Vanora is just a little girl when her older brother inadvertently unleashes a terrible evil from the family crypt that changes their lives forever. As she grows up in a world where beautiful deadly beings hunt by night, one captures her eye and her heart. There is a powerful entity plotting to claim her when she reaches adulthood in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Can she escape?
Vanora is haunted by the night her faith in those she loved was shattered.
When her world starts to fall apart and Armando comes back into her life to warn her that her brother is in danger, Vanora realizes that she can’t escape her destiny. As she seeks to uncover the truth, Vanora starts to realize that the man she loves most may be her greatest enemy.
The Socoli Mansion is in ruins. Roman’s vampires have been butchered and their havens burned in Aeron the White and Terrible’s ghastly purge. Separated from her sister, Armando, and her friends, Vanora’s only hope is wrapped in a magic ritual that will not only reveal the supernatural conspiracy formed by a millennia of magic, but also unlock her secret powers.
In Darkness We Must Abide
A Supernatural Serial is Born
At the end of 2012, I stumbled across an old manuscript lurking in the badlands of my hard drive. I was shocked to unearth the story, having forgotten I had it converted to Word years ago from my old word processing format. For years I had considered it trunked and lost somewhere in the storage in the garage. Opening the file, I rediscovered a story I had sank most of my heart and soul into a very long time ago when I was just starting to write horror novels.
In Darkness We Must Abide was my first full-length original work. I spent hours at my old typewriter creating the first draft of the manuscript. Later, I bought a word processor and retyped the entire manuscript, saving it onto floppy discs. Yes, this was a long time ago!
As I read over my old work, I realized several things. One, I still absolutely loved the two primary leads, Armando and Vanora; and two, the story was solid, but needed some revision. I was very young when I wrote the story, inexperienced in life, love, and long lasting relationships, and this clearly showed. Also, I was under immense pressure from people in my life to write something “nice and normal,” so I struggled quite a bit with certain themes in the story. Reading over the manuscript, I saw exactly the changes I needed to implement to make it a stronger, vibrant read. I set it aside, considering reworking it into a trilogy.
Later, I began toying with the idea of doing a serial. My most popular trilogy, As The World Dies, was originally written as an online serial, and I’d missed the immediate feedback that came with the release of each new part. I had an idea for a whole new fresh work, but was intimidating by having to fit it into my already overloaded writing schedule. Then I saw an article about taking an old manuscript and converting it into a serial. Instantaneously, I knew that In Darkness We Must Abide was the perfect story to be converted into a serial. It was already divided into three distinct parts and it was huge! In fact, one of the reasons I couldn’t sell the book in its old form was that it was one massive book that far exceeded the word count limits of most publishers.
I instantly divided the first third of the story into the five episodes that make up season one. Extremely nervous, I started the revision process with the intention of each part reading like a television show in the reader’s mind. I was shocked at how easily the story fell into an episodic format, but was thrilled at the same time. Also, the voices of the characters readily reawakened in my mind, much to my relief.
In my youth, I had made several big mistakes. When a test reader had an adverse reaction to my lead character being an albino, I altered her appearance. I even changed her name to something I thought sounded fancier. When I started revising, the first thing I did was give Vanora her name back and restore her albinism. I had robbed my lead character of an important part of not only her physical appearance, but her life experience as an albino. I also embraced all the themes I had skirted around in the earlier drafts, out of fear of criticism.
Side note: Humorously, I spent a lot of time trying to avoid overt sexual themes out of fear of offending my mother. This is the same woman who would later call me up to tell me how much she loved the sex scenes in Pretty When She Dies because they were “hot.”
When I finally sent the first episode off to my beta readers, I was terrified. How would they react to a gothic horror novel I had conceived so long ago? When the rave reviews started flowing in, I was so relieved. My story had officially risen from the grave.
As a writer, it was a challenge to give the readers something they can enjoy in small increments, but also instills in them the desire to read the next episode. I did significant rewriting of the original work and the third season is completely new. The immediate feedback was also a great way for me to gage what was working, and what’s not. Because of the mad love for Armando, I expanded his role significantly in the first season.
Now that it’s finished, I can say I enjoyed my serial experience. It was definitely worthwhile digging up In Darkness We Must Abide and sharing it with my readership.
In Darkness We Must Abide
Q & A
Q: In Darkness We Must Abide is a supernatural serial. What exactly does that mean? What is a serial?
A: In Darkness We Must Abide is sort of like a television show I’m writing for your brain. A serial used to be a very popular form of literature. It was an ongoing episodic form of storytelling much like popular television shows today. Each part builds on the one before it, creating a very rich story for the readers to enjoy. Serials followed pretty regular schedules for their installments (weekly, biweekly, monthly).
I spent the last two years writing this serial and not that it’s over, I feel very accomplished.
Q: So what genre is In Darkness We Must Abide?
A: In Darkness We Must Abide is gothic horror set in modern times. It has all the classic gothic horror trappings like a big, gloomy mansion, the deep dark secrets, the tormented lovers, and terrifying monsters. It’s an epic tale about a young woman who is caught up in the supernatural world of vampires, werewolves, witches, vengeful goddesses, and ancient prophecies.
Q: This story is a bit different from most of your books though, right?
A: Though it’s still a character-driven tale of horror, and has some truly scary moments, at its heart it is a very tragic sort of love affair between two people who are drawn to each other even though their worlds are tearing them apart. Upon reflection, I can definitely see how my love of Jane Eyre and other gothic romances influenced the central relationship. Armando and Vanora are wounded people that you want desperately to somehow be together, but you’re just not sure if/when/how it might happen.
Q: We only see bits of Armando in the prologues of the first two episodes in the first season before he appears as a central figure in episode three. He instantly became very popular. Why do you think that is?
A: Well, he’s delicious! LOL. Armando is not only very handsome and charming, he’s very complicated. He’s a man of many secrets and conflicting emotions. Though he’s an older vampire (400 years old), he’s eternally 22 years old and has a youthful spark to him. He’s a bit sarcastic, naughty, and playful despite the fact that he’s not all that he seems to be. Armando doesn’t come across as cruel, so I think that adds to his appeal. Yet at the same time, he’s dangerous in that he can totally break Vanora’s heart and possibly betray her to his Master.
Q: Tell us a bit about Vanora, the heroine of the story.
A: Well, we start our journey with her when she’s ten years old and her life is altered forever when her brother has his ancestors from Romania transferred to the mausoleum on their estate in Houston, Texas. Immediately, a chain of events starts that sends her plunging into a very dark world. That being said, not all is bleak, because she has a much older brother and sister who take care of her and love her. They’re a very strong family unit. As season one continues, we see Vanora grow up to be a charming seventeen-year-old on the verge of her adulthood. Of course, that’s about the time when things between her and Armando start to significantly change.
Q: Vanora is an albino. How does that affect her life?
A: Vanora’s albinism affects her life quite a bit. She can’t be out in direct sunlight, she’s legally blind (though her sixth sense powers allow her to “see”), her appearance draws unwanted comments and negative attention, and isolates her a bit from others as she’s growing up. That being said, the difficulties she has to overcome make her a formidable person. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself, though she may not be entirely confident at times. We see her confidence evolve over the course of the serial.
Q: Tartarus, the Elysian Fields, the Fates, and other allusions to Greek mythology are popping up more and more. Is this significant?
A: I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology. I absolutely love it. There are some Greek supernatural characters in the story, so they’re going to address certain paranormal realms or beings according to their belief structure. Also, I liked the idea of maybe all those myths had roots in truth, but over time it was corrupted and changed.
Leto, the She-Wolf, is part of Greek mythology, but who she really is in the story of In Darkness We Must Abide is one of the bigger mysteries.
Q: We finally got a good look at the villain at the end the first season finale. He’s an albino, too, and quite imposing. Does he take on a much bigger role in Season 2 & 3?
A: Aeron takes on a much bigger role in Vanora’s life and we learn about his past and why Vanora is so important to him. It’s not just because he believes she’s a part of his destiny. There is something much more going on beneath the surface that reaches back eons.
Q: So, is there a love triangle?
A: I wouldn’t call it a love triangle. I am always intrigued by the concept of fate. What if fate laid out a future for you that you didn’t want? Could you fight it? Could you change it somehow? The concept of fate is definitely a lynchpin of the story, but so is the idea of defying it.
That being said, Aeron is a brutal man of his time, but there is more to him that meets the eye. I’ll leave it up to the reader to discern if there is a love triangle or not.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
A: I love Vanora, but Armando is my favorite male character of all those I’ve ever written. That say something!