The Crimson Road

Last night (well, it was in fact Easter Sunday night/Easter Monday morn) I finally finished writing The Crimson Road, my sort-of-vampire-but-not-precisely-vampire novel set in the Sourdough world.
When I first started, I looked for visual inspiration (once again) from the truly amazing @abigail_larson – this was the piece. This one made me think of my character Violet Zennor, dancing with death and dark things, and having to clean up messes that weren’t her own, and atoning for the sins of others. And being grumpy about it, but also very well dressed.
It’s a first draft, it’s awful and it’s been sent to my saintly and long-suffering editor @cathtrech. I can now spend a few weeks forgetting what I wrote so that when I come back to it with Cath’s feedback I’ll be able to look at it with clear eyes. I will know it’s neither the ugliest baby in the world nor the prettiest, but something in-between and malleable.
I got to dig back into the early depths of some of the Sourdough world stories from The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings collection, and explore some of my favourite characters, putting a new spin on their lives and deaths. I got to write some new little histories for this world, a mix of oral tales, folk stories and dark academia texts filled with strangeness and lies and maybe just enough truth to save you when you’re trapped in the Darklands, about to enter the Anchorhold of St Catherine’s of the Wheel, a silver dagger clutched in your sweaty palm…

They cannot move by sunlight.


Being dead – having died and returned – renders them creatures of the darkness. The night tells lies on their behalf, the glow of candles and fire giving bleached skin the illusion that something other than malice runs through their veins.


The truth of them can be revealed by day, which burns away the deceit of life they’ve created for themselves. Proper death, true death is almost instantaneous – do not touch them as they immolate for the flame sears like nothing you can imagine and you might well be taken down with the creature. No water can put out such fire.


They maintain their existence by the drinking of blood, pure and simple. They do not need to kill the one from whom they drink, but there are those who prefer to do so, claiming the death amplifies the effect of imbibing blood. After death, the teeth elongate and taper to a sharp point, the eyes become fit for seeing in the darkness, even the blackest of caverns beneath the earth, they can move silently, leap far distances so it seems they might be able to fly.


But they cannot bear the touch of light, nor the taste or smell of garlic (such plants were banned from the soil of the Darklands and thought to be eradicated hundreds of years ago), nor the presence of the thorns of the wild rose, nor (some whisper) the presence of a witch.


Miss Amelia Waterstone, Notes on Leeches and their Ilk


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.