For three days only, Killing A Vampire is for sale on Amazon for $0.99! Grab your copy before the price goes up!
For three days only, Killing A Vampire is for sale on Amazon for $0.99! Grab your copy before the price goes up!
Tomorrow, the 8th of March, is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. As I have just finished writing the Suckers Trilogy and am bloody proud of it, I’d like to dedicate this week’s interview to myself 🙂 Let me bare my soul to you.
It may sound cliché, but I had a dream. I dreamed about a girl bumping into a vampire and instantly falling in love. You can’t think of anything tackier, but I liked it. At the time, I was listening to popular music and one of the songs was ‘When the beat drops out‘ by Marlon Roudette. I guess the lyrics of that song got stuck in my head. I told my children about my dream, and they told me to write it down. I sat behind my computer that morning, and for the next fortnight, I only left it for the basic human needs even forsaking television (which is kind of a big deal for me). I wrote 55K words and completed my first novel draft ever. It gave me an enormous high to write. Never ever had I experienced something like this. I never took any drugs, so I can’t compare, but it is possible to get high without them, apparently 🙂 .
I don’t have a literary education as science was my first love. When I was four, I suffered a heavy concussion and skull fracture, and I spent four weeks on my back in the hospital. The nurses in the hospital were nice, so I aspired to become one. From the age of six (for the life of me, I can’t remember why that particular age), my aspirations were set a bar higher, and I set my sights on becoming a veterinarian. Animals can’t talk and tell people what’s wrong with them, so I wanted to help them. Helping others is part of what I am. Fortunately, I’m an eager learner and did well at school. I had a huge setback when I contracted a severe bout of glandular fever, or infectious mononucleosis, in my late teens. Unfortunately, it affected me far longer than the few months they say it lasts on the internet. For decades, I was affected with a bone-felt tiredness, but I moved heaven on earth to become a veterinarian and finally became one in my early thirties. By that time, I was ready to have children and found animals no longer a priority in my life. After I gave birth to our twins and stayed home for one-and-a-half years, I re-schooled and became a high school science teacher. This proved too tiring and too depressing for me (I was trying to keep the students in their seats more than I was teaching). I gladly took the opportunity when an office job presented itself.
When I had brain surgery in 2009, I decided that life was too short to be unhappy. I quit my job, a joint decision with my husband, and pursued many hobbies. I tried painting, drawing, scrapbooking, chainmail-, metal-, and pearl-jewelry making, taxidermy, and photography. Never did it occur to me that I could write a novel. I had a diary in my teens, but after I let my then boyfriend read it which made him cry, I never put a pen to paper to entertain people, thinking I could only hurt people with my writing. During my university years, I wrote in a student magazine, but that was purely information transfer. I was an office manager and secretary for a residents’ association for years, but again, that writing was also pure information transfer. My past-time I spent reading, though. I loved Terry Pratchett’s books and Anne McAffrey’s stories. I read Tolkien, the Eragon books, and many others. I loved being sucked into another world, forgetting my own troubles. That’s what I’m aiming to achieve when I write.
Since writing Books 1 & 2 of the Suckers Trilogy in 2015, I’ve spent most of my time reading up on and learning how to write. I’m still learning but getting better all the time.
Hell, yes! Many people who know me have mentioned this. They see me as Kate. I have the red hair, make rash decisions, and am a vertically challenged person (for a Dutchie). Not everything Kate does is me, though (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The two sisters of Kate, Maxine and Julie, also share the same first letters of my own two sisters, Marianne and Judy, but that’s where the similarities end. All characters are purely fictional and do not represent a particular person I know. That said, I based Caleb on the image of Ioan Gruffud and Charlie on the image of Peter Dinklage. They are two actors that I admire and love watching on the screen. I actually sent Peter Dinklage the first draft of my book but never heard anything back from him. I guess it’s not going to be filmed, then 🙂
I love dressing up! At home, we used to have a large crate in the attic with dress-up clothing. Whenever we could, my sisters and I would dress up and play. My twin sister, Judy, and I used to make up plenty of fantasy stories on weekends when our parents would sleep in. With our dolls and fluffy animal puppets, we created whole new worlds, spanning our entire bedroom, where anything was possible. Our imagination ran rampant.
To be honest, I never had something special with vampires. Anything out of the ordinary would work for me, still does. I was engrossed in the Twilight series, though. The idea of being beautiful, being better at everything, and living forever attracts me. As a teenager, I suffered the usual teenager-amount of pimples. My sisters didn’t, and I felt like the ugly duckling. The only thing I had was being good at everything I did–what am I saying; I was excelling–until I contracted glandular fever. The disease made my grades plummet, and I had to sit my final high school year twice because of it. It caused an abyss in my self-confidence with a fear of failing which made me a terrible procrastinator up until today. As mentioned, I suffered a life-threatening head trauma twice, which makes one contemplate life a bit more than usual. Immortality is hence a very attractive alternative to this unpredictable and painfully short lifespan.
True, all my novels (this means not the novelette) have their feet firmly planted in romance. It is the core of the stories as without them they wouldn’t make sense. But there are so many stories about normal romances already. Don’t we all want to be special, experience something unusual, be part of something extraordinary? Enter the paranormal aspect.
There was a time I watched a lot of crime series on TV. Suddenly, I was fed up with all this pain and suffering as it became too real. I don’t watch any news or read any newspapers. It’s too depressing. What I want to achieve with my writing is for people to get away from this world and love on a deeper level. Hence, I also don’t take the (minimal) intimate details in my writing for granted. They have only been added to express the love, the romance, the needs of Kate, hoping it will flow over to the reader. I know my vocabulary needs to improve, but I’m working on this.
First of all, I need to launch Killing A Vampire, Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I screwed up the other books’ launches and want to do this one right. Procrastination is hard to overcome, but I’m trying my hardest. At the moment, only Book 1 exists in print format, and I want all three to be available in print. Before I can make this happen, I need to go through Books 1 & 2 and re-edit them (for the so-maniest time, I know), but I’ve learned so much since I wrote them, and they can do with another ‘upgrade.’ Audio format is the next step.
In the meantime, I am ready to start writing something new. Not writing for a few days made me depressed already. I’ve suffered from depression for a long time. My GP told me I was tired because I was depressed. I am convinced I was depressed because I was always tired. Who was right, I will never know. One thing I do know, and that is that writing is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family to bits and honestly couldn’t wish for a better life, but writing fires up my soul.
I’ve got so many ideas in my head. Number one and two are another paranormal/sci-fi novel (I never seem to be able to stick to one genre 🙂 ) and a whole new fantasy series in the style of Terry Pratchett. I love putting humor and sarcasm in my writing, and this seems like a good option to get away with this. I will send out a newsletter to my readers soon and ask them what they prefer I should write first.
Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m proud to be a woman, proud of what I’ve achieved, and proud of all the women in my life. You girls rock!
You’re probably wondering what happened as there haven’t been any posts this week. That’s because I’ve been working day and night to get my book finished. I started writing in October last year, and I feel like I haven’t stopped since. It took me about a month to write the story, but then the editing process took forever. Like with my second book, the editor of my first book didn’t have the time to help me out, so I did it on my own with all the help I could get. I felt confident I could pull it off this way as I learned a lot since writing Book 2 (in 2015). I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting better at it all the time. Hopefully, it shows in this book.
I’ve now got to organize the promotion for the launch next. I’ve never had a good launch for a book. The first time I was such a noob and had no idea about launches. I put it on Amazon and watched its ranking plummet into the depths. The second time, I did try to promote it, but everything went wrong. The person I hired to advertise on Twitter didn’t do it, and instead of buying a FreeBooksy ad, I bought a BargainBooksy ad. By the time I realized this, it was too late to change, so there was no ad at all. This time, I’m hoping to do it right 🙂 . Keep your fingers crossed for me!
PS: This means I’ll also be too busy to post a weight loss update or a new short story. Sorry guys!
As I’ve been too busy finishing Killing A Vampire, I’ve not had the time to interview other authors or write a short story this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Book 3, the last one of the Suckers Trilogy. Enjoy!
My decision to go on national television meant all my hopes and dreams for a quiet suburban life would forever be lost. Yet here I was, my hands sweaty and my breathing deliberate. It hadn’t been an easy decision as there were more consequences. There had always been protesters, sucker-haters, but this time they had shown up in great numbers at the entrance of the studio, trying to prevent me from going in. The guards had to protect me and get me safely from the cab to the entrance. It would only get worse now. It would also mean I would be in the public eye more frequent than ever before. More interviews, more paparazzi, more work. Something Charlie didn’t agree with.
I picked up Sonny to distract myself from the anticipation, and, while cuddling him, I waited for the signal.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Clarke!” I heard the woman’s voice say.
The man with the headphones and clipboard pointed at me. He mouthed, ‘You’re on,’ and my adrenaline level peaked.
“Let’s go, Mommy,” Sonny said, a broad smile on his face.
I stepped onto the stage, sincerely hoping I wouldn’t trip with my son in my arms. The bright stage lights shone in my eyes and their warmth hit me with equal surprise. Emma waited for me at the white couches. I put Sonny down before shaking her hand. She ruffled Sonny’s hair. The three of us sat on the comfy two-seaters; Emma on one, Sonny and me on the other. I had expected Sonny to cuddle up with me, but he decided to occupy the other half of the couch, his legs just not reaching the end of the seating cushion.
Please don’t let his shoes make any marks on the white fabric.
He bumped his feet together, never sitting completely still. When he caught my eye, he smiled at me.
“So glad you could make it, Kate. I see you brought your son, Sonny. Hi Sonny.” Emma beamed an extra broad smile at him. I presumed to make him feel at ease.
“Hi, Emma,” he said to her. I was so glad he wasn’t shy at all.
“Sonny, why don’t you give Emma the drawing you made for her?”
Sonny eagerly moved off the couch, took the drawing he had made out of his pocket, and handed it to Emma.
“You’re not going to bite me when I take it, are you?” Emma said to Sonny. He hesitated to answer, turning to me for help. “Just kidding, kiddo.” She took the paper from Sonny’s hand and with her other hand ruffled his hair again. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. That’s so cute. It’s me holding hands with Kate and Sonny.” She showed the drawing to the audience. One of the cameramen ran up to take a close-up shot of the stick-figure drawing which instantly appeared on the big screen behind us. The audience ‘aw’d’ with Emma.
I patted the couch where he had sat a moment ago. Sonny climbed back onto the couch but cuddled up to me this time.
“You call him Sonny because he’s your son. And of course, it’s a good shortening of his full name, Nelson. Nellie would sound a bit strange.” The audience laughed. “He isn’t the son of your partner though, is he?”
“No, Sonny was conceived as a cruel experiment in the sucker internment camp.”
“That must have been a terrible experience for you. Good things have come from it though. One of them is sitting right next to you.” She smiled at Sonny again. “Isn’t he adorable, ladies and gentlemen?”
The audience agreed. I hugged Sonny as I completely agreed with Emma. “Another result of your predicament was that you became the head figure of SAM, the Suckers Acceptance Movement in Maine. Can you tell us a bit more about what SAM does?”
I shrugged as I let go of Sonny and leaned forward.
“SAM tries to help integrate suckers into everyday life. When the Succedaneum virus plagued the world during Black October thirteen years ago, a lot of lives were lost. People blamed suckers for it, but it was actually the government who was the cause of the sucker pandemic as they made the virus and failed to contain it. People infected with it had no choice but to act upon their bloodlust. They aren’t to blame. The vaccine they created eradicated most suckers from the planet, but there were cases in which it didn’t work, when vaccination was too late to have any effect. These people will always be suckers, even though they didn’t ask for it.
Most children conceived during Black October ended up in an internment camp, but some parents were able to keep their sucker children out of the hands of the government. They kept them in hiding from the public out of fear of retribution. These children deserve to have a normal life as well. Sucker children should be able to grow up, have friends, and have a happy future like any other child. SAM is trying to help people accept suckers into their communities and to not be fearful of them. They are normal people with a disease, a manageable disease. Suckers aren’t a threat to society anymore.”
“That’s so true,” Emma said, “and you, of all people, know this first hand because you have two sucker children, don’t you? Sonny, who is here with us today, and Sue, your older daughter. How old is Sue now?”
“Officially, Sue’s twelve years old, but because sucker children grow twice as fast, she’s already a fully grown adult. Sonny looks like he’s four, but he’s only two years old.”
“And they don’t display any of the aggressive behavior suckers did during Black October?” Emma asked. “Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it; people fearing we’ll have another Black October on our hands if we let suckers loose into the world.”
“Absolutely not. Sucker children need a strict upbringing, I don’t deny that. They need to be taught to be gentle as they are a lot stronger than other children. Otherwise, they are as playful, strong-willed, and cuddly as any other child. They still need to be loved.”
“What about the older suckers? The ones for which vaccination came too late? Are they a threat to us? I mean, I don’t want to walk next to one and he suddenly ‘fancies a snack.’” The audience laughed at Emma’s comment. I didn’t find it funny at all.
“There are still some suckers that have lived underground since Black October and haven’t changed their attitude. SAM is there for these people as well. Once these individuals are discovered, SAM will guide and counsel them. With the help of the Army, we rehabilitate them, so they can live in our society once more. As you know, there is a mandate for every sucker to register and requiring them to give a DNA sample, so that if a biting incident happens, authorities will be able to tell which sucker has been the perpetrator. This system for suckers is similar to the fingerprint system used by the justice department for virus-free humans.”
“That’s so comforting to hear. Now, I can’t keep my eyes off your son as he’s so adorable. He must be very special to you.”
“He sure is, Emma.” Sonny just sat there, taking it all in his stride. It always amazed me how ‘grown up’ he was. As if he was an old soul.
“He’s actually very special in a broader sense, isn’t he? What time is it now? Early afternoon?” Emma made a show of looking at her watch. “And you both came here by cab. No under-cover-of-darkness stuff.”
“That’s right. Sonny’s extra special because he’s a daywalker.”
“And not only a daywalker but also a half-blood which means he doesn’t drink blood but eats meat, or so I’m told. Is this correct?”
“Yes, it’s true. As a daywalker, he isn’t affected by sunlight, and because he’s a half-blood, his diet isn’t limited to blood alone. He can also eat meat, but only raw meats.”
“So, wouldn’t it be handy if all suckers become meat-eating daywalkers? Problem solved?”
“I wish it were that easy, Emma, but there’s only a small window during the incubation of the virus when suckers can become daywalkers. Unless their mother was a daywalker, children are born true suckers and photo-phobic for life. It lessens over time, but they will always be affected and move slower. There also aren’t many half-bloods around. Only a few special individuals appear to be immune to the aversion to mate with ‘the others,’ so to speak, and create a half-blood. I’m extremely lucky that both my children have come from such a union. They are both able to eat meat.”
“I can’t imagine what that would do to your grocery bill,” Emma replied, and of course the audience laughed again. “It’s better than getting blood from heaven knows where, though. Tell me, where do suckers get their blood from?”
“The virus changes the body, so, just like cats can’t be vegetarians, suckers need to drink blood to survive. Fortunately, suckers can survive on animal blood which has been a huge waste product from slaughterhouses, and until recently, only a part of it was used to make fertilizer and food additives for animal feed. Most of it was dumped in sewers or landfill. Now it fills a gap in the market. It’s treated to prevent the spread of diseases like mad cow disease, and bagged blood is currently available for human consumption in supermarkets, next to the blood sausages. It’s one of the major triumphs of SAM’s efforts.”
“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually a vegan, and I’ll tell you, my stomach content is churning with all this talk about consuming blood. I think it’s time we end this conversation. It’s been so nice talking to you and hearing about all the good work you’ve been doing with SAM for suckers. I wish you all the best.”
“Thanks, Emma. Thank you so much for having us on the show.”
Emma rose from her seat, and so did Sonny and I.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Clarke and her son Sonny!”
I waved to the audience as they applauded. Sonny copied me. We followed the instruction we had received earlier to leave the stage on the opposite side of where we had come from. Once backstage, a woman took off my microphone and guided us to the room downstairs where our belongings were. I took off the make-up applied earlier and put my jacket back on. I then put Sonny in his jacket and gave him a kiss.
“Time for us to leave, Little Man. Let’s see if we still have a home to go to.”
Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus
Killing A Vampire will be available very soon!
Why not catch up with what happened to Kate before and check out Book 1. Living Like A Vampire and Book 2. Raising A Vampire? You can find them in on Amazon and on KOBO, but when you buy them from my bookstore, you’ll get a 20% discount! 🙂
I don’t think I’ve shown you my ad for Killing A Vampire yet. I’m pretty proud of it as I put it together by myself. Here it is.
I’m still working 24/7 on editing the book, but I assure you it will be out soon!
It’s been a while, over a month I’d say, and I’ve missed blogging. Did you miss me? I bet you’ve had many things to keep you busy over the festive season. I have so many things to tell you and I hardly know where to start. 2018 is going to be such an active year for me.
My biggest accomplishment in 2017 was finishing Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I was able to send it to the beta readers before Christmas, and I’m receiving their responses back now. The few grammatical errors (tenses keep being my bane), the odd remark on character statements, but overall a positive reaction. I even received a pat on the back for two suspenseful chapters by Kathy Lance, an ex-director of an international school of linguists and now book reviewer for One Stop Fiction. She’s a tough one, writing very honest reviews, and her comment made me very proud.
I must admit I was a bit wary of this book when I began writing it. I have planned this story for a long time, and writing it according to ‘plan’ felt different than writing the first two books, which were written ‘from the wrist.’ Writing the interactions between the characters still felt exciting as they were new on the page, but I worried about the storyline once I finished it. I wanted a grand finale and felt my story lacking. I discussed the issue with my family and they helped me improve it. Now I have revised the ending, got rid of the grammatical errors, and changed the wording here and there, I feel this story is a great ending to the trilogy and am ready to promote it.
Over Christmas, we flew to Holland to spend time with the family. We visited almost all of our dearest family and slept in four different beds in the seven days we were there. The weather was great, we only had rain the last day. We were very lucky to get a Maastricht city tour from my uncle, who has been a tour guide in one of Holland’s oldest cities. We visited the tunnels as well, which was very different from what I expected. We spent two days in the Efteling, a fairytale theme park, which is always a big hit with the kids. It was great to see everyone again and we were sad to leave. I was glad to sleep in my own bed again though 🙂
First of all, the promotion of my trilogy. I never thought I would ever write a book, so finishing three has been a major accomplishment in my life. It gives me a real boost and I’m looking forward to promoting them. I love writing and will continue. There are so many new ideas already flying around in my head.
The new year also brings a new year’s resolution for me as I have never been this unhealthy and overweight in my life. Writing has been my passion and I have put all things aside for it. This year, I need to take more care of my body, my family, and my house. I have started doing yoga exercises and will begin doing some physical exercises as well. I’ll have to take it slow, as I’m as flexible as a door. Next to this, I fell on my wrist during ice skating on our holiday and it is still painful. Fingers crossed it won’t be a chronic issue.
I also need to take out more time for my family as I feel like I have neglected them badly and want to spend more time with them. I’m going to cut our TV-watching dinners and eat at the dining table so we can have actual conversations. Cooking more interesting dinners and resolving the draft issues in the dining room will probably help promote this.
2018 is also the year that we are going to have major renovations done to the house. We have decided that it takes too long to do everything ourselves. Sometimes you need to put a little water to your wine. The work doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as it functions and you can enjoy life instead of worrying about not having enough time. So, the kitchen and family bathroom are going to be done by someone else than ourselves. The kitchen project will cause some problems as last year, my husband decided to rip out the little kitchen in the basement ‘because it was ugly.’ We will now have to organize a makeshift kitchen in the dining room when we rip out the old kitchen. This will mean my previous resolution of having meals in the dining room will have to be postponed, but hopefully it won’t take a whole year (famous last words).
As I won’t be writing 24/7 anymore, I also hope to have more time to read so watch this space for some awesome book reviews!
Do you have any new year’s resolutions or major plans for 2018? I’d love to hear what’s written down on your calendar 🙂
Yes, you’ve read correctly. My second book, Raising A Vampire, is free on Amazon at the moment. Only on 23-24 November 2017 will you be able to get this book for free, so grab it while you can!
WHO IS FRIEND AND WHO IS FOE?
Raising A Vampire is a romantic and suspenseful story of Kate, who tries to make the best of life for her family and herself whilst hiding a terrible secret.
Ten years after Black October, when a virus plagued the world and turned people into blood-suckers, Kate invites a colleague into her home. When he attacks Kate, Sue, her daughter, comes to the rescue and is exposed for what she really is. Kate accompanies Sue when she is taken prisoner.
The situation quickly spirals downhill when an old flame of Kate turns up and he resumes his quest for Kate’s love while her daughter is being wooed by a sucker.
Once more, Kate is thrown into turmoil and heartache.
Can Kate keep her family and her wits together?
Find out what happens to Kate and her loved ones in the second book of the Suckers Trilogy.
“It’s fast-paced with plenty of surprises and keeps you guessing until the end.”
“Ms. Dahlhaus reinvigorates those old bitey routines with a bit of smart storytelling while managing to make insightful comments on our society.”
“A mother of emotional rollercoasters.”
“I wanted to slap Kate more than once for her quick actions that highly impacted the safety of the entire family.”
This morning I turned my social media off and opened Scrivener to begin writing the last installment of the Suckers Trilogy. Two hours later, chapter one is written.
It is such relief. I have waited so long to do this. The main story line exists in my head, but I can’t wait to flesh it out ‘on paper’ and find out where my characters are taking me this time. I may have the ending plotted, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get there. Kate may take a completely different route. Who knows?
I’ll try and keep you up to date (without any spoilers) of my trials and tribulations on this final epic journey of Kate and her family.
Header image by Aris Sfakianakis
I’m on the brink of writing Killing A Vampire and I’ve made a playlist to get me in the mood. I’ve written Book 1 and 2 with music from the albums Just Great Songs 2014 and 2015. I was amazed how many of those songs fit my stories.
Killing A Vampire is going to be a lot darker than the previous installments as it is the final of the Suckers Trilogy, hence the music is a lot darker too. My favorite is Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier at the moment (I play it so often until I will come to hate it 🙂 ). Drink the Water by Justin Cross is coming in at a good second place. The song has nothing to do with the story. I just like the tone it sets. The songs are not in a particular order, they don’t ‘tell the story.’ Let me know if you know any of the songs and what your favorite is.
Header image by Diego Sulivan
I just saw the review I received from Sandra Vattimo, a person I don’t know but who apparently read Book 1 and now Book 2. It appears she liked it, so I must be doing something right 🙂 .
Here’s what she wrote:
“Book two of the Suckers Trilogy was filled with just as much excitement as the first, but was laced with more emotional turmoil. The cause of the turmoil is a huge spoiler so I’ll try my best to share my anxiety carefully.
**If you haven’t read book one, the following will be considered SPOILERS**
I hope you all paid attention to the end of the first book because this one begins 10 years later. The world was provided with vaccinations against the virus which had caused all the problems to begin with. It doesn’t take too much imagination to realize not everyone has been located for vaccinating. It also doesn’t take further imagination to understand it won’t work on everyone.
But what about the babies?? Early on in this story we learn the answer to that question. Baby Sue is now a 10-year-old young lady. A series of awful events lead to the heart of the story. I spent most of the read on the monster of all emotional rollercoasters. I was angry, then hopeful. Frustrated beyond belief, then confused and hopeful again. Throw in some heartbreak and a bit of relief.
I loved reading this book. The ending was a mix of happy and sad. Sue’s future looks … Kate and Charlie appear to be … I was sad when “he” died. I was happy when the other “he” died. I will continue to mourn until the final book in this trilogy comes out.”
Thank you so much for your review, Sandra! It made my day and all my sweat, grit, and love worth it! 🙂
Raising A Vampire is available on Amazon