Interview with Amanda Lyons, author of “Eyes Like Blue Fire”
A longtime fan of horror and fantasy Ms. Lyons writes character driven novels that while influenced by her darker interests, can also be heavily laced with fantasy, romance, history and magic. Amanda M. Lyons has lived her whole life in rural Ohio where she lives with her fiance and two children. “Eyes Like Blue Fire” is her first novel.
Katja is a vampire who has lost sense of herself and her value in the world. Lost, broken and damaged she wanders the streets of Europe hoping to find some sense of purpose beyond the death and tragedy she has always known. Betrayed by her sire and left alone in the night she is startled to discover herself forming a connection to a young man who shares a close resemblance to her master and lover. Though everything in her begs her to stay with him she flees only to come running back to save him when a sadistic monster from her sire’s past comes to destroy the only hope she has had in 300 years.
Katja and Raven will face many horrors among them Renfield style zombies, ghosts and the undead. This is also the first in the series Broken Edges.
Q. As a fan of the horror genre, what are some of your favorite authors and novels? How are some of your influences?
A. I’ve got quite a few favorites Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Poppy Z. Brite, Brian Keene, Gary Braunbeck and Shirley Jackson are some of the favorite authors that come to mind. As far as novels I’d say The Stand, It, Queen of the Damned, Drawing Blood, Mr. Hands, The Ghoul, Imagica and Let’s Go Play at the Adams’. A lot of my favorite authors are major influencers. If you look at the books I chose you’ll notice that a lot of them have elements of fantasy, the gothic and surreal to them. They’re also very emotional books. All of those elements end up in my books in various ways.
Q. Your novel ” Eyes Like Blue Fire” delves into a number of different kinds of supernatural or paranormal mythologies, with vampires and zombies and ghosts. What was it like combining them?
A. Oddly enough that’s just how it turned out in the end, little bits and pieces tying into each other and creating connections. ELBF has a lot of supernatural elements because it actually has a dream like quality. Some scenes are very surreal and haunted because people from Katja and Raven’s past retain a lasting influence years later. Sometimes we have to ask if there’s a ghost or if it’s just how much of a hole that person left in the character’s life. As for zombies I know I’m not the first person to connect ghouls and vampires, after all that’s essentially what Renfield becomes after Dracula bites him. Here zombies are created when a vampire drinks a person’s blood after the heart has stopped. It activates a sort of half-life in the dead. It was actually a lot of fun coming up with ways that my vampires differed from other renditions especially where I took something traditionally believed and gave it a different reason for being true.
Q. Did you research traditional mythologies for these creatures, or create your own fictional myths the way fantasy authors like Tolkien have in the past?
A. I didn’t so much come up with new mythologies as give them a bit of a twist. For example my vampires aren’t inherently evil so crosses don’t have an effect, they’re only sensitive to holy water that has been drawn from underwater springs and therefore are tainted with different elements that react to vampiric flesh, and rather than being invisible in mirrors a much more horrific image is reflected back. They also have different ways of handling feeding including sex. I had a pretty broad range of supernatural belief to draw from and I tried to give some of the old ideas new life.
Q. Speaking of fantasy, in what ways do you combine the genre with horror in your writing?
A. Tanith Lee and Clive Barker are some great examples of writers that often write dark fantasy or fantastic horror. The places where these stories happen are beyond the norm, set in fantasy or fairy tale settings with a very surreal aspect to them. I’ve been told before that ELBF has an air about it like a fairy tale, a sort of legend for grownups that includes the horrific and strange. In dreams when things are frightening it’s often because they are foreign to us, sort of make believe and odd for no other reason than that it’s what our mind offers us. A lot of what I write can be this way, like we’ve walked into someone else’s dream and things aren’t always as they seem.
Q. Your central protagonist is more than three hundred years old. Did you have to do a lot of research in order to write about Katja’s origins?
A. I’m a fan of historical fiction and history in general. While I didn’t worry about making the setting perfectly suited to that era I did do a little looking around to make sure I wasn’t completely off on how Katja’s life would have been then.
Q. Will Katja be the main character in the rest of your Broken Edges stories?
A. Yes and no. While she’ll always be one of the central characters she won’t always be the center of the story. For example in the 2nd novel Cool Green Waters the plot centers more on Zero and Michael as they try to find Mateo. Katja and Raven are still integral to the plot but we learn a great deal more about them and Mateo himself. I do think the 3rd novel will have a lot to do with Katja as it centers on some very important changes for her character.
Q. Is there anything you would like our readers to know that we haven’t covered yet?
A. “Eyes Like Blue Fire” is a gothic horror novel. Some might mistake this as meaning that it’s paranormal romance. The reality is that it’s much closer to the traditional gothics which were a blend of mystery, suspense, horror, romance and tragedy. It has a lot more in common with the works of writers like Shirley Jackson and Anne Rice than modern paranormal romance which tends to have a stronger focus on beefcake and heroism than those older gothics did (not that that’s a bad thing it just isn’t where ELBF ended up).
Where To Find Amanda and ELBF:
Giveaway on Goodreads
~ by Sumiko Saulson on May 15, 2013.