Originally, I’d set the story several years later so that I could have John Polidori, the author of “The Vampyre” (full text here) as one of the physicians who visits Colin. I used a certain Dr. Johnson instead, whose name I’d found among some research on medicinal leeches. All is not lost for Polidori, however–considering the end of the novella, it isn’t impossible that he’ll be referenced in a future novel (updated: see DEMON ANGEL and DEMON MOON).
The imagery I used for Caelum was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The City in the Sea.” Why base a location–a location that is supposed to be a reflection of heaven, no less–on a poem that begins “Lo! Death has reared himself a throne/In a strange city lying alone”? Quite simply, it’s because the second stanza gets me every single time:No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently–
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free–
Up domes–up spires–up kingly halls–
Up fanes–up Babylon-like walls–
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers–
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Wose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.
I always knew Anthony would be a doctor who had been killed during battle, but my original conception of the character had him dying much earlier, and during the reign of a different emperor than Napoleon: the Roman emperor, Claudius, in the first century A.D. Bits of Claudius’s legacy are showing up in Hugh’s story, in the form of architectural ruins in medieval Essex, England, but nothing remains of him in the HOT SPELL novella: the Roman physician Anthony was too alpha–and ultimately too uninteresting–to use.
DEMON ANGEL was the first book in the series, originally — but it wasn’t quite ready for publication. My editor asked me to join the HOT SPELL novella, and to write a story that introduced the world. And, since I loved the Regency period, and really enjoyed Colin’s character, I thought: why not show how he was transformed into a vampire? And “Falling for Anthony” was born. (This is also my THE CALL story, and I’ve recounted the conversation with my editor inBrain Hump: The Conception of “Falling for Anthony” in my blog. This does include some strong language.)
The earl of Norbridge’s residence at Beaumont Court is a fictional setting based on two grand houses in Derbyshire: Melbourne Hall and Hassop Hall. Did I visit either? Alas, no. But, both houses are open to the public (Hassop Hall is a now a hotel) and so if I ever get the opportunity, I definitely will. And take pictures. And perhaps camp out on the grounds for the rest of my life–until they kick me out, that is.
Why Derbyshire? I confess, I must date it from the time I first saw the grounds at Pemberley.