Today I’m welcoming Mark Knight, author of Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key, a paranormal fiction and urban fantasy for Young Adults and “anyone of any age who wants to come along for the ride.” Thank you for stopping by, Mark!
All about Mark…
Mark Knight grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, Mark continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. Mark has worked on scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios, for which he has recently signed an Option Acquisition Agreement. He also won several short story competitions, and has had his work featured in published anthologies. Mark concentrates now on Young Adult urban fantasy novels.
1. What makes you feel inspired to write?
Anything exciting that enters my mind! Actually, the very best answer is when my mind starts imagining things, plots, situations, moral dilemmas, etc, and I find myself creating a premise in my head for a book that I would desperately need to read right away. Of course, that book doesn’t exist until I write it. That is how I decide whether or not a story is worth a year’s investment or so – does it excite me enough to the point where I have to plot it out so that I can see what happens!
I have always loved vampire stories, especially ones where the lore has been altered in some way. I wanted to do my own take on the vampire legend, whilst
retaining all of the cool elements that people love, like the vampire’s strength and ability to hypnotize. There had always been some dissention on how vampires were created – it was either from the bite of another vampire, or by drinking the blood of the master vampire, or some other process. I had always been interested in the notion of beings from other dimensions that flit in and out of our own reality. In Blood Family, vampires are exactly that – interdimensional. Once you invite one in to possess you, you become the pale, fanged bloodsucker that we all know and love. Daniel, the main character, is the son of one of these transformed humans.
3. Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer?
I guess you could say there are elements of both, but I am much more of a planner. Not quite to the nth degree, though. There has to be room left for spontaneity. When I first get an idea for a book, I set a few months aside to ponder on it, see if it ‘sticks’ (that is, if it continues to excite me day to
day), and then I open a document file on my computer and start outlining the plot and doing bios of the characters. I add and add and add until I know
exactly where I’m going, right down to the climax and denouement.
4. What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Well, I have a few, but I’m not going to give anything away about some of the more climactic scenes! I do like when half-vampire, Daniel, first meets Logan DuPris at her home in Devon, England. She is a young, no-nonsense vampire hunter and has no idea that the guy standing at her doorstep is the son of the selfsame vampire who killed her father. All they do is quarrel and throw wise-ass comments at each other. But there is sexual tension between them from the
start; you know they’re going to end up together.
5. What is your usual writing routine?
It is simply chaining myself to the desk and devoting an hour or two a day to the book, basically until I am all written out for the day. That can be about a
thousand words, two thousand if I’m lucky. I love planning out the novel, digging up background information on everything from my main character’s car to the weapon he may carry. I look online for images of people, places, and things in the story, choosing whatever looks closest to the pictures in my head, and insert them into my outline. It makes it all real for me, real people, real events. I love doing that. Writing the actual novel is wonderful as well. That is when your story has gone ‘live’. You are living it along with your characters.
6. What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Just to write things your way and to write from the heart. As I said before, if it doesn’t excite you, then move on to your next idea – or wait until inspiration
hits you. If you come up with something you are dying to read yourself, then it will be no problem at all to write it.
7. What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am working on the second book in the Rites of Daniel Dark series. I have about twenty thousand words done, so still a long way to go. I have several other
urban fantasy novels which will be released soon, and they, too, may have sequels. All my books are designed to be standalones but I always write them
with continuations in mind. The last novel I wrote is called The Powers, which is a book about angelic entities living among us in human form. The main character, Gunner, has no idea what he is until a crisis occurs that awakens his powers. In that respect, he is a lot like Daniel. It is a theme I like to write about, as I believe most humans have abilities within themselves that lay dormant. Everyone has something special about them. If there is any message I would want to impart to my readers, then that’s the one!
Life as part of a debt-free, middle-class family in the New England suburbs should have been heaven.
But when your father is a Man of God and you’re a vampire, it sure can be hell.
Until the age of seventeen, Daniel Dark had no idea of his true origins. Something was ulcerating deep inside him, striving to claw its way free. Pastor Nathan Dark and his wife, Annie, had adopted him and brought him up as their own. But Daniel always felt that there was a secret they feared to tell him…
Everything changes the day a mysterious package arrives at his home. It contains blood – human blood. It is a message from his true father – a vampire named Dominus. Daniel’s vampire half awakens and takes its first step out of the shadows. Vampires, Daniel learns, are not like in the movies. They’re worse, much worse, and cannot be killed by sunlight or stakes.
The once lazy, goalless youth transforms into sharp-sensed killer. Now, there is no turning back. On his trail is Pastor Nathan Dark, obsessed with destroying the boy he’d adopted as his own…
Armed with ever-evolving powers, Daniel sets off to find and free his birth mother, imprisoned by Dominus since the day of his birth.
It is a journey that takes Daniel to Mexico and the mysterious Mayan shaman woman, Xochil, guardian of Vampire secrets. From there the trail leads to misty moors of southern England, where he joins forces with Logan DuPris, a vampire hunter as attractive as she is deadly. Together they piece together the weird clues that lead to…
The Vampire Key
As evening painted the sky a deep purple, Daniel stepped through his front door and looked around. As his life had changed, so too had all that surrounded him. He was sensing something. Daniel had never been one for deep thinking, but now his perceptions stretched themselves out over the landscape, over time, feeling out new possibilities and new horizons. He exhaled a big, purging breath, scratching the back of his head. Was he really going to do it? Leave home?
The ‘incident’ with Daelin had left him confused. Part of him had wanted to take advantage of her in the most gruesome and bloodiest of ways. Part of him wanted to protect her forever. Would it be best for her—and for him—to stay, or to leave? This wasn’t exactly something he could talk over with the town’s youth counselor. For the first time in his life, he had no one to fall back on. Future decisions would be down to him and him alone.
No more of this soul-searching crap. I want my bed.
Entering, he kicked off his sneakers and thudded up the stairs. As he grabbed the door handle to his room he halted. Mom stood there, down the hall, looking…defenseless.
“Just a minute, Mom.” He wanted to change his shirt a.s.a.p.—his unbidden hallucination had made him very sweaty, not to mention the sex play with Daelin.
He entered his room.
That was his first mistake.
Dad was waiting for him—he and six other pastors. Not one appeared to be in a forgiving mood.
It was a shock to Daniel—he hadn’t even seen any cars parked out front, not even Dad’s.
He then made his second mistake. He didn’t move quickly enough.
Another pastor, who had been waiting next to the door, kicked it shut. Then, the tallest of the ministers facing him shot him with what looked to be a crossbow. The arrow tore into the boy’s left shoulder, pinning him to his bedroom door. He roared in pain. Before the roar was over, an arrow pierced his other shoulder.
“I know you hate me for this, Daniel,” said Nathan Dark. “But I’m doing this to help you.”
“Help me?” spat Daniel. “You want to kill me!”
“It’s taken me years to put together this Deliverance Team, Daniel,” Pastor Dark told him. “And unlike even my own church denomination, our newly founded division knows about the existence of creatures like you.”
“Creatures like me?”
“Yes,” said Nathan coldly. “Demons—like you.”
The pastors rushed at Daniel as he grasped the arrow shafts, trying to pull himself free. The seven men began shouting out religious passages at him, fear knocking their phrases out of unison. Five of them restrained Daniel while two others (including his father) performed the laying on of hands, placing palms on his head and chest. Enraged, Daniel bellowed back at them, irises turning blood red as his would-be deliverers watched in increasing terror.
And something else was happening: the arrows that impaled Daniel were dissolving, actually turning to ash and smoke before their eyes. Through the tears in his son’s shirt Nathan Dark could see the arrow wounds healing before his eyes—flesh growing and knitting, liberated blood retreating back inside the boy’s body before the holes closed.
Revivified, Daniel flung his arms outward in a mighty push, hurling the men to the floor. The deliverers howled in pain.
Nathan Dark regained his senses. His son was nowhere in sight. Then, hearing a sound like the panting of a wounded wolf, he looked up. Daniel clung there, defying gravity, hugging the ceiling like a bat. Nathan barked through gritted teeth to the crossbow-wielder, who hastily reloaded his weapon of choice. He was good—very good—and had no trouble in unleashing another duo of deadly carbon shafts into the boy’s body—one in the leg, and the other in his shoulder. The idea was to get so many of them stuck in the youth that he would weaken long enough for the team to overpower him. In this case, ‘overpower’ would mean one of two things—either to free him of his curse, or to free him of his life.
Detaching from the ceiling, Daniel landed in the center of the pastors, now on their feet in a rough circle. He spun, elongated nails gashing each face in rapid succession. Blood sprayed in all directions. The deliverers reeled back in pain. But Nathan avoided injury, stepping back just long enough to retrieve from his jacket the object that he had secreted there as a last resort.
There had been accounts of wooden stakes actually working against demonics and undead entities, but Nathan had never verified any of these accounts. Sure, maybe it was just movie nonsense. But this, right here, right now, was real. He was going to put right this terrible wrong—this boy’s abominable existence—in God’s name. He would succeed no matter what, even if –
Daniel had locked his gaze on to his father. The stake dropped from his hand. Pastor Nathan Dark grabbed his head as though trying to keep it from falling off. The look of sheer terror in his face was proof enough that the hypnotic assault was working. The other members of the deliverance team watched, transfixed.
“No!” Nathan was screaming. “Don’t leave me in this place! Get me out! Take me out of here!” He was no longer in this world, not consciously. Daniel had succeeded in making this devout Christian man believe that he was in Hell.
It had not been difficult for Daniel to target his father’s greatest fear. But he didn’t know how long he could keep up the illusion. This ability was new to him, powered by raw instinct.
Sensing the approach of the other ministers, Daniel whirled to confront them.
“Keep back!” he warned. “Unless you want me to invade your little minds as well!” His own words frightened him. Never before had he spoken words like that, nor with such rage. What had he become?
Pastor Nathan Dark screamed even louder. Even Daniel had no idea as to what his Dad was seeing within his mind’s eye.
“Daniel! Stop it, now!”
Daniel was shocked to see that she’d entered. He released his father.
Jerking his head toward the window across the room, he barked at it as though giving an order. The windowpane shot up with a bang.
Daniel’s exit was a blur—a dark streak that could have been the boy taking flight. No one in the room would ever know.
He was gone.
Connect with Mark Knight
Author website: http://www.markknightbooks.com/
Author blog: http://markknightbooks.wordpress.com/
Book website: http://www.bloodfamily.co.uk/
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