Vigilante of Shadows – Review and Interview with Author Miranda Stork!

1 Feb

Today at The Tarasphere, we’re featuring the fabulous-as-always Miranda Stork and her latest novel, Vigilante of Shadows.

Lookit that cover! You know you want to read this. YOU. KNOW. Cover Image: © 2012 Moon Rose Publishing.

Lookit that cover! You know you want to read this. YOU. KNOW. Cover Image: © 2012 Moon Rose Publishing.

Aodhan clutched uselessly at his head, groaning. He knew it was useless, because the voice was not inside his head. It followed him, skimming across buildings and land. It had followed him since he was sixteen, and it still followed him today, like a memory too horrific to be forgotten…

Aodhan is a shadow-demon, hardened and cold after years of being alone, after his love, his Entwined, was cruelly taken away from him. He has closed his heart to the world, and now spends his life ridding the world of men like those who took his beloved away, an immortal hit-man…

Arianwen Harris is a young DCI, working for York City Police. When a known criminal is found viciously killed, she finds herself trailing a hit-man who has seemed to escape clutches again and again…but she begins to find herself drawn to his dark charms and roguish good looks…

As their two worlds collide, Aodhan and Arianwen find themselves coming together to escape a far greater enemy, one that threatens to create a world far worse than the one they live in. As they battle to hold back the oncoming forces, fate has another plan; one to draw them together and heal their broken pasts together…

The Review:

Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on! That’s pretty much what I have to say to anyone contemplating reading Vigilante of Shadows by Miranda Stork. She’s already one of my favorite authors (as well as a dear friend), so I was super excited to finally have some time to sit and devour her newest offering.

I was not disappointed. I was forcefully grabbed from the get-go, and shoved into a story so fast, I could have gotten whiplash. Aodhan is my new fictional crush. Dark, dangerous, unapologetic, and beautifully flawed. Yep, he had me, horns and all. The more of his story that was revealed, the more I wanted to keep reading. The heroine, Arianwen, was perfect in her role as a straight-laced, pragmatic DCI looking to solve a case. The last thing she expected was exactly what she got. Her attempts to reconcile the happenings around her and her growing attraction to Aodhan felt real and believable in a story where myths and legends run rampant.

And that was the other eye-opening element to this book. Stork takes snippets of Celtic mythology and weaves them into a contemporary tale like nobody’s business. Having already been familiar with this side of her writing (i.e. CONNER and ERIN), it was so exciting to see her take a new direction and make the old seem new again. Not to mention that she has the setup here for a smashing new series.

Two disclaimers: If you are faint of heart, be prepared. There is violence. There is gore. I loved it! But, it may be a bit squicky for some, so tread carefully if that turns you off. I found the level of violence necessary to enhance those darker elements of the story and of Aodhan’s nature. Second, the dialects may be tricky if you’re not familiar with UK jargon or accents. My advice is, slow down, sound it out, and for the love of God, give it a chance, and KEEP READING! Once you get it, I promise, it makes the story even better. It truly immerses you in the tale.

Overall, this book and the story sucked me in. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. Great things are coming from Miranda Stork. Be on the lookout.

Five shiny stars out of five shiny stars.

Here’s my little chat with Miranda:

What was your favorite part of the Vigilante of Shadows?

Hmm…good question! I think my favourite part had to be writing in the accent for Aodhan. I’d never written an actual accent in before—even though there was an early try for another book—and it was quite a challenge! As he’s Scottish, I really wanted that to come across, and writing his dialogue in formal speech just didn’t feel right. I’ve lived in Scotland before, so I’d heard a lot of voices, and I had to make notes on the inflictions and patterns of each voice. Then I tried to add it to the normal words in Aodhan’s dialogue. It was tricky but fun.

What was the hardest part to write?

The more violent parts, hands down. It’s not that I’m squeamish, it’s just I wanted to hit the balance of ‘just enough’. I didn’t want there to be so much violence that people found it revolting, but there also had to be enough to show Aodhan’s nature. Over the course of the book, he undergoes a metamorphosis from violent vigilante to something more gentle, but he was a vigilante nonetheless.

What do you wish was different about the book?

I had to think really hard about this question—it’s not that I’m that really opinionated about my story; it’s just that they change about ten times over the course of being written. I’m always adding bits and taking parts away, and I don’t hit ‘publish’ until I’m really happy with it. I think if I really had to change something, it might be that I would like to add in a little more about Brigid and Duifean. This wasn’t really their story, but I think it would be interesting to have a little more added in about them.

What sparked the idea for Vigilante of Shadows?

I’m not really sure. I think it was a mixture of random thoughts I’ve had over the years. The paranormal element is because I’m obsessed with the idea of Shadowmen. There’s a ton of information about them on the internet, and my ideas are entwined with the String Theory, but I’m not going to bore anyone with it here LOL. Then the vigilante element came from thinking about law and order in general nowadays, and what it would take to push someone to being a vigilante. It all grew from those two things. Although the idea for the series came later.

Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?

It can be either, really. I have all these ideas floating around at any one time, and some of them are character stories, and some of them are novel ideas. Then I’ll suddenly go, “Ooh, that would go really well with that one,” and pull them together. Sometimes with my books, it can be one and the same, as the novel idea is the character’s story.

As this is the first in the ‘Scarlet Rain’ series, can you tell us how many books you are projecting and what ‘Scarlet Rain’ is in terms of theme for these books?

Probably about ten books or so, although there be more. I wanted to write a full series, as so many people asked me about turning my first two novels (which are just a duo at the moment) into a series. It’s not something I wanted to do, so I thought it was time to start a new one.

The ‘Scarlet Rain’ element actually came from a 200-word story I wrote a while ago for a contest. It was completely unrelated, but it kept playing on my mind. Then one day I had this ‘Eureka’ moment, and I realized it would fit together with VoS to make a great series. I don’t want to give away too much of it, as more is made clear at the end of VoS, but let’s just say it’s Dystopian, Paranormal, and Sci-Fi all rolled into one. Plus each one will have a HAWT couple in it, which is always my own self-indulgence in my books. 😉

Tell me more about the delicious Aodhan. Where did he come from? Did you have *cough*visual inspiration*cough cough* for him?

Hum? What did you say? Sorry, I just heard the word, ‘Aodhan’, and drifted off for a minute there. *ahem* I wanted to make him different from my other heroes. They’re always smooth-talkers, sexy-but-polished, and quite in tune with what they should say to ladies. I wanted Aodhan to be grittier, a bit rough around the edges. He’s still sexy, but in a more dangerous way, and he just says what he thinks, he doesn’t consider holding back for the sake of ceremony. But underneath it all there’s a soft core that comes through a little when he warms to Arianwen. As for inspiration…well, you know that I used the delicious Gerald Butler as visual inspiration. UNF.

Arianwen is a great romance heroine. She’s smart, capable, and no-nonsense. How was it getting her to open up to a man as enigmatic and dangerous as Aodhan?

FABULOUS. With Erin (my other heroine in a full-length novel), she was quite open to Conner, maybe a little naïve, and warmed to him from the start. Arianwen is a police officer, so already used to being the snappy, sharp one amongst other men. She certainly wouldn’t be naïve, and doesn’t warm easily to people. This also comes out a little more with snippets of her life that she lets out during their journey. So it was good to have a couple that actually rubbed each other up the wrong way to start with, and gradually grow to love each other. I preferred writing this to the ‘meant for each other from the start’ kind of couple…even if they are meant for each other. She was great fun to write. Every turn I took to try and throw them together, she shook her head and folded her arms. And believe me, she has a stern stare.

I’ve noticed that in your full-length novels you weave elements of Celtic mythology into modern day tales. Is this a trend that we will continue to see, or will you be branching out into other genres?

I know…I never meant it to be a ‘thing’, but it became one. I’m Wiccan in real life, and lean towards Celtic gods and goddesses, so I guess it’s my gentle way of showing people a little more about these cultures. I also love the idea of bringing the ancient into modern life, which is what Pagans nowadays always do every day. So you might see it continuing a little, but the next ‘Scarlet Rain’ novel, ‘Keeper of Shadows’, won’t really have that much of Celtic anything in it. Without giving too much away, it’s a vastly different time, and a vastly different couple.

I am thinking on a few historical story ideas though, so you might see not only more Celtic mythology, but some different ones too. I’m fascinated with the myths of the Orkney Isles in the UK, so I might blend some of those into something.

What project are you working on now?

That would be the next novel, ‘Keeper of Shadows’, which continues the series. I can’t say too much about it, but I’ve got a little snippet for everyone to get a feel for it. *wink* It’s got a little Dystopian in it, which is a genre I’ve always wanted to branch out into.

I’m also getting a new anthology ready with my publishing company, Moon Rose Publishing, called ‘A Celtic Tapestry’. It’s got seven other fabulous authors (one of them being yourself, of course), and myself, all writing one story each, based on the eight Celtic festivals. It’s coming out March 21st, so everyone should keep their eyes peeled for that one.

If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Ooh…just three?! Tricky…okay, okay, my first person would be someone from my family tree, one of my five-times-great grandfathers. I’ve been researching it lately, and everyone in my family comes from a long line of furnace men and iron-workers—except for one. He became a Master Cabinetmaker, breaking away from the family, and going off to do something skilled and creative. He is the only person who seems the most like me, so I’d love to question him a little more, and find out why he was so different from others in his family too.

The other two people would be my partner Mark’s parents. They died when he was quite young, so I never got to meet them. When he talks about them, they sound lovely, and it’s my only regret in life that I’ll never get to meet them. It would be awesome to sit down with them and have a giggle about Mark, and find out more about them. It would be amazing for Mark as well. J

Now the fun questions:

Favorite junk food? That would have to be pizza. Every time. Proper thin-crust Italian pizza.

Tea or coffee? Why are you making me choose?? Um…..coffee! But only if it’s a Caramel Macchiato.

Favorite superhero(ine)? Why? Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. But only hers, not later ones. I think I saw that particular Batman film when I was a teenager, and I loved that she was bad-ass and sarcastic, not wilting and screaming like the usual heroines in superhero films. This was years before Buffy, so most women I saw in that role were either completely evil, or good and wimpy.  I loved that she wasn’t really a bad person, but she kicked ass and laughed about it. And she loved cats. How can you not love cats?

Favorite fictional crush? JUST ONE? Woman, are you mad?? I can’t answer that with just one, so I’ll tell you my most recent instead. It’s this fallen blind angel dude called Domniel…he’s not out yet, but he’s featured in this book called ‘Lucius; The Fallen’, a book I’m publishing with MRP. It’s written by these two awesome authors called Tara S Wood and Lorecia Goings, and it comes out in April. 😉

Favorite color? Red. Love it. It’s the only colour I ever wear on my nails, and I have as many things as possible in red. It’s such a passionate, confident colour.

Favorite place you’ve visited? That would have to be Runswick in North Yorkshire. It’s about an hour’s drive from where I live, but it’s the most beautiful coastline ever, and the village itself is secluded with all these gorgeous little fishing cottages. They’re no longer allowed to build any modern houses there, so it’s all old cottages and Art Deco seaside buildings.

What’s one quirky or fun fact about you? Again, JUST ONE?? I’m kidding. Sort of. Hmm…I can do lots of accents. I’m a bit of a vocal chameleon, and I always pick up a little bit of people’s accents when I talk them—plus I moved around a bit when I was a kid. So sometimes I like to bemuse people by suddenly answering in an Australian burr, or a Texan drawl. As you do.

Yes, as you do. Thanks so much to Miranda for taking the time to answer all of my questions! Hopefully, you’ll pick up your copy of Vigilante of Shadows and get lost in this great new series. Also, keep reading below for a very special snippet of the next book in the “Scarlet Rain” series, Keeper of Shadows!!!

Grey clouds, grey buildings, grey people.

Life was grey.

Or red.

Psyche shivered as she allowed that thought to settle in her brain, before chasing it away hurriedly. She did not want to think about the colour red.

Because red meant death. Red meant…blood. For them.

Rain drizzled down around them, an early spring shower. Not that it bothered Psyche whether it was early or not. There was no spring, no seasons anymore. Only an endless cycle of days. When the sun came out, when it rained, when it snowed…none of it mattered. There were no days off. No holidays. Nothing. They had eradicated it all.

The only noise was the occasional murmur from the Clan members watching over the queues of people in front of the food booths, and a subdued cough or two. No birds were singing merrily; they apparently existed in the countryside. Psyche wouldn’t know, she had never been outside the city wall. As had no-one else she knew.

The line shuffled forwards. An older woman behind Psyche tutted under her breath as Psyche didn’t move forwards quickly enough to keep up with the rest of the line. As the woman took a step onward, she caught Psyche’s heel as she lifted her foot, sending her headlong. Psyche cried out as she tripped, flying towards the hard pavement below.

She threw her arms out to stop herself falling, but they grazed into the gravelly street, scraping her arms and sending fire zipping along them. She turned to shout at the woman, then froze in horror.

One of them was watching her, no more than a foot away. He smirked, his cold red eyes boring into her skull. His highly-polished boot tapped impatiently next to her arm, as if he were waiting for her to say something. She lowered her gaze to his, staring down at the damp street instead.

“I’m…sorry. I…t-tripped.”

“Yes. Yes, you did. Make sure it doesn’t happen again, or you’ll find yourself at the Factory.” He crouched down, curling his finger under her chin to force her to look at him. Psyche lifted her head, but kept her gaze lowered. All she could see from this viewpoint was his sharp, pale chin, and his thin cruel lips, bent into that arrogant smirk. He softened his tone as he spoke again, but it held a note of sadism. “And we wouldn’t want that, would we?”

Psyche shook her head silently. Her eyes caught that he had a scar running across his chin, nearly faded, but still just visible at this distance. He released her chin with a chuckle, and rose up. He stared down at her for a moment, before walking away, his footsteps ringing out in the quiet morning air.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you….Miranda Stork.

Miranda StorkI was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow. My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.
My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!

Find Miranda online:

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3 Responses to “Vigilante of Shadows – Review and Interview with Author Miranda Stork!”

  1. Wo3lf February 2, 2013 at 4:38 am #

    Awesome interview, of course, and that damn cover keeps impressing me. Thanks for an excellent post guys.

    Like

  2. lindsayavalon February 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Fantabulous interview and review ladies!! ❤

    Like

  3. writermirandastork February 3, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Thank you for the awesome interview, hun! You had some fabulous questions–a really fun interview to answer. 😀 MWAH.

    And thank you Woelf and Lindsay! 😀 x

    Like

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