Monday, December 8, 2014
Fangs for the Memories Guest Blog with Helen Treharne
There's no way around it, writing a book is hard work, writing a series is perhaps even harder. You live with your characters for months, years even. You hear them in overheard conversations between strangers. Writers’ patch-work together experiences of life, locations and people to build entirely fictional worlds and then invite other people to visit them. We are firm exponents of recycling – we reuse and upcycle snippets of conversation, experiences and conjecture to create new, wonderful creations. These things are books.
It is not for the faint hearted. Within the confines of your creation lurk great risk. What if readers don't like it there? Perhaps people won't root for your characters. When you write a series, this is essential. You want them to warm to the ongoing plotlines and characters, even the villains. When the vampire genre is already pretty saturated, crafting stories and conjuring up people that feel fresh and interesting is stressful, I can tell you!
But along with the challenges of writing a series, there also come great rewards, not least the memories you forge along the way. It took two years to write Relative Strangers, the first book in the Sophie Morgan vampire series which is available to buy in eBook and paperback.
I started it during a particularly busy time in personal life and with lots happening outside the confines of my limited writing time. While my heroine Sophie Morgan battled against vampire foes, I battled with a long standing ambition to learn to sew, master the dark art of crochet and composting. My husband and I fostered for an animal welfare charity, resulting in a lovely new addition to our family - a slightly unhinged semi-feral kitten called Bear. We had a couple of amazing family weddings and an insanely awesome trip to Copenhagen (I'm addicted to Danish thrillers and political drama). The latter was disguised as a research mission for the second book in the “Sophie Morgan” series where we learn more about her parents’ relationship.
There were also some not so great things, but that happens to all of us and there's nothing like writing or reading a book to escape from them for a bit. Having a bad day? Pick up a book!
My experience of writing Death in the Family, the sequel which will be out in the New Year, was an altogether different one, but already I've forged great memories of the creative process. Reading my five star Amazon reviews of Relative Strangers has been a humbling yet wonderful experience. Thank you to all readers who leave reviews for authors, it really does help us stay motivated as well as put food on the table!
Perhaps the biggest memory you are all contributing to right now is the virtual book tour I’m on. Thanks for joining me on one of my final stops, and a special thanks to Wenona for hosting me. Who would have known that my little vampire book would have attracted so much interest!
So thanks again for putting up with us writers, for buying our books, for leaving reviews and generally supporting us. I hope reading our books gives you as many good memories as we authors have of writing them.
So why not pick up a copy of Relative Strangers – the first book in the “Sophie Morgan” series where vampires return to their dark, threatening roots and family isn’t always what it seems.
A Modern Vampire Story
Sophie Morgan Vampire Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of pages: 301
Word Count: 96,500
Meet Sophie Morgan… practical, Welsh, prone to occasional profanity, and seemingly a vampire magnet.
Sophie Morgan is 23 and has always done the right thing. She’s caused no stress for her family, worked hard through university, has taken a successful leap onto the career ladder and nurtured a reasonably healthy bank balance. It’s no small surprise then when, on a post relationship break-up, mini-break to Antwerp, she pursues a pair of thieves who steal her friend’s handbag. But this is only the start of her world being turned upside down. Ripped from the streets into a dark alley she is violently attacked, barely alive when quirky Irish bar worker, Michael Kelly, stumbles across the scene.
The pair, shocked by their experience and uncertain whether they have killed her attacker in the brawl which follows, go into the night for answers. They get more than they bargained for. Sophie quickly learns that vampires exist, her neighbours back home aren’t what they seem and new boyfriends can be found in the strangest of situations.
Relative Strangers is the first in a new vampire series with a distinctly British flavour, but which will appeal to everyone. Reviews call it " a vampire tale with bite", with "brilliant characters that draw you in" and a very fresh take on the genre. Read it now to find out reviewers are raving about.
Available at Amazon Smashwords iBooks BN
I wakened with a jolt, my heart beating, and my lids heavy. The glowing display of my alarm clock informed me it was four a.m. Had the noise been real, or had I been dreaming? My brain fired up and I took in my surroundings. I'd spent two months living with my mother in my childhood home following my sudden relocation back to South Wales. I'd only moved into my own place a few days earlier and was disorientated. Bed, furniture, dressing gown draped over the chair- all mine, definitely my bedroom, no one else in the room with me, all good. So what the hell was that noise?
My anxiety levels were sky high. It had been a terrible year, one brimming with violence and death. I couldn't take another emotional or physical beating; I hoped my imagination was playing tricks on me. Please don't let this be anything more than a dream, I prayed.
I tentatively reached across the nightstand to flick on the lamp, but quickly retracted my hand. What if there is someone in the house? There could be someone downstairs. You don't want to let them know you're up here. Think Sophie, is that what woke you up, could that have caused the noise you heard - was it a bang, something smashing? It might be better to err on the side of caution. Take a breath, think before you do anything.
Slipping my legs from under the duvet I padded over to the window and quietly pulled the cord to lift the blind. It was dark outside. Dawn wouldn't surface for several hours, but the street lamp at the bottom of the garden afforded me a little light. The town council switched them on early during the winter months.
Everything outside looked peaceful. The gate at the bottom of the path knocked rhythmically against its post in the cold January wind. I must have failed to close it properly.
Another noise. Was it a noise? Did I really hear something? Yep, definitely coming from downstairs. Blood whooshed through my ears as my heart began pumping adrenaline through my body. Someone else was in my house. Someone was moving downstairs. Oh my God, no, not here. How could he have found me? Why now? I've been moving on. I didn't even tell.
My body froze in panic, but something deep in my gut forced my brain into action. There was no way I was going to give in after I’d battled for so long and so hard to stay alive, to survive. Nobody was going to rob me of that, or anything else for that matter. I quickly assessed my options, but they didn’t add up to much.
I could hide out in my room and hope that the intruder would go of their own accord. Perhaps they'd just be an ordinary burglar - they'd be in and out. They'd take my purse, mobile phone and keys which I'd left in the kitchen and escape but I could replace things. At least I'd be alive and unharmed.
But what if I just stayed put and they came upstairs, perhaps looking for things of higher value? Based on my experience, it was more likely that it was some sicko who would then have me penned in. I'd have no escape and be at their mercy. I wasn't ever going to let that happen to me again.
Thoughts machine gunned their way through my brain, but I decided to come down on the side of braving it, going downstairs and confronting my intruder. Maybe, I'd be lucky and it would just be a petty thief, more scared of me than I of him. But on the other hand, perhaps it was him. If so, I was probably dead already, may as well get it over with.
About the Author:
After a successful career in business and career coaching, Helen Treharne returned to South Wales in 2010 to focus on writing, among other things.
Relative Strangers, a modern vampire story featuring an increasingly feisty Sophie Morgan, hits digital bookshelves in 2014. In addition to being the creator of the developing “Sophie Morgan" series, she is an urban poet and social commentator who can frequently be found ranting in the Twitterverse. She knew the degree in Sociology would come in handy some day!
Helen lives with her husband, three cats, an entrenched tea addiction and an increasing collection of stringed instruments. When she’s not writing she spends her time daytime hours working in communications and volunteers for a feline welfare charity. She can't be trusted near stationery and has had more come backs than Cher.
Twitter @Tea_Talks https://twitter.com/Tea_Talks
Facebook : http://on.fb.me/1vOSmXq