All my books share one theme: Take something normal and ADD MONSTERS.
Whether those monsters are refined blood-drinkers in top hats, rabbits with fangs, fox-eared demons, yarn bombers with guns, or Comanche myths come to life, I love turning regular folks into badass heroes.
My latest book, WAKE OF VULTURES, is billed as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Lonesome Dove, and the villain was inspired by that pic, up above. Basically, I wanted to write a Western in which a half-black, half native slave girl could become a monster-fighting cowboy. I originally thought the bad guy would be a wendigo, but as I dug around into myths of the American West, I couldn't shake the strange terror inspired by a single line about Pia Mupitsi, the Cannibal Owl, the only thing the Comanche people feared. Legends say the Cannibal Owl stole children in the dark of night, storing them on a giant spike in a basket. And it sounds a little crazy... until you see the pictures of a similar Scottish monster, the Cornish Owlman, as imagined by Scottish filmmaker Lawrie Brewster in his 2013 movie, Lord of Tears. That two cultures across the world would put an owl's face and a man's body on their fear is telling. It's both alien and familiar. And it's all too easy to imagine that scratching on the window at night to be a monster man-owl's elongated claws.
When I consider why monsters obsess me so, I can't help considering that all the real monsters I've met have worn a man's face. On the outside, they seemed good and kind, their true evil hidden. That's why my monsters have tells, outward signs that they're not truly human. Fangs, ears, antlers. When the monster can be identified before he's committed villainy, he's easier to fight.
Of course, in Wake of Vultures, one of major questions is: Who is the true monster? A man with a hate-filled heart or a monster who wants to save people? You'll have to read it to see how Nettie Lonesome deals with the Cannibal Owl--and the humans who hate her for being different.
WAKE OF VULTURES is out this Tuesday.
Delilah S. Dawson is the writer of the Blud series, Servants of the Storm, HIT, and Wake of Vultures, written as Lila Bowen. Find her online at http://www.whimsydark.com.