When
I began writing the vampire series tentatively titled the Second Species, I wanted to tell a story about a people who, through circumstance and misunderstanding, became the basis for one of humanity's most enduring legends--the vampire. Going back over my collection of vampire novels, videos, and non-fiction by such writers as Montague Summers and Ornella Volta, I noticed that in the '70's, a trend began concerning the vampiric hero. It was around that time that the emphasis upon the vile, unearthly, bloodsucking demon began to give way to a more sympathetic view. Suddenly, the vampire was more to be pitied than censured, a being for whom one could feel an empathy--even if coupled with care. After all, the most well-controlled vampire will still be compelled to feast his inner beast, and though you're his best-friend--you might end up being the entree! A good many of these stories were actually romances, where the heroine actually fell in love with this creature and accepted his way of life rather than help in his destruction!

It was with that thought in mind that I wrote Murder in Old Blood, about a vampire who makes no excuses for who he is, but still manages to retain enough of his humanity to show--on occasion--mercy to those who could have become his victims. Kit Landless was a footpad--a mugger--who chose the wrong victim, and ended up becoming immortal--but eventually paid the price for his continued sympathy for humans.

That
was well and good, but for the characters in Second Species, I wanted more--these, I decided weren't going to be the usual types of vampires, beings killed and brought back to life in their attacker's image, to continue to ravage the night, but simply people, just wanting to live out their lives in peace. The aventurieri--Transylvanian for vampire--are a second species of Mankind, evolving on a different path at the time Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon vied for domination of the Earth. Becoming nocturnal hunters, they develop a sensitivity to the sun, as well as certain herbs and spices. Though they eat food like their human half-brothers, they also need to consume blood, to supply what their lack of sunshine depletes, and--they develop wings. Feared because of the superstitions of early Man, persecuted and hated by those who can't understand, they take refuge in the mist-enshrouded cliffs of the Carpathians, raising their children, organizing their government, living out their lives with as little communication with Humans as possible, for whenever the two meet, disaster usually follows.

And
then....in 1793, their Prince orders his assassin to punish an aventurieri who has broken the Law...and that single act begins a series of events which will send the assassin's eldest son on a journey of revenge and self-discovery....

Two days ago, I signed a contract for the publication of the first three books in the Second Species series--Shadow Lord, Shadow Play, and Shadow Passion. Written under the pseudonym Antonia Paul, they will be part of the new novels launched by Belle Books at DragonCon, in September, 2008.

7 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // June 15, 2008 at 11:14 PM  

    Very interesting, Toni. Man, how your mind works...what creative genius. Your intro is captivating.

  2. Beth Trissel // June 15, 2008 at 11:14 PM  

    Very interesting, Toni. Man, how your mind works...what creative genius. Your intro is captivating.

  3. Beth Trissel // June 15, 2008 at 11:14 PM  

    Very interesting, Toni. Man, how your mind works...what creative genius. Your intro is captivating.

  4. Beth Trissel // June 15, 2008 at 11:15 PM  

    Wow! I'm triplets and I have no idea how that happened.

  5. Mary Ricksen // June 16, 2008 at 7:15 PM  

    Your imagination is reality in words. Great premise!

  6. Mary Marvella // June 17, 2008 at 7:40 PM  

    And to think I knew you when we were just a little strange. Little did I know what was going on in your head!

  7. Toni V.S. // June 17, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

    Mary, you're just TOO kind! I always know I can count on you!