New York City, Post 9/11
A Different World Filled With All Different Things
New York post 9-11 has a sharper edge, but then again, New York always had an edgy feeling. I guess that’s what happens when you have millions of people crammed into such a tight space. There’s that sense that any minute, you’re going to slip over that edge and into a deep abyss of darkness.
The edge seems even sharper, the footing more precarious since 9-11. Alertness is the buzz word and yet somehow certain things goes unnoticed. Or maybe people notice, but look away, something New Yorkers sometimes do to cope with their hectic lives.
When I talk to people about THE CALLING, people invariably ask, “Why vampires and why New York?”
When Diana Reyes first began screaming in my head for a story, 9-11 hadn’t happened. Despite that, I didn’t doubt for a moment that her story would be set in Manhattan. The restlessness and darkness that is inherent in a city the size of Manhattan matched Diana’s basic spirit and the tone of THE CALLING — dark and edgy.
Plus, some things go unnoticed, like a vampire underworld feeding off the humans who either don’t notice or do and ignore what’s happening.
As for the “Why vampires?” Diana was a strong, determined and independent modern woman struggling to be respected in a traditionally male environment — the FBI. Diana has rough edges and a dark side — one which nearly claimed her many years earlier after the death of her father.
I wanted a foil to challenge that roughness and to entice that darkness. Someone with Old World values about how women should be treated and with his own conflicted issues. Ryder Latimer immediately was born.
Don’t get me wrong about how a woman should be treated — Ryder is far from a chauvinist. But he wants to protect Diana even though Diana doesn’t need protecting. That sets up some interesting and challenging conflicts between the two.
Not to mention that the one thing Diana fears — losing a loved one again — will never happen with Ryder, but the sacrifice for eternal love is a big one. It’s losing herself and maybe everything around her.
With two such wonderful characters and a marvelous city to put them in, I needed special places to go. THE LAIR, a club owned by Ryder with a tongue-in-cheek vampire theme, provided a great setting for the first book in the series, DARKNESS CALLS.
THE LAIR has also provided an ongoing meeting place for not only the vampires who lean toward wanting to retain some humanity, but also the humans who want to play at living on the edge. Call it a Disneyland for the Undead, although Ryder has a strict No-Bite, No-Blood policy.
Eventually, vampires who do want some bite and blood needed a place to go. In TEMPTATION CALLS I introduced THE BLOOD BANK, a place where anything could happen both in the bar and the special back rooms.
Of course, swirling all around the vampire underworld are the humans and their world. Unfortunately, the violence of the real world is sometimes not all that different from that of the vampires. A drive-by shooting in Spanish Harlem. Serial killers in Tribeca. Kidnappings and mayhem in Soho.
The stories in each of the novels take you through all different parts of Manhattan and all different socio-economic levels. From Ryder’s posh duplex in the 60s along the East River to the brownstones in Spanish Harlem which Samantha Turner, Sara Martinez and Ricardo Fernandez call home.
Why? Call it a homage to a city I love. There are so many different neighborhoods and places to show you. So many different people, living together and adding their cultures and flavors to the wonder that is Manhattan.
As for the stories themselves, they range from novels which lean heavily toward suspense involving humans (DANGER CALLS and BLOOD CALLS) to stories where the supernatural takes front and center (DEVOTION CALLS).
My desire is that the mix of locations, suspense and paranormal will entice you while you read and show you a side of New York you may not have noticed before.
The world of THE CALLING and its vampires has some other rules, and I hope you will check out the Vampire Rules and the Human Factor to find out more!