In Darkness We Must Abide
Q & A
Q: In Darkness We Must Abide is a supernatural serial. What exactly does that mean? What is a serial?
A: In Darkness We Must Abide is sort of like a television show I’m writing for your brain. A serial used to be a very popular form of literature. It was an ongoing episodic form of storytelling much like popular television shows today. Each part builds on the one before it, creating a very rich story for the readers to enjoy. Serials followed pretty regular schedules for their installments (weekly, biweekly, monthly).
I spent the last two years writing this serial and not that it’s over, I feel very accomplished.
Q: So what genre is In Darkness We Must Abide?
A: In Darkness We Must Abide is gothic horror set in modern times. It has all the classic gothic horror trappings like a big, gloomy mansion, the deep dark secrets, the tormented lovers, and terrifying monsters. It’s an epic tale about a young woman who is caught up in the supernatural world of vampires, werewolves, witches, vengeful goddesses, and ancient prophecies.
Q: This story is a bit different from most of your books though, right?
A: Though it’s still a character-driven tale of horror, and has some truly scary moments, at its heart it is a very tragic sort of love affair between two people who are drawn to each other even though their worlds are tearing them apart. Upon reflection, I can definitely see how my love of Jane Eyre and other gothic romances influenced the central relationship. Armando and Vanora are wounded people that you want desperately to somehow be together, but you’re just not sure if/when/how it might happen.
Q: We only see bits of Armando in the prologues of the first two episodes in the first season before he appears as a central figure in episode three. He instantly became very popular. Why do you think that is?
A: Well, he’s delicious! LOL. Armando is not only very handsome and charming, he’s very complicated. He’s a man of many secrets and conflicting emotions. Though he’s an older vampire (400 years old), he’s eternally 22 years old and has a youthful spark to him. He’s a bit sarcastic, naughty, and playful despite the fact that he’s not all that he seems to be. Armando doesn’t come across as cruel, so I think that adds to his appeal. Yet at the same time, he’s dangerous in that he can totally break Vanora’s heart and possibly betray her to his Master.
Q: Tell us a bit about Vanora, the heroine of the story.
A: Well, we start our journey with her when she’s ten years old and her life is altered forever when her brother has his ancestors from Romania transferred to the mausoleum on their estate in Houston, Texas. Immediately, a chain of events starts that sends her plunging into a very dark world. That being said, not all is bleak, because she has a much older brother and sister who take care of her and love her. They’re a very strong family unit. As season one continues, we see Vanora grow up to be a charming seventeen-year-old on the verge of her adulthood. Of course, that’s about the time when things between her and Armando start to significantly change.
Q: Vanora is an albino. How does that affect her life?
A: Vanora’s albinism affects her life quite a bit. She can’t be out in direct sunlight, she’s legally blind (though her sixth sense powers allow her to “see”), her appearance draws unwanted comments and negative attention, and isolates her a bit from others as she’s growing up. That being said, the difficulties she has to overcome make her a formidable person. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself, though she may not be entirely confident at times. We see her confidence evolve over the course of the serial.
Q: Tartarus, the Elysian Fields, the Fates, and other allusions to Greek mythology are popping up more and more. Is this significant?
A: I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology. I absolutely love it. There are some Greek supernatural characters in the story, so they’re going to address certain paranormal realms or beings according to their belief structure. Also, I liked the idea of maybe all those myths had roots in truth, but over time it was corrupted and changed.
Leto, the She-Wolf, is part of Greek mythology, but who she really is in the story of In Darkness We Must Abide is one of the bigger mysteries.
Q: We finally got a good look at the villain at the end the first season finale. He’s an albino, too, and quite imposing. Does he take on a much bigger role in Season 2 & 3?
A: Aeron takes on a much bigger role in Vanora’s life and we learn about his past and why Vanora is so important to him. It’s not just because he believes she’s a part of his destiny. There is something much more going on beneath the surface that reaches back eons.
Q: So, is there a love triangle?
A: I wouldn’t call it a love triangle. I am always intrigued by the concept of fate. What if fate laid out a future for you that you didn’t want? Could you fight it? Could you change it somehow? The concept of fate is definitely a lynchpin of the story, but so is the idea of defying it.
That being said, Aeron is a brutal man of his time, but there is more to him that meets the eye. I’ll leave it up to the reader to discern if there is a love triangle or not.
Q: Who is your favorite character?
A: I love Vanora, but Armando is my favorite male character of all those I’ve ever written. That say something!
In Darkness We Must Abide
By: Rhiannon Frater
(Excepted from Episode 1)
With his presence still sizzling on her skin and his hazel eyes still haunting her thoughts, Vanora pondered the words that Armando had spoken in his silky Spanish accent.
You must go home, he had said.
Hugging herself, she gazed into the darkness surrounding her, wondering if Armando still lingered in the shadows observing her. That he had sought her out both thrilled and terrified her. When she had first seen him standing on the lighted path of her apartment complex, the mere sight of his enigmatic smile had set her heart aflutter. But now that he had slipped back into the darkness, her heart beat with fear.
Could she go back to Houston and face all she had run from? Could she forget the evils she had beheld on her eighteenth birthday? Could she just abandon the life she had meticulously created for herself over the last two years and return to the mansion that was haunted by death and pain?
You must go home.
Armando’s words echoed in her mind.
Vanora lifted a hand to brush away her white-blond hair and turned to face the dark waters of the swimming pool that glimmered in the moonlight.
To go home meant she would at last cast aside her trepidation and face the monsters of her nightmares. Was she strong enough to do so? Was she strong enough to go home and save the ones she loved?
With a surrendering sigh, she admitted to herself that it was time to return to her childhood home. It was difficult to concede, but her reluctance to return was partially because she feared allowing Armando into her life once more. Though the creatures that dwelled in the darkness were terrifying, it was Armando who surely frightened her.
Only he could truly steal away her heart and soul…
In Darkness We Must Abide
Season 2 Excerpt
By: Rhiannon Frater
Vanora forced her eyes to open, abandoning the nightmare for the real world. The dream still clung to her mind and body. Attempting to sit up, she found herself paralyzed. It felt as if the bands of the nightmare world were keeping her strapped to the mattress, reluctant to release her. It struck her that she could still sense the power of the vampire. Fearfully, her gaze searched the gloom filling the room as she became horrifically aware that the vampire was near.
The door to the bedroom stood ajar. She knew for certain she had closed it when she had gone to bed. Now the darkness beyond the cracked door held the promise of growing danger. When he surreptitiously entered her room, Vanora shuddered at the sight of the pale vampire. His tall, pale, masculine form hesitated as he perhaps realized she was awake. Vanora strove to force her limbs into action, but her body refused to obey. The vampire slunk further into her bedroom, his movements quick and sure, like any predator.
“Rhonda invited me in,” the increasingly familiar deep voice murmured. He glided through the shadows of her bedroom, the moonlight straining through her gauzy curtains illuminating his pale skin.
Vanora willed herself awake, yet the world remained unchanged. Pinned to her bed, she was vividly aware of the approaching vampire. The power emanating from the vampire surged around her. It was wicked and enticing all at once. Cold prickles flowed across her flesh, her skin burned by the icy touch of the vampire’s presence. Vanora lay trapped on her bed, unable to call out or move.
The vampire stopped at the edge of the mattress, staring down at her. She could see that he was bare chested, his long legs clad in black leather. White hair fell in waves over his shoulders. Kneeling on the bed with slow, seductive movements, his face drew terrifyingly near, the purple fire of his eyes bright in the darkness. The light of the moon glinted off the silvery strands of his goatee.
“You don’t yet know who I am, and that’s how it should be. I need you to wait for me. Wait for the time when we can be together. Yet, I cannot resist seeing you just this once.”
Vanora strained to speak, but her lips remained frozen. Only her eyes were blessed with movement. The vampire lowered his head, tilting it so that his face disappeared into the gloom. He was so close, she felt as if her heart would stop from fright. Yet, the darkness within her craved to hold him close to her trembling body. That realization terrified her even more than the vampire.
“You look so frightened. There’s no need to be,” he whispered. “I would never hurt you.”
One of his hands caressed her face gently. It was the strong hand of a warrior and it felt soothingly wintry against her fevered face. As his fingertips traced her lips, her terror began to dissolve.
What was happening to her?
The bliss sweeping through her limbs untethered her body. Raising her hand, Vanora caught the vampire by the wrist. Beneath her unsteady grip, she could feel his incredible strength. His long body settled over her like a cloak, trapping her beneath him. His face was so close to hers, his lips brushed lightly over her chin and mouth as he spoke.
“We belong together, Vanora.”
“No,” she protested, finding her voice. It sounded shrill.
He slid a hand through her hair affectionately. “I love your hair. It’s so long and white. Like mine.”
“Please, let me be,” Vanora gasped. She couldn’t abide the sensations his touch created within her. It was a betrayal of all she held to be true.
“Don’t be afraid, Vanora. My little white witch. My love.”
The vampire’s mouth captured hers in an ardent kiss.
A dark essence flowed out of the depth of her soul, filling her with desire. It screamed with triumph, free at last. Vanora felt the great wings of her power reach out to embrace the vampire. Everything within her cried out for him. She was complete in his arms. Whole at last. Not lost, but found.
Vanora lost herself in his kiss. His lips and tongue were so cold against the warmth of her mouth. The sharp tips of his canine teeth raked her tongue, but she didn’t care. He was hers and she was his. Tangling one hand in his hair, she wrapped her legs around him, relishing his weight between her thighs. Dragging her other hand down his back, she felt the muscles beneath his smooth white skin.
“You feel it,” the vampire whispered against her mouth.
“Yes,” Vanora panted.
Trapped within the web of their joined power, she invited the seductive touch of the vampire. His hand gripped her thigh, pulling her hard against the erection straining beneath the leather of his trousers. It was then that she felt something hard against her shoulder blade. It was cool metal. Distracted by the sensation, she tilted her face from the vampire. His mouth descended to her throat, lightly biting her, but not drawing blood. Through the haze of desire, she realized the bit of metal was her cross.
The wicked carnality she had felt at his kiss began to fade as Vanora concentrated on the discomfort of the cross pressing into her skin. It warmed, pulsating beneath her. Mentally shoving away the sinister force enveloping her emotions, she struggled to regain her sense of self. The cross became unbearably hot, slashing through the vampire’s seduction.
Vanora’s mind came sharply into focus as her body numbed to the vampire’s ardor. Their mingled auras no longer felt like salvation, but slavery. Her heart and soul cried out for Armando, and she felt sullied by the touch of the vampire.
“Wait,” she whispered, pressing him away.
The growl that emanated from the vampire was terrifying. His hands tightened possessively on her body.
“Help me,” she said, thinking rapidly. She took hold of the top of her pajamas.
The vampire chuckled, gripped the fabric and yanked the tank top over her head. As it came free, Vanora caught hold of the chain of her necklace, yanked the cross forward, grasped it in one hand, and shoved the silver pendant against his skin.
Q. How did the idea of your story come to you?
A. I honestly don’t remember. I believe it was in a dream. I originally conceived the story when I was a teenager and wrote the first draft long, long ago. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I found the manuscript on my hard drive that I decided to rewrite it.
Q. Do you ever add new character to your series? If so is it hard?
A. I add new characters all the time. I don’t feel it’s hard. As the world view of the primary character expands, it’s only natural for her to meet new people. In other words, as Vanora becomes an adult and her experience grows, so does the cast of characters.
Q. Who is your favorite character to write for?
A. Well, in this series Vanora was the primary character and I loved writing about her. But there is a secondary character that shows up later in the trilogy that was just a blast to write. He’s such a jerk.
Q. How many books do you plan writing for this series?
A. There are three complete books. I’m really excited to finally have the story told in its entirety. There’s no waiting for the new readers. They can read straight through.
Q. Do you have any say in your cover formats and design?
A. Since these books were indie published and not through my publishers, I was able to collaborate with my husband. He did all the artwork on the covers. It was very exciting to see him take my ideas and create the final versions.
Q. What was the easiest scene you've written?
A. The last scene in the trilogy was the easiest because I always knew that was where the story was headed.
Q. Is "In Darkness We Must Abide" the only books you've written?
A. I have twenty-four other books published. There are two complete trilogies (As The World Dies, Pretty When She Dies), two in progress series (The Last Bastion of the Living, The Tale of the Vampire Bride), and a few standalones and short story compilations. I’m pretty prolific.
Q. Do you have any writing habits?
A. I stare into space a lot.
Q. What are your steps after writing a draft?
A. I revise multiple times. The first revision is after I read the first draft. The second is after the beta readers get back to me with their notes. Then I listen to the manuscript using a text to speech program, and revise again. Some books have up to six or seven revisions.
Q. Use three words to describe "In Darkness We Must Abide"?
A. Romantic supernatural thriller
In Darkness We Must Abide
A Supernatural Serial is Born
At the end of 2012, I stumbled across an old manuscript lurking in the badlands of my hard drive. I was shocked to unearth the story, having forgotten I had it converted to Word years ago from my old word processing format. For years I had considered it trunked and lost somewhere in the storage in the garage. Opening the file, I rediscovered a story I had sank most of my heart and soul into a very long time ago when I was just starting to write horror novels.
In Darkness We Must Abide was my first full-length original work. I spent hours at my old typewriter creating the first draft of the manuscript. Later, I bought a word processor and retyped the entire manuscript, saving it onto floppy discs. Yes, this was a long time ago!
As I read over my old work, I realized several things. One, I still absolutely loved the two primary leads, Armando and Vanora; and two, the story was solid, but needed some revision. I was very young when I wrote the story, inexperienced in life, love, and long lasting relationships, and this clearly showed. Also, I was under immense pressure from people in my life to write something “nice and normal,” so I struggled quite a bit with certain themes in the story. Reading over the manuscript, I saw exactly the changes I needed to implement to make it a stronger, vibrant read. I set it aside, considering reworking it into a trilogy.
Later, I began toying with the idea of doing a serial. My most popular trilogy, As The World Dies, was originally written as an online serial, and I’d missed the immediate feedback that came with the release of each new part. I had an idea for a whole new fresh work, but was intimidating by having to fit it into my already overloaded writing schedule. Then I saw an article about taking an old manuscript and converting it into a serial. Instantaneously, I knew that In Darkness We Must Abide was the perfect story to be converted into a serial. It was already divided into three distinct parts and it was huge! In fact, one of the reasons I couldn’t sell the book in its old form was that it was one massive book that far exceeded the word count limits of most publishers.
I instantly divided the first third of the story into the five episodes that make up season one. Extremely nervous, I started the revision process with the intention of each part reading like a television show in the reader’s mind. I was shocked at how easily the story fell into an episodic format, but was thrilled at the same time. Also, the voices of the characters readily reawakened in my mind, much to my relief.
In my youth, I had made several big mistakes. When a test reader had an adverse reaction to my lead character being an albino, I altered her appearance. I even changed her name to something I thought sounded fancier. When I started revising, the first thing I did was give Vanora her name back and restore her albinism. I had robbed my lead character of an important part of not only her physical appearance, but her life experience as an albino. I also embraced all the themes I had skirted around in the earlier drafts, out of fear of criticism.
Side note: Humorously, I spent a lot of time trying to avoid overt sexual themes out of fear of offending my mother. This is the same woman who would later call me up to tell me how much she loved the sex scenes in Pretty When She Dies because they were “hot.”
When I finally sent the first episode off to my beta readers, I was terrified. How would they react to a gothic horror novel I had conceived so long ago? When the rave reviews started flowing in, I was so relieved. My story had officially risen from the grave.
As a writer, it was a challenge to give the readers something they can enjoy in small increments, but also instills in them the desire to read the next episode. I did significant rewriting of the original work and the third season is completely new. The immediate feedback was also a great way for me to gage what was working, and what’s not. Because of the mad love for Armando, I expanded his role significantly in the first season.
Now that it’s finished, I can say I enjoyed my serial experience. It was definitely worthwhile digging up In Darkness We Must Abide and sharing it with my readership.
In Darkness We Must Abide
A Modern Supernatural Thriller with a Gothic Romance
By: Rhiannon Frater
In Darkness We Must Abide is a very unique experience for me as a writer. Not only is it a serial with three complete seasons now released as a trilogy, but it’s also a story driven by the relationship between my two leads, Armando and Vanora.
Growing up, I loved gothic romance. Jane Eyre continues to be my all-time favorite novel. I used to gobble up Victoria Holt novels like candy. I loved the complications of a gothic romance. The characters were flawed, but somehow had dynamic chemistry. The endings were not always happy, but the couples were always fascinating to read about. It’s that type of romance I’ve infused into my serial.
Armando and Vanora are not perfect people. Armando is a 400-year-old vampire with many, many secrets. The Spanish vampire is often torn between his service to his mysterious, dangerous vampire Master and the feelings he has for Vanora and her family. Vanora is an albino, and the world is not always kind to her. Orphaned at a young age, she’s been raised by older siblings. To make matters even more complicated, Vanora has inherited her mother’s sixth sense and when she first meets Armando she senses danger. Despite all their difficulties, both characters’ actions are heavily influenced by their feelings for each other, in both good and bad ways.
When our story begins, Vanora is ten years old when her life changes forever, when her brother brings home their ancestors from Romania to be interred at their estate in Houston, Texas. When Roman has one of the old coffins unchanged, he unleashes an evil that threatens not only his life, but that of his two half-sisters, Alisha and Vanora.
A few years later, a mysterious stranger, Armando, enters her life and Vanora develops a mad crush on the charismatic Spanish vampire. All is not what it seems with Armando, and he is a keeper of many secrets that can potentially adversely affect her life. Throughout the first book, we witness Vanora growing up and becoming a strong young woman. By the end, Armando has taken note as well, which leads to the dramatic and heartbreaking events that reverberate through the two sequels
Armando and Vanora are at the core of the story as they face the ultimate evil that’s coming to destroy their lives. As always, the dynamic between the two characters is very intense and their relationship evolves in a way that I believe will make many of the fans happy. Armando is a complicated guy and though people love him, they don’t always trust him. As the story unfolded we get to see into the core of the vampire and his true thoughts and motivations.
The series is filled with elements of horror, adventure, drama, and gothic romance. There may even be a sexy scene or two. Of course, whether or not Vanora and Armando get a happy ending is questionable, but they’re both very determined characters that will fight until the very end.
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You can find her online at:
Amazon Author Page
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com