I can’t believe it’s two and a half years since Dan Klefstad featured on Linda’s Book Bag. Then I interviewed Dan about his first novel, Shepherd and the Professor. You can read that interview here. Dan’s latest book, Fiona’s Guardians, is out today and I’m delighted he has allowed me to feature an extract from the beginning of the book.
Published today, 2nd October 2020, Fiona’s Guardians is available for purchase here.
When a vampire seduces you, death is minutes away. When she hires you, you’ll soon wish you were dead.
It’s a truth known to every guardian who worked for Fiona, including Daniel. Aside from managing the day to day chores and keeping her protected, he manages an investment portfolio to buy stolen blood from hospital workers. The 250-year-old Fiona needs 10 pints of human blood every night. As a result of this, Daniel and Fiona are always on the lookout for police, but fail to notice their gradual encirclement by Mors Strigae, an ancient order of monks dedicated to the extermination of vampires. Gone for a century, the monks start a new war when they destroy Fiona’s sire. This time, her vampire family is pushed to the edge of extinction — and the humans who serve them are hunted and executed.
After 35 years, what keeps him loyal? And will he ever be allowed to leave?
An Extract from Fiona’s Guardians
MESSAGE FROM FIONA
Hello mortal. I’m touched by your interest in those who work for me and those who used to. A handful truly deserve to be remembered in a book that never goes out of print. Their loyalty and talent are the reason I’ve existed for two and a half centuries. A few, however, earned the painful and premature deaths detailed in these pages. For me, loyalty comes first and must be constant. That’s not to say a partnership with me can’t end in mutual agreement. It just never happened before. Still, I may allow my current guardian to retire. After serving longer than any other, he might well live his remaining years in a manner of his choosing. This would create an opportunity for another to earn his substantial salary and benefits. But a warning is in order: The work is as relentless and unsparing as my hunger, and everyone I employed has murdered at least once on my behalf. Not that this is the preferred option. There are other, less extreme ways to obtain blood for me, and Daniel built a robust network that can be handed off to a successor. He’s in the car now, looking at his watch, wondering when we can go home to his decanter of scotch. From what I see, nothing in your cabinet would satisfy him so, rest assured, I won’t leave with any of your bottles.
I see you’ve been reading job postings. Do not ask if I offer a retirement plan. In truth, I’ve never understood the concept. Each evening I awake knowing I’m the chief executive for extending my life, so ceasing work would amount to suicide. But this is what Daniel wants, and I owe him for that time he saved me from dying. It’s in the book.
My favorite chapters feature Agripina, the one who created me. Driven by hunger, she brought me to the edge of death but changed her mind when I started turning blue. She claimed she saw something worth preserving: a simple, unselfish nature that disappeared when she opened a vein for me. Since that moment, the only feeling I’ve known, besides adoration for her, is a craving that never ceases. That is, until the instant I tasted regret – the perpetual pain of guilt — at not being with her when our enemies reappeared. They’re in here, too. And so is my revenge.
Go ahead, indulge your curiosity. When you finish reading, I’ll visit again and make myself visible. You’ll find me sitting in that chair over there, and we can talk about your future.
I don’t know about you, but I find that really creepy. If you’d like to see Dan read from the opening of Fiona’s Guardians click here.
About Dan Klefstad
Dan Klefstad is a writer and broadcaster. He works on WNIJ providing the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR’s Morning Edition.
Dan is especially interested in literature from the WNIJ area, and interviews writers for Morning Edition and records them reading excerpts.