I didn’t always think it was. In high school, I thought it was one of the most boring subjects of all, right up there with trigonometry. Really, what was the point of remembering dates and battles and names of people who’d been dead for a hundred years?
But the fact is history shapes the world. And our personal history shapes who we are, how we view ourselves and the people around us. It’s why we make the choices that we do.
Just look at the word. History. His-story.
Everyone has a story. Some people blab it to the world non-stop. Other people twist and re-shape it, then paint it on a canvas or write a rap about it. And some people carry it around like a burden on their shoulders.
Before I sat down to write Dark Heirloom, I did some heavy research into European history. The civilized world has a complex past, but it’s also flawed. There are loopholes everywhere. There is an abundance of gray area ripe for rebuttal and conspiracy. Not that I doubt my good history professors who tried so hard to make their lectures fun. But you have to admit, that type of thinking space is an idea breeding ground for writers and story tellers.
I wanted to tell a vampire story where the vampires were to blame for all of mankind’s failures as well as all their successes.
And it was really, very easy to do. Because that is exactly how things work in nature every day. In biology, the success rate of a species of prey is directly proportional to the success rate of a species of predators. If wolves flourish, deer prosper. If wolves die out, the deer suffer starvation.
Vampires prey on humans. Vampires are mankind’s natural enemy. That makes man’s survival hang in the delicate balance of the vampires’ survival.
It’s a good thing vampires like to survive. But how long can they live on their “vegetarian” diet and stay hidden before the humans start to metaphorically starve? Natural will call for balance.
With all the loopholes in our history, it was easy to cram my vampire world into the gapes. Factor in a personal history for each character and voila! A paranormal alternative was born.
In the following excerpt from Dark Heirloom, the main character, Ema Marx, and another female vampire character named Leena, chat about some of that alternative past:
I tried to keep my mind clear but I had too much space to ponder. I wondered if Leena could control her ability. Could she choose to read a specific person’s mind or did she hear everyone’s inner thoughts all the time? Leena said Jalmari had shut her away from his mind. How was he able to turn her ability off?
Leena glowered. I shrugged and kept walking. “I’m sorry. I can’t help being curious.”
She spoke through clenched teeth. “I have to remind myself that people don’t speak their mind out of politeness.”
“You don’t like talking about it.” I stated the obvious.
“It has been a difficult journey.”
“Your father thought you could speak to the gods. That must have been something.”
Leena nodded. “My father convinced the city of Athens that I had been given a gift from the gods. Back then, a gift from the gods made you a little bit more than human and people started to believe I was a demigoddess.”
“Are you?” Hey, there are vampires, why not goddesses?
Leena shrugged. “Nothing seems to constitute as godly anymore. I would simply be a telepath. My struggles came when I met Jalmari.”
I nodded, understanding all too the well the difficulties of becoming a vampire. I felt sympathetic for Leena. She had a bright future ahead of her before Jalmari took it away.
“Do not blame him,” Leena warned. “I knew what he was and I still loved him. I wanted him to turn me. I wanted to be with him always. I could not stand the thought of growing old and dying so soon before him.”
That was something I hadn’t considered. “You gave up everything, though.”
Leena snorted a laugh. “Hardly. The world was so different then. It was easy for vampires to call themselves gods and demigods and live in temples. It made life very convenient for us.”
My eyes grew wide. “Why would anyone worship a vampire?”
She laughed. “Why not? Humans didn’t know the difference back then. The pre-Christian world worshiped pagan gods. Some of those gods represented death, darkness, destruction. Vampires fit in with those aspects. And with our powers who would dare to question our authority?”
“So you could walk into any Greek city, claim you’re a god, and demand they build you a temple and worship you?”
“To put it simply, yes.”
I rolled my eyes. “That explains why the ancient gods demanded human and animal sacrifices.”
Leena giggled. “Why, yes, that is exactly why.”
Gosh. First Jack the Ripper, then the Holocaust, and now Greek gods. Was there any part of human history that wasn’t laced with vampirism?
“Not really,” Leena answered my mental question.
“So what happened? Why did humans stop worshiping them?”
Leena wrinkled her nose in disgust. “The Crusades.”
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In honor of the release of my debut novel and month-long tour, I’m offering one FREE ebook copy of Dark Heirloom to a lucky commenter!
Please leave a comment below with your name and email address and I will and you to the drawing.
* * * *
An Ema Marx Novel 1
By J.D. Brown
“You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?
Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run, there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst. Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.
The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…
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