Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Jeri Smith-Ready | Heart is Where the Home is

May 6, 2008

Thanks so much for having me as a guest at Fresh Fiction. I’m thrilled to be here!

For me, knowing where a character hails from is an essential part of figuring out what makes them tick. This background—the place and time—is especially vital for the vampire characters in my new novel, WICKED GAME (Pocket Books, May 13). My vamps are psychologically and culturally stuck in the era in which they were ‘turned,’ making them walking, stalking time capsules (and perfect for their jobs as disc jockeys at WVMP, The Lifeblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll).

WICKED GAME’s hero Shane McAllister, for example, was born in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1968. He was just a boy when the steel mills closed, collapsing the city’s economy. Shane’s own family fell into poverty and despair. Growing up poor made him tough and pessimistic, but it also gave him a core of compassion and understanding.

The oldest vampire DJ, blues musician Monroe Jefferson, hails from Natchez, Mississippi. He grew up in a place and time governed by Jim Crow laws, which institutionalized racial segregation. Even now, he’s extremely cautious around the heroine of WICKED GAME, since in Monroe’s day in the Deep South, a black man could be lynched for the so-called “crime” of having a friendly conversation with a white woman.

Some people deliberately reject their place of origin. Regina, the punk/Goth vampire DJ, comes from a farming community in Saskatchewan. At age eighteen, she left town to hit the music scenes in London, New York, and LA, and she never looked back. A vicious vampire no one dares to cross, Regina defies the stereotype of the ‘nice Canadian.’

Being from nowhere can affect one’s personality, too. The human heroine, con artist Ciara Griffin, spent her childhood on the road with her parents’ fake ‘miracle show.’ This life of wandering made her leery of commitment and reluctant to settle into a steady job or relationship. But maybe deep down, Ciara secretly wants to belong somewhere, with someone.

Do your favorite characters embrace or reject their backgrounds? What about you–how does your home (in place and time) affect who you are as a person?

Thanks again for having me!


Photo Credit Copyright 2006 Szemere Photography

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