a sigh for life's completion
Forget everything you thought you knew about vampires —they just don’t exist. But there are others with similar appetites and they certainly appreciate how well the folklore has protected them.
How do you deal with having to dine on the humanity you adore? Feast on the miscreants. And don't get too close to the good ones.
This is Paul Christian’s choice. A seemingly mortal man, he has numerous special abilities. Unfortunately, well, most unfortunately for some, he needs human blood to survive. A low-key crime novelist, Paul leads a cautious and comfortable life–until he falls in love.
Lauren is just managing to keep her tavern open when she meets Paul--a charismatic man who carefully weaves himself into her life.
Suddenly, her business picks up and she finds herself surrounded by new friends and a sense of family. And she begins to sense something else... she's just not sure what it is. Life will change--for everyone.
"In a sense, for all its fantastical elements, A Sigh for Life's Completion has the pace of real life, where things don't necessarily happen in an orderly fashion. But unlike most of our lives, the stories of these characters are told in lovely, readable prose. And for all the sprawl of the larger plot of the book, the characters are entrancing and kept this reader fascinated, concerned, and interested from start to finish."
~Charles de Lint
"Books to Look For"
Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine
Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine
I write. I am a Chicago Native who headed to the West Coast after teaching English in the Chicago and Phoenix public schools. I now teach in Los Angeles where it is quite sunny. That's my only complaint.
I've been writing nearly as far back as I can remember and have published a few poems here and there. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University-Los Angeles. A Sigh for Life's Completion is my first novel, a sequel is in progress.
My favorite authors include: A.S. Byatt, Clive Barker, Jim Butcher, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Kelly Link, Edwidge Danticat, Larissa Lai, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Jonathan Lethem, John Ajvide Lindqvist, H.P. Lovecraft, Kate Maruyama, Martin Millar, Alan Moore, Ben Okri, Terry Prachett, Louise Erdrich, Jeff VanderMeer, Kurt Vonnegut, Diana Wynne-Jones... to name a few.
When I wrote A SIGH FOR LIFE'S COMPLETION, I was returning to a vampire character who had lived in my thoughts for twenty years: Paul Christian. However, my interest in the idea of vampires was cultivated during my childhood.
When I was young, I watched all the old Dracula movies on late night television. One image stayed with me from a movie I watched with my mom when I was around ten. Dracula had been courting a woman and she ran away, leaving him sitting alone on a bench in a great mist-shrouded garden. He bowed his head, perhaps studying his hands and thinking of his awful power. I remember Mom saying, "He loves her, his heart is breaking," for of course, the girl ran because she was afraid of him. A wise choice on her part (women surely should trust their instincts). And I think it said something about the kind of man the Dracula in that tale was—for he had the ability to force her to be with him but did not act on it.
Funny, how impressions stay with us and inform our ideas when we face a blank page waiting to be fed our own stories. The concept of a seemingly endless life and how it may affect one's intellect, compassion, and actions has stayed with me. For certainly, one who lives so terribly long would either become quite wise or fall into desperate insanity. Paul Christian, of my novel, chose the educated route... his lengthy life becoming a search for purpose and meaning. I also like the notion that one can be both bad and good at the same time. I believe we all have the capacity for both. It is how we balance these inclinations that forms our character—in a sense we all embark on the hero's journey, fighting our demons while we find ourselves. Though, hopefully, our struggles do not involve determining who we will dine on.
When I taught English Composition at Le Cordon Bleu, we looked at what food and sustenance represented in our lives. Bread is broken and shared culturally, communally and ritually to strengthen bonds within communities, families and between individuals. These acts often represent our values and spirituality. Vampires, the ultimate outsiders, seem to miss out on our most important social traditions—and a number of other conventions. While they have supernatural abilities (which vary according to the teller of the story), they seem to hover at the edges of society, never truly belonging. They cannot maintain life-long relationships with humans, for they will outlive every human they could possible care about. And, well, they kill people. So what is the attraction?
For me, the very essence of this outsidership and otherness is fascinating. The potential isolation and loneliness tugs at my heartstrings; the prospect of violence and murder abhors me; the possibilities for harnessing such power intrigue me. In a sense, vampires represent the dichotomies of life and what we choose to do to address them, how we can be better--or worse--because of how we play the cards we are dealt.
Honestly, I can't say whether or not I definitively believe in vampires. What I do believe is that there is probably a lot more to this world than we can comprehend. I believe that we need to question our concept of truth and reality. And that it is a bit pompous to assume that we, the human race, know everything there is to know. In other words, it might be a good idea to consider the possibility that what we thought impossible is in fact, perhaps, probable.
In telling a vampire tale, I have found a genre that allows me to explore society, alienation, our desire to belong and our simple need for love... with a lot of cool special effects.