Today, I want to talk a bit about my books, The Turning vampire series, about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, a bit about how God is involved, and I want to answer some of the comments made by readers who’ve read The Turning.
I wrote The Turning vampire series back in 2009 when I had a lot of free time and there was all the hype about Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. I read Twilight and I liked it. I read New Moon and it was okay. At the end, when the perspectives changed from Bella to Jacob, I totally got lost and didn’t like it at all. I scanned through Eclipse and the humungous end book, Breaking Dawn, but I didn’t read them thoroughly as I did the first book. I actually stopped reading halfway through Eclipse. I didn’t understand why there needed to be a change in perspectives. For two whole books, the point of view had always been Bella’s in first person. Why change it now? Jacob was in Twilight. Why not had his point of view inserted from the beginning? And Jacob isn’t even the “hero” of the book. Bella’s the damsel in distress and Edward is supposed to be the hero, so why not had Edward’s point of view instead? It was all too confusing. And from there, I wanted to read a vampire series that was better than Twilight. Since I couldn’t find one, I created my own.
The Turning vampire series isn’t Twilight fan fiction. It’s not based on the unrealistic world of Twilight and their sparkly vampires. No. It’s better in many ways that Twilight can’t even touch on. I started out wanting to write something better, and what I ended up with was a world where characters wrote their own stories and taught me lessons on life and love and on being human.
Marisa starts out a bit like Bella, because my idea was that I could have a main character like Bella, but only so much better. I was horribly arrogant at the time that I wrote The Turning and I have to say that I didn’t really create Marisa–she created herself. I made her shy and awkward, but she quickly taught me that she wasn’t Bella and she was her own person. She wasn’t afraid of life. She was afraid of being alone, like she always had been. And that loneliness was the only thing that made her shy and awkward. If not for that, she would’ve found a way to conquer the world without being a vampire.
The Turning vampire series spans a total of ten books written between 2009 and 2012. The first four books were written in one month, each 300+ page book taking a total of a week to write longhand because all I did was eat, sleep for a few hours, and write all day, every day. My first drafts were insane. When I get really excited, I write very, very super tiny. The most I can fit into one regular ruled line on notebook paper is nine lines–nine sentences! (I will scan and upload an image of my longhand writing for everyone to see! Below, is a different story I wrote on unlined paper. It is 246 lines on regular 8 1/2″ by 11″ printer paper. And yes, I can read my own handwriting, even something that small. ^_^ )
It was incredible to have written these books. I couldn’t have done it on my own. And I credited God to actually being the one who wrote the series. Most Christians tell me that God doesn’t write vampire novels. And I tell them that they underestimate the power of God. He created everything. Vampire novels are not more powerful than God that He can’t write them. I am a Christian. And although unexpected, The Turning vampire series does have remnants of Christianity inserted into them. It’s not intentional. I don’t categorize the series as being Christian and I don’t market it as a Christian romance novel. (It’s actually more erotica once you hit the second novel. And apparently, sex is taboo for Christians because you will not find Christian erotica anywhere! *lol* ^_^ )
The books were not meant to be categorized into something that makes people read them and find it an ideal way to believe, or worse, to worship them. I don’t have better words at the moment to express my feelings. I think they can be summed up in the underlying theme of the series and of how The Turning vampire novels taught me what humanity is like through the eyes of monsters: we all have great evil in us and we all will fail at one point in time or another to that darkness, but what makes us human is the ability to overcome that, in even the smallest measurement of simply living and continuing to live in love with ourselves and with each other.
I’m sure many people don’t understand that sentence, as I’m not totally sure I understand all of it myself, but The Turning vampire series is a story, a world I was blessed to see and capture in words to share. If people can learn something from the novels that helps them better themselves and their lives, then I’m happy for that. But, the novels themselves are not something that people should look towards to find God in because there’s only one book where we can find Him: the Bible. I don’t want people to misunderstand the reasons of me saying that God wrote the vampire books because He did, but people should not worship a creation instead of the Creator. It is wrong.
Back to my novels. ^_^
Whereas Twilight taught young girls and women how important it was to have a boyfriend and do everything for him, The Turning taught people how important it was to have a family and to protect them.
Marisa lost her parents in a horrible car accident where she almost died too. In a flash, her whole world changed. Although her relationship with her parents were by no means the Brady bunch, she’s a young girl who has some issues of her own like any other normal teenager. And what she wanted most wasn’t a boyfriend, but a family and a place where she belonged.
When she met the Arromanovokzjas, the vampire brothers, she wasn’t some human who mysteriously won the vampire lotto for being picked to fall in love with instead of becoming food–she was a vampire, but one not yet turned. Their interest in her wasn’t that she needed someone to save her from her miserable, boring, mundane life, but that she could become a threat at any time to the humans in the town where they lived. A vampire’s turning was considered a most dangerous event in which the one who is being turned is potentially more dangerous than the ones already turned. Their interest in her was to keep the town safe and to keep her from killing everyone, at the risk of their own lives. Every vampire’s turning is different with two things in common: death and blood, and Marisa’s turning was going to be no exception. But knowing that she had no one else alive and no idea of the life she was going to have to lead, they made the decision to save a whole town for the greater good by asking her to join them so they can watch over her turning.
Marisa is by no means the helpless damsel in distress. Impatient for someone to save her, she does most things by herself, even if she ends up making things much worse than they were before. But no matter how many times she’s fallen and she’s given up, she gets back up and she fights. She doesn’t fight to save Alessander, the oldest, whom she loves. She fights to keep the new family that she became a part of. The only reason why Marisa even considered romantic love was because love was the only bond stronger than the bond formed between a vampire and their Maker, the one who turned them. And in order for the vampire who left her for dead to believe that she is dead, she had to form a bond strong enough to not call her Maker to her.
One of the things that I didn’t like about Twilight was how it approached the subject matter of love. It is a romance novel and I’ve actually read more than enough romance novels who do this same exact thing–they teach people that love is an automatic feeling between two people who don’t even know each other. Love is far from that.
Marisa doesn’t automatically fall irrevocably in love with a vampire because he’s so mysterious and he ignores her like how Bella fell in love with Edward, which makes no sense at all because he totally ignored her and Bella became a crazy stalker who gets kind of creepy and waits for him even when he doesn’t show up at school. That’s not love. That’s obsession. It’s unhealthy. It’s ridiculous to teach girls that it’s okay to throw yourself at a guy who doesn’t want you, even if deep down inside, he really does but he doesn’t show it. That’s like telling people in abusive relationships that it’s okay to stay and be abused because their significant other really loves them. That is the worse thing to teach girls and women and it’s sad that many, many romance novels repeat this theme over and over again. That is not love. And it is not an okay way to treat people, men and women alike.
Marisa made a choice to fall in love and that choice was to save them all from a threat bigger than a turning–the Streigos. (The Streigos are a different type of vampire that have actual gargoyle like bodies and wings. They’re what vampires call “monsters”.) She doesn’t take a look at Alessander and thinks he’s sexy so she wants to be with him. No. That’s ridiculous. She doesn’t even know him!
Alessander taught Marisa about love and boundaries, something that many people need to know about. She needed a way to stop the automatic linking between her and the Streigos who killed her first family to stop him from killing the new family that she now had. And romantic love in all its awesomeness was something stronger than that link. She chose to love Alessander, albeit, she’s a bit wrong in her approach because she doesn’t think things through, but she made the choice after considering all three of her brothers–Alessander, Demetri, and Ra’vin. She didn’t blindly fall in love, she considered her options and chose what was best for her and her family.
Love doesn’t work for most people because people have an unrealistic expectation of what love is. That unrealistic expectation is that there’s an automatic attraction and feeling that will last them through decades of marriage. Love isn’t a feeling. Love is a choice. We choose to love someone. And that choice is what carries us through decades of commitment and honor and working together on a relationship.
One of the things that my readers have commented on was the dynamics of the switch in personalities between Alessander and Demetri. One moment, either one of them can be dark and brooding and the next moment, either one of them can be happy and nice. It was commented that their personalities mixed in too much with each other and they didn’t distinguish themselves as being one-dimensional (either dark and brooding or friendly and happy for example).
Granted, Demetri made the attempt to be nice to Marisa which led him to actually getting to know her. In letting down his walls, he became a better person towards her. But, in defense of Alessander and Demetri and their changing characteristics, I honestly don’t know a single person that is one-dimensional. I’ve never met or known a single person who is so miserable all of the time that everything around them dripped in the excruciating pain of their misery. Or I’ve never met and known a single person who was happy and cheerful all of the time despite how horrible their circumstances may be. Real people are not one-dimensional characters. They have weaknesses and flaws and the Arromanovokzjas are no exception. Their personalities are multifaceted and they have weaknesses and flaws as well.
Ra’vin isn’t even happy all of the time. His personality is only stable because he’s young and Alessander made that known to Marisa when they made the choice to watch over her turning. He specifically told her the reason why Ra’vin was the way that he was–optimistic and hopeful, and it was because while Ra’vin hopes in a future that is bright, Alessander and Demetri have lived and seen human suffering and seen wars and death and blood and they know the truth that hope is a luxury for the young who can afford it because they have not yet suffered the truth of the reality that life is not always kind. And that is the reason why Ra’vin is hopeful and optimistic and almost childlike in his ways. Alessander and Demetri have shielded him from both the vampire world and the human world so what he knows is limited to their love and protection of him.
I also understand that there is confusion where Marisa has the hallucinations that look like Alessander and Demetri, but they aren’t her brothers. The Turning vampire series was all written in first person through Marisa’s point of view. It was written in a specific way so that the reader understands what she understands. With that being said, she doesn’t understand why these things are happening to her. She doesn’t understand how she learned how to stop time if the real Alessander and Demetri didn’t teach her that. The hallucinations play a pretty big role in the story and their roles will be revealed later on as Marisa progresses in her life’s journey. As she comes to understand their meaning and why they’re there with her, the reader then also understands and can look back and connect to all the times that things were confusing and can see how all of it makes perfect sense.
I want to say that I am not smart enough to link something in the first novel, The Turning, to something two or three books down the series because I really would’ve forgotten about it by then. My memory is terrible.
Spoiler alert: there’s one sentence that Marisa comments to Mrs. Brukenheimer during her enrollment at school that I overlooked and didn’t realize had any meaning at all until around the sixth novel being written where it mentions the significance of that one sentence. When asked if Marisa had any family, she commented that her grandparents have died on both sides of the family and she was an only child. She remarked that she had an aunt Margaret who is somewhere in Africa, trying to convert the local natives to Christianity and she’s never seen or heard from this aunt since she was born. Margaret shows up somewhere around maybe book five (Knotted Remains)? I’m not sure, but she’s definitely in the sixth novel (Shadow War–coming soon although I’m typing up the fourth one, Loose Ends, into the computer now). When Marisa made that comment and I wrote it down, I was unaware of the importance of what she she said. I presumed it was just some casual way of trying to not get in trouble while wanting to get her high school diploma, but there were forces at work that day to initiate and prepare a remarkable story that I didn’t even know about when I started writing the novels.
I’m revealing this spoiler because I honestly cannot take credit for the incredible world of vampires in this series. I started writing with the intention of creating something I wanted to read, and instead, I was given the opportunity to see a world and to chronicle it not only for myself, but for others to enjoy too. In the end, everything will make sense and for all the people who’ve read The Turning and might’ve been confused as to Marisa’s kind of schizo personality and hallucinations, the end takes everything from the beginning and shows the reader exactly why things happened and for what reasons they happened. The series has a complete ending and I didn’t know that when I was writing the books. I actually wrote, not knowing where the stories were heading or if there was any meaning to anything or an explanation to it all. I was pleasantly surprised that at the very end of it all, everything came together and connected and it all made sense. All my questions (conscious and unconscious) were answered. Not that I’m telling everyone they have to read all ten books to understand what’s going on, but like in life when we don’t understand something, with time, we may come to an understanding of that something once not understood. I’m sure I didn’t make sense there at all! ^_^
Everything that happens in the novels have significance and meaning. I didn’t know that when I wrote them down. The reader doesn’t get to see parts of any of the characters’ past to fill up space and stretch the books to almost 400 hundred pages for no reason. Everything that Marisa learns about her brothers, the vampires, the Nosferatu, the intruders–Heidrick, Anastasia, and Vasila, her new parents–Lillian and Maxwell, the memories of her own past, all have meaning and connections that I didn’t see or think about when I wrote the stories. And all these connections and all these things that makes sense many books later on and ties everything into what I believe is pretty much one big epic fantasy story, is the reason why I believe I truly had help writing this series. I couldn’t have done it without God so my thanks is always to Him first. He is really the one who wrote these books. It wouldn’t have been possible without Him.
It was an incredible pleasure for me to write The Turning vampire series. This isn’t because I’m some awesome author who will be the next famous multimillionaire when people discover how great my novels are, but it’s because I take great joy in these books that has taught me about myself and about many things in life. I really love the characters and their stories and the greatest joy that I have in publishing the series is to share Marisa and her brothers and my love for them with the entire world. That is what makes me happy, that Marisa’s story is told and that people love something that I love as much as I love it. ^_^
Thank you to all the people who read this incredibly long post. And to everyone who has read The Turning or books two and three in the series, Blood Lust and Masquerade, I am proud to share this incredible story and this amazing world with you. Thank you for taking the time to join Marisa and her brothers on their journeys.