Emily Reese is an author new to the writing scene who recently released her debut novel, Second Death, which tells a mysterious tale of a vampire called The Collector who kidnaps young women. I chatted with Emily on her new book and more, check it out and let us know what you think.
Can you tell us about your book Second Death?
Claire Wallace is happy in her life, teaching vampire literature to college students, when one of them, Mike Monroe, asks her about a book titled The Collector. Mike seems to think that there’s more fact than fiction to the book, and believes that The Collector may hold information about his sister’s kidnapping nine years ago. The reaction he gets from Claire is harsh and direct: its fiction. And if it’s not fiction, you don’t want to find her.
Dismayed and hurt, Mike continues the investigation on his own, getting closer and closer to the truth. Meanwhile, Claire has demons of her own to face. The Collector, contrary to what she told Mike, is not fiction. It’s her story. The story of how she was kidnapped, held and eventually became a vampire. If the Collector has taken Mike’s sister, then Claire’s inaction, and her avoidance of the trauma that happened to her over eighty years ago, are the cause. She can’t just bury her head in the sand anymore.
In a move that may cause more danger than it prevents, Claire finds Mike and tells him the truth: vampires are real. The Collector is real. He is a vampire. And he takes girls just like Mike’s sister. Together, they look for clues as to the Collector’s location, and are plunged head first into a world most never knew existed outside of books and films. While Mike has to come to terms with what finding his sister might mean, Claire has to learn how to use her experiences to keep them both alive.
How does Second Death differ from other novels about vampires?
I’ve decided to keep other supernatural beings out of my books for now, focusing solely on vampires. My vamps are beautiful, and I’ve changed their reaction to the sun, but they don’t sparkle. They get their “food” in a variety of ways, not just leaping on someone. They can all hear your thoughts, but they cannot control humans minds. And, they learn a lot about someone from tasting their blood. That’s all I’m willing to give away now… it already feels like too much.
Where did you get the idea for Second Death?
I’d been wanting to write a vampire novel for years, being such a huge fan. When I first started writing, Clarie was a guy and Mike was a girl, because who doesn’t love the hot, male vampire helping the human? Then I realized I was just rehashing what I’d already read. Having taken a class centered on doing research and plagiarizing in college, (nod to Dr. Jay Allison,) I was horror struck. I decided to take everything I had about the main characters and switch it, (my plot was still my own, I just couldn’t write Edward and Bella in new circumstances.) So Claire became the vampire, and Mike became the helpless human… sort of. Then I wrote in the sexy vampire anyway and named him Ben. : >
What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Second Death?
You can’t escape your past. You can’t pretend it never happened. By facing it, and using the lessons you’ve learned from past experiences, you can find strength you never knew existed. That’s when you go from the person-in-distress to the hero, even if you’re girl of below average height.
Who is your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?
Up until a few years ago, I would’ve said Lestat… but then I met Eric Northman. I love him because of the soft side no one gets to see, and the mischievous side that makes you want to pull your hair out. Most importantly, I love him, and Lestat as well, because they are at peace with who they are. They are killers. They are ruthless. They are not human. As much as I dig the brooding of Louis or Edward, they have so much self-loathing and angst that being around them for very long would drive me crazy. I mean, enough already!
What is your favorite vampire book, movie, and/or show?
My favorite book would be The Vampire Lestat, because I heart him. My favorite movie might just be Queen of the Damned; it wasn’t anything like the book, but aesthetically it was beautiful and I like how they made Stewart Townsend into a rock star. For my TV show, I’m totally a Fang Banger. I love True Blood, in part because they’ve changed so much from the books, I still don’t know what’s going to happen.
What was the last book you read, would you recommend it?
I recently finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I would absolutely recommend the series, with a disclaimer: Nothing happy happens. You may think, “Well, at least XYZ happened,” or “At least so-and-so is happy.” Nope. As soon as you think it, Martin snatches it away from you. The books are amazing, but if you need a happy ending, it’s just not going to work for you. The best you can hope for is getting attached to a character that will survive the series, (hard to do,) and seeing all the characters you hate with the fury of a thousand hells get what’s coming to them, (and oh, how sweet it is.) Take this to heart, because once you start reading them, you can’t put them down, no matter how mad you get.
Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words: (bwahaha)
Claire. Mike. Ben. (You’re going to love them.)
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
I’ve already started working on the sequel for Second Death; there will probably be three total. I have also been developing a sci-fi book and a steampunk book, but they’ll have to come after my first love… vampires.