31 Days of Halloween – Jacqueline Farrell

Jacqueline Farrell
‘Sophronia and the Vampire’
e-publishers, Lyrical Press
Crone Power!
“Nothing spoils a romance so much as a
sense of humor in the woman and the want of it in the man…” Oscar Wilde

‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ is the story of
a crone – a witch in the last of the three stages in a woman’s life – who is
enjoying a nostalgic trip along the west coast of America when she finds
herself stuck in a small town, trying to help a young witch avoid becoming the
possession of a two thousand year old vampire.

I like my romance to have a healthy dose of
humor, coming from both hero and heroine, and by this I mean the heroine has to
be funny too, not just the feed for the man. I was coming up to my fiftieth
birthday when I wrote ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ and I wanted to create a
heroine who wasn’t in the first flush of youth. Much as I love Buffy and Sookie Stackhouse, at the age of 50, it seemed a little undignified
to be trying to identify with them and I don’t really want to. So Sophronia
took shape and as she grew on the page, it seemed entirely natural to me that
although she’s a woman who’s had her fair share of tragedies, she doesn’t sit
around dwelling on them. She takes whatever life throws at her, all the while
managing to see the funny side.
also quite liked the idea of taking back possession of the word ‘crone’ and celebrating
it, rather than seeing it as an insult. I’ve no objection to men becoming
distinguished as they get older, but I want the same courtesy for women as
well. So Sophronia is prized by the vampire world for her superior experience
and skills, to the point where she actively has to work at being ignored or
‘invisible’, a state of affairs still far too commonplace in our society where
older women are concerned.    

Writing the book was easy because I was
really only writing for myself to begin with and I found it very enjoyable
having a myth foundation to base my story on, but at the same time be able to
create any new lore that I wanted. I’ve always been fascinated in the triple
goddess theory of Maid, Mother, Crone, as well as the powers ascribed to
witches throughout history, whether good or evil.   Messing about with frogs and spells and
cauldrons, however, always struck me as a bit icky, so I updated Sophronia,
giving her coercion and telepathy, powers I’ve always thought it would be great
to have myself. As for Hagen, I was intrigued by the idea of a creature that
had been alive for thousands of years and what that might be like.  I wanted him to have been around long enough
not to be shaped by the morals or beliefs that have created our society as it
is today, but to be the product of a far older one, so that he would
continually have to be adapting to survive, acknowledging our world, but at the
same time never entirely in tune with it. But he also had to be enjoying his
immortality and not racked with guilt about past choices he had made. Much as I
loved Angel, whenever he started
wittering on about how terrible he felt for all the awful things he’d done, I
lost all patience with him. I mean really, you’re a vampire, man, get a grip on

So there it is. I hope other people have as
much fun reading ‘Sophronia and the Vampire’ as I did writing it. I am working
on a sequel and hope to be publishing it soon as Sophronia has a few more
adventures in her yet. Being a bit of a luddite where the Internet is
concerned, I don’t have a website or Twitter or Facebook page, but if you have
enjoyed reading ‘Sophronia’ please write a comment on Amazon or Goodreads. It’s
a bit embarrassing that so far my brother is the only person I’ve managed to
persuade to make the effort!