by Julie Flanders
The midnight sun bakes Fairbanks, Alaska as residents gather for the annual summer solstice baseball game. Amidst the revelry and raucous shouts of “Play ball,” a spark alights and a jogger bursts into flames. Detective Danny Fitzpatrick, still reeling from his near death at the hands of vampire Aleksei Nechayev, watches in horror as the man burns alive.
Someone is burning Fairbanks and its residents and leaving nothing but smoldering embers behind. As the city sweats under a record-breaking heatwave and unexplained fires claim more victims, Danny and his colleagues struggle to find an arsonist who can conjure fire out of thin air.
To Danny’s horror, the only one who may be able to help him stop the arsonist is his nemesis Nechayev. Will the vampire help in the hunt for a witch?
The inquisitive Fairbanks detective Danny Fitzpatrick had ruined the peaceful home Aleksei had maintained in the Arctic town of Coldfoot for decades. He enjoyed checking in on the detective and, while he couldn’t help but feel a strange fondness for the man he had chosen to let live, he always hoped to find him struggling with some new problem. He was tickled to see that this time he got his wish.
Aleksei grinned from ear to ear as he read about the mysterious fires that were plaguing Fairbanks while the city suffered through its worst heat wave in history. How fascinating! And by all accounts, the police, including the dear detective, had no idea who was starting the fires or even how they were doing it.
Fire was one of the few things Aleksei feared and hated as much as humans did. He still remembered the time he had been nearly burned to death by a male witch not long after he’d arrived in Alaska. He couldn’t help but wonder if a supernatural force was responsible for these fires as well. Was there a witch on the loose in Fairbanks?
Since he was safe and sound on the other side of the world, Aleksei desperately hoped so. How would his favorite detective deal with a situation like that? And what of the fire starter? What was his, or her, motivation? What was the game?
His lousy winter here in Australia had suddenly taken a surprisingly lovely turn. Clearly, the summer in Fairbanks was turning out to be more horrific than anyone there could have imagined. He couldn’t wait to see how it all unfolded. It was going to be such fun.
First off, let me say thank you for having me here at SBM Book Obsession and allowing me the opportunity to write a guest post on the inspiration for my characters in my new release Polar Day. It’s great to be here!
Polar Day is a sequel to my first novel Polar Night and the inspiration for my characters begins with that book. I’ve wanted to write a vampire story for a long time, and my inspiration for that goes back to when I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer way back when. I’ve been in love with the mythology of vampires ever since thanks to Buffy, Angel, Spike, and that whole crew.
Although I wanted to write about vampires, I wasn’t a big fan of the love-struck vampire stories that became so popular in recent years. I’ve always preferred evil vampires and knew I wanted to write a vampire who relishes in the monster he is. And thus my vampire Aleksei Nechayev was born. Aleksei is the antagonist of Polar Night and plays a pivotal supporting role in Polar Day. He is evil to the core.
Aleksei came first in my story universe but I knew all along that I needed a worthy adversary for him. When creating my antagonist, Fairbanks Detective Danny Fitzpatrick, I was inspired by crime writers such as Elizabeth George and Val McDermid. I have always enjoyed mysteries that focus more on character than on plot, and I like series that bring change and growth, or regression, to their central detectives. I want to write stories that are as much about the character of Danny as they are about the crimes he investigates. The Danny in Polar Day has changed from the person he was at the start of Polar Night and he sees the world around him in a very different light due to what happened to him in the first book.
When it came to Jamie Dzubenko, the antagonist in Polar Day, I knew I wanted to pit Danny against another supernatural adversary and I was looking for something completely different than a vampire. I’ve always been interested in witchcraft and eventually decided on that angle. I knew I was going to set the story during the summer, at a time when the city of Fairbanks experiences near 24-hour sunlight. The idea of constant sun and the resulting heat lead me to fire as Jamie’s magic of choice.
Thank you again for the opportunity to be here and for suggesting this topic for my post. It is always fun to write about my characters and I seem to learn more about them myself each time I do.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Julie Flanders is a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. She is also a television show addict with a particular fondness for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and a slightly obsessive sports fan who cheers for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Reds. Julie is an animal lover and animal rescue advocate who shares her home with her rescued dog and cat. She has written about the joys of pets for outlets such as Cat Fancy, Thrive in Life, and Best Friends Animal Society. Visit Julie at julieflanders.net.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/julie-flanders