fate that lead eventually to the little town of Cold Water, and the thing Thomas has kept from his brother for over two centuries: Love. Real, true, and—at any cost—eternal.
Weaving the works of Lord Byron, the Shelleys and John Polidori into this gothic tale of rivalry, love and murder, The Sun Born tells the real story lurking behind literature’s most beloved undead, but who is truly the monster? Pretty, naïve sixteen-year-old Ana Lanoway is about to find out!
Book one of The Sun Born, Vespertine is currently available at most major e-book retailers, and at Smashwords.com
Book Two of The Sun Born series is due in September 2014.
I live and write in Toronto. I very definitely believe in ghosts, monsters and magic—mostly because I’m a Scorpio, and that’s what we’re made of.
How long have you been writing?
Since I can remember. I studied poetry and film at school, but it wasn’t until I started writing The Sun Born series that I found the story I really wanted to tell. It took a long time to embrace the idea that I’m a horror writer, but it’s what I’m always drawn to, even in so-called ‘highbrow’ literature, and once I gave myself permission to write in that genre, the floodgates flew open!
What’s your story about?
It’s a pretty complicated tale, but at the heart of it is a rivalry between brothers that tends to get just a teensy bit destructive—and is amplified by the fact that they happen to be very hard to kill. And, of course, an irresistible girl gets caught up in the mess too!
What genre would you consider your book?
Gothic Fairy Tale with a dash of Paranormal Romance. There are Brontë elements, several moody Romantics, lots of bad weather and big, doomed love affairs, which I think also fits nicely into YA or NA lit because being a teenager comes loaded with all those epic, larger-than-life emotions.
Give me some insight into your main character.
The first book, Vespertine, is all about James. He’s a brooding, beautiful, angry young man searching for a way out of a pretty intense loneliness, and he thinks he’s found it in our girl Ana, but I’m not so sure it will end well for either of them.
What makes your book different from others in its genre?
It’s about some pretty classic monsters, but what makes them monstrous is what they’ve done to their humanity over their unnaturally long lives. This isn’t just ‘girl meets hunky monster, epic love ensues’. It’s really a very dark fairy tale in the Grimm sense, with actual horror and an innocent girl who wanders into a world full of strange and dangerous creatures. And then epic love ensues.
What inspired you to write your book?
I was getting tired of the ‘girl meets hunky monster’ books that I read voraciously, and wanted a story that had real horror to it. Monsters are supposed to be scary, after all, not just sulking bad boys in need of attention. I’m a massive horror fan, and love old fairy tales, so I started writing this book (which turned into a series) to satisfy my craving for the darker side of love, romance and magic.
How did you come up with the title?
While researching Gaelic names I found one that translates to ‘Sun Born’, and since the sun plays such a big role in my story, I thought it was a perfect title for the series. “Vespertine” is a horticultural term meaning “of the evening”, and relates to a certain night-blooming flower that appears prominently throughout the story.
What’s your favorite part of it, without giving anything away of course?
Oh definitely James. He’s such a great character to write. So deliciously twisted. Every time I get to write a scene with him, I’m happy.
Tell me about your writing process?
I like to think of it as a Zen garden, where I dump all the ideas on the page, good and bad, and then comb and comb until it turns into something beautiful.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
Finding that balance of suspense and revelation. It’s really tricky to know when to give away the secrets and when to save them for later. Thank goodness I have great beta-readers who have keen eyes for that!
Are you a full-time writer?
Full time in that I write constantly in my head! But no, I have a day job that is creative but totally unrelated.
What are your writing ambitions?
I have one more book in this series to write, and then I have another book planned & started involving some of the same characters in the same town. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to write about Cold Water, but for now I’m enjoying it. Ultimately, I’d love to write full time, completely surrounded by my crazy gang of misfit characters.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Relax. I honestly think patience is key, just give yourself time to meditate on it a while and the words will come. Also, go for long walks, listen to music that makes you think of your story, etc. It’s the anxiety of it that kills the creativity, so you just need to not stress.
Do you outline and plot your book as you’re writing or does it go where it goes?
Both. I outline the ideas, but then once I get to writing, often the characters will just say, “nope, I’m not doing that” or “that thing you were waiting for me to do later? I’m doing it right now, sorry!” You just have to let them run with it in the end—it’s their story, after all.
What is your favorite book?
Honestly, in my top five is The Uses of Enchantment by child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. It’s a psychoanalysis of famous old fairy tales in their original form, but I just recently read that Bettelheim was kind of an abusive jerk to the kids in his care, so now I feel a little weird about this. It is a great book, though. Maybe that just adds to the twistiness of it all?
Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
I really enjoyed Brian McGreevy’s Hemlock Grove. A great male voice in the YA horror genre, and the story is really compelling. I buy books constantly, though, both new and established authors. And I’m usually reading two or three at once, depending on my mood. Right now I have Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel, and Sergei Lukyanenko’s The Night Watch on the go. Both are fantastic so far.
Are you self published or traditionally published?
Currently self-published. I read a great article in Harper’s about how self-publishing and e-books are changing the industry and it motivated me to try it out. So far, so good!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Again, just relax. Give yourself the breathing room to make a million mistakes. If you feel you have a story to tell, just tell it, and then go back and make it perfect. And read. Read all the time.
If you could have dinner with any person dead or alive who would it be?
At the moment, I’d like to meet Lord Byron. He was the rock star of his era, and inspired John Polidori to create the romantic vampire ideal we’re still obsessed with today, so I’d like to see what all the fuss is about.
What's your biggest fear?
So, this is weird for someone who loves horror and being scared, but I have a really serious phobia of boats. There are certain kinds of boats I just can’t even look at or think about without feeling sick with dread. It’s like I take all my fear of normal things like murderers, monsters and haunted houses, and put it into something totally banal. Fears have to live somewhere, right? For me it’s in a bizarro boat world…
If you had Doctor Who's TARDIS, what time would you travel to?
The Romantic Era.
Just so much incredible art came out of that era, from music to literature to paintings and sculpture. All of my favourite historic creative people lived then, it would be interesting to see first-hand what it was like to have all that stuff going on at once. And then of course I’d come home again, because I wouldn’t want to die of some ridiculous disease that we can now cure with a jab in the arm.
What's your secret guilty pleasure movie you don't want to admit you love?
All of those ridiculous rom-coms they play on cable TV on Sunday afternoons, where you already know and don’t really care what happens, and it’s full of tedious commercial breaks, but you lie there watching the whole three hours anyway, and cry at the end when it all works out. I have a degree in film studies, and yet I can’t tear myself away from those things!
If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?
Nothing in Cold Water is what it seems!
Where can we find you?