Hi everyone -
I just had my very first book store book signing for Night Walker, and a great question came up…
Why did you decide to use real history in your paranormal romance?
The truth is I didn't set out to do that. In the beginning dreaming-up-my-book-idea stages, my goal was to write a vampire novel using the Americas instead of Europe. In fact, I wanted a vampire on the beach here in San Diego.
With that goal in mind, I searched out the oldest building in San Diego, the Mission de Alcala. I visited the mission a few times and bought some books on the history of the first Spanish Mission in California. (New Spain at the time.)
While researching, I found an interesting unsolved mystery. The Kumeyaay tribes were native to this area of southern California, and they were known as a very peaceful people. There is only one act of violence on record.
On November 4th 1775 in the cover of night, over 600 men from nearby tribes united together, burned the Mission de Alcala to the ground, and bludgeoned the head priest to death, mutilating his body until he could only be identified by the rings on his hands.
There are a few theories out there, but we will probably never know what really incited the peaceful Kumeyaay to band together that night. And although the Catholic Church named Father Jayme the first Catholic martyr in the New World, I had to wonder…
What did that man do to inspire a peaceful people to kill him so viciously?
That's when I started to dream up Calisto's story. I realized at that point that the attack could have been led by a betrayed man. A man wishing to avenge the death of his one true love.
I also researched the Kumeyaay tribes and interviewed a San Diego historian. In my research I discovered that the Kumeyaay had healers they called kuseyaay who healed wounds with their mouths. A vampire could bite their tongue and use their healing blood to mend mortal wounds. What better way for a vampire to live among a tribe without anyone discovering their true nature?
For me, weaving in as much historical fact as possible made the paranormal become more believable and real. It gave my story a foot in reality while leading the reader down a paranormal path. And hopefully suspending disbelief for the reader until it seemed like a Night Walker really could live on the beach in La Jolla. LOL
So if you're struggling for a new story idea, give local unsolved mysteries a try… You never know what might be lurking in your own backyard!
Lisa Kessler is an avid reader and writer of dark fiction. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.
Lisa recently signed a 4 book deal with Entangled Publishing to release her Night Series. The first book, Night Walker, is scheduled to be released August 5th.
When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, performing with the San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.
He gave up his soul for a second chance to love her...
Two and a half centuries ago, Calisto Terana lost everything when a zealous priest murdered the woman he loved. Now, desperate for another chance to love her, he wants redemption for the mistake that cost her life.
She's haunted by dreams of her own death...
After catching her fiance with another woman, Kate Bradley returns to San Diego to clear her head. The last thing she needs is romance, but after meeting Calisto she's drawn to him in ways she doesn't understand.
They've waited in the shadows for centuries...
Calisto has no doubt Kate is the reincarnation of his lost love, but the Fraternidad Del Fuego Santo has a new watcher with dark ambitions of his own. As old enemies reemerge and a new threat arises, the betrayal that enslaved Calisto to the night might destroy the only woman he's ever loved again.