Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Are your characters vampires? by Kathryn M. Hearst

Readers often ask me, “Are the characters in your books vampires?”

Early on, the question surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. I started writing “Feast of the Epiphany” as a vampire novel years ago and put it away in favor of being an adult. Needless to say, the adult thing didn’t stick. When I decided to rewrite the manuscript, I’d received a ton of feedback that the market was saturated with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Some went so far as to say the genres were dead.

I refused to believe that readers had grown tired of our fanged friends and started researching common themes among vampire myths. I planned to define the commonalities and create new takes on the old trope. My research took me in some unexpected directions, including a new fascination with Anunnaki or ancient Sumerian deities. Somewhere along the way I took a strange detour into Catholic mysticism. The basic mythos for the Order of the Sinistra Dei series formed from my research.

Are they vampires? No, not exactly. In my world, there are no such things as vampires. However, the mythology follows some of the traditional vampire lore, such as rising after death, fangs, and compulsion. They’re also dead sexy, but that’s another blog post.

My characters feed off of prana, or human energy, unless their powers have deteriorated, and they require blood for sustenance. There’s also a genetic component to the process of becoming immortal, which restricts their population. While they don’t age, they do risk a form of insanity as they grow older. I’ve always been fascinated with the question of how the human mind would adapt to living hundreds or thousands of years. We aren’t made to experience that sort of lifespan. What kind of psychosis would develop?

Where does the Sumerian thing come in?

The Anunnaki are ancient chthonian, or underworld, fertility deities. They later became judges of mortals. The term translates to “princely offspring.” They are thought to be the direct descendants of the sky god Anu. I turned this mythos upside down to suit the story by making the Anuna from another plane of existence. They aren’t human, but a separate race of winged beings. Throughout history, they have been worshiped as gods and goddesses. However, they’re close to extinction due to the actions of the Sinistra Dei.

In the series, the characters don’t know what they are. They’ve been told they were chosen by the Church to serve in the Order of the Sinistra Dei. They have two purposes: to judge humans to maintain the balance between good and evil, and to complete missions to protect the interests of the Holy Mother Church. In the first book, “Feast of the Epiphany,” Gia and the others discover much of what they’ve been told about their natures are lies. What they are, what they can do, and their role in Church politics will be revealed as the series progresses.

Feast of Mercy
Order of the Sinistra Dei
Book Two
Kathryn M. Hearst

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Crushing Hearts and
Black Butterfly Publishing

Date of Publication: October 4, 2016

Number of pages: approx. 300
Word Count: 75,000

Cover Artist: Marcela Bolivar,
Designer Shawn T. King

Book Description:

An ancient feud. A threat from the Vatican. Two lovers caught in the middle.

Nick never wanted to live forever, and he certainly didn’t want to join the Order of the Sinistra Dei. Unfortunately, before he’s able to get used to the idea of immortality, the High Judge from the Vatican arrives in New Orleans to investigate the strange events of Fat Tuesday. If Nick doesn’t play his cards right, his forever could be a whole lot shorter.

Marin, a relatively new immortal, is forced to serve as assistant to the High Judge while he investigates the alleged crimes of those she holds most dear. She’ll do what she has to do to protect her clutch. However, her efforts bring her closer to facing the executioner’s blade.

As their world spins out of control, Marin and Nick struggle to reconcile past hurts and hold onto their budding relationship. New enemies, new abilities, and new desires threaten to tear them apart. It isn’t long before they realize love can’t heal all.

Loving someone means you want the best for them...but what happens when what’s best isn’t you?

Feast of Mercy is the second book of the Order of the Sinistra Dei series, an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance like no other. If you like mysterious supernatural creatures, conflict-ridden romance and a lot of heat, then you’ll love this series.

Short Excerpt:

Nick expected sounds from her—moans, maybe a scream or two. What he didn’t expect was for her to bolt upright and let out a blood curdling scream. Déjà-fucking-vu.
“Get out,” Marin shouted.
For a brief terrifying second, Nick thought she spoke to him, then a male voice spoke from the door.
“Marin, I require your services,” a man said from behind him.
Nick covered her body with his unsure of what else to do. He didn’t recognize the voice, though he detected a European accent. Anyone who called her by name would have recognized him, even with his face buried between her legs. It had to be Lysander.
When the door clicked shut, he hopped off. “Who was that?”
“The High Judge. He’s practically a priest. A freaking priest saw my boobs.” Marin scrambled off the couch in search of her clothes.
“He’s not a priest. Worse.” Nick laughed deep in his gut. If looks could kill, he’d be stone cold dead, for keeps this time. “I’m sorry. Do you think he recognized me?”
“Where is my bra, dammit?” She pulled her jeans on commando style.
Nick handed her the scrap of lace she called panties. “Where are we going?”
“You aren’t going anywhere. You’re going to hide here until he’s gone, then go back to Gia’s. I need to find out what the hell he wants.” She snatched her bra from the edge of the desk and rushed it on.
Nick ran his hand through his hair. “Shit. This is bad.”
“Call Gia.”
“I will.”
“Now.” Marin slipped out the door.
Gia’s phone rang until he thought it would go to voicemail. “Hey, Nick.”
“Gia, the High Judge came looking for Marin.”
“Where? Did he see you?”
“The bar.” Nick’s stomach clenched. “I don’t know if he saw me.”
“Did he say why he wanted Marin?”
“No, but you need to be careful. Nicholai and Serena are still in town. If he comes to the townhouse, Nicholai doesn’t need to be the one to answer the door.”
“Shit, hang on.” She spoke with someone. “Okay, where are you now?”
“I’m still upstairs in the office, he barged in and caught us…um…making up. I didn’t get a look at him.”

About the Author:

Kathryn M. Hearst is a southern girl with a love of the dark and strange. She has been a storyteller her entire life, as a child, she took people watching to new heights by creating back stories of complete strangers. Besides writing, she has a passion for shoes, vintage clothing, antique British cars, music, musicians and all things musical (including theater). Kate lives in central Florida with her chocolate lab, Jolene; and two rescue pups, Jagger and Roxanne. She is a self-proclaimed nerd, raising a nerdling.

The Order of the Sinistra Dei is her first series and includes titles, Feast of the Epiphany and Feast of Mercy. Kate's novel, The Spirit Tree, won a publishing contract with Kindle Press through the Kindle Scout contest. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies.

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