"From the very first page we’re drawn into a story about the paranormal like no other; it begins with a carnival and quickly transfers into the town of Swindon and vampires. Not just any vampires – we’re talking brutal business men – not the romantic kind we all know – but vampires you DO NOT FUCK with." - Alice, Goodreads
Published: July 2017
Benjamin is a programmer moonlighting as a security guard at Dystopia, a seedy club that caters to the down-and-outs, the desperate, the addicts. He's been building his reputation, saving for a way out - but when he rescues a young woman from the nearby estate, he may just have stepped too far out of line...
Lucy is ordinary; a girl with a deadbeat boyfriend, a normal life and college studies. But when her world takes an odd twist, she starts to wonder about the people she's meeting, the situations she's in, the odd aversions and attacks happening around her. They're just coincidences...aren't they?
And Zack is in deep trouble. He's losing his girlfriend, drowning in debt, and has dwindling job prospects - and that's not the worst of it. His debt is to people who won't ever forget it, and who want the things closest to Zack's heart: his blood - and his life. In the heart of Swindon, an ancient order hides in plain sight, spreading their influence through the streets like a disease. But despite their widespread power they are catching up with the modern world: the vampires are going online, and the Order is about to become more powerful than even they would have dreamed...
There’s Something About Ben
I’m a total pantser; I can’t sit down and ‘plan’ a novel to save my life. My books always start out in my head with just a single a character. In Blood Bank’s case, it was Ben. He evolved from thoughts on a colleague of mine from back when I worked in IT. A lovely lad when you were with him on his own, he turned into a completely different person when he had his friends around him. There were two very clear sides to him that fascinated me. His alter-ego, Ben, came to life in my head, mutated a little, and the story grew around him.
Like his real-life inspiration, Ben is young, inherently geeky, and skilled in specific methods of computer programming that can ultimately call for a choice to be made: Do you use those skills to help people, or to hurt people? To make a reasonably modest salary, or an absolute killing? I worked for years with people who faced that choice, implicitly, every day.
I took that element of choice away from Ben. Or at least I think I did. I like to wonder about that one. I love thinking about what lies behind the choices we make.
From the outset, my image of Ben was young, cute, skilled and introverted. And nine times out of ten, when I saw him in my head, he had earphones in. Music was always something that was going to be important to him, both before and after the changes in his life. It was the one thing I wanted to stay the same. His choices, and his actions might be completely unrecognisable from his former self, but his go-to tunes remain. As if nothing had changed at all.
The tattoos remain too, of course. Another important part of his previous life. However much his character and his conscience are stretched, the ink stays: crisp, colourful and clear. Indelible. The glasses…well, I always saw him with specs. He certainly doesn’t need them anymore – one of the few advantages of what he’s been through – but I still imagine him sometimes fumbling for them in the mornings, out of long-established habit…
Some readers ask me what the deal is re Ben’s cats. I like to see them as being one of the ways he tries to keep a hold on his humanity. To me, they show that he cares. And that he feels the loneliness, and does as much as he can to alleviate it, without putting anyone else at risk.
Plus, with so many young men of his age or thereabouts on the estate having dogs, it became another way to show his individuality, and displacement.
I put Ben through a lot of misery in Blood Bank. Even though most of it takes place behind the scenes, I really hope that the pain of his new life comes through. When I started the series, I had no idea how he’d cope with that misery. Too gentle for the world around him, I didn’t know how strong, or how angry, he could really be when called upon.
But then, I don’t think many of us ever do…
About the author:
Mild-mannered editor by day, puppet-master of broken souls by night.
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