This book represents a very large chunk of my life, and this character is a dear friend in many ways. She began as merely an idea and a short story when I was sixteen. She didn't even have a name for a number of years. At sixteen my contemporary vampire influences were Stephen King and Anne Rice. Buffy had not yet come on the scene. I was a fan of how Anne Rice had taken established vampire mythos and made it her own, without doing dishonor to that history. I wanted to create vampires that were "real" and believable...not just randomly evil or carbon copies of others. I like intelligent villains with reasons for what they do beyond just being evil.
That first short story that started with the simple idea of a vampire caught and put in an asylum in the dark ages. It was a confessional of sorts, her words to a well-meaning doctor, telling the story of her first love, and how his death had led to her capture. Other stories followed at the rate of about one per year for the next few years. Each year I chose a piece of her life and told a snippet of it in a short story. I was in my mid-twenties when it was suggested that the collection would make for a great book. I spent a number of years then, pulling the stories apart and putting them in chronological order, then filling in the gaps to find the complete story.
At times, it felt less like I was writing and more like I was transcribing. I think I had ninety percent of the first draft done before I gave her a name. I wanted something unique, something different, but not something that was clearly made up. This was probably the first part of the story I really had to research for. I dug into the area where I had decided she’d been born. I researched the various groups who had lived there back through the years, and I looked at names and their meanings. I stumbled upon Amara, which means a number of different things, depending on the local. In Sanskrit, it means “Immortal” and I knew I had found it. Other meanings include “Grace” and “Peaceful” which are also descriptive of her, at least at times.
I put the book away for a while after finishing, convinced that it was probably little more than self-aggrandizing drivel. Somewhere in my 30s I dug it out again and worked with a critique group to polish it and fix the plot holes. Another couple of years on ice, and another polishing pass brought it to what I hoped was a fit state. By that point, Amara was so much a part of my life I almost wasn't' sure I wanted to share her with anyone.
Clearly, I got over that. Forever took forever to come into existence, from the Christmas of 1984 when I wrote that first short story, to June of 2016 when Creativia published the current edition.
Reviews & media
GENRE: Paranormal suspense
PRINT LENGTH: 338 pages
PUBLICATION DATE: June 9th, 2016
FORMAT: Kindle, paperback
Excerpt from the book
I am comfortable in the dark, when the moon slumbers and clouds dim the stars and the smell of the earth rises in the still air. Perhaps that still moment is the only place I am comfortable. My years have been long and have seen me travel nearly all of this world, often alone. I have given life and dealt death, but I offer no regrets. Regret is a waste of effort when justice brings the guilty no peace. I will see justice in the end, I am certain of that, for all that I have done, and all I have not.
So much has gone now and I am ill at ease with the time, the waiting, here at the end of my life. The ancient game is played out and three souls, born together in the lost pages of time are as they were meant to be … but to tell that story, my story, I must go back to the beginning, before I came to be, before any of us had come to be.
It begins near to the birth of time, or man's keeping of it, when three brothers entered into an unholy bond, bound by blood to the night, trading the daylight for eternal life. The stories tell of their calling, the slaughter of their mortal families, and the beginning of what would be called The Family. The middle brother, a brutish man named Crenoral, chose my mother to be his first bride. She had been a farmer's wife, and was pregnant, only barely so, when Crenoral came and called her into the night. She followed him, bringing me with her, and leaving behind a mortal family of two sons to mourn her. It was some time after that when I came to be born.
Our existence and all of its dark burden was new to us then. There were no rules to our existence, save for the drinking of blood and the death that rose with each sunrise. The Family was small, those three brothers, their brides and the occasional other whom they adopted along the way. In all, there were no more than twelve in my earliest memories, aside from Crenoral and his brothers.
I was born in a dark, dank cave somewhere in the Caucasus to a mother who wasn't exactly beautiful. She learned early how to make use of what gifts she was given, and when she chose, could be dynamically attractive, terrifying and compelling at once. I can still see her long, angular face and hair as black as the night, which made her appear somehow harsh, unforgiving. Her green eyes burned eerily in the darkness and smoldered in the firelight.