Now, a disclaimer. I was pretty much finished with vampire genre fiction. All those sparkly teen male model vampires pretty much drove a stake through the heart of vampire fiction for me. Couldn't handle it anymore.
Until I read Gail's DARK series. Seriously, these two books (get 'em both, as they form one epic, ginormous time-spanning saga) revived my faith in the fanged ones. It's thrilling, moving, epic, scary, imaginative, and yeah, there's romance in there, too. My highest recommendation. So, let's check in with Ms. Roughton on this scariest of scarifying nights and see what's on her mind. (Dang it, was that a ghost that just flew by here? Where's my ghost repellent?).
*Do YOU believe in the paranormal? Has that influenced your writing?
Oh, you betcha, damn straight and absolute. Wait, maybe I should clarify that a little?
*Your character, Ria, in the Dark series, responds to the supernatural in an unexpected, refreshing manner. If you met a vampire, what would you do?
The exact same thing Ria did.
*Do you control your characters or do they run you through the grinder? Furthermore, if you have a character slated for a sad demise, would you be able to change it? Or are you a slave to writing and fate?
Oh, my characters run all over me. They surprise me all the time. I think readers are most surprised when the writer is most susprised, I don't think that can be faked. If a character's slated for a sad demise, then he'll have a sad demise. If a planned sad demise becomes something else, it's because the characters pulled a switch-hit on me, not because I changed anything. They can change their minds (and do) but that's out of my control.
*In all your books, Southern regionality plays such an important part, it's almost a character in itself. Is this done intentionally? Will you ever stray out of the South and set a tale elsewhere (personally, I hope you don't!)?
No, making the South a "character" isn't really intentional, no mater how deeply it's entwined in most of my work. And I realize it's very deeply entwined in most of my writing. it just happens because it's part of me. Write what you know. I'm southern to the core. So my work is southern to the core. Usually. As to straying out of the South to set a tale elsewhere--and I realize you've read almost all my books--you haven't read Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights. Darlin', I didn't just stray out of the South, I strayed completely out of this world into a parallel one.
*Okay, I gotta' ask this. Without giving anything away, do you see the conclusion to the Dark series as a happy or unhappy ending?
Inevitable. It was an inevitable ending. I don't know that it's happy or unhappy, it was just the only ending.
*I've seen this term pop up in a lot of your writing. Please explain to us non-Southerners what "pure-dee" means.
Pure-dee: (adjective) completely, totally, absolutely, and without doubt. "That girl's just pure-dee beautiful." "That was just pure-dee mean."
*Is this your final word on vampires?
It's my final word on these vampires. The Dark series is done, it's finished. There won't be a third. Now, will other vampires pop up somewhere else? Your guess is as good as mine. Though to be perfectly honest, I really don't foresee another vampire tale, no.
*It's Halloween. What three horror films would you want with you on an island (assuming you have electricity)?
If I'm limited to three and only three, The Shining (the television miniseries version), It, and The Stand. If I could have two more, Wrong Turn and Skeleton Key.
*My last Halloween question, what scares Gail Roughton?
The same thing that scares any parent/grandparent, I think. The thought of something happening to one of my children or grandchildren.
*So, you ready to introduce Dark?
Sure. Y’all follow me, why don’t you? After all, it’s All Hallows E’en. Samhain. The night when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, when the dead can cross back into the land of the living. When the living can cross into – Dark.
No one knows that better than Tamara, Mambo of Stone Creek Swamp. Tamara follows the Light, the Sweet Spirits of the Rada. And she’s always on alert. She watches. She guards. She guards against the evil of the Dark, the Bitter Spirits of the Rada. Because she knows. She knows “…dis world, son, it be ringed with worlds on worlds…Dey shift, dey overlap. Some of ‘em be real dark, full of evil and danger. Some of ‘em, dey be real bright and beautiful. An’ sometimes, folks whut doan know whut dey doin’, dey can make things happ’n whut wasn’t never ‘sposed to happ’n. An’ things can cross over from dem other worlds to dis one.”
The worlds that ring this world poise for battle. Because Cain, Bokor of the Dark, the Bitter Spirits of the Rada, is opening the doors between the worlds on worlds that ring this world. Where he came from, no one knew. He didn’t know himself. Sometimes he thought he’d merely sprung, full-grown, from the depths of the deepest swamps, the darkest bayous, of Louisiana. Even Tamara doesn’t know why he can call such power. She only knows “…he ain’t a bokor ‘cause he choose to be. Not one whut takes his power and sharpens it on purpose, devotin’ his life to studyin’ de bitter Loa. He do know some of de rituals of power, and he use ‘em, but he doan understan’ ‘em. He use ‘em lik’ a little chile doan know how to read yet still can say his ‘a-b-c’s.”
What happens when a person of power doesn’t understand the power they’re misusing? Dark happens. Over and over again. Moving from the past into the present Because the past, like evil, never dies. It just—waits.
So come. Follow me. Into shades and colors you’ve never thought of before. Like The Color of Seven. Like The Color of Dusk. Follow me into Dark. The Dark Series.
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Okay! We’ve heard from Gail and her character, Tamara. The wind outside’s howling, spirits are restless, and it’s nearing midnight. Put the kids outside, tuck the cat in and you’re just a couple of clicks away from the perfect Halloween read. Happy nightmares (um…dreams)!