Former award-winning journalist and author Michele Drier writes the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries and the paranormal romance series SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles. Learn more about Michele and her books at her website.
Maps are a passion.
Want to get from Bath to Stonehenge by way of Limply Stoke? I have a map for that.
Looking for the best route between Beaune and Auxerre? I have a map for that.
I love to travel, to find different lands, different people, different foods, different cultures and outlooks. There’s a sense of adventure, of reinventing oneself, of adopting a different persona.
This may be why I set the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles primarily in and around Kiev. The protagonists live there, but they travel throughout Europe. And, like me, their favorite city is Paris.
They own a flat in the 7th Arrondissement, a leafy enclave overlooking the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars and the Ecole Militaire. They visit Paris for shopping, for business and always for Fashion Weeks.
A few years ago, before my mother died, she got a passport but hadn’t gone anywhere. I told her it was illegal to have a passport but not use it and asked where she’d like to go. I expected her to say England, but she said Paris and so we went for a week, not long enough.
After we spent hours at the Louvre, we sat beside one of the ponds in the Tuileries Gardens, watched French kids sail toy boats and she said, “I’m in love.” She loved the sights, the families, the art, the food, the sounds. She said that all her life she’d heard French emergency sirens in movies and on TV and now she was hearing the definitive “OOOH-ah, OOOH-ah.”
That was probably my seventh or eighth visit to Paris and I, too, had fallen in love with the city over the years. Now, as I write, I have maps of many European cities and countries near. After all, the Kandeskys are an uber-rich, uber-sophisticated vampire family who rose in Hungary five hundred years ago. They spend time in many European cities, and I need to see where they go, what they do, so I read the maps. The most tattered is a map of Paris from Galleries Lafayette picked up years ago. I close my eyes and see the street, the apartment, the courtyard, the trees that the Kandeskys see, though their view is by night.
In the latest Kandesky book, SNAP: I, Vampire, a visit to a Fashion Week show results in a kidnapping and chase through the French countryside. And I traced the kidnappers’ route on one of my maps.
Soon, I’m going back to Paris, back to the 7th Arrondissment, back to the food, the people, the OOH-ah sirens, and to revisit the places where my mother fell in love.
SNAP: I, Vampire
Book 9 of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles
Maxie Gwenoch, LA-based media star, VP for International Planning for the multi-national gossip conglomerate, SNAP, has finally agreed to marry Jean-Louis Kandesky, a 500-year-old Hungarian vampire and leader of the family that owns SNAP.
Is marriage a big change? Not as big as the fact that Maxie is now a vampire, as well. When munitions from the Kandesky Enterprises weapons plant in Slovakia turn up at the bombing of a Royal's house in England, Jean-Louis and his "brother," Nik, are hot on the trail of shadowy terrorist groups dealing in international weapons sales. Are the Kandesky arms being sold to terrorists groups? Should Maxie use her newfound vampire strengths to ferret out the scum?