Title: The Endangered
Author: S.L. Eaves
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: September 4 2014
Publisher: Zharmae; Imprint is Luthando Coeur
Luthando Coeur is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of The Endangered, by S.L. Eaves on Sept. 4. This is a fast-paced fantasy action tale which shifts between the contemporary urban settings of New York and London. Eaves combines a knack for relatable dialogue with a tremendous premise to bring forth a remarkable piece of writing.
S&D Industries is a prominent pharmaceutical company based in New York. It has, for many years, appeared to exist only for the benefit of humanity, and this year’s chief product seems no different. The company’s CEO, whom we know only as Striden, announces the imminent delivery of a powerful flu vaccine. The true purposes of S&D are anything but philanthropic, however. The newly-engineered drug does not protect against flu. It turns people into werewolves.
The only group which stands a chance of resisting this change is a population of vampires. The foremost of them, who go by the name of The Endangered, are determined to turn back the mass werewolf infestation. Among them are an ambitious rebel named Catch, and Lori, Catch’s newly-turned protege. Catch has brought this treacherous world to Lori’s doorstep and both their worlds are turned upside-down in the process. Secrets are exposed, alliances are formed. Blood is spilled as the vampires must do everything in their power to preserve both their own kind and that of their food supply.
I am the embodiment of hatred, lust, greed, fury, and envy.
Every repulsive trait, every inherent desire repressed; all that is disgraceful and desecrating.
You see in me.
I am the intangible and undeniable craving buried inside yourself that you try to ignore.
But always know deep down it’s there.
And it’s hungry.
I am not your hero.
I am mine.
My grip slipped and I began to fall. My feet hung lifeless.
Then the world fell away into dark sinister obscurity.
And something snapped.
My claws grasped at the ledge and toe of my boot caught a crevice. I shot my body in an upward arch as if propelled by an unknown force.
I flung my body over the roof edge, feet just making the landing. I sprung across to the closing door.
The screams inside the stairwell were deafening.
Maybe that’s why I didn’t hear them.
I was a fever of grief and rage.
And he was in my way.
The cries stopped as the crunching persisted.
Bones shattered and blood spewed from the open wound in his back.
Then there was silence.
I moved quickly past the corpse, stepping on and breaking his crossbow as I did.
He was not my only target. There were many to blame.
There wasn’t enough blood on my hands.
Crina spun with a start as I burst through the stairwell door. If her presence surprised me, my expression didn’t show it. I glanced around. Crina eyed my fist, still clenched around Gavin’s heart.
Blood ran down my arm and dripped on the floor.
“What are you doing here?”
Crina pointed to the comm in her ear. “Sounded like you could use some backup. Frankly, I was already halfway here when I heard you two engage. Jiro managed to get the camera feeds from this building online and we saw Deacon organizing his men.”
She pointed down the hall.
“Are you seeing this? I mean, seriously. Damn. Look at this place. Lab equipment I was expecting, lab rats I was not prepared for.”
The hallway contained numerous cells. None of which were empty.
Bodies; some human, some wolf, some indiscernible.
“They’re testing the virus here. From what I’ve seen, most of the floors are designed for the same purposes.”
Stark white corridors of padded walls and plexiglas.
And nothing alive on either side.
We were standing amidst the answers we’d sought for so long.
And I wanted no part of it.
The heart dropped from my hand and it the floor with a sickening thud.
Some people handle grief well.
I am not one of those people.
The elevator pinged and I darted for its doors.
LC: When writing in crossed over genres, how do you balance the elements of your story between horror and fantasy, or do you feel the need to do so?
SLE: I think some balance is good, but I feel it’s less about balance and more about how effectively and creatively you incorporate elements of each genre. When you’re working within one genre and infusing aspects of another a lot of the cross over happens naturally during the writing process.
When I started writing The Endangered, my goal was to write a vampire story that I’d want to read. While I love horror and fantasy I’m also really into crime fiction and a sucker for a good mystery, so ultimately I set out to blend influences and it opens up so many possibilities. As far as the story goes, the need to balance all the components definitely came into play.
LC: Vampires and werewolves both have any number of established rules and variations. When writing The Endangered, did you ascribe to a particular set of guidelines or make your own?
SLE: Yes, for sure. I tried to stick to the conventions described in traditional mythology and folklore; those the audience has come to expect. However, there are so many tropes associated with vampires and werewolves that if you don’t create rules, then your characters basically become invincible, and readers are less invested because there is nothing that they can’t overcome.
I made an effort to establish certain parameters, limitations so to speak, on their abilities. I wanted to make it clear to readers that these characters had vulnerabilities and felt it important to be consistent when exploiting any strength or weakness of a particular character.
LC: How do you stay focused on your world when writing a longer work like a novel?
SLE: It’s a lot about the mindset, I think. I only write when I have something to say; if it becomes a chore or anything less than inspired, I have trouble focusing and the quality of the writing suffers.
I also wrestle with the storylines in my head for a while before I feel confident putting it on paper, so when I sit down to write I’m at the point where it’s on my mind so much it’s practically irritating me and I have to write it to purge it from my head and move forward.
I also listen to music constantly when I write. I find it helps me stay immersed in the world of the story.
LC: How do you evolve your characters and do they have minds of their own, so to speak?
SLE: When I write a character I try to think ‘What would [such and such] do in this situation? How would they handle conflict, approach situations, etc.?’ And I would often write them in each other’s shoes and see what reaction worked best for the story. Like ‘hey, maybe this character should not be the one to discover this because his reaction wouldn’t work for the plot.’ That sort of thing, so yes I feel they have minds of their own.
In the case of this story, it was initially much more action driven and my focus was on the plot and not the characters or their interactions. When I realized the characters were more evolved in my head than what had made it into the manuscript, I made an effort to develop them further because you want readers to care what happens to them. That is essential. But also the most challenging part. In writing, it is much easier to write what a character does than how a character feels. At least that’s my experience.
LC: In The Endangered, who was your favorite character to write and why?
SLE: Quinn. She is cunning and enigmatic and crazy. I based her off of Harley Quinn from Batman. She was fun to write.
LC: As a reader or a writer, what makes a story really pop for you?
SLE: Unpredictability. As a reader, if you think you know what is going to happen next or how it ends, it is way less enthralling and immersive.
As a writer, the desire to achieve this caused some serious inner turmoil. I had to do what I thought was right to move the story forward in a captivating way to give it that “pop.” And that resulted in some hard decisions.
LC: After writing The Endangered, would you like to work in this world some more or are you off to build other worlds?
SLE: I would. I think there is a lot more to explore. And I am working on a follow up.
I have also been working on a character-driven story set in more of a real world environment, no elements of science fiction or fantasy, but geared towards exposing a different sort of urban underbelly.
LC: What would you tell other aspiring authors about the publishing process?
SLE: Don’t write with the goal in mind of getting published. Write what you love (cliche, I know) and others will recognize the passion behind your words and feel inspired to bring it to the public. You approach it like a job and your writing will suffer.
LC: What is your favorite werewolf movie; favorite vampire flick?
SLE: That’s a tough one. For werewolf I’m going to go with Dog Soldiers because of the film’s depiction of wolves: the transformation and the upright stance is how I envisioned werewolves when writing.
For vampire, I’d say Interview with the Vampire because it does a great job of telling a story, establishing a world and making you care about the characters. I think it was a commendable adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel.
S.L. Eaves is a graduate student at Drexel University, pursuing her MBA in Marketing. She received her undergraduate degree in Film from University of Pittsburgh. While attending Pitt, she took a number of writing courses and earned a certificate in Professional Writing.
Originally from West Chester, PA, she has lived in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis before returning to the Philadelphia area, where she currently resides.
Her professional background is in marketing, primarily in media and publishing industries. She enjoys being in an environment that promotes creativity and challenges her to apply her film and writing skills to generate innovative marketing campaigns.
Outside of writing, she’s an avid sports fan and concert goer who enjoys running and biking in her free time and readily confesses to being bit of a film and television junkie. When home, she’s never without a book in arm’s reach.
The Endangered is her debut novel and is slated to be the first in a new series from Zharmae Publishing Press, with the sequel scheduled for 2015.