Readers often ask me, “Are the characters in your books vampires?”
Early on, the question surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. I started writing “Feast of the Epiphany” as a vampire novel years ago and put it away in favor of being an adult. Needless to say, the adult thing didn’t stick. When I decided to rewrite the manuscript, I’d received a ton of feedback that the market was saturated with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Some went so far as to say the genres were dead.
I refused to believe that readers had grown tired of our fanged friends and started researching common themes among vampire myths. I planned to define the commonalities and create new takes on the old trope. My research took me in some unexpected directions, including a new fascination with Anunnaki or ancient Sumerian deities. Somewhere along the way I took a strange detour into Catholic mysticism. The basic mythos for the Order of the Sinistra Dei series formed from my research.
Are they vampires? No, not exactly. In my world, there are no such things as vampires. However, the mythology follows some of the traditional vampire lore, such as rising after death, fangs, and compulsion. They’re also dead sexy, but that’s another blog post.
My characters feed off of prana, or human energy, unless their powers have deteriorated, and they require blood for sustenance. There’s also a genetic component to the process of becoming immortal, which restricts their population. While they don’t age, they do risk a form of insanity as they grow older. I’ve always been fascinated with the question of how the human mind would adapt to living hundreds or thousands of years. We aren’t made to experience that sort of lifespan. What kind of psychosis would develop?
Where does the Sumerian thing come in?
The Anunnaki are ancient chthonian, or underworld, fertility deities. They later became judges of mortals. The term translates to “princely offspring.” They are thought to be the direct descendants of the sky god Anu. I turned this mythos upside down to suit the story by making the Anuna from another plane of existence. They aren’t human, but a separate race of winged beings. Throughout history, they have been worshiped as gods and goddesses. However, they’re close to extinction due to the actions of the Sinistra Dei.
In the series, the characters don’t know what they are. They’ve been told they were chosen by the Church to serve in the Order of the Sinistra Dei. They have two purposes: to judge humans to maintain the balance between good and evil, and to complete missions to protect the interests of the Holy Mother Church. In the first book, “Feast of the Epiphany,” Gia and the others discover much of what they’ve been told about their natures are lies. What they are, what they can do, and their role in Church politics will be revealed as the series progresses.