Russian Roulette by May Freighter
Soul-bound to a man she cannot trust and hunted by darkness, nineteen-year-old Helena Hawthorn is learning what the world behind the veil of normality is really like.
Desperate to know the fate of her father, Helena ventures into the Angel Realm but never expects that her curiosity would put everyone she loves in danger. An unseen darkness now hunts her, threatening to devour her soul. Believing he might save her, Helena binds her soul to a mysterious vampire called Lucious only to find that he is being hunted by the deadly Vampire Council.
With their lives tied together and emotions stripping their barriers, the Council is coming for her too, the darkness still looms in the shadows … and her guardian angel is nowhere to be found.
So, will she be able to fight the attraction between them and protect those she loves?
What sparked the idea for the Helena Hawthorn series?
When studying Computer Science in university, your imagination tends to go down the drain as mathematical and logical sciences consume your brain. I spent a lot of time staring at the screen and half-listening to my lecturers, or doodling as if my life depended on it to stay awake. Then, one day, I thought: “Why not try meditating. It’ll be fun.”
So, I did try it, and it wasn’t what I expected. What really happened was that I was standing in a white space with a representation of a guarding angel next to me. Yes, I believe guardian angels exist. That is how Helena and Michael were born. I asked him if vampires existed, and he told me they did. So, when I linked my soul-string to one, I got to meet the character people know as ‘Lucious’. After that, I stopped meditating and just wrote Russian Roulette. At some point in the drafts, I had to separate Helena from myself and I’m glad I did. She is her own person now.
Your stories weave in a lot of high-concept fantasy, vampires, and romance. The story often reads like a dream. I wonder if you are a vivid dreamer?
I am indeed. I always dream in colour and find myself inside of people that are doing something. This can range from escaping from bandits that hijacked the train and having to survive in the strange new place city, or a zombie apocalypse, or an experience where things get really steamy. I probably wouldn’t trade vivid dreams for anything … unless it’s a mountain of non-expiring cake.
In this series, you’ve done a lot of world-building, creating this “world behind the veil of reality”. World-building can be tough, what inspired you to create such an elaborate realm?
It took me three years to solidify Helena’s world in my head. It was mainly through the side stories, and a series called “God’s Games”, which I will start after Helena Hawthorn series is over.
As for what inspired me, I grew up watching horror films, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ series, magical anime, and, soon after, I dove into reading Fantasy and Horror. I still remember “The Forbidden Games” by L. J. Smith and the “Saga of Darren Shan” or “Demonata series” as something that kept me clinging to the books I borrowed from the local library. I found those universes to be so fascinating and out of the blue decided to make my own.
Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?
Always a plotter until I reach a point where the characters just drive the story. This happened in Demon Gates. The characters simply ignored the plot and did whatever they wanted to do. I didn’t stop them as it was their lives I was watching. And, I can honestly say, I’m glad I didn’t intervene. They made the plot better. They even added their own lore.
Otherwise, I have to know the beginning, middle, and the end. It allows my brain to decide on certain elements in the story and the general direction it will take. The characters and their little schemes take care of the rest.
How are we going to celebrate when you hit the best seller list?
I want to say party but I’m a boring sod during those. Drinking makes me sleepy, so I stick to cola. Instead, we should go to Disneyland. I would want to feel like a kid again.
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