How to Build an Underground Vampire Nest
I honestly hadn’t thought about what I’d done until I read a review of Omega (coming out Feb. 5) in the newest issue of RT Book Reviews magazine. The reviewer said, “It takes guts for an author to destroy the setting of her series.”
It was probably more lack of foresight than guts but, yeah, I kind of did. Think grenades and bombs and arson.
When I started the Penton Legacy series, I created a world of vampires and their willingly bonded human familiars in the quasi-fictional town of Penton, Alabama. These vampires have created a harmonic, self-contained community that’s helped them escape the starvation and civil unrest running rampant among the vampire world after a human pandemic vaccine made the blood of vaccinated humans poisonous to vampires. And the starving bureaucrats of the Vampire Tribunal don’t like it. Led by a Bad Guy (because he deserves to be capitalized) named Matthias, they set out to destroy Penton.
I knew from the outset that by the third book, my vampires were going to be forced to flee into a secret underground facility codenamed Omega. In the first book, Redemption, they’re working on the Omega structure. In the second book, Absolution, they have completed it. Now, in Omega—as the name implies—they have to use it. (Can the books be read as standalones? Yes, you need all three to see the big story arc but each book focuses on a different hero and heroine.)
I had no idea what I was getting myself (or, rather, my characters) into. If it were only vampires moving underground, that would be one thing. They don’t have to do annoying things like breathe. Convenient, eh?
Having to accommodate the vampires’ human companions in my little underground kingdom created all kinds of challenges. I found myself doing a lot of research and, inevitably, I ended up frequenting the websites of a lot of, um, shall we say, interesting survivalist types.
So here is my handy Five Considerations for Underground Living, for those who feel they might need at some point to flee beneath the earth for an extended period of time with or without their favorite sexy vampire.
* Air. Unless you’re a vampire, you’ve gotta breathe, right? The vampire who designed Omega (the hero of the book, Will Ludlam) came up with a series of ventilation pipes that stretched up from the facility to the fresh air in a dense wooded area above them. The pipe openings are narrow enough to be easily camouflaged. Inside the facility was a filtration system for air and…
* Water. Pesky humans have to drink, too. In this case, water is pumped in from a natural spring. The spring is what dictated the location of the facility. There are a series of rooms in the octopus-shaped Omega structure dedicated to the water and air filtration systems and…
* Lights. Vampires can see pretty well in the dark, but humans…not so much. A series of battery-operated generators provide power, although they use as little as needed. The vampires have also gone shopping and stripped every Lowe’s and Home Depot in a hundred-mile radius of fluorescent lanterns.
* Food. This is the easiest one, of course. The humans feed the vampires, and there’s an enormous supply of non-perishable food on the market. In this one instance, in fact, the humans are better off than the vampires; the vamps outnumber the humans (imagine that—not so many humans wanted to move underground), so what humans there are have to feed more than one.
* Bodily functions. You know, I realized as I was writing this book that very few books—especially romance books—make much use of a bathroom other than for shower scenes (and yeah, I’m quite fond of those myself). But when you’re moving underground, waste disposal is an unpleasant but necessary consideration. Let’s just say we dealt with it, my vampires and I, and not go into the land of TMI.
There were other considerations, of course. How big would the structure have to be to accommodate thirty vampires and humans? Fifty? A hundred? How would they be able to come and go without being seen? How long could they stay down there before going stir-crazy?
Well, you get the idea. Was it gutsy to destroy the place the series was named for? Well, you know the saying—it’s the people that make a town, not the buildings.
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What’s the most unusual setting you’ve found in a book?
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Penton Vampire Legacy, Book 3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication: February 5, 2013
Number of pages: 328
Word Count: approx. 88,000
The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance.
Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within.
Fans of Susannah Sandlin's Penton Legacy are sure to devour this long-awaited third installment of the steamy paranormal series.
The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin
Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.
A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.
To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781612183541