Pretty When She Kills
The History of the Trilogy
By Rhiannon Frater
As a writer I like to challenge myself. I like to take the path not taken, or twist things around in genres that go against the normal tropes or stereotypes. I did this with the AS THE WORLD DIES zombie trilogy, when I wrote about two female protagonist and had a blast doing it. I also had fun mucking around with the zombie genre in THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING: A FUTURISTIC ZOMBIE NOVEL.
In many ways the PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES trilogy is my most rebellious work. I had been searching for a truly gritty vampire novel for awhile, but instead kept finding stories about hunky, angtsy vampire men looking for the perfect mortal woman to make them human again. Annoyed that I couldn't find the sort of book I wanted to read, I deliberately set about writing a story that I knew might chaff at some people because I was not going to play by the rules from the start. I wanted to return to the violent vampires of legend, blow apart paranormal romance norms, and bring vampires to my home state of Texas in a new dynamic way.
Born out of a dream, the first book, PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES, is the story of a woman who is not a perfect protagonist by any definition. Amaliya tends to run away from her troubles, is easily manipulated, and not always very smart. With her dyed black hair, tattoos, piercings, and occasionally snarly attitude, she's solidly not a mainstream girl. Add in the fact that she sleeps with three different men during the course of the book, has no problem becoming the "other woman" in a love triangle, and actually likes being a vampire, and you have a character that few readers are surprised they even like.
Amaliya is not the only character breaking rules. Cian, the male vampire protagonist, takes a path that contradicts to the one traveled by most of his counterparts. Samantha, his chirpy fiance, is a blond bundle of perky determination eager to save him from Amailya, and not the angry villainous girlfriend. The vampire hunter, Jeff, is a dorky bookstore owner that wears shorts and flip-flops even though he has a prosthetic leg. Meanwhile, there is plenty of violence, gore, and zombies for the horror fans, a splash of vampire sex, and a whole lot of mayhem.
It's exactly the book I wanted to read, but I kind of boned myself. Though PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES came out in 2008, it would take almost two and a half years for it to find its audience.The book was so counter to everything that was popular with vampires at that times readers were upset not to find another Twilight book lurking in its pages. It wasn't until the TV show True Blood lured people back to dangerous vampires that my novel finally caught people's attention.
Last year the cries for the sequels became surprisingly thunderous. My Inbox, IM's and Ask the Author section of my website were filled with queries about the promised sequel PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS. The sales of the first novel finally became brisk enough to show that it had finally found its audience, and bloggers began to positively review the novel much to my surprise.
I commissioned the artwork for the second book from Claudia McKinney of Phat Puppy Art in October of 2011 and did a cover reveal in November. Encourage by the excitement of the fans of the first book, I plunged into the second novel with my eye squarely on the third and final installment.
In many ways I feel like the PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES trilogy is my wayward child. It plays by its own rules and isn't for everyone. In PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS the world expands to encompass more characters and sets a course to the chilling conclusion in the third book, PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS. Amaliya is still at the center of the storm, but other characters, like Samantha, take on a larger role. New characters are introduced, quite a few characters die, and nothing is quite as it seems. It again goes against the grain, but I think it delivers for the fans of the original novel.
So what does the future hold? PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS will be out sometime in 2013. I also have a novella in the same world featuring some of the supporting cast also slated for early 2013. The covers are being planned, and I have a solid idea of how the trilogy will come to its end.
It's been a fun ride with this trilogy and I hope that readers will enjoy my bloody take on modern day vampires in Texas.
Thank you so much Rhiannon for this awesome Guest Posting! For my followers, there is a giveaway that goes along with this post.
THE GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY
Ashley's post is now up at The Bookish Brunette. It contains the grand prize giveaway (including pictures), so please link to it.