Hunted by Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk Genre: Paranormal Romance, Alt-History
On the hundredth anniversary of being turned into a vampire, Edith Dorset joins her adopted daughters and their friends at the Heartsong Clan’s annual Live Action Role Play recruitment event where she meets an eager young man named Dan Paxton. His older brother and Hunter, Darren, thinks Dan’s merely chaperoning a trip to a nerd convention, but has no idea he’s partnered with vampires for the weekend.
When Darren discovers Dan missing, he follows the only lead he has to the Heartsong Clan’s residence on Tombstone Row. Edith and Darren’s first meeting is uneasy because he lies his way into the Clan’s house, claiming to be there to play on the side of humans. He’s determined to keep his Hunter instincts in check, rescue his brother, and get it out of there.
An impromptu late-night encounter leads Darren and Edith to come clean with each other about who and what they are. Edith longs to keep Darren and his brother close, although it goes against Clan rules, and Darren is finding it harder than he thought to snuff out Edith and her family. Darren and Edith grow closer as they seek out the truth from her Sire, Mr. Heartsong.
While Darren uses all his Hunter skills to free his brother and be the hero, Mr. Heartsong banishes Edith from the Clan for her behavior towards Darren. No longer having Clan protection, Edith is faced with a terrible choice. Just as Darren returns with Hunter reinforcements, Heartsong and his Clan have vanished, along with Edith and her family. All that remains is a note from Edith, begging Darren to find them. And so, the hunt begins.
“You shouldn’t be down here,” Edith’s voice called from my left.
I turned to face her. “I was just checking on my brother.”
“I’m sure he’s fine. I was hoping we could speak more. It appears we both require little sleep.”
“What about?” I probed.
“We like to get to know our participants.”
I could tell by the ghost of a smile on her lips she didn’t want to just get to know me. She wanted to keep an eye on me. I hadn’t betrayed my orders to her and Danny was loyal enough to the Hunter Academy to keep his mouth shut. Maybe I could use her to get the information I’d coming looking for.
“If you answer some of my questions.”
“I would be happy to. Perhaps the library would be a more comfortable place for a chat than a hallway?” she suggested.
“Lead the way.”
I followed her down the winding staircase and through a short corridor on the left into a large library. They filled the shelves with fewer books than I expected for a group who had been alive for centuries. Some shelves held no books, only trinkets of eras gone by. No pictures lined the walls which sent up red flags in my mind. They were doing everything they could to hide the truth of their existence from the poor suckers asleep two floors up.
“You said earlier you’ve been doing this thing for five years. Are you aware of the rumors about people going missing from the conventions every year?”
I observed her expression. For a split second her eyes widened at my question. Then her face returned to a calm mask. “I hadn’t heard, no. That’s troubling.”
“Some people say it is people that end up here for your little weekend role play. You sure you know nothing about that?”
“All of our participants leave at the end of the weekend. Do you think we keep them here against their will?”
“I don’t know. But, playing at being vampires seems like a good excuse to add to the ranks.”
“If we were real vampires, perhaps.”
She would not let the pretense slip unless I forced her. “Have you ever heard the name Heartsong?”
“Why?” Her voice shook.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’. Tell me about him.”
“I never said…” she trailed off, giving me the opening I needed. Time to get up close and personal.
I closed the gap between us, pulling a short blade from beneath my shirt. She took a step back, bumping into a chair and I had her cornered. My blade came up just below her nose. If she’d been human, her shallow breathing would have fogged the blade. It reflected her face.
“I know what you are. Vampire,” I whispered, my lips centimeters from the cool flesh of her cheek.
She hissed at me like I’d seen in my head, her elongated incisors bared at me. She didn’t attack or try to bite me. Instead, tears fell, leaving damp tracks on her skin. Not the reaction I’d hoped for at all. Anxious energy coursed through my body, begging release. Edith pushed me away with just enough force to make me stumble.
“This is not what you think,” she said and wiped at her eyes.
“So those are fakes, then?” I gestured to her teeth.
“They are real. And you are a very astute man. This weekend is about filling our ranks but we would never harm our guests.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“That is your right but I would hope you are also a reasonable man willing to hear me out.” She pointed to my knife. “I would feel much safer if you laid down your weapon and emptied your pockets.”
“Not gonna happen.”
Sarah Biglow is a USA Today Bestselling author of cozy mysteries, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. She is a licensed attorney and spends her days combating employment discrimination as an Investigator with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
She is a self-professed TV junkie and in her spare time (what's that?), she runs a TV recap blog with her best friend (and sorority sister), Jen. Sarah currently enjoys an array of TV shows including (but definitely not limited to) This Is Us, The Good Doctor, Doctor Who, Lucifer and any show with Chicago in the title by Dick Wolf.
USA Today Bestselling Author MOLLY ZENK was born in Minnesota, grew up in Florida, lived briefly in Tennessee before finally settling in Colorado. She graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL with degrees in Secondary Education, English, and Creative Writing. She write across genres but primarily YA, romance, historical, and urban fantasy/paranormal. She is married to a Mathematician/Software Engineer who complains about there not being enough "math" or info about him in her author bio. They live in Arvada, CO with their daughters.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hi, I’m Sarah Biglow and I’m a USA Today Bestselling author. I write primarily urban fantasy and cozy mystery. I dabble in paranormal romance, although admittedly most of my romance tends to be on the lighter side (as in it’s there but it’s not always the focal point). I have been publishing since 2015 and am so grateful to be on this journey with my amazing co-author Molly Zenk. We’ve been friends for over a decade and have been writing together for the last two years.
In terms of how I became an author, I was originally published by a small press in 2012 but when the publisher shut its doors, I made the decision to self-publish and have been on that journey ever since. I will say I’ve learned a lot in the last two years when I really started to take my career seriously. I’ve had to adjust my goals and expectations over time, but I think I’m really starting to get the hang of this author thing! I hope you’ll think about coming on this wild ride with me by following me on social media and diving into some of my books.
How do you find time to write as a parent?
Have I found time to write as a parent? It’s still a work in progress with an almost eighteen-month-old. I do my best to get up early and write before I have to start work (I have a full-time day job, too) and when he goes to bed sometimes I’ll try to write then. On weekends, I do my best to take advantage of nap time, but let’s be real, that doesn’t always happen either. Sometimes, mama just needs a nap herself! But it really has become much more of a balancing act/spinning plate scenario since the little guy came along.
Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
I can absolutely see my Seasons of Magic (urban fantasy) series being made into a movie. I’ve actually talked about my dream cast on the series Facebook fan page. I think in particular it would be fascinating to see how the visual effects department would adapt and show the way magic is used in that universe. But I could also see Hunted being made into a trilogy of shorter films (there are two more books coming soon). It’s got action, romance, mystery, drama and a unique premise that I think would lend itself to a visual medium. I could also see both of my current cozy mystery series being maybe short-run special event miniseries for TV. Like the Hallmark channel or something fun and light like that.
Can you tell us a little about the characters in Hunted?
Hunted follows Darren and Edith, two people on opposing sides of a centuries-long conflict who are more connected than they realize when they first meet. Edith has been a vampire for 100 years after the death of her fiancé during World War I. And Darren is driven by revenge against all vampires because vampires killed his parents. There are other supporting characters like Edith’s adopted daughters and Darren’s younger brother who round out the cast and provide a lot of innocence and some much-needed comic relief. But they are also people dealing with grief and loss as well as identity, position in society and what it means to love your fellow man.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved building the world and the backstory for this series with my co-author Molly Zenk. It was our first foray into co-writing and we just had a blast coming up wit the rules for our vampires (they can only turn seven people with that person’s verbal consent before they turn to dust). I really enjoyed the social justice aspect of the story as well. Our vampires exist out in the open, but they are treated as second class citizens after losing the Civil War. They’ve been subjugated to government land (similar to the Native tribes in reality) and forced to take government benefits. So, it was really ripe for something big to kick off and I think we did a good job of showing that despite surface differences, they are all people.
An Interview With Author Molly Zenk
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always loved telling stories. I remember being in elementary school and writing short stories in a little notebook. Through high school, it was always something I did for fun as a creative outlet. In college was when I really got serious about writing for publication. I taught high school English, Creative Writing and Poetry for several years before leaving classroom teaching to stay at home and raise my kids. That’s when my writing hobby became more than a hobby.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to read, watch tv, or listen to the quiet. It’s great to have a little down time when the kids are in school. It’s never quiet when everyone is home.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I used to write during their nap times. Now I write when they’re in school. My “work” hours are their school hours. I don’t work after school, weekends, or school breaks.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Hunted?
Hunted is an alt-history vampire tale where vampires live among humans as second-class citizens. Most try to fly below the radar and not do anything to bring the vampire hunters to their door. Others are intent on reviving the Vampire/Human Civil War. At the center of it all is a vampire (Edith) and a Hunter (Darren) who must work together to save his brother from a LARP game with deadly consequences.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Darren’s reactions and one liners make me laugh every time. He tries so hard to be a big, tough soldier boy but there’s a softness underneath all that bravado. He’s not your typical romantic lead. I like that.
Follow the tourHEREfor special content and a giveaway!