I’m thrilled to introduce my first ever guest blogger, South African author Nerine Dorman. And without further ado…
How wonderful is death! Death and his brother sleep.
This quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley I first encountered while reading James O’Barr’s graphic novel, The Crow, which was possibly one of the most influential works I read when I was a young adult. Other keepers on my bookshelf at this time included Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels, Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls and Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. A common theme throughout these stories was that of death, and I admit that I’ve had a lifelong obsession with the subject.
This could, in part, be related to my early teens where I almost died after severe illness, and this brush with mortality changed my entire outlook on life. After that I was no longer satisfied with accepting things at face value. I identified with the outsider, with persons who were mavericks. There had to be more to existence than what was dictated to me by society.
After surviving my twenties without winding up dead in a gutter somewhere (as so many doom prophets had gleefully predicted) I picked up enough experiences in that I felt I was ready to begin writing the kinds of stories that had inspired me when I was younger. As terrible as it might sound to some, I write what I know, often with a healthy dollop of my overactive imagination.
And death is my constant companion, reminding me that the clock is ticking, urging me to write, to tell more stories. I’ve danced with death on numerous occasions; have even sought out his embrace twice by my own hand. Death is possibly one of the most important themes prevalent in all my fiction, the grinning spectre that my characters wrestle with, or embrace, depending on their natures.
Inkarna came about because of death. In 2010 I lost two people who meant a lot to me. One was a musician who, in Jungian terms, I identified as my animus. When he died, I grieved as though part of me, which I’d tried to deny, had died too. I didn’t know him personally, and for a long time had not listened to his music. It was what he represented to me that hurt the most, as though a part of my early adulthood was over. Later that year, a very close friend and mentor, who’d been terminally ill, passed away–on Halloween, of all dates. This double death hit me hard. Even now, writing this, my throat tightens and I feel tears prickle at the corners of my eyes.
Both visited me in vivid dreams, where conversations took place with profound messages that have stayed with me. This is how Ash came about, as a way to process my emotions and thoughts. Only a few of my friends know the full story behind him and the identities of the two men whose deaths played such a large role in the origination of the novel’s concept. The process itself of writing Inkarna was very much rooted in magic and personal alchemy.
Ash isn’t human. He is a creature known simply as Inkarna, and belongs to a cult of body-snatching beings that originated in Egypt during ancient times. Their magic is based on the conception of the souls and the afterlife. I’ve had a long and abiding love for ancient Egypt, and had always wanted to find a story where this could be expressed. Ash offered me the opportunity.
I wrote Inkarna in a frenzy, completing 95 000 words in just over two months during early 2011. I simply could not stop writing. I had to get the words out. I was pleased as punch when Dark Continents Publishing picked up the novel, as I’d been admiring their other titles for a while already, with the feeling at the back of my mind that this was the right publisher for the work, a publisher that would allow its authors the necessary creative integrity to maintain an authentic voice.
It is with the novella, Blood and Fire, also published through Dark Continents, that I had the opportunity to introduce Ash to my readers. Carrie Clevenger’s vampire, Xan Marcelles, plays a perfect counterpoint to Ash’s seriousness with his smart-mouthed commentary. We’d always wondered what would happen if we put the two in the same story, and the results were surprising and highly entertaining.
Carrie and I offer you an action-packed paranormal thriller in Blood and Fire. We enjoy creating together, and complement each other well. She brings to the table her background in flash fiction and sharp plot turns, not to mention definite talent for witty dialogue, while I deliver my flair for descriptive narrative and an eye for technical detail gained through years of editing. We invite you to step into our world, sit back and enjoy the ride. The only complaints we’ve received so far have been that they wanted more.
It’s only death if you accept it. ~ The Crow, J O’Barr.
Download Just My Blood Type, a free short story and the first co-written work Carrie and I created: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/68457
Blood and Fire, released as part of Dark Continents Publishing’s Tales of Darkness and Dismay collection, is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-and-Fire-ebook/dp/B006SD3F2S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326024054&sr=1-1
Follow Carrie, me or Xan Marcelles on Twitter @carrieclevenger @nerinedorman and @crookedfang