A Different Perspective of History
Thanks, Lane, for hosting me today.
Simon Hawthorne, who is one of the characters in my new release, Shades of Sepia, is not only a vampire but also teaches 20th century history at Flint University. In comparison to other vampire characters, he’s only young having been turned at the age of 22 in 1916, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has a rather unique take on the subject he teaches, having lived through it.
In fact one of his pupils comments that his lectures make history come alive for her, and it often almost feels like he was there.
To which of course he nods politely, says thank you, and hides his amusement. As you would.
Living through history rather takes the romance out of it especially for someone like Simon who has been involved up close and personally in both World Wars. He was turned after The Battle of the Somme in France in 1916 and was active in the Resistance in Europe during the World War that followed just over twenty years later.
As a reader, and writer, of historical novels, my interest in them has always been people and how they’re affected by what is going on around them. Dates and lists of battles and who won isn’t what draws me in, and neither does graphic detail of the death and destruction, but rather the impact on society and individuals.
Simon’s seen all of that, and far too closely than he wanted to. I think one of the curses of being a vampire is that your friends and those you love age and die while you don’t. It’s difficult enough working through survivors’ guilt when friends die in battle around you, but to have it happen over and over has the potential to build into something truly horrific. Knowing you’ll most likely survive a war might be an edge, but it’s one that comes with a high price, especially in a world where one cannot make another vampire on a whim, but only on the anniversary of one’s own turning.
There’s a flip side to experiencing history, as there is to everything else or what would be the point? When researching it, it’s the details that are difficult to find out about, but someone who has lived it has that insight that others don’t. There’s a saying that history is written by the victors, so who’s to know how accurate the history books really are? Only someone who has lived experienced it. Because of this it makes sense for someone such as Simon who enjoys academia and passing on what really happened in some way would jump at the chance to teach it.
After all, one way of dealing with all the loss that comes with immortality is to keep the memories of all those people alive. Lest he and we forget.
Shades of Sepia is book 1 of The Sleepless City, an urban fantasy series co-written with Elizabeth Noble.
A serial killer stalks the streets of Flint, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.
Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.
One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Flint, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.
After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.