Vampire novels have recently enjoyed great popularity, with such series as Twilightand Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. Verrico’s story features a strong heroine and promises a new sci-fi twist on the genre, as well as action-packed thrills with a touch of romance. The story follows protagonist, Mia Disantini from her beginnings as a 1950’s New York actress to her metamorphosis into the “Bird of Prey,” and her present-day rebellion against the vampire hierarchy. Book two, entitled, Twilight of the Gods, is due to be released later this year. The novel is now available in trade paperback, multi-format e-book and Kindle. For more information visit her website: www.deniseverricowriter.webs.com.
I came into writing through the theatre. My first efforts were plays. Writing plays (and acting in them) teaches you a lot about developing characters and structure. In a play, you have a much shorter period to develop a plot, and it forces you to use dialogue effectively. You must show and not tell. CARA MIA is my first novel and the first book in the Immortyl Revolution series. I held onto this book for years. My husband convinced me to submit it. I queried four publishers. Lisa Smith from L&L Dreamspell requested the manuscript. I was thrilled when they offered me a contract, and I’m very happy to work with them.
I write about vampires, because I find them a compelling metaphor for man’s inhumanity to man. When I set out to write this novel, fifteen years back, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. I also had no idea how popular vampires would become. Anne Rice influenced me a lot, but I soon realized that I had to be true to my own voice and vision. So, I set out to create an entirely new world. Since I’m a fan of science and sci fi, I decided to give my vampires a biological basis. That being said, I still needed a story.
At first, I had this idea for a character, a female vampire, who became Mia, my heroine. At that time, I’d only seen females in minor roles or as victims in vampire stories. I wanted to write a story that really dealt with the unique challenges a female might face as a vampire. How would she deal with not being able to have children? What would her place be in vampire hierarchy? What would her relationships and love affairs with other vampires be like?
Then I came up with Ethan, her charismatic master, and Brovik, his elder and former lover. This gave me a different sort of love triangle than the typical. Kurt, who is Brovik’s slave and eventually Mia’s lover, came into the picture and gave me yet another triangle.
Cara Mia is the prelude to the Immortyl Revolution. Mia and Kurt are locked up in a biotech lab in California. She tells Dr. Joe Ansari the tale of her fifty-year struggle to survive as a modern woman in a culture where she is regarded a mere chattel to her master. In Mia’s world, she isn’t free to come and go as she chooses, much less love the man she wants.
Mia is nineteen, a young actress in the 1950’s, when she meets Ethan, and she falls hard for him. After a disastrous affair with a married man, she is easy prey for this apparently perfect, alpha male. Ethan swears eternal love and all that jazz, but Mia figures out before long that he isn’t as wonderful as he appears to be. She becomes the pawn of Brovik, who exploits the growing affection between she and Kurt to further his intrigues. After decades of nursing her grudge, Mia gets her chance at freedom and revenge against Brovik.
I turned to ancient cultures to create my vampire society. It’s very patriarchal. Immortyls are divided into classes: a ruling class, a soldier class and a “pleasure class”. Mia and Kurt are part of the latter, young and attractive in form, chosen for sexual desirability.
Mia and Kurt’s romance isn’t the YA vampire variety. They’ve both suffered a lot, and they are deeply complex individuals. Their relationship is one of true partners, something unheard of in their slavery-based culture. Not to say that I won’t put them to the test in Book Two.
Another group of Immortyls is known as “sewer rats”, made up of runaway and cast-off slaves. These are mostly kids and teenagers in form, living like feral animals in very poor conditions. These become Kurt’s revolutionaries in Twilight of the Gods. Then there are the adepts of the ancient arts, who are in a sense Immortyl celebrities, famed for their beauty and talent and supposedly chosen by the Goddess Kali herself. This group is mostly found in India around the chief elder’s court. Book Three, Fearful Symmetry is told from the POV of a male adept.
Twilight of the Gods will be released this fall. Book Three, Fearful Symmetry is going through my critique group now, and I’m working on Book Four, Ratopia.
My websites and social sites: www.deniseverricowriter.webs.com www.ImmortylRevolution.blogspot.com., My Facebook Fan Page is Immortyl Revolution, and you can follow me on Twitter
Cara Mia Excerpt
The male looked up, but said nothing as Joe entered. A narrow beam of light, from the lamp next to his chair, carved his fine-boned face into an ivory mask. Large, haunted blue eyes regarded Joe impassively. His shape was that of a very young man but one undernourished. He sat upright, dressed in blue jeans, a soft button down shirt and sneakers, tawny blond curls neatly clipped and combed. Long delicate fingers held a book.
Eerily silent, obviously shunning the fluorescent lights as Mia did, but in contrast to the way she paced like a caged animal about the perimeters of her cell, he sat in solemn stillness, a condemned man waiting for the hangman. Yet to Joe eyes, he was comfortingly alien, unlike Mia who was alarmingly human and female.
It was three days since he’d spoken. When anyone approached, he just fixed an icy blue stare, and they’d back off in terror. A basin of water, containing a plastic bag filled with blood, sat in the sliding panel beside the door. Nausea gripped Joe momentarily, surprising him. He’d seen surgery performed on the brains of living people. Why did this bother him so much?
Joe cleared his throat. “Good evening, I’m Doctor Ansari. I’ve brought a letter from Mia. I’m not sure how you prefer to be addressed.”
The vampire’s eyes blinked once as he replied in a boyish voice, his English slightly accented, “You may call me Kurt.”
“Very well then…Kurt. How are you getting on?”
The vampire looked at him warily. Sudden tension flared between them. Kurt tugged at the left sleeve of his shirt then smoothed it down with his fingers. “Mia attacked a staff member. I heard screaming and shouting.”
“Yes, the psychiatrist.”
Kurt shook his head. “What have they done to her?”
“She was restrained and sedated until she calmed down.”
“You’re the neuroscientist. I’ve read your work.” Kurt smoothed his hand again over his shirtsleeve. “I suppose it’s pointless to ask when we’ll be re-united.”
“Dr. Loy assures me it should be soon. You read scientific journals?”
The vampire’s wary expression didn’t change, nor did he answer the question put to him. “You’re authorized to carry communication between us?”
“No,” Joe admitted. “But I’m assigned to work with Mia until Dr. Rider is replaced.”
Kurt’s unearthly eyes ran over Joe again, searching. Joe was very uncomfortable.
“Aside from neurological studies, I’ve been assigned to begin a behavioral profile based on anecdotal data. So far she hasn’t cooperated. I’m hoping to gain her trust so she will.”
“To this end you’ve gone against your superior?”
Kurt tugged again at his shirt cuff. Interesting, Joe observed, a nervous gesture, hiding something yet calling attention to it at the same time.
Joe continued, “I don’t agree with Lydia. It stinks you’ve been separated without your consent. I’ll do all I can to help you both. I’ve been authorized to obtain anything you need…personal items.”
Kurt’s disturbing eyes lowered to his book again. “I arranged for the rental of a piano.”
This surprised Joe. “Piano?”
The vampire’s voice tensed. “Yes, a piano. Also, I require my notebook computer. It’s pointless to try to access anything. I made sure of that. I want it back.”
Well, he could be an arrogant little cuss.
“Give me a list. I’ll see to it personally.”
Kurt looked up again with his probing gaze, and moistened his lower lip with his tongue as Joe pretended to make notes on his clipboard. “Come by tomorrow night for my reply. No one but Mia must see it. Understand? Look at me, Doctor, when I address you.”
Joe wasn’t about to cross either of them. He looked Kurt warily in the eye.
The vampire’s expression softened. “I’d like to arrange for flowers for Mia—a single red rose for each night we’re apart. Make sure it’s perfect and accompanies my letter.”
Was the monster a romantic?
Kurt took a small leather notebook and pen from his shirt pocket. He quickly jotted down some items, and tore the list out crisply, handing it to Joe with the assurance of one used to giving orders. “These are the items I require. Please don’t deviate from the list.” He replaced the notebook in his pocket. His pale face suddenly clenched. “Go—I don’t wish to be disturbed.”
Joe didn’t waste any time exiting. Taking a last quick look as the observation door closed between them, he saw Kurt take up the basin containing the bag of blood in his hands, and stare at it in disgust. Sensing Joe staring, he scowled before snapping off the lights.