Reviews say this is a fresh new take on vampires. Plus, part of it is set in Italy. And, it’s intriguing, so let’s read it.
Birth of the Bacchae (Immortal Relics Book 1) by Stephanie Mirro is an Urban Fantasy that released almost exactly a month ago.
Ever since archaeology student Serafina Finch found an ancient Roman amulet on a dig in Italy, she’s been having dreams. Strange dreams that leave her with an eerie sense of foreboding. But between a busy college schedule and a boyfriend she’s hoping to marry, she doesn’t have time for strange.
Then a mysterious cult takes an obsessive interest in the artifact. Serafina finds her life in chaos as she’s thrown into the supernatural world, where Immortals and witches alike claim ownership of the amulet. Her amulet.
As her connection to the amulet grows, she discovers a dark secret about her past. Serafina realizes she must protect the powerful relic at all costs–even if it means losing one of the people she loves most.
“Invisible. Powerful. Immortal. We are Bacchae.”
BIRTH OF THE BACCHAE is a New Adult Urban Fantasy novel exploring the origins of vampire lore in a modern setting. Where do the stories come from? How were vampires created? Do they still exist today?
The two men—no, Bacchae—who’d tortured her, turned in surprise as she faced them in the stone corridor.
“Hello, gentlemen.” Their look of surprise and alarm was short-lived but exhilarating.
“How—” the closer Bacchae started to ask but never got to finish. Sera’s hand shot out and grabbed him by the neck, her nails digging into his flesh until it all gave way and his vocal cords and esophagus ripped from his body. She stood holding his throat in her hand, staring at it in equal parts amazement and horror. Time seemed to stop as they all stood transfixed on the gore she held.
Sera slowly looked up to meet his mutilated gaze, a smile pulling her lips up. Vengeance would indeed be sweet. Falling to his knees, the Bacchae’s hands reached up to feel his missing throat. Her foot met his chest, pushing him back to collapse in a heap.
About the Author
Stephanie Mirro’s lifelong love of ancient mythology led to majoring in the Classics in college, which wasn’t quite as much fun as writing her own mythology stories as she did as a child. But that education, combined with an overactive imagination and being an avid fantasy reader, resulted in a writing career.
Starting her days with coffee and ending them with wine means Stephanie can usually be found juggling household chores, keeping the kids alive, and trying to write, edit, publish, and market the stories that haunt her dreams.
Born and raised in Southern Arizona, Stephanie now resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two kids, and two furbabies. This thing called “seasons” is still magical.
Hi Stephanie, and thank you for being here today.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I was in college, I studied the Classics which is the study of ancient civilizations. At some point, I learned about various mystery rites—religious ceremonies we don’t know much about. My favorite was the Bacchanalia, a celebration dedicated to Bacchus (the Roman god of wine, frenzies, and festivities). The rite included feats of inhuman strength such as uprooting trees, tearing apart a bull with one’s bare hands, and eating its raw flesh. And from there the idea grew.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Her Majesty’s Fury, book 2 of the Immortal Relics, will come out this fall (my goal is by end of October). I’ll write book 3 during November’s NaNoWriMo challenge with the goal of publishing by spring. I have plans to keep going with the series, including 2 novellas which will be origin stories for the Bacchae characters Solomon and Danae (Bacchae = vampire in my world). After that or while I’m working on those, I have a YA post-zombie apocalypse series I can’t wait to start.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
For some, I waited until the characters themselves told me their names. Serafina Finch is one of those. For others, I did some research. For example, I looked up common slave names of the 1800s to name Solomon Jones. It didn’t connect at first that my two POV characters both began with the letter ‘S’ so I tried to change his name to a few others but nothing stuck. He was Solomon. Danae I had known for a long time as it came from my studies in college.
Who designed your book covers?
Hampton from TS95studios! I can’t say enough great things about his art and his professionalism. He will be doing all of the Immortal Relics covers.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
That’s a tough one. The thing is, it’s my debut novel. I’ve learned a lot from writing Birth of the Bacchae, and I worked really hard to edit it as I learned new things. Could there be improvements? Absolutely. I’m well aware the book is more of a slow burn than dropping right into major action. But you write what you love, and I love a slow burn. I’ve also embraced the fact that the series will show my writing progression, and, not to toot my own horn too much, but I think I’m starting out at a pretty decent place.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
So much! But I’ll focus on writing itself. I started out as a bit of a pantser, but I discovered I’m much better with a loose outline. I’m not a full-blown plotter, but I need to know the major plot points so I don’t get muddled down in the mundane. I actually had no experience with all the various ways one can structure a novel, but I’m really glad I found one that resonates with me (K.M. Weiland’s “Structuring Your Novel”).
How did you come up with the title for Birth of the Bacchae?
It literally popped into my head when I was daydreaming during class. I know the name is going to trip some people up (Bacchae = BOCK-eye), but changing the title was like trying to change Solomon’s name. It just couldn’t be done. I chopped close to 10k words from my story during editing, so I’m not afraid to make changes. But some things just are.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
There’s a scene near the end that started the entire story. It’s part of the climax, so I don’t want to spoil it, but it starts with the words, “Drip… drip… drip…” It’s best read while listening to Marilyn Manson’s cover of “Sweet Dreams,” which I listened to about a thousand times while writing the scene. It’s dark and full of angst, just like the scene.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
I’ll share my favorite review from Goodreads as an answer: “(I’ve read roughly 47 million vampire novels, and I can honestly say that this is the first time I have read this particular origin story — so 47 million points to Gryffindor for that.)
In this universe, vampires are the creations of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and madness, made to be his companions. However, they have gone astray from his ways and become violent predators, betraying their creator. When Serafina discovers an ancient Bacchic relic on an archaeological dig, she sets of [sic] a chain of events, inserting herself in the middle of that struggle.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I appreciated the fact that it didn’t feel like I had already read it before. My predictions weren’t all true, and I enjoy being surprised. Plus, it’s always fun when the vampires are good ole’ fashioned monstrous bad guys, not sparkly love interests.
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