Guest Author Karen E. Taylor
With the upcoming re-issues of books from my Vampire Legacy series, a lot of people have been asking me why I chose to become an author. It’s a good question and on the surface, it’s a fairly easy one to answer. I fell into it, or stumbled over it, almost accidently. I was surprised when it happened. I’m still kind of surprised even now. I’d been searching for most of my life for some sort of artistic expression. I was always an imaginative child, maybe too much so, content to live in a world of dolls and plastic horses and imaginary friends. I suspect I was hard to handle. So my mother sent me to countless classes to find out what I’d be good at. I did ballet for a year and loved it, but she pulled me out after the first recital, mumbling something about a mack truck amidst sugar plums. I went to the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh every Saturday for art lessons – I did so well at sketching (and so miserably at water colors) that the instructors transferred me to painting classes exclusively. That time quitting was my idea. I took singing lessons, speech lessons, pursued acting in college and community theatre. I sculpted, made pottery, sewed, knitted, designed my own clothing, made toys for my own children – the list goes on and on. And we don’t even want to start talking about the jobs I held over the years.
Then, in 1988 I sat down in front of a newly purchased Smith Corona Word Processor and found out where all that striving finally led. Here, at last, was something that I dared hope I might be good at, good enough to make it work, good enough to stick to it. And in all the years since then, with all the ups and downs of life and career, I still look at writing as the one thing I do that works. For me. And for my readers.
There are many things to love about writing. You can’t beat the hours, for one. The dress code is as casual as your environment permits – my favorite work suit is a plaid flannel nightgown with black leggings underneath. It’s good to have an office, but a writer can work anywhere there is a computer. Or a tablet and a pencil. You can live any place, provided you have electricity, coffee and access to a post office. It’s not a problem to moonlight at another job when you’re a writer. Sometimes, in fact, it’s an excellent idea, providing money to live on and ideas to dream on – a little outside stimulation is good for writer’s block too. It’s even okay to stumble around every so often, talking to yourself. If anyone asks, you can explain that you’re working on a scene. And need I mention how the smell of a box of newly printed books is one of the most heavenly odors on earth?
The things we most love about writing, though, often come hand in hand with the things we hate. Deadlines. Writer’s block. Rejection letters. A power outage right as you’re finishing up the scene you’ve been working on for hours. Precious words not easily retrieved. Precious words cruelly cut from your manuscript by merciless editors who more often than not really do know what they’re doing. And don’t you hate that too?
A writer’s job is never done. Even with the end of a book, we look forward to the next one. And no matter how much grief and sweat and tears the last book caused, all is forgotten and forgiven when we type the words Chapter One.
Choosing to become a writer may not be that much of an accomplishment after all. But choosing to remain one – that’s the path we take. I can’t think of a better one to walk.
Karen E. Taylor
Deirdre Griffin didn’t choose to be a vampire. But she is. And she’s determined to make the most of her fate. For Deirdre that means surrendering to the raging hunger ignited by even the slightest whiff of blood a hunger that pulses through her body like a fever, demanding release. It means making friends in dark places and savouring every hot, salty, bitter, revitalizing drop of life force the night has to offer…
From Book #1 of HUNGER:
After the kiss, I buried my face in his neck. Now, I thought as I heard the blood pulse in his veins, Oh, please, now.
I nipped him at first, savoring the moment, my low moans echoed by his. Then when my teeth grew longer and sharper, I could hold back no longer. I bit him brutally, tapping the artery and was rewarded by the flow of his blood: hot, salty and bitter. He shuddered violently and fought to push me away, but his resistance was futile. Finally his struggles ceased and his body grew limp as I continued to draw on him, gently now, almost tenderly. I drank a long time, slowly, relishing the feel of my own body being replenished, then I withdrew.
Arising from the couch, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. No longer pale and haggard, my skin glowed with life and my eyes shone, victorious and demonic. A few drops of blood were trickling down my chin; I wiped them away with the back of my hand and turned from my reflection in disgust…
From Book #2 of HUNGER:
He was trembling violently under my touch, but that merely encouraged me and I spoke his name again.
This time I connected. I knew he heard me and understood, his hands tightened on mine and he whispered my name. Then before I could react, he quickly dropped my hands, formed a fist and silently punched me on the jaw, striking me with such force that I fell to the floor.
As I pulled myself up, shaking my head and gingerly feeling my jaw, I saw him running from the room, pursued by a nurse and two orderlies.
I stood, swaying in the air slightly, oblivious to the uproar Mitch’s action must have been causing around me. The noise level in the room rose, as if from a long distance. I could hear the laughing and crying and shouting of the rest of the patients in the room. But my eyes were fastened on the door through which he had disappeared.
What the hell did you expect, you fool, I thought, a passionate embrace, a warm welcome-back kiss? His eyes had been the eyes of one who looked on hell, and I had helped to put him there…