by Shayne Leighton
Harry Potter has graduated Hogwarts and Bella and Edward have their white picket fence, their shiny car, their baby, their walk off into the *glittering* sunset, and their happily ever after.
Can we try…a young girl raised by an ancient vampire in a country that YA literature rarely talks about, the Czech Republic? A country which is magical in its own right for its sprawling forests, mysterious, violent history, its legendary castles and architecture, and its deeply-rooted culture. They say Prague is the most haunted city in the entire world, and in my opinion, the perfect place for (what I'm hoping is) the next, big YA fantasy series.
Granted, this is some serious wishful thinking for a twenty-year-old debut author. But hey, a girl can dream. :-)
Of Light and Darkness has been a story that I've been working on for the last five years. I began writing when I was in my second year of high school at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts and was inspired by my wild, weird imagination. I wanted to answer questions like, "What if magic existed in this world?", and "What would it be like if people were creatures and magical powers were a day-to-day thing?"
Suddenly, I was assigning different creature-aliases to real people in my life. The security guard on the train was an ogre. My math teacher was a witch, and so on. It was enough to make me want to pick up a pen and write!
It has been a long road, but I am so excited to release my debut, Of Light and Darkness to readers! I realize Vampire stories are absolutely saturating the bookshelves right now, but I believe my story absolutely stands apart from the others. It's got things like giant half-spiders, fire-throwing elves, and a love story that will have you feeling just a little guilty for rooting for it. (I hope!)
Here's a short excerpt from Of Light and Darkness:
She heard these last words despite the rushing, like a flash flood through a hollow tunnel that was submerging her. “I love you” rang out so saliently as the rest of her dark world seemed to evanesce into hell. The hissing, the screaming, the pain. And “I love you.” She kept hearing it over and over again until she realized she was speaking the words herself. Too weak to yell it, so it came out in a whisper. “I love you.” She hoped he could hear the thing she wanted to scream to the world. “I love you.” She said for the last time before she melted into oblivion.
Like any other debut author, I'm very nervous about how readers will take to my story that I feel so passionately about, but I'm definitely hoping for the best!
Of Light and Darkness is participating in Decadent's YA blog tour beginning June 1st! I hope those of you reading this will follow, because it's sure to be a good time and includes all of the other fantastic YA Decadent titles!
I can't wait for the feedback (good and bad) and I'd love to thank the amazing Decadent editors that taught me so much and made this story shine! Love to Barbara Sheridan, Terry Bruce, Ansley Blackstock, and of course Lisa and Heather!
More than excited!