Sara Reinke Bibliography
The Brethren series (in reading order)
- Dark Thirst - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Dark Hunger - reviewed by LoveVampires
- Dark Passion (2009 - Double Dragon E-books)
LoveVampires Interview With Sara Reinke
Sara Reinke on Sara Reinke
I’ve written stories ever since I was very young and although there have been points in my life where I put aside fiction writing for awhile, it’s something near and dear enough to my heart that I always come back. I live in Kentucky, work full-time, have two beautiful kids and am probably pretty average, if not boring, to meet in real life. Which is why writing fiction is so appealing, I guess – I can imagine all sorts of glamorous lifestyles, intriguing characters and challenging conflicts that the everyday world often lacks, LOL.
Sara Reinke on the Brethren
The Brethren are a sort of societal blend of a wolf pack and a cult. It’s a very misogynistic society in which women are on the low end of the totem pole and have no say in their lives whatsoever. Because dominance over the Brethren isn’t something permanently awarded to any one particular clan, there is always a sort of Shakespearean-like conspiracy underway within one family or another; one trying to usurp authority from the other. There is an enormous amount of wealth and power at stake – not just among the Brethren, but in the human world, as well, since the Brethren own race horses, a whiskey distillery, tobacco company and more. They’re very much a patriarchal empire, sort of like the Rockefellers or Vanderbilts were during their hey-days.
Brandon, the young protagonist of Dark Thirst, is a deaf mute vampire, an unusual choice for a paranormal romance hero where strong alpha males are the norm. Where did the inspiration for Brandon’s character come from?
I enjoy stories where the main characters undergo realistic but dynamic character arcs, which is why I think Brandon is such a great hero. He’s very much an ingenue at the beginning of the books; not particularly world-wise, but determined to escape the Brethren. Over the course of the story, he becomes empowered and stands up to his family, particularly his older brother, who has always bullied and terrorized him. While I don’t know exactly where the inspiration for his character originated, per se, I do know that it was the concept of his character development, the very poignant and powerful catharsis that he undergoes as he realizes his own strength and resilience, makes him enjoyable to read about—as well as to write about.
In Dark Hunger, the second book in this series, Rene (the hero) is also a physically handicapped vampire, again an unusual choice for a genre littered with strong alpha males. Was it a conscious decision on your part to write about another handicapped hero?
Not at all. Just bizarre happenstance, actually, LOL. Both Brandon’s and Rene’s respective disabilities were always inherent to their characters, even from their earliest incarnations. Kind of like Brandon was always brown-eyed and dark haired, he was always deaf and mute, too. In that way, however, I don’t think their handicaps come across as props or crutches in the stories; but rather as something they have each come to terms with and deal with in their own individual ways, parts of them without defining them.
You have a lot of details about both Rene’s prosthetic leg and Brandon’s sign language within the story. How much research did you need to do for these books?
With Brandon’s use of American Sign Language, I had a fantastic illustrated ASL dictionary, which allowed me to describe some of his gestures in detail, and also provided me with an extensive enough vocabulary to make Brandon’s dialogue in ASL realistic.
However, for Rene’s prosthetic, as well as his general ability to cope with his amputation, I needed something more detailed. Rene’s disability definitely has had a greater impact on his life – changed his life more – than Brandon’s, and so to research for his character, I solicited the assistance of a “mentor.” Through an online message board, I met a wonderful young man named Kevin who was an above-knee amputee and graciously agreed to help not only with my research, but to be a beta reader as well, to let me know whether or not I was on track with my descriptions of Rene’s prosthetic, as well as his own emotional and physical responses to dealing with it. Without Kevin’s help, the book – and the character of Rene – would be nowhere near as good as I think they wound up.
The Brethren (vampires) that you have created are an original and intriguing mixture of classic horror and weird misogynistic cult. Where did the original idea come from and how did they develop in your imagination?
I grew up in Frankfort, Kentucky, and we often drove down U.S. 60 to Lexington, which was about 30 minutes away. U.S. 60 passes through Woodford County, which is the heart of the true “bluegrass region” of Kentucky. There are multimillion-dollar thoroughbred horse farms and estates all along this rural corridor. They’re magnificent, and I can remember always wondering about the people who owned them, what their lives must be like. These farms are so enormous, it’s easy to imagine that someone could live their entire life there and no one on the outside would ever even know it. So that’s where the original idea for the Brethren – who live segregated from humans on their horse farms – came from. As for their more cultish qualities, I was very much inspired by the polygamous Mormon cults you often hear about on TV. The idea that a sect of society could live secreted away from the rest of the world – while men in that society could interact with the world as much as wanted or needed for the sake of making money – and that they could have their own system of self-governing fit well with what I imagined for the Brethren.
Dark Hunger ends on something of a cliff hanger for Brandon. Will you be writing a third book in this series and continuing that storyline?
I hope so, LOL. My editor is reviewing a submission for a third book as we speak. This is my third version of it; he has passed on two previous incarnations. But he sounds very optimistic about the series, which gives me hope that if I just come up with an idea he finds marketable, I’ll be able to continue.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on another paranormal idea at the moment, as well as an idea in mind for the next Brethren book that – with my editor’s approval – I might be able to work on soon.
Many would be writers never get to see there work in print. Do you have any advice for aspiring romance authors?
Don’t give up. Write, write, write, write. Never stop learning; never stop improving your craft. Remember that publication comes as the result of getting your work in front of the right person at the right time – nothing more. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to get to that handsome prince, so don’t let rejection get you down. Surround yourself with positive people and never let anyone discourage you from your dream.
Which authors/books do you think have had the most influence on your writing?
Stephen King, first and foremost, although I haven’t read him in ages. I always enjoyed his style of dialogue because it was so natural, the way people actualy talk. Even now I try to accomplish the same thing with my dialogue.
Whose books do you read for pleasure?
I seldom have time to read for pleasure, outside of books to my children, so in that case, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein and H.A. Rey, LOL.
Who is your favourite fictional vampire
Jason Patric in The Lost Boys. That tousled mop of hair. Those piercing blue eyes. That raspy voice. Those 1980s pirate-gypsy clothes and cool sunglasses. Those fangs. Meow!
A big "thank-you" to Sara Reinke for taking part in the LoveVampires author interview. Visit Sara's website for more information about the Brethren books.
1st August 2008