I’ve set myself a challenge in Linda’s Book Bag to consider a wider range of genres and to feature books I don’t normally read. Today I’m pleased to welcome Chloe Hammond to try to persuade me why vampire fiction is a genre for me! Chloe’s book Darkly Dreaming, the first in the Darkly Vampire Trilogy is available for purchase in e-book and paperback on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Mineeye.
Rae and best friend Layla are in France, escaping the wreckage Rae created when she left her unhappy marriage. She’s escaping the misery she created for herself by dreaming her life away.
At a street festival they are infected with the Vampire virus by a rebellious vampire and Rae finds herself living a new and terrifying existence. She struggles to retain her essential self, which she has only just re-discovered, but she is struggling against new and powerful drives and desires. She and Layla are taken to join the vampire Pride by Guillaume, the Pride Leader. He explains their new evolution into stronger, faster, more intelligent beings, which heal quickly, and only feed on blood, but they are not the vampires of legend.
They are not undead, and they are not immortal…
Decide On Something Darkly Different?
A Guest Post from Chloe Hammond
Don’t like vampire books? Well, no neither do I, in the main. So why on earth did I write one then? I wrote Darkly Dreaming because I remember when I was a teenager and books by Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite completely absorbed me. Then I out grew them. I read Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood and Faye Weldon instead. Occasionally I would try something paranormal, but most of the time I found them trite. Most of the vampire books seemed to be Mills and Boons with fangs, and I often couldn’t even finish them. I’m a slow reader, which makes me a fussy reader, if I can’t engage quickly with the characters, or the writing makes me flinch I stop reading. A book takes me three or four days to read, at least, and there are so many good ones I’m not wasting my hard won leisure time on bad writing, overly perfect characters, or predictable stories. I want special, every single time.
Toni Morrisette said that if there’s a book you want to read, and you can’t find it, then you need to write it, or words to that effect. I read Deborah Harkness, and enjoyed her writing, I wanted more. I wanted older, fatter, uglier, life weary heroines. I wanted them clumsy, funny, and friends with black people, white people, gay people, straight people. I wanted imperfect heroines I could actually relate to. You see, Darkly Dreaming isn’t just a book I thought of, it came to me as terrifying nightmares.
The sort of nightmares where you are too scared to poke your foot over the end of the bed, or even reach your hand out of the duvet to turn your lamp on. So I wrote out these scenes, and I took people I know, and I used their personalities as templates. It is true what they say about your characters developing a life of their own, Rae and Layla put their own twist on what I wanted them to say and do, so flaws developed, small cracks in their characters that were in place ready for something that happens in book two or three.
Initially I wrote in secret, but as my confidence grew, I told people. My mother wanted to read it. Oh lord. There’s lots of rude bits. I told her this, and she pointed out that without rude bits I wouldn’t have been born. Urgh. So I gave her an early draft to read, one without the prologue, and was so worried about the sexy bits I completely forgot to tell her it was a vampire story. My mother doesn’t read horror, or fantasy, or any sort of dark fiction, never has. She loved it, even though it gave her nightmares. She said she actually enjoyed the vampire nightmares, because it was more exciting than her normal dreams about trying to catch the correct train on time.
She told me she was completely absorbed in the woman’s contemporary literature novel of two women reaching forty and reassessing their lives, and then all of a sudden, wham, there’s vampires. She said the story was so well characterised and believable that she found the vampire viral infection and the character’s reactions to their new existence completely conceivable. She explained, that it isn’t a story about vampires, it’s a story about two women, with very distinct personalities, who stumble into a terrifying adventure, which could only happen to them, because it is created by their reactions to their circumstances.
If you read the reviews of Darkly Dreaming on Amazon you’ll see that several of my readers are people who normally avoid the genre all together, or are completely jaded by the surplus of cloned stories available. Yet these are the readers who seem to have enjoyed my book the most, who have the deepest emotional reactions to it. I was told I have written vampire literature, but I felt that sounded arrogant until I read the definition of literature that described it as being character driven: often the biggest plot development being a change in the characters interior world, rather than exterior. The definition of dark fantasy is difficult to pin down, but is consistently referred to as being the place where the reader has sympathy with the monster.
So, I like to class Darkly Dreaming, Book 1 of The Darkly Vampire trilogy as Dark Literature; and if you fancy investing 99p to see if I’m right, to see if I’ve managed to write a vampire book that appeals most to people who don’t like vampire books, I’ll be very grateful. And if you could drop me a little review, letting me know what you thought, I’ll be the happiest author in town.
About Chloe Hammond
Born in Liverpool, Chloe Hammond grew up in West Wales. The family didn’t have a television, so she was forced to overcome her difficulties with the written word, and books became her escape of choice. She quickly became addicted. Chloe studied Behavioural Sciences at the University of Glamorgan, but pestered her lecturers to be allowed some modules of Creative Writing.
After university she embarked on an all-encompassing vocation in support work. For twenty years Chloe worked with the homeless, refugees, vulnerable women, and disadvantaged teenagers.
She always planned to write- life just got in the way. Then Chloe found herself losing her joie de vivre, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She needed to completely change her life, and she needed to be open about her diagnosis. Usually very self-sufficient, she refused to give the depression the isolation it craves. She feared judgement, but instead she discovered gentle compassion and support. Chloe finally made time to write again. Writing soothes and grounds her; exhilarates and stimulates her.
She is happily married and has been for eleven years. She lives with her husband in little house in the Welsh seaside town of Barry, with great views over the fair and out to sea. They have two rescue dogs, Bonnie and Bella and a fat and fluffy cat called Coco. Chloe apologises for her poor quality author photo, but she utterly hates having her photo taken, and looked slightly less deranged in this one than all the others.