Hello, dear readers! It is my pleasure to introduce to you indie author A. M. Manay. She writes vampire novels meant to be the anti-Twilight stories. So have a read and discover the new voice of the vampires! Take it away, Ms. Manay…
In the world of vampire fiction, there are several names that loom large. There’s Dracula. There’s Anne Rice. There’s Sookie Stackhouse. And, of course, there’s Twilight.
In writing She Dies at the End, one of my goals was for it to be the anti-Twilight. Now, don’t get me wrong. I read all the Twilight books. They are page turners. There’s no denying that they’re fun. But there are some things about them that really bother me.
First, I shall complain about the romance. Edward emotionally abuses Bella. He’s incredibly controlling, and her worship of him is disturbing. Her total nervous breakdown after he leaves her paints a terrible picture to young girls of what it means love someone and of how you process your feelings after it goes bad. This is one reason that November goes through a failed romance in She Dies at the End, Book 1 of my series. I wanted to show that a girl can be sad about a first love gone wrong but still stand up for herself and move on. I also wanted to acknowledge the fundamental creep factor of an ancient vampire going after a teenage girl. The power dynamics of that are really unacceptable, no matter how much you try to gloss it over by saying that he’s a virgin or that she’s his one true love. The romances in my book are portrayed as sketchy because they are, in fact, sketchy.
Another thing that irritates me about Twilight is the lack of diversity in the main cast. You do have Native American werewolves, but otherwise, it’s white people as far as the eye can see. The only Black dude has a handful of pages and then dies. Why are all the Cullens white? There is no reason for that. They’re pretending to be a family formed by adoption, after all. Representation matters. When the default race for every character is white, that sends a strong, negative message to people of color, especially young people. I deliberately create my characters to reflect the diversity of the world around me, here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think that makes my books more interesting and sends a positive message to all readers, not just readers of color.
Finally, there’s the total lack of any consequences for bad decisions. In the Twilight series, Bella knows that if she becomes a vampire, she is likely to kill someone. Her vampire friends tell her this over and over again. Some of the Cullens even take bets on how high the body count will be. And yet, Bella wants to become one anyway, so she can be with Edward forever and never get old. And instead of having to face the consequences of what is fundamentally a selfish decision, she’s conveniently such a special vampire snowflake that she can resist her urge for human blood with no mistakes. I find that to be an unsatisfying cop-out, one I try to avoid in She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2).
My severely mixed feelings about Twilight have certainly informed my writing, and they serve as an example of how helpful it can be to read within your genre. It helps you to see the elements you love as well as those that are more problematic. I will likely never have the level of success achieved by Stephanie Meyer, but I’m proud of the story I’ve created. I think my series is enjoyable, intelligent, interesting, and socially conscious, partly because I read Twilight with a critical eye. I hope you’ll agree.
Book blurb for She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)
A frightening vision stalks November, even in her grave . . . and things go severely sideways just as soon as she claws her way out of it.
Continuing the story begun in the well-received paranormal romp She Dies at the End, She Lights Up the Dark finds November Snow struggling to adjust to her new life as a vampire with none of the support she’d expected. Her nemesis Luka has plotted to isolate November and scatter her allies as he executes his plan to bring human society under his control. Her loneliness leads her to become emotionally entangled with a charming but likely untrustworthy fellow vampire.
When danger flares, November discovers that her psychic gift has expanded in a powerful and perilous fashion. Coerced into close company with her enemy, she fights to master her power and to uncover the secrets that may help her to save both her friends and the human world from being crushed under Luka’s boot. November is determined to stop Luka as his plan builds toward an unknown and deadly climax, but she may find that lighting up the dark comes with a high price to pay.
This books contains violence, some sexual content, and occasional profanity.
Short Excerpt from Chapter 1 of She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)
She knew only one thing after she clawed her way out of the ground: she had to eat. Two sheep and a billy goat gave their lives for November’s first meal of her new one. She required no persuasion or instruction, falling upon them instinctively when she’d emerged from the earth, filthy and ravenous. She tore into them, a gleeful savage.
When she was full and they were empty, she knelt next to them, stunned, reaching up a tentative finger to touch the fangs protruding from her bloodstained mouth. The animals had tasted of grass and sunshine and milk. For a few moments, she had lived their bucolic lives, now over. She felt warm, fuzzy with pleasure. Her head spun.
November wasn’t quite sure where she was, or even who she was, but then it all came back in a rush.
As she walks among her friends, a sniper’s bullet finds her belly. She falls to the dirt as she takes the death meant for another. Ilyn carries her inside, eyes burning. She lies in front of a fireplace, her life bleeding away, but there is no pain on her face. Her friends surround her. She agrees to live to fight another day. He takes her blood and gives her his own. Now there is fear and struggle and rejection, but it is too late, far too late. They watch her die They watch her die because of them.
November returned to the present, the ground solid beneath her knees once again.
I died. I’m a vampire.
For a moment, she wasn’t certain if she would laugh or weep. The amazed cackle that escaped between her fingers settled that question. It was only after the glow of feeding had faded that she noticed the pandemonium that had erupted around her.
They were looking for something. Zinnia was on the ground. She looked completely undone. And Ilyn . . . Ilyn looked terrible. It took November a long, confused moment to realize that what they were looking for . . . was her.
She looked down at her own body, and it was perfectly visible and solid to her.
She tried to touch her maker, reaching out a hand to toward his arm. Her blood-stained fingers passed right through him.
“It’s no use, kitten. They cannot hear you.”
November closed her eyes, willing that familiar voice to disappear, praying she’d imagined it. When she got up the nerve to turn around, rage filled her, and she tackled Luka to the ground, fangs bared, screaming like a madwoman, “What have you done?”
In addition to her work as an indie author of paranormal fantasy, A.M. Manay is a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a singer, a yoga enthusiast, a Clerk of Session in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and a mother through domestic open adoption. She has a passion for increasing diversity in popular culture and for strong heroines who stand up for themselves, make their own decisions, and don’t depend on romance as their reason for being.
Be the first to know about the release of the upcoming sequel as well as bonus material about your favorite characters by
Checking out her website: www.ammanay.net
Signing up for the fan email list: November’s News
Following the author on Facebook: facebook.com/ammanaywrites
Following the author on Twitter: @ammanay
Following the author on Instagram: instagram.com/a.m.manay
Following her Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ammanay
Author Links for A.M. Manay
She Dies at the End: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0112S00KI
She Sees in Her Sleep: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019EG1NWE
She Lights Up the Dark: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BQGGBMW
Fan email list: November’s News
Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/ammanay
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