Please welcome my guest author Laura Kaye to In Shadows. Welcome, Laura!
Vampires in Colonial America?
A big thanks to Brynna for hosting me and Forever Freed here today! And I’m so glad that she and her family made it safely through those incredible storms and tornadoes that swept through Alabama recently.
My debut paranormal romance releases this Friday, May 20, from The Wild Rose Press, and it proposes a shocking revelation about our past: there were vampires in colonial America! At least in Forever Freed’s recounting of America’s early past! The wrapping of the backstory of some of my characters into colonial history represents one way I’ve inserted myself into this book. By professional training, I am a historian of early America and teach at the college level. I don’t think I’ll ever attempt historical romance because I’d probably hold myself to a degree of authenticity that would drive me stark raving mad, but I still like weaving history into my stories.
For example, the antagonist of Forever Freed was a real historical figure in early America: Antoine Laumet, the sieur de Cadillac. The real Antoine Laumet lived from 1658-1730 and had arrived in New France in 1683. He began as a modest fur trader and explorer, but aspired to greater fame and fortune, and ultimately attained both through illegal trading with the Indians, claiming of an aristocratic title on his 1687 marriage certificate, earning a few political and military appointments of note, and ultimately founding Fort Ponchartrain in 1701, which was renamed Detroit in 1763 when the British took it over in the wake of Pontiac’s Rebellion.
Biographers have described Laumet as “boastful, ingenious, quarrelsome, [and] not too scrupulous about adhering to the truth,” some good foundations for the characterization of a villain. Laumet’s illegal dealings with the Indians earned him the ire of the Jesuit priests trying to convert them to Catholicism, and they had none too many good things to say about him. One called him “the most uncooperative person in the world,” and another, “the most barefaced liar I had ever seen.” And these were some of the nicer Jesuit observations of Laumet!
In real life, the Jesuits charged Laumet with making false statements against France, and he ended up in jail at the Bastille for five months in 1717/8 before the king pardoned him and granted him a governorship in the south of France. He died there a dozen years later. However, in my story, Laumet encounters a vampire who changes the course of history. Laumet recounts:
“’Henri Malenfant was all that the girl had said, and more. He promised me power and immortality if I could eradicate the evidence that led me to suspect him. How surprised I was to learn what he was.’”
In Forever Freed, Laumet still dies in 1730, but instead he becomes a vampire and returns to claim his American empire. Detroit, then, is quite literally his city in every way of defining it—he founded the city in 1701 and ruled over it for 300 years. Have my villain steeped in such rich, and mostly real, characterization, I think, brings him that much more to life.
There are early origins among the good guys, too! Hero Lucien Demarco recalls about his adoptive vampire coven:
“Before long, we walked through the iron gate of the cemetery. Most of the remains dated to 1792, the year an Indian attack devastated this part of New York. Griffin saved a number of the victims by changing them and forming his—my—family.”
Griffin, the head of the coven that found Lucien abandoned by his maker after his change in 1895, had been left for dead in a 1760 battle during the French and Indian War. He expected the Indian who found him to slice off the crown of his hair—his scalplock—as was a common practice on both sides of colonial warfare to show off as kill trophies. Instead, the man saved his life, in a manner of speaking, by turning him into a vampire. The change cut Griffin off from his family and set him adrift on the margins of eighteenth-century society until he stumbled upon the destruction of the 1792 Indian raids—real events in western New York during the Northwest Indian War of 1785-1795—and created a family of his own.
So, next time you think of George Washington, or the American Revolution, or colonial times in general, think of vampires—and of my paranormal romance, Forever Freed! *winks*
Thanks, everyone, for reading, and thanks to Brynna for letting me crash her blog! What do you all think of including such historical details in a book that’s primarily paranormal?
My heart may not beat, but that doesn’t mean it’s not broken.
After an isolated century mourning the murder of my long-ago family, I crave the irresistible scents of joy and love that radiate from my new neighbors, a single mother and her young daughter. I’m starved for their blood, and for the healing respite from my ancient grief that will accompany drinking down their life-giving emotions. Now to lure them in.
But they surprise me. Little Olivia accepts me without fear or reservation—talking, smiling, offering innocent affection that tugs at my long-lost humanity. Her mother, Samantha, seeks me out when she should stay away, offering sweet friendship, and calling to the forgotten man in me. They lure me in.
Aw, Dio, Lucien, run and spare them while you can…
Forever Freed Book Trailer: (embed code)
Find Laura on the interwebz:
Publisher Website: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=800