Day Unto Night
Day Unto Night
by TammyJo Eckhart
A Sumerian child named Ningai survives the murder of her entire family and cries out to her people’s gods, who answer her prayer in an unexpected way. Now, as the first of the Akhkharu, the living dead, Ningai embarks on a journey across the millennia to rebuild what she lost. The best of her offspring must maintain some shred of goodness to prove worthy to their Child-Mother while fighting the deadly impulses of their kind. Join their journeys across time in a series of interconnected stories from the earliest cities to a brutal future where humans are mere pawns in the hands of near gods. Like all of us, Ningai and the best of her children will stop at nothing to protect her family. Can they succeed before they lose what’s left of their humanity, or will all of humanity become enslaved to the Akhkharu forever?
Jack sat up on the roof of what had once been the Library of Congress, looking out toward the ocean, which he could not see, even with his improved eyesight. A century ago, he may have been dismo, thinking about the waves, his board, and the feeling of it all, but now he couldn’t even clearly remember what “dismo” meant. Only a deep, tiny twinge flickered through his heart when he reached up to caress his buzzed blond hair that resembled his master’s own haircut. He’d changed his hairstyle within a few decades of his transformation into wardum, not because Cornelius had commanded it, as he doubted the Akhkharu even noticed his hair, but because he’d caught the looks and comments other vampires and their servants had been giving him as he’d circulated within the dark venues of the Night Kingdom.
No, there wasn’t much left of surfer dude Jack anymore.
He’d been replaced with someone more focused on the almighty texts that they protected and censored below. Jack glanced down and saw the flicker of light, so he stood, then bounded down the roof and the side of the building to meet his contact below.
No, Jack wasn’t just some vampire’s obedient slave, at least not in these moments.
About the Author
TammyJo Eckhart, PhD, is the published author of science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, horror, and historical fiction. Her non-fiction works covering subjects ranging from history to alternative sexuality to relationship advice and the challenges of trauma recovery. She holds a PhD in Ancient History with doctoral minors in Gender & Sexuality and Folklore. Her blog, The Chocolate Cult, has been the go-to guide for chocolate lovers since 2009. She loves visiting conventions as well as organizations to read, sell books, or share her experiences and insights on various topics in the form of lectures or workshops.
Q&A with the Author
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
That’s a good question, because I could look at it from a from either a paid-professional angle or a driven-to-write angle. I’ve always been driven to tell stories. My fifth-grade teacher sent a story I’d written to the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop back in the 1970s. They sent it back saying that it was good but not a short story (that’s what turned into the series I mentioned above). I don't think they knew how old I was, because they didn’t speak down to me in any way in their response. I would say that was when I knew others considered me a writer so I should consider myself one, too.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
A lot of people will tell you to hire editors or research what is hot or even to just keep writing. I have a more fundamental piece of advice. You must decide what type of writer you want to be from the start – career or passion. If you write because it’s your passion, you may never make a living from it, but it can be very rewarding, because you are getting out those stories that are bottled up inside of you. If you write as a career, be prepared to write a lot of things you don’t care about or to make compromises. It’s rare to be able to support yourself as a writer. All those stories you hear about authors living in fine houses – you hear about them because they’ve been lucky enough to find a way to blend passion and career, not because everyone makes it. A lot of that is luck, not talent, not skill, not even work ethic.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Turning the ideas into scenes is almost a subconscious activity for me. I will dream of the same scene or sequence of scenes from whatever project I’m working on (or which my muses think I should be working on) over and over again. When I sit down to write, I write fast, so I can generally create a short story (under 10,000 words) in a week. Other parts of life love to interfere with my ability to do that work; that’s why I schedule writing Mondays through Fridays and try to stick with it.
What is your favorite part of this story?
My favorite parts of the book are when Ningai/Charity is interacting with adults who don’t take her seriously. That was my life as a child who had experiences that no child should have to survive and who had the intellectual development and gifts that placed her above her peers for many years. I felt like I could have been more comfortable with adults, but they didn’t always see it that way. I didn’t have the raw power that Ningai/Charity does, which is a good thing for all the folks of Iowa, where I was born and raised.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
Hands down, Daedalus was my favorite character to write. When I created the world, I used the chapter “The Stranger at My Door” to get a firm grip on how dissimilar the five types of Akhkharu or vampire families were. Daedalus is really five unique men, all coming from the same beginning, but each is treated in radically different ways by the vampire family that acquires him. I can’t really say more without risking spoiling one of the major plot points of the book, but if you don’t get into that chapter of the book and either set the book down at one point or cry out “what is going on?” then I have failed as a writer. I read that chapter at a half dozen or more science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions over the years, and got a lot of feedback on it. All that feedback went into the rest of the book. But playing with one character that’s so complex was a ton of fun for me.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
Ningai/Charity was the most difficult, because I needed for her to be realistic as both the Mother of all Akhkharu as well as still being that child who saw her family slaughtered by jealous neighbors. I believe that science has shown us that our minds develop not only from experience and genetics but also from physical processes that are a function of aging. If you stop aging, your mental development will be affected. I didn’t want an adult vampire in a child’s body. I wanted to show the horror and sadness of being a true child immortal. I’m no longer a child, and I’ve never been a mother, so putting that together took research, reflection, and a lot of observation.
TammyJo Eckhart will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway