Every story seems to have its own unique way of being born. For Phoenix Burning, I had the idea first before the characters: The hero is hunting the heroine’s father. Ivar LeBlanc showed up quickly and let me get to become acquainted with him. The problem was his heroine. Who was she? What was she?
I knew what she wasn’t. She wasn’t a demon or a wizard. For a short while, I tried to convince myself that she was a human, a vampire hunter, but that wasn’t right either. That pretty much left vampire, but that felt wrong, too.
Something started to brush against the edges of my brain, the memory of a horror movie I’d seen as a kid where the vampires didn’t drink blood, but took the life force from their victims. I remembered hearing stories of psychic vampires. But these ideas didn’t feel quite right either. The answer came in seconds. She feeds on sexual energy, tantric energy.
That’s all it took for my heroine to arrive and introduce herself. Phoenix Cahill. And a voice in my head said, “Tantric vampires are born, not made.”
And with that, I knew so much about my heroine—that she was a young vampire, reaching her transition even though in the human world, she was considered an adult. I got some of her background, that she’s close to her parents, that she’s in Los Angeles to become a screenwriter, that her plans have derailed by how quickly her transition from nestling to fledgling had occurred.
I was also intrigued by what she was and how sexual need drove her actions and reactions. Did tantric vampires have the powers of a regular vampire? What about their lifespans? One of the most intriguing questions, though, was how they’d evolved to maximize their survival?
This final question—and its answers—ended up playing a bigger role in the outcome of the story than I’d expected. I love it when my subconscious has a plan.
Movies ended up playing a small, but vital role in Phoenix Burning. Not only does Phoenix write screenplays, but remembering a unique vampire film called Lifeforce pushed me down the path to realization. My favorite vampire movie, though, is probably Lost Boys. I especially love the line at the very end. What’s your favorite paranormal movie or TV show?