A week from today, the second novel in our Blood Bathory trilogy will be coming out from Torquere Press! The Blood Bathory series is dear to us because while the first book wasn’t the first original work we got published, it was the first manuscript we finished (and submitted and got rejected) when we decided to try our hands at original fiction writing.
Book One came out last July, and we used it as a way to introduce the world we’d built, which involves a battle between shapeshifters who are the servants of Gaia and vampires, who are out to destroy the shapeshifters. The primary antagonist is Elizabeth Bathory, who is trying to establish a foothold in NYC and to track down Evan St. John, who risked his life to escape her.
Evan is one of the main characters of book one, a reluctant vampire who didn’t ask to be turned. He seeks help from his best friend, Will Trask, and together, they face the realization that the world is much stranger — and much more dangerous — than they thought it was.
Mild spoilers for book two ahead!
In book two, Elizabeth has been removed from the playing field, but there are other antagonists eager to step up and take her place, one of whom is her daughter, Anna. Evan and Will are still very much involved in the action, but our two leads for this novel are Adam Carson and Tyr Gustafson, two men who are displaced in time.
Adam and Tyr met during a rescue mission in WWII, but the mission went horribly wrong. Adam was kidnapped and Tyr’s lover, Aaron, was slaughtered by the vampires. They meet again seventy years later, but it’s far from a happy reunion.
When we were working on the rough draft of book one, I was having a hard time getting a handle on how I wanted to characterize Evan until I happened to hear a song that made me sit up and exclaim, “That’s him!”
I don’t listen to current music often, so I wasn’t familiar with Evanescence before hearing this, but this struck me as the perfect song for Evan. After being turned, he felt dead inside, and I imagined him asking Will to save him from the darkness within him that he was trying so hard to control.
For book two, I wrote Tyr, a shapeshifter whose animal form is a huge white tiger. In a way, he’s coming from a similar emotional place as Evan: grief and loss. After Aaron’s funeral, Tyr shifted to his tiger form and didn’t come out again until everyone began to believe he’d gone feral. He hasn’t moved past the trauma of not only losing Aaron but also seeing him killed in a horrific way. So when I was looking for musical inspiration to help me get into his mindset, I turned to Evanescence once again and found Tyr’s song.
Originally, I thought this might be a song for Evan too, expressing his grief over losing his sister, but once we started working on book two and I figured out Tyr’s back story, I knew this had to be his instead.
I even found a song for Aaron!
Aaron is a minor character who only appears in the first chapter, but his presence heavily impacts Tyr’s emotional journey throughout the novel. We don’t see much of him and Tyr together alive and well, but Tyr relates stories about their relationship and the kind of life they were building together. In order to understand and express Tyr’s grief, I had to build a sense of their connection, and for me, this song is Aaron’s farewell to Tyr.
Currently, we have the rough draft for book three in progress, and I did have an Evanescence song in mind for the character I’m writing in that one, but we decided to do a major overhaul on a particular plot point which made my first choice invalid. I haven’t picked a new one yet, but I’m sure I’ll find something. I want to continue my trend through the whole trilogy!