Interview with J.M. Rankin, author of Darkness Forbidden
This interview is being included in the 2013 Women in Horror Interview Series. Every February, Women in Horror Recognition Month (WiHM) assists underrepresented female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through altruistic events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. You can find out more about WiHM here:
J.M. Rankin is the author of Darkness Forbidden, her first novel published by Scorpius Books in December 2012. The sequels, Retribution Darkened and Dark Child, will be published in 2013. In between writing and working as a freelance copy-editor, Jacqui spends her time running round after a very active toddler. She loves watching True Blood, The Walking Dead, Family Guy, and is a confessed soap freak! She reads as much as time allows, and listens to an eclectic range of music depending on her mood and what she is writing.
What you can’t have, you can never resist…
Immortal, ruthless, cunning…
Obsessed with the fatally seductive and evil Nadia, Alex Demeter finds himself intrigued by Catrina, a human with a tormented past she cannot escape.
Disturbed by his distraction, Nadia wagers the ultimate prize: the one thing Alex could never have.
Yet as Nadia’s own games grow more sadistic, Alex’s past is brought horrifically to the surface. As Alex is forced to face truths he would rather stay hidden, the humans around him find themselves pawns in a game they could never understand.
Sparks fly in this dangerous tale of obsession as Alex and Nadia play deadly games of sex and betrayal…
Q. Your debut novel “Darkness Forbidden” just came out in December. A first novel is exciting for any writer – but you’re already working on it’s sequels “Retribution Darkened” and “Dark Child.: Are you still feeling the rush of the publication of your first novel, or are the sequels keeping you too busy to think about it?
A. To be honest it’s all still a bit of a blur!! The over all work involved in promotion etc, as well as working on the sequels have kept me incredibly busy but I am still riding the high of having my first novel published! It is definitely more satisfying than seeing the manuscript gathering dust in a drawer!
Q.”Darkness Forbidden” centers around a love triangle. Vampire Alex Demeter is obsessed with the fatally seductive and evil Nadia, yet finds himself intrigued by Catrina, a human with a past she cannot escape. Do you think a lot of readers will imagine themselves in Catrina’s shoes?
A. It took a long time to develop each of the characters in the novel as they all have an intricate past, and in Alex and Catrina’s case their pasts are what draw them to each other. I’d like to think people can relate to Catrina in one way or another, though she was by no means meant to be a stereotype or cliché. She was simply built on the basis of one person having a bad experience that defined their lives.
Q. What do you think makes vampires such seductive, erotic creatures?
A. Vampires have always been feared in folklore for being vicious creatures with an undeniable sexual presence. In the original legends vampires were undead and celibate, which I think made them crave the living flesh even more. Naturally fiction has developed this so that many vampires in fiction today can have sex whether they are dead or not, but I still think there is the essence of the forbidden there that makes them so erotic and sexual.
Q. Speaking of erotic – do you consider “Darkness Forbidden” to be paranormal romance, or paranormal erotica, or is it more in the vein (no pun intended) of gothic horror or romance?
A. I have been asked this a lot recently. I would prefer to class it as horror rather than paranormal, not only because of the vampire theme but because I don’t hold back with their nature! Nadia is definitely more sadistic and uncontrollable than Alex (though he has had his moments!) but I don’t skirt around the issue of them feeding etc so would really class it as gothic horror/erotica.
Q. Young adult fiction is popular these days, but your book has a lot of erotic overtones and is about sex and betrayal. Is your book too spicy for younger readers?
A. I would say so, to be honest. Given the erotic nature of the books and certain scenes of the vampire’s feeding etc I would definitely say the book is targeted at a more adult audience. I have written other novels (to be published at a later date) that would be fine for younger readers, but Darkness Forbidden should definitely be classed as adult fiction.
Q. You are the first person I’ve interviewed so far who is one of Anne Rice’s “People of the Page”. She’s been very supportive to writers who are fans on her page, and she is probably the singly most prominent woman in horror writing today. Can you tell our readers how you feel about that?
A. I became hooked on horror at quite a young age after reading Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Rice. She was definitely the first woman horror writer I ever read, and despite her success I appreciate how she is still so supportive of other writers. For me she is definitely one of the best women horror writers who gave me great inspiration in my early days of horror writing.
Q. Did you know that February was Women in Horror Appreciation Month (WiHM)? Women in horror are still pretty rare. What inspired you to write in the genre?
A. I have a confession to make in that I didn’t know there was such a thing, but am glad I know now! As mentioned above Anne Rice was a pretty big influence along with a few others, but I loved anything to do with the supernatural from a young age. I would read fiction and non-fiction about different paranormal and supernatural subjects and eventually while still at school decided to turn my writing (which I had done more or less since putting pen to paper!) to this genre.
Q. What are some of your favorite women in horror, and did they inspire you to start writing?
A. As above Anne Rice inspired me and is also a favourite of mine. Later I came to enjoy Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong among others, each putting their own new twist to different legends.
Q. Is there anything else you want our readers to know that we haven’t covered yet.
A. The paperback edition of Darkness Forbidden is due out very soon and I will likely be doing a giveaway on Goodreads/Facebook along with promotions on the Kindle edition. I am hopeful that the sequel, Retribution Darkened will be available by the middle of 2013. I am extremely grateful for all the support shown to me so far by fans and readers and thank them all immensely.