(Review to be posted later today)
Interview with Melissa Darnell
Interview with Melissa Darnell
I started writing about vampires back in 2008 when the vamp trend was really starting to take off. Since then, I’ll admit there are a LOT more vamp stories out there. However, Tristan and Savannah’s story is about much more than just vamps, and this particular species of vamps is different from your typical vampire. For instance, because I wanted my vamps to be different, I gave them unique origins—their creator is Lilith, the rumored first wife of Adam, which makes them more a demon/vampire hybrid that can drain energy with a bite or a kiss. They can only be killed by a stake to the heart, fire, or decapitation. And because their vampirism is more like a disease, they retain their souls, so no religious items, buildings, or sacred ground has any adverse affects on them. If these vampires go to Hell after death, it is only due to their choices and actions and not what they are.
The Clann Series also features several other paranormal, otherworldly groups besides just vamps. Another major player in the series is the Clann, a group of families who come from Irish druid ancestors with magic abilities that are dependent on their individual energy levels as well as energy they can pull from or give back to the earth. The Clann is the natural-born enemies of the vampires due to their ability to kill vampires with nothing more than a thought or a flick of the wrist. But their powerful, energy-laced blood is also the biggest temptation for vampires.
Mix the two groups’ abilities, and you get our heroine Savannah, a teen who, thanks to her rule-breaking parents, now has to learn how to handle not one but two sets of crazy abilities and issues while being a hated and feared outcast of the Clann. Throw in Tristan, our hero from the Clann and its expected future leader, and you’ve got a strong Romeo and Juliet story grounded in very dangerous circumstances outside the lovers’ control with a whole lot of obstacles they have to face both individually as well as together as a couple. With each book in the Clann Series, these obstacles get bigger and bigger, extending way beyond just Tristan and Savannah to affect not only all the vamps and Clann descendants worldwide, but even the humans who have no knowledge of either the vamps or the Clann.
The Clann Series also revolves around things way deeper than just vamps and witches. It’s about love...for your family, your friends, your soulmate, and yourself. It’s about figuring out what’s most important in your life, and how to juggle those priorities. It’s about having dreams and sometimes, deciding whether to let go of them. It’s about dealing with constant temptation, learning to recognize what is truly right from wrong, and how to successfully walk that line between them. It’s about learning how to deal with the consequences of the choices we make, and how to forgive ourselves when we mess up. Beyond anything paranormal, these issues are things that every one of us face every day of our lives, and I think readers of the Clann Series are going to be able to look beyond the otherworldly elements to the very human and relatable challenges this series’ characters face.
2. How do you go about research for your books. Did you just make up the lore of the Crave series by yourself, or do you base them on some old lore?
I based my Clann Series vampires on old legends of Lilith, and the Clann on old Irish druid lore and legend.
3. What is the allure of writing about forbidden love for you?
Everyone thinks you should go after true love. Why wouldn’t you? We all dream of not only finding but also instinctively recognizing that soulmate when we meet them. But once that person becomes off limits to you because being with them could mean life or death for a lot of people you care about, it’s not such a simple matter anymore. Would you have the strength to walk away from a love like that?
To me, forbidden love is one of the most solid obstacles for true love. When you find someone who seems to be your soulmate, who you enjoy talking with as well as dancing with and kissing, when that person is your friend as well as your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have to have some serious reasons why you shouldn’t be together. Forbidden love does that and then some, because it pits your romantic love against the love and respect you have for your family. It makes you question whether that romance is selfish, especially if the consequences of that relationship could cause actual harm to the people you care about. It takes a lot of strength and personal sacrifice to walk away from true love.
4. What is your favorite character to write, and which one is the most complicated for you?
To me, writing about Savannah is easier, but not because she’s a female. It’s because she’s self sacrificing. She understands the bigger picture and intrinsically cares about the feelings of others, maybe too much! If she had been raised to be more selfish and strong willed, it would be so much easier for her to go after only what she wants regardless of whether it means breaking the rules and jeopardizing her loved ones. But she wasn’t raised to be like that. She loves her family, and they love her, and she was taught from birth to have strong values and morals. And because of that background and familial love, she really tries to resist Tristan, whereas others might not even try. She also faces letting go of a dream, which I can also imminently relate to because I’ve faced the same issue (as have so many of us probably).
Tristan is harder for me to write, and yet equally as fun, because he has a lot of traits I wish I had. One of those is his hardcore romantic sensibilities. After bowing down to his parents’ wishes for years, his love for Savannah proves to be his breaking point. He tries to resist his feelings for her at first, but eventually he realizes that he values the love he and Savannah share more than anything else on the planet. And that includes his family. To him, it seems that if his parents really loved him, they would want him to be happy. He thinks Savannah should never have been made off limits to him in the first place, and those kinds of rules need to be changed. His “bigger picture” is all about changing the world if it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t work. But he doesn’t always immediately see how his idea of what is right or wrong is based on his personal needs and desires instead of what is better for the greater good of others. He doesn’t care if being with Savannah is dangerous to him or the peace treaty between the Clann and the vamps. He will risk everything to be with her, even his own life. Her love is everything, and nothing else matters. That takes a whole lot of willpower and a certain kind of narrowed vision that is harder for me to relate to, but I think also appeals to the hardcore romantics out there (including me!).
5. Could you tease us with what we can expect in book 3 of the Crave series?
The obstacles Tristan and Savannah have to face in Consume are going to be bigger and crazier than anything they’ve ever had to deal with before. This time, it’s no longer about just their love, though of course that will also be tested right down to its very foundation. In Consume, it’s also going to be about the entire world as they know it falling apart. No one will be in control of their lives anymore. Dreams will be shattered. Some forms of love will be tested and lost, while others will be redefined and saved. Every character in this book will have to face their worst fears and redefine who they are individually as well as the relationships they have with each of their loved ones. And no one will be safe in this book (and I mean absolutely no one!).