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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Giving history a paranormal twist…

Please welcome guest blogger Lisa Kessler

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.







Night Walker

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.


Marsha A. Moore said...

What a great find to include in your story! I can just imagine how excited you were to uncover that information.

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Marsha -

It definitely made me feel like I was on the right track for my book! LOL

Thanks for commenting Marsha!

Lisa :)

Lucianne Rivers said...

That's so fun Lisa. I'm a huge fan of the atmosphere drawing from actual events can instill in a book. Have you ever read Susan Wiggs Chicago Fire historicals?

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I'm glad you used real history. I use real history as well - love it!

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

HI Lisa - it was a good booksigning, too. I was there!

As for history with a paranormal twist - this is what I did in My current series for Nocturne, and a favorite plot line for me.

Taking knights out of history who were famous for their deeds and honor and quests in medieval times, and giving them a whole new "twist" on why they were ungodly beautiful and undefeated in battle, spiked my continued interest in that time period that I had once-upon-a-time studied in college.

YUM. So I'm right there with ya. You've got San Diego history and missions and souls who journey... and I think that's just terrific fare for your series.

Congrats again.
www. lindathomas-sundstrom. com

Pamela Moran said...

I missed the booksigning, although I was there in spirit! Your blurb and the history behind the story gave me chills and makes me even more impatient to read NIGHT WALKER.

Pam S.

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Lucianne -

I haven't read Susan Wiggs! I'll have to go check them out... Are they paranormal too?

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Lisa :)

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Julia -

Nice to see another user of unsolved historical mysteries! :)

Thanks for commenting!

Lisa :)

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Linda -

I loooooove your concept for your new Vampire Moons series!!! very clever!!! :)

Thanks for coming to my signing, too!!! It really meant the world to me!!!


Lisa :)

Lisa Kessler said...

Hi Pam! *waving*

Oh I can't wait for you to read Night Walker!!! :)

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Lisa :)

Rayka Mennen said...

Great idea Lisa

Lisa Kessler said...

Thank you Rayka!!!

Lisa :)