I'm a huge fan of Jocelynn's Dark Days series, so I've been crazy excited to read her upcoming Asylum Tales series. I was lucky enough to receive early review copies of both prequel novellas. I didn't think it was possible, but after reading both of them, I'm only more excited. Check out my reviews: Bronx and Trixie to get a better idea of why I loved them so much.
Leaving Dark Days and Entering the Asylum
By Jocelynn Drake
In 2008, my first published novel hit the shelves. Nightwalker from the Dark Days series featured a red-haired vampire with a quick temper and a cocky attitude. She was nearly six hundred years old, allowing her to see changes in the world as well as see slow changes in herself as she was enveloped by nightwalker society. Over six books, Mira faced pain, anguish, and rage. She made several enemies, won a few reluctant friends, and found a lover who won her heart. Mira survived adversity because she’s a fighter, but she found the will to live because of Danaus.
The Dark Days series was a treacherous walk through a shadowy wood on a moonless night. There were few happy moments within the series, and those that appeared, you clung to with all your strength. I loved Mira. I worked with her and Danaus for nearly seven years. The Dark Days world wasn’t the first I had ever created, but it was the one I had spent the most time in. The series was my first attempt at something epic. The stories were always about a life and death struggle, with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, even if mankind wasn’t aware of it.
The Dark Days series was a chance to play with dark, powerful creatures and study a person’s sense of humanity and identity under strange circumstances. I gave Mira the opportunity to travel to distant locales like Venice, Budapest, and Cuzco. And while I’m sometimes reluctant to admit it, the Dark Days was a trip into my own dark side.
It was a wild ride, but when I reached the end of the sixth book, Burn the Night, Mira and I came to an agreement that we were done. We had reached a point where we were content to say that we had said everything that we were going to say. She had found someone that she could trust and love despite overwhelming differences. Her world had changed drastically, but Mira was in a good place to handle it. I was ready for change as well.
When I stared at the blank page before me for the first time in several years, I was starting from scratch. I didn’t have a world already waiting for me to work in. I didn’t have characters with several books of background I had to keep in mind. The blank slate was exciting and a little terrifying. Where did I go next? Who did I want along with me on this journey? Who could I trust and believe in?
When I started making plans for The Asylum Tales, I knew I wanted this new series to be completely different from the Dark Days series. I wanted a male storyteller who didn’t have all the answers, who frequently got in trouble and made mistakes. I wanted a character who had friends he could rely on and who liked him. I wanted to create a positive atmosphere for my main character to work in.
But I think my first decision was that everything was out in the open. There were no more vampires hiding in the shadows and no more werewolves denying what they are. In this new world, the differences were widely accepted, if not celebrated. The Asylum Tales is my chance to play with all the creatures that have interested me over the years. I love the vampires, shifters, and elves. But I also love the trolls, ogres, incubi, minotaurs, pixies, hobgoblins, and lorialets. I wanted the opportunity to play with them all. So I created Low Town.
Another core change is Gage. My main character is a smart ass who can’t keep his mouth shut. He’s always got a sharp comment on the tip of his tongue and he usually says it. He’s just a normal guy who runs a tattoo parlor, has a girlfriend, and drinks with his friends. He has no plans to protect “his people” or take over the world. He just wants to work, drink, and laugh. As the series kicks off, I’m hoping that Gage gets to stay close to those three goals. I’m aiming to keep this series more grounded in the smaller picture of Gage’s life and friends. But hey (shrug)… things change.
To keep my mind locked in the Asylum Tales, I’ve made a habit of listening to entirely different music while writing. When I worked on the Dark Days series, I listened to lots of Korn, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Mason. For the Asylum Tales, it’s more Foo Fighters, Blue October, and Shaman’s Harvest.
My reading habits have also adjusted. I needed to stay in a lighter mood, so I’m reading more humorous books than usual for me.
Surprisingly, the shift from the Dark Days world to the Asylum Tales wasn’t too hard to make. I keep pictures of Mira and Danaus close by as I work, but writing Gage’s stories has been like sitting down with an old friend and swapping tall tales. Besides, I think Mira and Danaus are still enjoying their honeymoon and could use the break.
Love comes in many varied forms. There is the
love of family, love of country, and love of chocolate. But for
Jocelynn Drake, one truly treasured love is the love of a good story.
This Midwestern native spends the majority of her time lost in the
strong embrace of a good book, whether she writing it or reading it
doesn’t really matter. When she’s not hammering away at her keyboard,
frowning at her monitor, or curled up with a book, she can usually be
found cuddling with her cats, Harley and Demona, walking her dog Max,
or flinging curses at the TV while playing a video game. Outside of
books, cats, and video games, she is completely enamored of Bruce
Wayne, Ezio Auditore, travel, explosions, fast cars, tattoos, and Anthony
Bourdain (but only when he’s feeling really cranky).
The New York Times bestselling author has
completed the Dark Days series, with six books and two novellas, and is
hard at work on her new series, The Asylum Tales, which will release two
novellas and one novel in 2012.
Book Info: The Asylum Interviews: Trixie Asylum Tales #0.6
The second of two prequel stories to Jocelynn Drake's Angel's Ink.
Gage's ex-girlfriend is back in town and needs help
escaping a master vampire. While not the easiest of tasks, he
certainly didn't count of getting help from a mysterious woman with a
few secrets of her own.