My Lord brings some rather unique vampire lore to the table, which I wish was explored more in the work! Vampires here have ‘transcended’ and become immortal. Their blood is purple/dark fuchsia, which is an unusual take and very creative. There are no fangs involved, though I’m someone who likes fangs. Instead, the primary vampire character used a knife to cut and get some blood.
There were implications of super strength and speed in this work too, so vampires likely have that power. Their blood can heal wounds and cure illness pretty effectively, and it’s rather ritualistic as to how they are turned. This novel definitely was historical fantasy with the only fantasy element being the bits on vampires that I mentioned. The setting is very much true to the genre, I think. I feel like the author did research on the subject matter, or read a lot of historical fantasy previously, though can’t confirm that as I’m not a fan nor big reader of historical fantasy.
That is pretty much where the vampire lore ends. This novel focuses on relationship dynamics and brings in some interesting representation. I enjoyed the wlw relationship between Meya and Nina, but their relationship also extended to the main vampire, who I didn’t find likeable. Usually I like the dark and powerful male vampire character, but that wasn’t the case here. For those who like the true monster angle, with torture and mutilation, he might be more of a hit.
I enjoy my fair share of violent vampire characters, but I think that ends for me when they become so sadistic that they take pleasure in harming nonconsensual innocent people. I will say that this likely is accurate for the time, where a Lord will punish slaves in horrific manners. This probably plays a big role in how the Lord acts, and some people are definitely into that.
Check out this glowing review for My Lord:
Though it wasn’t for me, many others enjoyed it lots, so be sure to check it out if you’re a historical fantasy fan!
CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME INTERVIEW!
What aspect of the typical vampire myth is your favorite?
“That immortality always comes at a price. In some cases you lose your soul, in others you “only” need to drink blood. Or how in some you get to live forever but won’t be able to see the sun again lest you wish to die…”
What inspired your book, My Lord?
“Several things actually. I’ll admit that what got me to start writing it was being upset about 50 shades & twilight 🙈 I wanted to do better. In regards to inspiration sources, I’ve drawn from various Dracula tales. It’s also why I went for a (fictional) Eastern European country, yet a few centuries prior to the real Vlad because I didn’t want it to be a retelling or another interpretation. However, I did try to fit it into real history, aligning it with the invasion of the Golden Horde into Europe.”
What got you into writing vampires?
“… Hating what twilight had done to them and wanting to redeem them. However, because I wanted to explain vampires by using science, I ended up with my own kind of vampires who aren’t even full vampires in the traditional sense. It’s why they are called “transcended” to indicate they are my own design. One reader of “They call him Lucius” remarked how the transcended feel like a vampire and a zombie merged and then took a left turn 😂 and honestly? Yes.”
What important things do you want people to know about your vampire lore?
That I did my best to try and explain it scientifically instead of just saying it was supernatural, magic, or a curse. I was so happy I got to use my scientific degree to work it all out, to dump all sorts of cool knowledge I had accumulated through the years and make this… be as realistic as possible.
In My Lord, because of the time period, this doesn’t become too clear, but in They call him Lucius the science gets a lot of attention. I plan to explain it all even further in the latter’s sequel. However, spoiler: for the My Lord sequel I also plan to reveal more of the lore without needing science.
Also spoiler: the colour of … certain things in My Lord? Yeah, there is a scientific explanation for that 😏 People can read They call him Lucius if they want to find out, or wait for the sequel to get more hints (though even now some research online should yield an answer if people know what to look up).
Here is a fun thing I read in a scientific paper years ago: they did some experiments with mice or rats where they gave old animals a blood transfusion of the young… and they became healthier 👀 now if that doesn’t make the mind of a vampire lover go into overdrive, I don’t know what will 😂”
Aside from vampires, what mythical monster do you love?
“Do demons count? Because I love demons. Not even the biblical kind, just anything dark and monstrous, preferably with horns, sharp teeth, and the ability to kill you with ease 👀”
Do you prefer the traditional vampire in media or something that walks away from the ‘norm’?
“I’d say the latter considering my personal favourite vampire is Hellsing’s Alucard. Why yes, give me a vampire who is actually this shadow tendril monster with hundreds of eyes who devours souls 👀”
What advice can you give folks looking to write historical fantasy?
“Decide beforehand what/how you want to write. Are you going for the historical language feel or not? (This is also important to determine your audience, because if you stick to a more strict historical language/way of speaking, it might deter some readers, but it can also get you those who would otherwise not read it.) And what things are you going to keep historical and what will be fantasy? Are you going for a whole different world that happens to feel like a certain Earth era, or will you go for your own Earth but add in some fantasy elements? If you want to go for a sort of alternate universe (because of the added fantasy elements) you’ll probably need to do a lot of research to get your story to fit into the existing historical context. That and simple things like… how far can a horse travel a day? How long can you make a horse run before the poor creature collapses from exhaustion? But then again, that might just be my own love for realism 🤷♀️”
How long did your research for My Lord take, and what sources did you find the most helpful (both historical and scientific)?
“I honestly don’t know as I did the research as I went. From looking up maps of medieval Europe to googling medieval recipes so I’d know what would be for dinner… I also spent quite some time on wikipedia reading up on the Golden Horde and went into a blackhole on phthisis. Oh, and I also came across a wonderful list of medieval swear words on some obscure site that I saved 😂 on the scientific side I used both wikipedia and research papers, though the latter mostly went into They call him Lucius (as in My Lord, you don’t get to know the details). In regards to transcended blood, I tried to figure out what colour bruises would become… but I searched and searched and failed to find an answer 😥 so I ended up needing to use my imagination for that.”
In your eyes, how has Twilight damaged the image of vampires?
“While I personally hate the idea of sparkly disco ball vampires, it should get points for originality. To me, the damaging part was mostly how a lot of abusive things ended up romanticised. I mean, sure, it’s going to be difficult to have some old vampire getting romantically involved with a teenager NOT be problematic, but that’s where the execution comes into play and if the reader is being made aware of these things being “okay” only in a fantasy setting (and that it’s a major red flag irl) or if they are shown as desirable 😬 I could probably discuss this for a long time and drag other popular media into it (looking at you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which, for the record, I love))”
I love demons as well! If you were to write demons, would you go a more magical route, or also try to explain them through science?
“In my current wip I’ve—reluctantly—settled on magic 🙈 though I am trying to tell myself things like disappearing wings are just a quantum physics thing 👀 then again, I’d argue all things magic can be excused by shouting it’s quantum physics 😂
Though I should add, I do try to explain even the more magical aspects in a kind of sciency way? Like how their souls work; how they give a part of it to a child and that it grows along with their body, and that without a soul the body dies. It’s like an organ but more for life expectancy and their powers. When two demons have a child I also have traits of the parents be inherited by the child, that counts as sciency 👀
But no, I don’t even come close to how I handled the transcended. My demons have various blood colours for example and I did not give that any reason other than “cool” 😶”
Thank you so much for the wonderful answers and your time with this interview!
What are you waiting for? Go check out My Lord by L. B. Shimaira today!