Title: Reign of Blood
Author : Alexia Purdy
Genre: Upper YA Urban Fantasy/Horror
Format: print & eBook
Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
Reign of Blood is about a vampire hunter named April, she’s 17 and lives in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas one year after a viral epidemic has wiped out the human race. In the ruins of the neglected city, wild vampires and others roam the night. April’s family is taken and she must endure the horrors of the city to track them down. This ultimately brings her face to face with what she thought was the enemy, but now, she isn’t so sure.
I am a big resident evil/I am legend fan- the books mainly- and I was inspired to write this book by a dream I had about the opening scene in Reign of Blood. I took it from there, wanting to pay homage to the novels I have read about vampires and zombies alike. I really enjoyed the action sequences and I hope I did the concept justice. I don’t see a lot of people writing those kind of stories anymore, especially after the recent stuff that has hit the market. I wanted to pull back to the terror these creatures should evoke and work with that.
Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I had it made by Stephanie Mooney, an awesome graphic design artist. She captured the dark, forlorn mood that I wanted to capture and the essence of how tough April is. Vegas is in the background and represented in the crumbling sign up front. I think it gives the mood and sense of danger that I was going for and goes with the story line very well. Some photography on the cover was done by my brother. He is a freelance photographer and got some great shots of Las Vegas for me.
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Never tease anything that wants to eat you. The ravenous eyes that bled death all around and peered from their windows drooled at the sight of us. The buildings loomed above as we rushed across the concrete and asphalt, hurrying to beat the sun as it set. They lurked in every window, shrouded by the shadow from the searing sun. The east sides of the buildings were crawling with vampires. They smirked and sneered their inhuman growls, hissing right at us as we jumped from sunbeam to sunbeam, racing to the awaiting van. Only the light kept them at bay. Only the light kept us from their sharp, gripping fangs.
Each block felt like it stretched longer and farther, growing with each of our steps. My mother ran hurriedly, as fast as she could with my little brother wrapped around her, molded to her chest, afraid to look up. I was dashing right next to her, afraid to get left behind and afraid to be first in any place. My backpack bounced on my back with each jump and step. I tried hard to not look up. To look upon them was to feel your soul drain of life, to wither away. Mom always said not to let them look into your eyes; they can steal your humanity and freeze you in your steps. But I did look, and I did study their red searing eyes. Even while running, I had glanced up into their pale, grey ashen faces. I waited for them to take my soul; I waited and discovered that I was immune. Immune to their mind control and their deepest desire. I wanted to smile and flip them off but I didn’t think that my mother would appreciate that. I wasn’t sure if she or my brother were immune. I wasn’t about to piss her off by admitting that I had given in to such a temptation and had stared eye to eye with monsters.
So for now, we ran. We ran to our awaiting van where mom tied my little brother into his seat and slid quickly into the driver’s seat, turning the ignition and slamming the gas as though our lives depended on it. Actually, they very much did. Soon the sun would fade, inhaled into shadows and we would be surrounded by monsters capable of draining our bodies of every little drop of crimson blood. They did not discriminate. They would rip even me and my younger brother to shreds. For now, they waited in their makeshift graveyard; the city’s dilapidated buildings and streets.
I stared out the windows of the van and hugged my knees to my chest. Mom had her serious and stern face on. Sometimes I wish I could see her smile again, like the old days, before any of this happened. Before foraging for food had become an absolute for survival. Before running was a daily occurrence. Seeing her hair streaked with grey was not something I thought I would see so soon. She wasn’t that old.
Times like these, even I felt old.
We left the city limits well before sunset. We were safer in the rural areas, where vampires feared to tread, too far from the shelters of the concrete jungles. I learned early on that some part of their humanity must still be intact because unlike the stories and movies I had heard and seen about vampires, these ones hated to sleep in the dirt. Oh, and all that crap about mirrors and garlic? Definitely not true. Stake to the heart? I had found that it did work but decapitation was a much more successful option. Missing the heart was too easy a mistake. Crosses and holy water? Well, that does work but you must be a believer for it to work as intended. If you did not believe, well, let’s just say you might as well be throwing plain water at them.
An arsenal of swords, crosses and faith was pretty much all I needed. It had been just a year since the virus had turned more than three quarters of the population of the Americas into blood-seeking walking dead. Most died within days of contracting the strange ailment. I’d had all the practice I needed for a lifetime in learning how to kill vampires. It definitely made for an interesting life but I would give anything for my old one. Nothing beat a cold soda and movie on a Saturday night. High school issues seemed petty compared to the ones I had now. Stability, security, all gone. Staring out the dusty windows of the van as the trees grew thicker and the dusk seeped into the sky, I felt nothing but numb. Everything was all but gone.
My name is April. I live in a bunker, somewhat hidden in the sparse forests surrounding what is left of Las Vegas, Nevada. I wish I could say that the nights would bring bright lights and slot machines ringing and an endless party, but that would not be so. The valley is a graveyard, black as pitch at night and a ghost city in the day. All that is left of a city that never sleeps.
My mother Helen and my younger brother Jeremy live with me in this makeshift home buried in the side of the mountains. It’s pretty cool considering we could be out in the open where the vampires roamed at night. It was simple; we had found a door in a mountain cabin to what would’ve been part of a basement that led down a long hallway and into a cemented-in bunker. Located deep inside the bowels of the forest near Mt Charleston, this had become our home. It was ventilated somehow, and had stores and stores of non-perishable food lining shelves and storage areas in a separate room. Gallons of water sat in drums as big as me and a filtration system was set up for recycling water that we did use. It was wired with solar energy and generators if needed. The sleeping quarters were in a corner of the first room and consisted of three beds lined up next to each other. My mother and I took turns for watch during the night while Jeremy got to sleep the whole night. It wasn’t much, but it was home.
The luck we had felt when we found this place was more than we could have hoped for. By chance we had searched the plain log cabin house that sat atop the bunker and discovered this entombed sanctuary. Whoever had built it had had some money to burn and probably was some sort of apocalypse-now junkie. It didn’t matter in the end, it had not helped them anymore than any money could’ve have helped in the end of times. The owners had not made it back here and it had remained untouched until we had found it. I often wondered who they had been, it wasn’t like they had lived here much, there had been no family photographs splayed across the walls or sitting on the coffee table. Nothing to mark it as lived in at all, like an abandoned and forgotten place, a just-in-case sort of place.
We still had to run down to the city for supplies. My mother did not like using up the stores in the bunker; she said she’d rather use what was widely available now in the abandoned stores and shops in the city than use what we had. It made sense; the city’s abundance was for now, the bunker supplies for later. That didn’t mean I didn’t hate going down there, the city was crawling with vampires. They lurked in shadows of the evenings and stared hungrily at you as you walked about. A thousand eyes watching and sizing you up, it was the most uncomfortable feeling ever. As long as you didn’t stay out too late, you wouldn’t see them as much in the morning and afternoon hours. Dark buildings were an absolute no go. They holed themselves in the guts of structures until nightfall, when the burn of the sun no longer seared their ashen skin.
I hadn’t always been so physical, but since I’d had it out with a vampire or two already, I had insisted on watching tape after tape of martial arts and weapons training after those near fatal attacks on me and my family. My mother participated in these training sessions with me too. Our slender muscles proved our dedication. We were femme fatales. I liked it that way. Delicate flowers were for the dogs.
The days went by slowly. Some weeks we didn’t venture out at all, some weeks we explored the city every day. My mother really didn’t want to go all vigilante and kill the hives of vampires we tended to find. I had killed some smaller ones, but my thirst to extinguish them grew with every kill. I spent my days sharpening my knives and arrows. I’d spend hours in the hunting stores, running my hands over the variety of weapons, guns, crossbows, all sorts of contraptions. I would settle on some shorter swords, machetes, daggers and crossbows. I had guns of course, but they were loud and tended to awaken the hives around us, getting them stirring earlier than we’d like.
That was the reason we were running that day. I had gotten in a bind and had to shoot a large hive of about 6 vampires that I had come upon in small grocery. I had cursed myself for letting them surprise me. I should have noticed their putrid smell before coming near them. But for some reason I had been distracted and hadn’t been at my most alert that day. Mom had been pissed. She had had to join me to extinguish them, leaving my brother outside in the open daylight. This was a definite taboo. He was defenseless, at six years old, his haunted eyes made him older than he should’ve been. He couldn’t handle a gun, let alone a sword or crossbow. He always had a knife which we had taught him how to use, but with his scrawny body, he was sure to not last long in a world of death all by himself.
After getting an earful that day, Mom had banned us from going to the city for at least a week. I hated being cooped up in the cabin and bunker. I spent my time hunting animals for fresh meat, but it being the end of summer and the beginnings of fall, the animals were not so frequently available. Occasionally I would track a deer, but rabbits were more common. Coming across any kind of beef would be nice, but the vampires had ravaged the few farms around the north end of town ages ago. This had left us with little options in the meat department. Especially since the electricity had shut down in the city, the freezers stank of the rot of death in every market. Beef jerky was all we could really find in troves to enjoy any kind of red meat.
So here I was, stuck on the mountain, staring down at the city that used to be our home. Watching the evening sun sink over the crests of barren rock near Mt. Charleston, at least the vampires didn’t venture up here. Their inherent fear of being out in the open when the sun rose kept them near the buildings of downtown and the strip. They were such territorial creatures that seemed to like to group together in small hives. We thought it curious that we did not find them in the outskirts of town, proving our theory that they preferred the clusters of buildings in the center of town. Still, the casinos were rich with food stocks that were near impossible to reach for us. It would mean treading into the bowels of darkness that remained of the interiors. It was a darkness infested with death.
As the shadow fell across the cabin, we locked the huge, heavy metal door that was the entrance to the bunker and flipped the lights on inside to illuminate the concrete sanctuary of our isolated home.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
My blog and Facebook are the best places to find updates of my work and books. Here are my links:
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Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing, or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She love's creating paranormal fantasy and poetry and loves to read and devour books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food. She is also the author of Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and ‘Whispers of Dreams (A Poetic Collection)’, both available via Amazon.com. Ever Fire: A Dark Faerie Tale #2 will be released Oct. 2012. She is currently working on the third installment of A Dark Faerie Tale series: Ever Winter.