‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ is the story of a crone – a witch in the last of the three stages in a woman’s life – who is enjoying a nostalgic trip along the west coast of America when she finds herself stuck in a small town, trying to help a young witch avoid becoming the possession of a two thousand year old vampire.
I like my romance to have a healthy dose of humor, coming from both hero and heroine, and by this I mean the heroine has to be funny too, not just the feed for the man. I was coming up to my fiftieth birthday when I wrote ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ and I wanted to create a heroine who wasn’t in the first flush of youth. Much as I love Buffy and Sookie Stackhouse, at the age of 50, it seemed a little undignified to be trying to identify with them and I don’t really want to. So Sophronia took shape and as she grew on the page, it seemed entirely natural to me that although she’s a woman who’s had her fair share of tragedies, she doesn’t sit around dwelling on them. She takes whatever life throws at her, all the while managing to see the funny side.
I also quite liked the idea of taking back possession of the word ‘crone’ and celebrating it, rather than seeing it as an insult. I’ve no objection to men becoming distinguished as they get older, but I want the same courtesy for women as well. So Sophronia is prized by the vampire world for her superior experience and skills, to the point where she actively has to work at being ignored or ‘invisible’, a state of affairs still far too commonplace in our society where older women are concerned.
Writing the book was easy because I was really only writing for myself to begin with and I found it very enjoyable having a myth foundation to base my story on, but at the same time be able to create any new lore that I wanted. I’ve always been fascinated in the triple goddess theory of Maid, Mother, Crone, as well as the powers ascribed to witches throughout history, whether good or evil. Messing about with frogs and spells and cauldrons, however, always struck me as a bit icky, so I updated Sophronia, giving her coercion and telepathy, powers I’ve always thought it would be great to have myself. As for Hagen, I was intrigued by the idea of a creature that had been alive for thousands of years and what that might be like. I wanted him to have been around long enough not to be shaped by the morals or beliefs that have created our society as it is today, but to be the product of a far older one, so that he would continually have to be adapting to survive, acknowledging our world, but at the same time never entirely in tune with it. But he also had to be enjoying his immortality and not racked with guilt about past choices he had made.
So there it is. I hope other people have as much fun reading ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ as I did writing it. I am working on a sequel and hope to be publishing it soon as Sophronia has a few more adventures in her yet. Many thanks to Sara for giving a spot on her guest blog.
Sophronia and the Vampire
Sophronia and the Vampire Book One
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Number of pages: 230
Word Count: 87000
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
It’s been a while since witches had to worry about being burnt at the stake…
Forty-nine, English and a professional crone, Sophronia is touring America when she is forced to spend the night at a run-down motel on the Californian coast. Her expectations aren’t high- – if the bed’s clean and the toilet flushes she’ll count herself lucky. But events are about to become far more interesting. The motel owner is a juvenile witch unaware of her heritage and in dire need of help, especially when vampires turn up…
About the Author :
I live in the UK with my husband, two sons, two cats and a dog. I am a French and English teacher which I love and it pays the bills, but I got hooked on writing when I entered a short story competition at the age of eighteen and wrote of my own free will without a homework deadline looming. I’ve been waiting for the impulse to wear off ever since…
I wrote this story when I was coming up to my 50th and feeling a bit sorry for myself. I love the vampire/paranormal genre – Buffy and Sookie in particular – but there comes a time when you just can’t identify with gorgeous, pert twenty-somethings any more and it seems a little undignified to even want to. I also love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels about Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg – two of the wiliest crones in the business – but wanted something a little more glamorous and contemporary; I can only take so much stuff with the frogs and the cauldrons. When it comes to supernatural powers I’ve always preferred Julian May’s metapsychics in the Saga of the Exiles, so that’s how Sophronia was created. Hagen was easy.
Obviously heroes can’t be murderers, but I wanted a vampire who wasn’t wracked with guilt over his diet and who seemed to be having fun being an immortal. I hope people will enjoy reading SOPHRONIA AND THE VAMPIRE as much as I enjoyed writing it.