Kathryn Meyer Griffith: Human No Longer (Backstory) [guest blog]
Human No Longer. It’s my 17th published book — yeah! — and my fourth vampire novel. First, let me tell you where I got the idea for it. About five years ago, I was still trying to please the agent (who I no longer have) who’d sold four of my earlier paperback novels to Zebra in the 1990’s and, because she didn’t seem to like any of my new potential concepts, I asked her what she would like to see. Out of nowhere, she said, “You know your 1991 Zebra vampire novel, Vampire Blood? I liked that one a lot. The characters. Well, how about writing me a sort of sequel with basically the same cast, but with this premise: A woman, a mother, after being turned into a bloodthirsty vampire, must learn to adapt to the human world and still be a good mother. You know, how would she deal with everything when she had children she loved; didn’t want to hurt or leave them… but still had the need to feed on blood? Still had all the urges and desires of a vampire?
Yikes. I hated the idea but, to please her, I went ahead and begrudgingly wrote the book. I tentatively called it The Vampire’s Children or The Vampire Mother or something like that. I finished it. Not too happy with it. I had never liked writing what other people wanted me to write. Stubborn, I guess.
My agent, in the meantime, had begun her own online erotic (which I don’t much care to write) publishing company and when I’d gotten done with the novel she was too busy to even read the finished book. She handed it off to an apprentice intern. An intern? What? Who didn’t like it at all. Duh. So, disgusted, I tucked the file away on my computer and, fed up with the whole agent thing, returned to writing what I wanted to write. An end of days novel called A Time of Demons and a new vampire novel where the evil vampire wasn’t a mother. In 2010 I went with a new publisher, and she contracted not only those two books but asked me if I’d like to rewrite, update and rerelease all 7 of my older out-of-print Leisure and Zebra paperbacks going back to 1984. Heck yes, I said! So for the next 2 years I was busy doing that. Some of those books were over twenty-five years old and very outdated. Their rewriting, editing and rereleasing took a lot of work and time.
Then, in late 2012, I decided to take a very old book of mine (Predator) which was contracted to Zebra Paperbacks in 1993 but, in the end, never actually released, and just for the heck of it, as my 16th novel, self-publish it to Amazon Kindle Direct. Just in ebook form. A kind of grand experiment. The first time I’ve ever tried self-publishing. See how it’d sell. Dinosaur Lake. A story about a hungry mutant dinosaur loose in the waters of Crater Lake that goes on a rampage. Hey, I wrote Dinosaur Lake before Jurassic Park, the book, ever came out! Really. I had my cover artist, Dawne Dominique make a cover for it…and it was stunning with a dinosaur roaring on the front. And I did everything else myself. Editing. Proofing. Formatting. With forty years and endless publishers behind me I felt I was capable. And it’d been selling so well I decided to self-publish another one…and I remembered the mother/vampire book. Hmmm. So I revamped (ha, ha, inside joke), polished, and self-published it, as well. I retitled it Human No Longer. Got my fabulous cover artist, Dawne Dominique, to make me a lovely haunting cover with a troubled-looking woman standing outside a spooky house, with two children behind her in its shadows, on the front and voila! All in all, I don’t think the book turned out half bad. In fact, with the changes I made I think it’s not bad at all. Now I just hope my readers will like it.
So that’s the story of Human No Longer. My 17th published novel.
About Kathryn Meyer Griffith…
Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, and Amazon Kindle Direct.
I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.
My books: Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire, Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella, In This House short story, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, The Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction), Dinosaur Lake, 4 Spooky Short Stories, Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on the Putting the Occult into your Fiction), Human No Longer.
All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s Books available at Amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Kathryn+Meyer+Griffith
Find Kathryn Meyer Griffith on the web:
MySpace (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)
Romance Reader and Writer
Romance Book Junction
Jenny and Jeff Sanders on a summer night become the victims of a bizarre crime, leaving Jeff dead and Jenny in a coma. Their attackers aren’t caught.
She returns to her children and her life. With Jeff’s death his business and their income are also gone. Jenny, a novelist, hasn’t written a book in years, so she must move back to her childhood home in Summer Haven, Florida, where years before she and Jeff destroyed a sadistic family of vampires.
At least her brother, Joey, who owns a local diner, is there to help.
But Jenny has no appetite. She’s edgy. Her eyes hurt. Could be trauma from the attack. Grief. Until one night, after they’ve moved into the rundown family farmhouse, she can’t resist the night woods and going out to drink animals’ blood.
Gradually she accepts the truth. Her attackers were vampires. Now she’s becoming what she once hunted and fears she must either kill herself or run. She can’t abandon her children, but promises never to drink human blood; to find a way to live in the human world. It’s not easy. They renovate the farmhouse, which local gossip says is haunted. At night she hunts, and hides what she’s becoming from everyone. She fights to be a good mother and not let the bloodlust overpower her. Gets a job and attempts to fit in.
People, bodies emptied of blood, begin dying. Like years before. With her blackouts, she fears she may be the killer and confides in Joey. While a detective, investigating her husband’s and his daughter’s murders, complicates things.
Jenny suspects it’s her attackers doing the slayings. They’ve found her and demand she join them–or her family will die. When she resists, her children are taken; to save them, she becomes part of the vampires’ killing spree. Becoming a monster like them…until she finds a way to outwit and ultimately destroy them.
In the end it takes supernatural intervention, a ghost, and the help of a childhood friend to set her, and the world, free from the vampires once and for all.
Shutting her eyes, she lingered at the door and listened to the night animals beyond the glass. They were frolicking out there in the autumn murkiness among the crispy leaves and cool dirt covered ground. Little creatures, with nocturne eyes and speedy feet, full of hot blood.
The mother in her fretted over leaving her children alone in the house but the hunger overpowered the mother and she snuck outside into the darkness.
She told herself they’d be fine. She’d be back shortly. That she should reward herself for her self-restraint all day. She hadn’t attacked one living person. Hadn’t gone crazy or hung from the rafters by her feet. She’d done well.
She told herself that killing innocent little animals wasn’t all that creepy, wasn’t all that bad, considering the alternative. It didn’t work. She loved animals and hated having to kill them at all for any reason. Or had. But, she had to keep reminding herself, animals died every minute of the day to fill humans’ stomachs. Right? Was what she did any worse than that? All she wanted was their blood. It was her food.
She felt guilty only until she captured the large fox, humanely snapped its neck to drink the blood (which tasted better than anything she’d ever drank or eaten) and then was too exhilarated to think of anything but further feeding her hunger; not even that she could run faster than she ever had, could see like an owl through the darkness, smell her prey miles away and that her teeth were changing. When she stuck her finger into her mouth she could feel the points. Oh, great. Little fangs. Oh, Lord, could this get any weirder? She thought about those horror movies she’d seen over the years where some unlucky human had been bitten and was slowly turning into god-knows-what and couldn’t believe or accept it. Was in shock. Now she knew exactly how they’d felt.
Though, in the end, she did feel regret for killing the poor fox and the one the night before. But, yes, it was better than feeding off homo sapiens. Damn straight it was.
After ingesting the blood she felt as if there was nothing she couldn’t deal with. No problem she couldn’t solve, no disaster she couldn’t avert. She was superwoman.
This wasn’t so bad, was it? It’d occurred to her perhaps if a good person became a vampire that might be the key. Good person equals good vampire? Bad person equals bad vampire? She could only pray that was the case. Oh, it could be worse. She could lust after human blood and not be able to resist. Now that would be a deal breaker.
She absorbed the night poised beside a towering tree, its limbs shifting in the wind; inhaled the dizzying perfumes of the forest. Her lips on the verge of smiling. She felt better than she had since she’d come out of the coma weeks ago.
Her new world revolved around her in slow motion. The night birds cooed in their nests. The air danced among the dying leaves. Insects skittered between limbs and under bushes. On the breeze there were aromatic wisps of brewing coffee and chocolate (cake she thought), fresh baking bread and as always now, blood. Animal blood in the small bustling creatures hiding out all around her and in the distance the cloying scent of human blood. Her children asleep in their beds. Amazing.
God, the night was beautiful.
That’s when she saw the pale figure hiding between the trees to her left. A tall man dressed in drab clothes watched her.
She merged deeper into the woods among the thicker underbrush but when she looked back, he was still on the fringe observing.
Waves of uneasiness rippled through her and the vertigo was unbalancing. This man stalking her wasn’t her friend. This man was dangerous. If he was a man.
She ran all the way home at a speed she never would have imagined a human capable of. More like flying really. Her feet barely touched the ground, her night eyes so keen she never once collided with a tree or stumbled over a rock.
Within seconds she was inside the farmhouse peeking out the windows; the mysterious stranger nowhere in sight. Thank God.