….stays in the moonlight.
You know that feeling when you drive through a new town on a journey to Someplace (Any Place) else?
You don’t see any brightly lit box stores – there’s a darkened shop on the corner and you honestly aren’t sure whether its an eclectic cafe or an old fashioned pharmacy.
You come to a stop sign, and you roll to a full stop. The street is dark and so empty you feel an itch up your spine. You are undoubtably the only one here, and yet you glance down the street, once – twice, just to be sure before you pull away from the stop.
The houses aren’t dark – but you can’t see into them either. You know there is life here in this place, but under the night sky, it’s hard to tell what sort of life.
You pass another car – finally! – for the first time, but…instead of feeling relief at seeing another human on the road, you keep glancing in your rearview mirror, checking to be sure they haven’t started following you…or just plain disappear as soon as they pass.
As you finally leave the town, driving down a stretch of pavement that is pressed in close by rows of forest on either side – you can’t bring yourself to look into the darkened woods you pass…you’re not quite sure, but something may stare right back.
That, my friends, is Salvation, South Carolina.
When the roll-call came forth for a blog tour for Mirriam Neal’s soon-to-be released novel, Dark is the Night, I knew I had to throw my name into the hat.
I’ve watched this book shift and form like a were-creature trying to find it’s form throughout the years – and this final conclusion, a tale of beasties, creatures, critters and vampires, is just what it was always meant to be.
It’s a wolf who has found its skin and it now ready to go out into the world.
This ain’t your average vampire novel, y’all. It’s got the smooth luxury of the genre intertwined into a remarkable southern gothic – but it’s also about people. rough people. clumsy people. annoying-other-people people. smart-mouthed people. inhuman people. very human people.
It’s not a ‘vampire’ novel, after all. It’s a novel about salvation (both the fictional town and the act), about finding yourself, about finding your tribe of people (even if they aren’t ‘people’), and about the intricacies of what makes us human at our core.
It’s also a helluva-lot of fun. Just Fyi.
Skata only has one goal in life—to seek out the vampire who turned his wife and kill it. When he finally tracks the vampire to the small nowhere town of Salvation, South Carolina, he realizes he has stepped foot into something bigger than himself. He’s going to need help—and that help may come in many forms.
Between the vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and an unusual preacher, Skata may be in over his head.
I was absolutely ecstatic to be involved in this blog/book-tour for Dark is the Night. As someone who has seen this book shift and change and become what it is today, and knowing that I get to be a part of helping release it into the world?
wow. talk about amazing.
I’ve followed Mirriam Neal’s writing profession since the days of a high-fantasy novel she wrote years and years and years ago as a teenager (which was also the book that made me fall in love with her writing ability). I excitedly watched her release her first, and then her second book. And now I get to be a part of the release for her third (and, quite possibly, my favorite) book.
While I’m going to launch us right into this interview (because I suck at sliding smoothly into conversation – unlike Dark is the Night‘s vampiric token of a man, Angel…), I just want to say that Mirriam is a remarkable person and this book is a treasure – and if this is as far as you go, reading-wise…please skip to the end where there are ways to connect with Mirriam’s blog, an author newsletter and purchase links for Dark is The Night.
and if you keep reading, I promise you’ll come across details to a book giveaway.
Ashley: Before we really get into talking about Dark is the Night – lets talk a bit about your background as a writer. You write a blog, right? How long have you been writing there, and what would you describe your “blogging topic/aesthetic” to be? This is also your third published novel – could you tell us a bit about your previous novels?
Mirriam N.: “I’ve been blogging since well before I had anything interesting to say. I’m far from a regular poster; I may post three times in a week or not at all for two months, but I’m always active on my blog (mirriamneal.com) during NaNoWriMo for obvious reasons. My other published novels are wildly different from each other. I wrote the first novel when I was 16 and published it when I was 17, so it’s easily my most amateur + preachy novel, but has a special place in my heart. It (Monster) focused on bioethics and romance, primarily, while my second novel, Paper Crowns, is a light, all-ages fairytale I wrote purely out of fun.”
Ashley: So. This brings us to Dark is the Night – I already know and posted the synopsis above (for our readers), but what is the heart, the soul of this book? At its core, what is this book’s aesthetic – its heartbeat?
Mirriam N.: “A reader once described the book as ‘If Supernatural and the Vampire Diaries had a Christian baby,’ which really hit the nail on the head, I think.
The main heartbeat of this book is redemption, but I could easily say that about most of my books. Digging a little deeper, I would say the heartbeat of this book is about trust, letting people in, connecting with the soul of a person rather than your pre-supposed concept of who they are. Sort of a ‘found family’ concept with more of a bite.”
Ashley: While writing Dark is the Night, did you have a preferred writing environment? I know we can’t always ‘pick’ when we want (…need…) to write, but I can picture Dark is the Night needing to be written in a smoky room at dusk – it has that mood. Where were you when you most frequently felt inspired to put words to paper (or, word document)
Mirriam N.: “Fortunately for me, I’m not picky about where I write. I usually write at my desk or sitting on my bed with my laptop, but as long as I have the right music and a computer, I can write anywhere. Mentally, music takes me to whatever writing environment I need to be in.”
Ashley: What inspired Dark is the Night? Like, what was the very first inkling of “oh, this might be an idea”?
Mirriam N.: “I honestly don’t remember any details about my first spark for this book, except that it was heavily inspired by my favorite Jrock band at the time (The Gazette).
In the first draft, every main character was based on one of the band members (which cracks me up to this day, but this novel wouldn’t be here without them).”
Ashley’s note – I remember those days and that edition. I still can’t see certain Gazette members without picturing them as their Dark is the Night counterparts. lol
Ashley: Is there a part of you in any of the characters in this book? Are any of them, big or small, a part of your “Horcrux” and carry a piece of you inside them?
Mirriam N.: “I’m a part of every character in every book I write, I don’t know any other way to do it. There’s probably even some of myself in Samuel somehow. I would say aspects of myself are most visible in Angel and Skata, although if you wanted to go for full-on ‘personality accuracy,’ I would wind up as a mix of Angel and Colton.”
Ashley: If you lived in the town of Salvation, South Carolina, who would you be? What role would you play in the town?
Mirriam: “I’d definitely still be TheNovelist, but I would absolutely wind up in tense situations by virtue of getting to know everyone without necessarily realizing who or what they were right off the bat.
I would undoubtedly be friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, with everyone.”
Ashley: I walk into a bar, and I order a “Dark is the Night” – what does my bartender make me?
Mirriam N.: “I LOVE this question. It would probably be a take on an old-fashioned; a rich whiskey + bitters + chocolate bitters with sugar on the rim. Probably some white chocolate shavings to top it off.”
// Citadel Fiction Newsletter (for future news on Mirriam Neal’s books and writing updates, along with several other authors under Citadel Fiction).
// Other blog-stops in this book tour: Elizabeth’s Book Spotlight, Deborah’s Book Review, Erudessa’s Book Spotlight + Review, Elijah’s Author Interview, Christine’s Book Review, Katherine’s Author Interview, Arielle’s Tour Launch and Author Interview.
// Buy your own copy of Dark is the Night HERE.
How would YOU like to win a copy of Dark is the Night? Your very own copy of this newly released book…for free?
I’m giving away a free book!
If you are indeed interested (and you should be – why wouldn’t you be?), head on over to my Instagram (@WildStrawberryGirl – or click the link at the bottom of my blog) and enter to win!
There are multiple ways to win – so put your name in the hat and you might be a winner!