Exile in Darkness
by Annalisa Carr Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Heritage and magic matter to the London covens.
Aristocratic witch, Isabella Pethany, has heritage but not magic.
Underworld powerbroker, amnesiac vampire Maldit, has magic but no heritage.
Lukas Sindis, coven sorcerer and famous psychopath, has both.
Isabella knows her null magic status makes her an embarrassment to her family, but since Natalie, her sister, was murdered, she is all they have left. Guilt makes her willing to do almost anything to compensate for her lack of value, but her grandmother’s proposal to match her with Lukas, in an attempt to bring strong magic back to their bloodline, is a step too far.
When Maldit rescues a strange witch from hunting vampires, his main concern is to limit trouble in his territory. Everyone knows witches are troublesome, and this one is no exception. Her proximity slashes through his damaged memory, allowing him to catch glimpses of his forgotten past.
Drugs have suppressed Lukas’s magic for almost twenty years, filling him with a reservoir of trapped power. When he escapes, his magic flies free, washing over Maldit and Isabella, and clearing away the spells paralysing both of them.
The dark secrets of the London coven are about to explode into the light of day.
“What do you think you’re doing?” As soon as they were in the taxi, Daisy started on her.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Isabella folded her arms, hunched her shoulders and huddled in her corner of the back seat.
“Don’t lie to me. You let that vampire kiss you. Are you insane?” Spiralling strands of pale hair rose like a halo around Daisy’s face. “And he came to your house. He knows where you live.”
“Your ponytail’s coming undone.”
“Isabella!” Daisy’s voice rose to a screech.
“I like him.” She hadn’t even reached the stage of admitting it to herself yet. Daisy was a pain in the ass. Isabella had never understood how such loud noises emerged from such a small person.
“He’s a vampire.”
“A vampire, Izzy. The same species you just told me killed your sister. What happens if he bites you again? What happens if you get addicted? What if—”
Daisy blew out an impatient breath. “I can see he’s absolutely gorgeous. Those cheekbones… I’d like to paint him, but for goodness sake, Izzy. You kissed him.”
“All right. I get what you’re saying.” Daisy’s rapidly rising voice made her head ache. “But he’s not like that. And he might help find out who killed Natalie. I need to know.”
“So you’ll see him again? Even if he’s likely to kill you?”
“He’s not going to kill me. He saved my life and anyway, like I said, it might as well be him as Lukas Sindis.”
“And what do expect to get from him? That kiss wasn’t about your sister. Are you looking for a fling?”
“Vampires don’t do sex. Remember? Xenobiology level 1? They bite.”
Annalisa Carr lives in the English Lake District, where she shares a view of the fells with three cats. She spent the early part of her life working as a protein crystallographer, a job she found fascinating. She now spends her time writing, in a variety of genres. Science Fiction, fantasy and fantasy romance are her favourites.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve been a scientist most of my life. As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut and explore outer space, but unfortunately (or fortunately, as I’m claustrophobic), I never managed it. Because of this yearning for the stars, I started out writing science fiction and very bad space opera, before moving on to fantasy and paranormal romance. As Annalisa Carr, I’ve published a PNR trilogy with Soul Mate Publishing. Exile in Darkness is my second self-published novel. The first was a return to science fiction (dystopian).
Where were you born/grew up?
I was born in Cumbria, on the edge of the English Lake District, and lived there until I was eighteen. I studied in Scotland, at Edinburgh University, and after that, I worked in London, Oxford and Cambridge. I’m back in Cumbria now – combining consultancy work with writing.
What are you passionate about these days?
I feel very strongly that we (as a species) need to rethink our attitude to the world we live in. At the moment, we only have one planet, and we should care for it. It’s not just down to governments, everyone has a responsibility. I think our way of life has to change, or it will change for us while we aren’t looking. Maybe I’ve been reading too many post-apocalyptic novels (and trying to write them), but we have a beautiful world and we should all try to keep it that way.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I find it worryingly easy to relax. The problem is getting back up to speed. In theory, I run, swim and dance, but in practice, I like to lie on the sofa with my cats, reading novels and eating chocolate.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I don’t drive. It’s probably more common to be a non-driver in the UK than it is in the US, but it’s still unusual. I’ve always travelled by public transport and have rarely found it a problem. Occasionally I reconsider my carless status and wonder if I should change it. So far, I’ve not bothered.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Perched on the sofa, procrastinating. I hope I’d manage to fit something good into the day, but...
What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote the second chapter of Exile in Darkness for a competition, and then left it alone for a long while, almost forgetting about it. In the gap years, I wrote my PNR trilogy. When I found myself wondering about what had happened to the characters in Exile in Darkness, I came back to it, and wrote a first draft. When I rewrote and edited, a large cast of secondary characters emerged. Many of them are clamoring for their own story.
Who designed your book covers?
Fiona Jayde designed the covers of my Soul Mate books, and I love them. My sister, Helen Dunning, does the covers of my self-published books and I think she does an amazing job.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m sure I would change many things. A book never feels complete to me, and I could carry on revising it forever. I think I share this feeling with many authors. I try not to think about it.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have a contemporary romance, the first complete novel I wrote (and it shows), which is now completely dated. I also have two fairly recent complete novels sitting on my computer nagging at me. One is a cozy paranormal romance (I’m not sure whether it’s so cozy it’s boring), and the other is the sequel to my dystopian novel. I have a complete regency novella (but I’m not happy with it), and a steampunk novella (lots of things I’d change in it). I have two first drafts of space operas written (I quite like them, but they both need serious rewrites), as well as a plethora of partially written books.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t wait. Start writing now. Write what you would like to read.
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