On many occasions I am asked a question that on the surface seems simple enough, but really is quite complicated: Where does the inspiration for your characters come from? Writers derive inspiration from a myriad of sources, which can range from the sublime to someone they pass on the street. As an avid reader, I am forever interested in a character’s habits. I am impressed by their struggles and faults, joys and sorrows, and how they manage to live through both.
Ever since I was a teenager, I have been drawn to the myth of the vampire. I still marvel at how the image of the vampire has changed over time, both in literature and film. My earliest influences were Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. I would be lying if I said that I have not read all of Anne Rice’s novels; I most certainly have, but the first two were seminal and changed forever how I thought about this creature, the vampire.
Though I have read numerous authors in this genre, I am forever compelled by the thinking, feeling, pained immortal that moves through time while trying to evolve and tame his savage nature. A beautiful monster who fights an internal battle over what seems like an ineffibleineffable exchange; the gift of eternity. This seems to be a struggle that is never quite resolved and so the battle on rages; forever.
This internal struggle is the basis of my rich story of the beautiful, troubled vampire: Christian Du Mauré. In a weak moment, he impulsively follows his best friend, Michel Baptiste, into the warring world of the Parisian vampires in 1790 Paris; but not before he considers burning them both to death in his stable when he realizes Michel has become one of the undead. Then, in total contradiction, he succumbs and bends his neck for the beautiful vampire, Gabrielle, as the lure of being eternally young and gallivanting forever with his best friend seduces him.
In writing Immortal Obsession, I have crafted a defective creature, flawed by the very nature one imagines would have been eradicated by the gift of immortality. Instead, Christian remains very human and his personality traits became more deeply ingrained, making him only more conflicted and contradictory in nature. Early on in my novel, he is asked by his mortal lover to rescue a little girl from war torn Paris during the Revolution Française. He does so without question and only later does he learn the child is his daughter. This knowledge forever changes the course of his life.
All of us reflect back on moments in our lives when we question a decision that once made is irreversible, yet we ask ourselves ‘What if I had done a instead of b? Would I be happier? Would my life have been better?’ Christian asks himself the same question of a doomed love affair and he still wonders if it could have gone differently, if only he had made another choice. As he walks the streets of present day Manhattan and roams the beautiful expanse of Central Park he still grieves, an eternal punishment for a path not taken.
Denise K. Rago is a paranormal romance author whose first novel, Immortal Obsession, was published in September 2010. You can reach Denise on her website, http://denisekrago.com, where you can also read an excerpt of her book – part love story, thriller, vampire romance and paranormal romp that takes place in Revolution-era Paris and modern-day New York.
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