J.A. London debuts Darkness Before Dawn
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jun 19 2012, 12:19 am
I have been keeping a secret from y’all! My guest today is actually 2 people!! And I’m very excited they are debuting their book DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN with us in the Lair!
J. A. London is the mother-son writing team of Lorraine Heath (who also writes as Rachel Hawthorne) and her son Alex. Since the A of J. A. London can’t be with us today, A has answered most of the blog questions and J will comment/answer questions posted on the blog.
Suz: With all the paranormal books involving Vampires, what do you think is different about Darkness Before Dawn?
A: We felt that vampires had gotten a little off track as of late and wanted to return them to their rightful place as Victorian creatures: Polite, courteous, and obsessed with etiquette. Combining these “proper” characteristics with their oppressive bloodlust creates a very frightening monster, especially when they want to cling onto the past so badly.
Also, the dystopian world we set it in, in which humans lost the war against vampires, gave us an opportunity to really explore the psychology of no longer being at the top of the food chain. It also creates an atmosphere where everyone has lost someone close to them and they have to wonder what it was all for.
Suz: Can you explain to our readers what a “dystopia” book is?
A: The term “dystopia” has taken on a broader meaning over the last several years. At its core, a dystopia is a society that is oppressed and controlled by the state, but it acts under the disguise of a utopia. George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous H
uxley’s Brave New World are the archetypes for the modern dystopia.
In Darkness Before Dawn, the dystopia is a society that is also very oppressed and controlled, only now it’s run by vampires who have become overbearing patriarchs.
Suz: Dawn Montgomery is a unique heroine and one who is given such great responsibility. What do you think are her strongest and weakest traits?
J: Her strongest trait is her dedication to improving life for humans. Her weakest trait is her hatred of vampires and her unwillingness to see them as anything other than monsters.
A: We wanted to mirror this dystopian world within Dawn’s own personality. When the humans went to war with the vampires, they were filled with idealism and believed they fought on the side of good. Now, the reality of the situation has turned its ugly head, and the humans are trying to find their place in this new world. Dawn, as a teenager, is also filled with this idealism about her role in the world, but as her responsibility grows and her life becomes more complicated, she begins to change from an idealistic view to a more realistic one.
Suz: Victor Valentine is a vampire with his own agenda. How do you see his relationship with Dawn throughout this book?
A: Victor’s relationship with Dawn is complicated at best and confrontational at worst. They both want the same thing, a better tomorrow. But it’s very hard for Dawn to trust a vampire, something she’s learned to hate for so long. And Victor has his own challenges, because he, too, in spite of being around for 400 years, is growing up in some ways and must lean on Dawn as he discovers that the world is not as simple as he’d hoped.
Victor and Dawn are always at their best, though, when they gain strength from each other, and that’s something we’ve really tried to write throughout the series.
Suz: I’ve always thought the second book in a trilogy is the hardest to do, sort of a “set-up” book for the final book. (The Empire Strikes back is necessary to get to Return Of The Jedi. LOTR: Twin Towers sets the table for LOTR: Return Of The King.) Do you have more in store for Dawn, Victor and the readers in book 2?
J: Absolutely, in book 2 we have a great deal more in store for Dawn, Victor, and the readers. We wanted to expand the world for the reader. Book 1 takes place in Denver. In book 2, Dawn must travel to Los Angeles. The reader will see that not all cities are created equal. However, since the vampires have stifled communications between the cities, what Dawn encounters in Los Angeles is a bit of a surprise.
Suz: So, how was it working as a writing team? After the trilogy, do you plan on collaborating on more books?
A &J: Writing as a team is new territory for both of us but it went really well. We both shared a similar vision for where the story was going and how to get there. And most importantly of all, we were able to keep our humor and laugh at our own efforts.
We’re already brainstorming for the next series, so you’ll just have to wait and see what comes next!
We’re looking forward to addressing your comments. We’re giving away a copy of Darkness Before Dawn to one lucky poster.