L’s Notes: THE DARKNESS AND THE NIGHT
An Insider’s Guide to the Erotic Horror Series that Surprised You
*SPOILER ALERT: You may want to refrain from reading this if you have not yet read the first two books in this series, and plan on doing so; spoilers ahead.
THE BIRTH OF AN UNDERGROUND PHENOMENON
THE DARKNESS AND THE NIGHT series began nearly twenty years ago, when identical twins Erin and Lisa B, at age fifteen, began to have matching recurring dreams. In these dreams, brother vampires from the Xavier line would come to them and bring them to their secret home beneath a mountain, sharing with them their darkest and most intimate desires. The twins shared their nocturnal experiences with one another after passing each other once in the mountain, learning that they both went to the same strange, surreal place in their dreams. They compared names, details of the underground maze, and descriptions of the family members. To their delight, their information matched. They decided it might be fun to write a horror story based on the Xavier family, and within three months, they finished their first novel: THE NIGHTCRAWLERS.
Years passed, the original manuscript and all disks containing the story having been long lost and the dreams having long ago ceased, when Lisa felt the urge to resurrect the story. With Erin’s permission, she restructured it from a young adult (YA) novel to an adult horror, adding stylistic elements from some of her strongest influences: Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Clive Barker. THE DARKNESS AND THE NIGHT was born.
Last year, after selling two short stories to a start-up publisher, Lisa was approached by editor Lori Perkins about a book deal. Noting the subtle romantic and erotic qualities that already existed in the story, Lisa agreed to transform the story once more, turning a single horror book into a horrotic trilogy.
Karen: having been estranged from her family for several years, due to her father’s “unstable mental health,” her dark odyssey begins after she agrees to meet her parents and brother at the family summer home, an old Victorian in the middle of nowhere, in an attempt to reconcile.
Billy: born vampire of the Xavier family, and talented Astral traveler and dreamwalker, he first meets Karen after being appointed by his family to turn her, in retaliation for her father’s vampire hunting past. He ends up falling for her, however, the blood bond between them too strong for either to resist. After dying on the Astral, however, Billy’s soul becomes trapped between planes, slowly rotting and being replaced by a demon. He takes a drastic move against Karen, when she admits to falling out of love with him, and he holds her captive for an Astral eternity . . . while she awaits rescue from an unlikely hero.
Drew and Andy: dreamwalkers, Astral travelers, and amateur demon hunters, this father/son duo kidnaps Karen in attempt to trap Billy. Karen and Billy kill Andy and leave Drew for dead, but both will prove fated to meet her again: Andy is the “gold angel” who saves Karen from her Astral Hell, his soul able to transcend time when he travels the Astral. Karen notes the irony, and that is the basis to her cryptic message to Drew, in their later confrontation.
John-Michael: the leader of a nocturnal commune, he becomes a formidable foe after Karen and Billy both ingest his blood. He is capable of controlling the minds and wills of all those who have done so, and leads the couple through a dark world that includes shameless orgies and unholy communions. When he kills Billy, he takes on Billy’s ability to travel and manipulate the Astral.
Mona: witch and talented Astral traveler, gifted with a Doppelganger (psychic double), and able to manipulate the Astral in awe-inspiring ways, Mona offers Karen unparalleled pleasures and generous gifts, in exchange for a grim and unusual request.
Jason: the blood donor for one of John-Michael’s bounty hunters, he ends up joining forces with Karen, after a strange and tragic turn of events.
Anna: one of Karen’s twins, and responsible for two deaths before she has even left in the womb, she is a disturbing blend of innocence and evil. She has a Doppelganger able not only to travel all realms of the Astral, but also capable of transferring objects and people between the Astral and the physical. For her, nothing is impossible, reality meaningless. Her Doppelganger requires life-force as sustenance, however, and Anna eventually resorts to feeding it by practicing tantric sex on the Astral, offering wandering souls the experience of a lifetime ... for a price.
“Twin #2” Andy: named after the man Karen both killed and would later be saved by, young Andy appears human for the first eighteen years of his life. A second puberty hits him as he matures, however, and the vampire in him reveals itself while he is making love to his high school sweetheart. Thinking he killed her, he buries her, only to find later that he had turned her.
Lisa strove for a mythos that reflected the classic vampire, while also honoring some more contemporary traditions. The vampires of Southern County never state how they age, only that they age very slowly. They cannot tolerate direct sunlight, the effect being instantaneous burning, blistering, skin cracking, and “sun poisoning.” The majority of them are sterile, but a small minority of them are capable of having children. Infant vampires generally turn soon after birth, ingesting a combination of blood and mother’s milk, moving to the parents’ wrists as they wean. They mature at a regular developmental rate.
Surviving a vampire attack is all it takes to cause a person to turn, but the victim is usually left so incapacitated from the blood drain that, without intervention, s/he starves to death. There are a handful of hospital that have dealt with incapacitated Turns, and not even transfusions prove enough to sustain a dying, new vampire, hungry for blood.
Book III will be available soon, with a conclusion that will leave you breathless!
L’s Notes: THE DARKNESS AND THE NIGHT
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