Modern-day vampires—portrayed in shows like "True Blood" and books like Twilight—are often caught between passionate love for a mortal that can’t be suppressed and an underlying need to drink their blood for survival. Clearly, the two are at odds, but the idea of a love that not even the threat of a pair of fangs in your neck could quench makes for a great storyline.
But what if instead of a mortal, the vampire was in love with a witch?
Larchmont author Amalie Howard explores not only the budding relationship between two sworn enemies—Victoria Warrick, a witch, and Christian Devereux, a vampire—in her young adult book Bloodspell, but the sinister, fierce and unavoidable powers that Victoria has recently discovered are part of her centuries-long heritage.
Howard—an avid fan of J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins—said her novel began as a short story.
“The heroine needed work,” explained Howard, continuing, “I didn’t want her to live vicariously through a guy.”
Describing Victoria as “someone in the middle of Bella [main character in Twilight] and Katniss [main character in The Hunger Games],” Howard strove to empower Victoria by making her strong and capable of surviving on her own, yet vulnerable enough to develop feelings for Christian.
“She has to learn how to control her power so she can take control of her life,” she said.
For the author though, her love of the written word began early in life. Describing herself as a “voracious reader,” Howard’s first poem was published at age 12. At some point in her childhood, she wrote a story about a girl whose arms were covered in tattoos well before, well, that famous story about the girl with a tattoo resembling a mythical creature.
Howard went on to study French at Colby College; dance ballet for nine years; bungee-jump 765 feet off Macau Tower in China; acquire three tattoos of her own and live in France, in no particular order.
And her enthusiasm for reading has still not waned.
“There is so much growth, discovery and love for the first time—I love the intensity of it all,” she said, rattling off a list of favorite books that include Lord of the Rings and a yellowing copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Since Bloodspell was published in 2011, Howard’s success has skyrocketed. She currently has deals from three publishers for five young adult books to be released in the next two years. They include a two book deal from Harlequin Teen for Waterfell, a series about an alien princess that has lived on earth in the shadows for centuries (Fall 2013); Alpha Goddess, a new take on the Hindu myth Ramayana, to be published by Sky Pony Press (Winter 2014) and a two book deal from Strange Chemistry for The Almost Girl, a cyberpunk story of a tough female soldier from a parallel universe that is thrown into an earthly mission (Winter 2014).
Though Howard avoids being pedagogical in her writing, she does want to impart an important lesson on her young readers: not to give up on themselves. Her own struggles have included battling anorexia for many years.
“It doesn’t matter how bad your circumstances are they can be overcome,” she said.