Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest - S. L. Wright

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest is a fantastic author and a very patient guest :-) S.L. Wright has lived in New York City for over twenty years, exploring every part of the city from rooftops to underground tunnels. She moved to Manhattan to get her masters degree in Fine Arts, and not long afterwards met her husband, Kelly Beaton. Together they have spent the past decade restoring a big brick house on the edge of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Wright is an activist at heart, saving wild cats in the city as well as helping people who are persecuted for their personal choices.

Psychic Vampires
by S.L. Wright

Have you ever met someone who is so highly emotional that it sweeps you up whenever you're around them? They're perpetually nervous, or relentlessly negative, or way too hyper? If you're lucky, they're very happy, spreading joy wherever they go. These people seem to feed off the energy they create around them, growing stronger from it, and in some cases they suck the life out of everyone else in the process.

After mulling it over for a while, I realized these people are psychic vampires, feeding off the energy of other people. They manipulate everyone around them into reacting the way they want. The negative people get the most attention, but I think altruism has its own intrinsic reward for some people. I know it might sound cynical, but they're getting positive energy out of giving.

After all, survival of the fittest demands that biologically we get something from everything we do. Why expend energy if you're not getting it back?

Psychic vampires are true parasites. They live off others. What if these people are living among us, their sole goal to provoke the emotions they crave the most? What if they're the vampires, in the most real sense? Not the blood-sucking metaphor, but as creatures who survive off the living.

And what would happen when these two worlds clashed and the psychic vampires were discovered?

That's how I "found" my heroine Allay, a woman with one foot in each world. It was the first time in my writing career that a character came from such philosophical musings, especially questions that I didn't have the answers for yet. Allay sprang out fully alive: a human who became possessed by a demon, thereby becoming a demon herself. She no longer eats or sleeps, her only sustenance is human emotion which she steals with a touch.

I guess it was inevitable that more questions followed. How did Allay reconcile her human past with her demon needs? How can she fall in love when she has to live a lie? What kind of life can she create for herself?

I was particularly interested in how she could form relationships with people if she had to hide so much of who she was. It seemed like it would be impossible. I know some people live double lives, but I've never understood how they can compartmentalize everything and wall parts of themselves away. That inner tension of living off emotions, yet never fully being able to express what you really feel, seemed like the most tortuous kind of existence.

I had to find out. So that's why I wrote CONFESSIONS OF A DEMON.

One thing it's made me consider is what kind of psychic vampire I am. I like to think I provoke a feeling of comfort in people — I'm a people-pleaser, no doubt about it. But how other people view me may not necessarily be what I think. Maybe I provoke anxiety in people because of my perfectionism. Or maybe I'm so intense that people withdraw. If I keep asking questions, maybe I'll figure it out someday.

What kind of psychic vampire are you? I'll give away a free copy of CONFESSIONS OF A DEMON to the commenter who comes up with an emotion that I haven't considered (answer by Friday to be considered for this contest). I'll announce the winner on my blog, and I may even use you as inspiration when I create a new demon character for my series. So tell me, what kind of emotion do you crave?


Confessions of a Demon
by S.L. Wright
December 1, 2009
Urban Fantasy

After accidentally stealing the life force from a dying demon, Allay became the only human-demon hybrid in existence. Because demons feed off of human emotions, Allay decided the safest way to live as a demon and still retain some semblance of humanity would be to open a bar and drink from her patrons' pain and torment. And she's managed to stay under the demon radar—until now.

Attacked and nearly killed by another demon, Allay is saved by a human who comes to her rescue. Theo Ram is tall, handsome, and mortal—and Allay feels a connection to him she didn't think she'd ever know. But their relationship is cut short when the demon community in New York begins to rise up, and two opposing clans fight for power. Now Allay is caught in the middle, and she must decide where her loyalties lie…


Confessions of a Demon
by S.L. Wright

It was the usual Friday night at the Den on C, the neighborhood bar in New York City I had managed for almost a decade. That was a long time by human standards, but then again, I wasn’t a standard human. I was something more—or less. The jury was still out on that one.

A group of pool-playing coeds had stopped by after hanging out at the beer garden in the East Village, but they were starting to trickle away as the midnight rush eased off. Some would end up in the chic bars popping up just to the south on the Lower East Side, leaving behind the regulars; mostly older Latino men and a smattering of working-class guys covered in ghostly drywall dust. A few crowded tables of arty hipsters still filled the back, where everyone was loudly talking over one another.

I swung open the front door wide to catch the mild night air of early spring, trying to ignore the metallic tang of exhaust. A few streets below Houston was Delancey Street, where the lights were much brighter and the avenue opened up wide to accommodate the steady flow of cars over the Williamsburg Bridge. The congestion always got worse late Friday night, choking the streets with fumes and honking horns as too many people tried to get in and out of Manhattan at the same time.

I could see my own reflection in the narrow glass pane; the light from the aluminum shade overhead cast a speckled pattern across my face. Wisps of dark hair touched my forehead, cheeks, and neck. I had tried to stay faithful to my original, human appearance, a heart-shaped face that was pretty enough, capable looking rather than delicate. I had aged myself over the years to look like I should — twenty-eight this spring.

Behind me, the opening strains of “Kiss Me,” the original version by Six Pence None the Richer, with its tinny drums and silly, sweet vocals, came through the speakers hanging high in the corners. I knew the words by heart: “Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight. Lead me out on the moonlit floor. . . .”

It lifted my heart for a moment, like the song always had ever since the year I’d been turned. But that touch of minor key, the slight note of sadness, resonated much deeper than it should have. It meant so much more to me—all that I had lost; all that I would never be.

I knew better than to try to ignore my regret. That made it worse. The pain that came with the past was something I just had to endure.

Since I became a demon.

Possessed” is the correct term, I reminded myself. I’m possessed by a demon.

I was a human-demon hybrid, the only one alive. No longer sustained by food or drink, I lived off emotions — any would do, but my preferred elixir, the feeling I’d do anything to provoke, was the simple yet all-powerful feeling of respite: relief from sorrow or pain. That was why I was known as Allay.

Plenty of people came to my bar looking for a little release from their pain. I provided all of the usual services bartenders typically gave their patrons: I served them drinks and listened to them when no one else would. And when it was really bad, I would pat their hand and steal away some of their pain. But taking energy from people, even the bad feelings, caused an imbalance in their system. I took only enough to make them feel better, and then for my reward I would sip a drop of their brief contentment.

I had to be careful not to go too far for their own good. When people were drained of their emotional energy, they could turn schizophrenic, manic, or so depressed they killed themselves. Some people became physically ill and died.

I wasn’t sure, but I thought emotions were the seat of the soul. That was why they radiated so much energy.

But how can you recognize a soul when you don’t have one?

-- Lynda again, Fantastic article! Thanks so much for being with us today. I hope all our readers leave a comment with an emotion they think you could use in future books (and make sure you leave your email address so Ms. Wright can contact you too) It's a fabulous book. Do check out my review when it goes live.

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SiNn said...

humm what kind of demon would i like or wannabe

honestly theyd have to be strong yet flawed a hard ass witha deep dark past but seeking redemption

so if i could pcik one emotion would be real and flawed so they seem well r eal

shartyrant said...

I have to go with anger and despair. I mean if I am going to be a demon type feeding off such emotions, I want to make sure there is plenty of it in various levels. It would be easy to get with the way the human race likes to muck things up. I would just look for those types that are more...extreme. I mean I am sure that righteous anger would be so much better and filling than say road rage to feed on as it is a longer burn than road rage which goes out quicker. So many levels and complexities. Ironically, anger is what drives so many people so ...yeah, I will go with that.

Yes, I thought about this hard cause I am strange. >:)

BrigidsBlest said...

Hm, I think I have to go with envy. Sure is a lot of it going around at this time of year.

BrigidsBlest at yahoo dot com

Judi S said...

If I had to live off an emotion as a demon hybrid, I'm going to have to go with lust! There are a lot of people out there lusting after many things, so I think it would be easy to feed off of lust. Yes indeed. :)

Thanks for sharing how you came to the idea of this book. I always find the "behind the scenes" aspect of coming up with a story idea fascinating.


Lynda K. Scott said...

Wow, you're all coming up with some great ideas/emotions and reasons for them. Makes me wish I was writing these books, lol

Make sure you put your email addy's in your comments so Susan can contact you if she pulls your name for the drawing.

Good luck to you all!

ddurance said...

What about temptation? A demon who must fight some type of temptation all the time, but is only "fed" and able to survive by resisting the temptation.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

katrinawilliams said...

Interesting responses. I read the question to ask what kind of psychic vampire am I in REAL LIFE, not what kind would I be in a story - so I will answer that I require PEACE. I am the peace maker in my home and I must have it. I will do anything to get it, often at the expense of other's feelings. My kids know better than to argue with each other in front of me and I like to think I have shaped their psychology in such a way as to have sucked their true responses right out of their heads. I just never thought of it as vampiric!
Can't wait to read the book - it sounds fascinating.

Susan Wright said...

Wow, lots of great ideas. I agreed with SiNn that "strong yet flawed a hard ass with a deep dark past but seeking redemption" is the exact description of my hero in this story - Theo Ram.

Shartyrant said dispair, which is a really good one I hadn't considered. I do have a Malaise in my book who lives in Rikers Island prison.

BrigidsBlest said envy, which would be interesting. Where would a demon go to find a lot of envy? It could pose as a Goldman Sachs executive...

Judi said lust - that is a fun one to work with. Let's just say that in the sequel, Demon Revelation, you'll find exatly what kind of demon goes for lust.

ddurance said temptation. That is a really cool idea. They would have to hold out the promise of something yet continually deny it to someone to feel their temptation. I think that might make a really awful demon.

I hope you enjoy the book, Katrina. It really does make you look at peoples' interactions differently once you realize we all do seek out certain emotions.

I can't wait to hear more ideas!

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Patience is mine. I feed off all the chaos in my house with 2 bipolar daughters and a husband who is ADD.

Susan Wright said...

Great suggestions, all of them, but I have to go with Diedre's idea of temptation. I'm definitely going to work Tempt into a demon story. I think he's going to be a very interesting character.