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An Immortal Guardians Companion
Author: Dianne Duvall

 

 


One of the questions I’m frequently asked is what inspired my Immortal Guardians series. For me, the answer to this goes part and parcel with the answer to the other question I’m often asked: “Where do you get your ideas?”

The first seeds of my Immortal Guardians series were planted when I wrote A Sorceress of His Own. If you haven’t read it yet, A Sorceress of His Own is a medieval romance that revolves around a gifted one by the name of Alyssa who was born in England in the latter part of the twelfth century. She was the first gifted one I ever created, which is why she will always be one of my favorites. And I decided almost immediately that her gifts would stem from advanced DNA. This appealed to me on two fronts.

Our genetic makeup is incredibly complex. The more scientists learn about genomes, the more some believe that unlocking new abilities may be as simple as turning on the right gene. This made me wonder what abilities someone with even more advanced DNA than ours might possess. I’ve often seen scientists—when asked what alien life might look like—associate telepathy with more advanced life forms. So I liked the realism giving gifted ones advanced DNA offered. I also liked the fact that, having no knowledge of DNA and all it entails, Alyssa would be as clueless regarding the source of her gifts as everyone else.

I, on the other hand, needed to know that source.

The idea for that hit me while watching a program on the History Channel that examined the Book of Enoch, which was written by the great-grandfather of Noah. In it, Enoch tells the story of Watchers who fell from Heaven and lay with human women. Those women gave birth to giants purported to wield powerful magic they shared with mankind with such disastrous results that the archangels slew the Watchers’ children and buried the Watchers in a deep cavern. Humanity was then subjected to a cleansing via the Great Flood.

Enter Seth, the first Immortal Guardian, whom I decided would be a member of a second generation of Watchers’ sons who simply call themselves Others. Seth would be the only one to fall in love with a human woman and sire children before the series began. And the advanced DNA they inherited from him would lend them special gifts. When some of those gifted ones would later become Immortal Guardians, Seth—as the eldest and most powerful among them as well as their patriarch (though only David knew that part)—would naturally declare himself their leader.

Seth made his first appearance in A Sorceress of His Own, which I actually wrote several years before Darkness Dawns. The second Immortal Guardian I created was Roland, who joined Seth in A Sorceress of His Own. Marcus—who was the teenaged squire of Robert, brother of Dillon, the hero—would secretly be a gifted one, I decided, who would go on to appear as an immortal in my Immortal Guardians series.

Thus my gifted ones were born. I knew their origins. And I knew some would go on to become Immortal Guardians. Now I just needed to find a method by which they could become immortal that would also allow me to introduce vampires to my stories.

Why vampires? Because I’ve loved vampires ever since I watched such movie classics as Fright Night, The Lost Boys, Once Bitten, Blade, and From Dusk Till Dawn. And I’ve loved vampire romances for almost as long. But as much as I adored the characters and stories I found in the latter, I admit I never really liked the idea that in many of the earlier books, vampires were dead. Or undead. My nitpicky side was just never satisfied with the notion that vampires needed to drink blood to survive even though they had neither a functioning circulatory system nor a working digestive tract. And I didn’t understand how they could speak when most of them didn’t breathe or have an operating respiratory system.

I know. That’s pretty persnickety. It is fiction, after all. But you can blame one of my creative writing professors for that. He told me that every time readers open a fictional book, they approach the story with a certain willing suspension of disbelief. They know, for example, that vampires don’t exist, but they’re willing to overlook that or suspend their disbelief while they read the book. The less a writer requires readers to suspend their disbelief, he went on, the more the readers will enjoy the story.

That notion really stuck with me, in part because I tend to enjoy books more when there’s so much realism in the stories that it makes the fantastical stuff seem real, too. If I wrote a vampire romance, I knew I’d already be asking readers to suspend their disbelief regarding the existence of vampires. So I wanted to make every other detail in the story as realistic as possible in hopes that readers would think, “I know this would never happen in real life. But if it did, I could totally see it happening like this.”

While I was puzzling over a way to avoid the things my nitpicky side disliked in vampire stories—a way that would also allow me to fill the series with both good immortals and bad vampires—I happened to watch three things: a documentary on possible explanations for early vampire folklore, a biography of the Mad King George, and a program on the tardigrade or water bear. When those three things combined in my head, everything fell into place.

Sounds weird, right? But that’s exactly how it happened.

Vampires and immortals in my books, I determined, would both be very much alive and infected with a virus. Humans infected with it would become vampires who suffer progressive brain damage that drives them insane. Since vampires in both movies and books usually choose to be villainous or evil, I liked that this would take that decision away from them so even good guys would have no choice but to become madmen who prey upon humans.

Gifted ones, on the other hand, would become immortals and acquire the same speed, strength, and heightened senses the virus gave vampires, but their advanced DNA would protect them from the more corrosive aspects of the virus and leave them nearly as indestructible as the tardigrade. While extreme blood loss would kill vampires, immortals would instead go into a sort of stasis or hibernation and survive until another blood source comes along. Immortal Guardians’ wounds would heal faster than vampires.’ And older immortals would actually be able to withstand limited exposure to sunlight. So nothing short of decapitation would kill them.

And there you have it. My Immortal Guardians series was inspired by A Sorceress of His Own, a biography of King George III, and programs about the Book of Enoch, the tardigrade, and the history of vampire folklore.

As a bonus, I’ll mention what inspired Ami’s character. Believe it or not, her brother’s story came to me before hers did. That’s right. The Lasaran came to me before Night Reigns, so I’ve wanted to write Taelon and Lisa’s story for a very long time.

I’ll preface this by saying that before I began writing, I used to roll my eyes and think it corny whenever an author or screenwriter would say this or that story came to them in a dream. And yet… wait for iiiiiiiiiiit… Taelon and Lisa’s story was inspired by a dream. A very vivid dream that, instead of fading away as so many do, stayed with me and gradually evolved into The Lasaran. The only question I needed to answer to get the story rolling was: What exactly would drive Taelon to come to Earth?

As soon as I asked it, I thought: he was searching for his sister.

And so I conclude the winding tale of what inspired my Immortal Guardians series… and the Aldebarian Alliance… and The Gifted Ones.

I can’t wait to see what will come next.

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