Guest Post: Jay Robin on ‘The Taste of Her’
by Sylvia A. Winters
Today, I have something rather special lined up for you, my dear readers (all five of you!) Instead of me blathering on at you, somebody else is going to do it. That’s right, it’s a guest post! *gasp*
This super special awesome guest writer is Jay Robin, whose debut story The Taste of Her was released today as part of LT3’s Proud to Be a Vampire collection. So now I shall hand you all over to her (:
‘I expect you’ve read all the Anne Rice books,’ someone at work said to me the other day.
‘No,’ I answered, ‘I’m not really that interested in vampires.’
This isn’t technically true. To me, saying, ‘I’m interested in vampires’ is like saying, ‘I’m really into food right now,’ or ‘mammals are just great’. The vampire has been subjected to so many interpretations that it’s difficult to get excited about them all. You’ve got your classic Nosferatu, your contemporary sparkling vampires, your daywalkers, your psychic vampires. Up until a few years ago I was sure that the vampire genre had been exhausted, that there was no longer any way to invent an original vampire concept. Then I read Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and then Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. The vampire genre is sharp, seductive and, against all the odds, very much alive.
I am very picky about my vampires, and the delectable, exotic vampire buffet laid out before me seems to encourage this.
For my own vampire story I decided not to mess with the mythology too much. I wanted to think more about classic vampires and why we as readers find them so seductive. Vampirism in The Taste of Her is an escape from humanity, from tradition, from life. For the heroine Iris, that’s a good thing. She’s unable to feel human until she becomes something more than human. It would have been easy to make The Taste of Her a cautionary tale, but it was more fun to have Iris give into temptation and moral ambiguity.
The most difficult thing to research about The Taste of Her was the ship, which I named the Wet Witch. I fretted about nautical terminology, the feasibility of a tea clipper knocking around at that point in history, and so on. I phoned a marine biologist friend of mine, remembering him spending a lot of time on boats when we were students together.
‘So, if I said, “she descended the companionway,” would that sound alright?’
‘I don’t know,’ he said, ‘we just called it “the stairs”.’
I really wanted the Wet Witch to be a clipper because of the captain’s association with opium and the Victorian era, but sailing ships were an anachronism by the time WWII broke out. I worried about this a bit. The crew of the Wet Witch were supposed to be inconspicuous, after all. Luckily, I discovered that the Cutty Sark, Britain’s most famous tea clipper, remained useful until 1954, so the Wet Witch stayed. The more I wrote about the Wet Witch and her crew the fonder I became of them. To celebrate the release of this story I bought a tiny silver clipper for my charm bracelet. I hope it’s the first of many.
World War II is over and Iris Cole is betrothed to a handsome Captain—but the future is hard to enjoy when she still secretly mourns her lost lover, Lillian. At a military base in Germany she meets the mysterious Beth and becomes something other than human, swept up in Beth’s grim cause, and determined to learn what Beth has to do with Lillian.
If you would like to purchase The Taste of Her, then you can do so here.