I’m back with another blog tour post but this one is unlike any I’ve done before. Why? Because Dark is the Night is an urban fantasy, something I rarely read, though I’d like to. So this will probably be one of my first novels in the genre when I read it. Exciting, right?
I’m also pals with Mirriam so obviously, an author interview was in order. Let’s get right to it!
ALSO: I read this book in a day, spur of the moment, so you can find my review here!
Skata only has one goal in life—to seek out the vampire who turned his wife and kill it. When he finally tracks the vampire to the small nowhere town of Salvation, South Carolina, he realizes he has stepped foot into something bigger than himself. He’s going to need help—and that help may come in many forms. Between the vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and an unusual preacher, Skata may be in over his head.
MIRRIAM NEAL is an author frequently masquerading as an artist. When she’s not scrubbing paint off her hands, she’s thinking about writing (actually, if she’s being honest, she’s always thinking about writing). A discovery writer, she tends to start novels and figure them out as she goes along and likes to work on several books at the same time—while drinking black coffee. She’s a sucker for monsters, unlikely friendships, redemption arcs, and underdog protagonists. When not painting fantasy art or writing genre-bending novels, she likes to argue the existence of Bigfoot, rave about Guillermo del Toro, and write passionate defenses of misunderstood characters.
To learn more about her fiction and art, visit her website: https://mirriamneal.com/, where you can find a full list of all her social medias, or join the Citadel Fiction newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/b1h5v9
Disclaimer: Thoughts and opinions shared by the following author are not my own and I do not necessarily endorse them. Thank you.
Welcome to The Peculiar Messenger, Mirriam, I’m honored to have you here. Let’s break the ice, yeah? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I love ice but I also enjoy breaking things. I’m an author (obviously) but also a full-time artist and the book I reread every autumn is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I’m extremely (extremely) attached to Frankenstein’s Creature, and if you haven’t seen the BBC Miniseries, you have to. It’s a requirement. All due respect to Boris Karloff, but that’s not Adam.
Dark is the Night sounds insanely intriguing. In your own words, what is this novel about? Why should I read it? (Besides, y’know, the snark and the fact you wrote it…)
It’s full of my favorite elements: preternatural happening/creatures, moral questions, life-threatening situations, unlikely friendships, redemption, and brotherhood. If you like any of these elements, I’m gonna suffocate you with them because they are what I, personally, like being suffocated with.
OK, you’re not being funny, you know I love those things as much as I love coffee. *grabby hands*
Everyone asks, “What inspired you to write *book title*”, so I’m asking, “What about this novel brings fire to your spirit?”
I wrote it because I felt there was an enormous gap in the market. Christians were either completely avoiding vampires, werewolves, etc. for whatever reason, or they were, occasionally, writing a really bad one. Generally tying it back to Cain somehow (which frankly I find as offensive as some people find the idea of ‘vampires in Christian fiction’). The ‘secular market’ (air quotes) was providing supernatural vampire fiction in the forms of True Blood (excessive sexual content), The Vampire Diaries (lots of sketchy spirit-communication elements), or Twilight (which, while it has a very fond place in my heart, is achingly stupid). I wanted to write a good vampire book, as a Christian author, without turning it into a sermon or being preachy. Writing good fiction, especially good fiction which is unexpected from a Christian author, is something I’m incredibly passionate about. I often go back to the Martin Luthor quote where he claimed that a Christian shoemaker’s calling isn’t to put tiny crosses on shoes, but to make good shoes.
Popping in to say (well, first, you forgot Hemlock Grove so, *nervous chuckle*…) YEP. Dracula is one of my favorite classics, honestly, and the elements of Christianity in it were quite spiffy. It’s the only “vampire” novel I’ve read because of the very reasons you mentioned. There are few novels about shifters/etc that aren’t 1.) trashy 2.) awful. I’m grateful you’re helping fill that gap!
Let’s chat about “shifters”. As a Christian, how do you deal with these elements in your fiction, while many Christians title such things as sacrilegious? Is it a struggle? And, since we’re on “hot topics”… I’ve noticed it isn’t easy to be a Christian who doesn’t write what the Christian market prefers, so do you have encouragement for authors struggling with their peers?
I’ve never had a problem with the concept of shifters. I think people who do have a problem with the concept are coming from a fundamentalist viewpoint that’s taking things wildly out of context. Therefore I’ve never really ‘struggled’ with that element in my fiction. There are things I used to firmly believe were Not to be Touched, but as I matured (not only in my faith, but as a person) I realized I was way off-base, and responded accordingly—many ‘fantasy elements’ being one of them! Your second question is trickier, though. I’ve never had an issue being a Christian author who doesn’t write what the Christian market prefers. I have more of an issue with many fundamentalist Christian readers who fall in the ‘Harry Potter is Straight From Satan’ camp (and yes, as a kid, I was one of them—despite the fact I was also reading myths, watching the Twilight Zone regularly, and ingesting heavy doses of Narnia). I’m fine with publishers—and readers—not wanting my books if they’re not your cup of tea; I only get frustrated when they approach it from an unfounded or fearful viewpoint. We are, as Tolkien coined it, sub-creators. If you’re concerned about werewolves putting a dent in your faith, maybe you should check your faith; not the werewolf.
Writing takes a lot of discipline. How do you stay motivated? (Pst, Five Finger Death Punch often does the trick, does it not?)
Five Finger Death Punch is definitely the icing on the cake. Honestly, for me, writing doesn’t normally feel like a discipline. My art is a discipline; it’s what I do for a living, it’s a ‘have to.’ Writing remains in the ‘get to’ part of my mind, and since I can’t write full-time, I’m always excited about it in one way or another. I suppose the discipline really comes into play when I don’t necessarily feel like writing for long periods at a time, in which case I have to sit down and make myself work that muscle whether I want to or not. The right music is key.
How long have you been writing, and did you ever think you would be where you are today?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but the first time I took it seriously, I was twelve. I wrote a short story about a Pegasus for a site called Girls Horse Barn, and then I forgot about it. When I finally checked back, I was notified that I had won the contest, and that kicked off my desire to write not only for myself, but for other people, too. I’m an extremely private person by default, and writing has always been a way for me to communicate more than I could ever say in a conversation.
From what I’ve heard, DitN has a good dose of humor. Do you laugh or cry easily while writing (or reading)?
I laugh while reading all the time, but I almost never cry while reading. I’m trying to remember the last time I shed any tears while reading a book and nothing is coming to mind. It’s pretty rare. I don’t laugh or cry while writing; I feel deep emotions, but it’s more encompassing and less reactive.
Do you enjoy the Indie publishing community, or are you secretly begging the agent gods to drag you into Traditional Land? What are some things you like best about being an Indie author?
I’m bizarrely inactive in the Indie publishing community. I write books, I publish books, but my knowledge of the Indie publishing community is secondhand. I would like to be dragged into Traditional Land, absolutely, but I love having control over what happens with my books. There’s a certain amount of freedom in being an Indie author that you don’t get as a Traditional author, or so I hear.
Last, but not least… what is one of your future publishing dreams?
Absolutely to see one of my large-cast novels turned into a TV show. Does that count as a publishing dream? Because that’s essentially the Best Thing I can imagine. That would really throw me over the moon.
OK but now you have to tell us who you would CAST personally for said show… because… reasons.
While I wait in agony to see if Mirriam returns and tells me the List Of People, let’s give her a hearty thanks for being here! I’m super excited to read Dark is the Night, and I hope y’all enjoyed this interview.
God bless, and may you always carry a stake (or wolfsbane)…