Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
The bloody war between the Vampire Tribunal and the defiant scathe of Penton, Alabama, rages on, forcing its residents and their bonded humans to retreat into the underground fortress of last resort: Omega. There, Will Ludlam is charged with the care of Penton's humans, though he longs to fight alongside his vampire brethren. He knows the risks: as the renegade son of the Tribunal's vicious leader, Will's capture could doom the resistance.
Yet he is determined to prove his worth to his adopted scathe, to his vengeful father and to former US Army officer Randa Thomas, his beautiful, reluctant partner. Randa has little faith that a former member of the vampire elite has what it takes to fight a war. But as their enemies descend upon Omega, Will's polished charm and Randa's guarded heart finally give way to the warrior within.
Fans of Susannah Sandlin's Penton Legacy are sure to devour this long-awaited third installment of the steamy paranormal series.
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.
A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.
To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
It was sort of a “perfect storm” of ideas and coincidences. From a writing standpoint, I’d been wanting to try a big, overarching story that would span multiple books, written from multiple points of view. I also wanted to write vampires, even though everybody told me not to do it—you know, because vampires are dead (ha). This was back in 2010 or 2011, when the H1N1 “swine flu” virus was spreading, people were dying from it, and I caught it before the vaccine became available. While in my fevered state, I came up with the idea of a vaccine that changed human blood chemistry enough to make our blood poisonous to vampires. And from that the whole Penton series was born. You never know where those ideas are going to come from!
Q) How long did it take you to write?
The first book in the series, REDEMPTION, took over a year, which is really unusual for me. I wrote it in about two months, realized it didn’t work, then completely deconstructed it and spent a long time putting it back together. I got discouraged with it for a while and set it aside while I worked on other projects. When I sold the series, I didn’t have that luxury with the second and third books, ABSOLUTION and OMEGA. I write ABSOLUTION in about four months and OMEGA in a frenzied ten weeks.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
With this series, it was really creating heroes and heroines with baggage and taking them through a sometimes painful emotional journey. Each book has a different couple that takes center stage. Aidan (Redemption) is struggling to forgive himself for something that happened centuries ago in Ireland just after he was turned vampire, and Krys helps him realize that the past isn’t destined to repeat itself. Mirren (Absolution) has a brutal past as a Scottish mercenary and questionable social skills, and since everyone’s afraid of him anyway he thinks that’s the way it has to be. But Glory isn’t afraid of him and is able to bring out something in him no one else could see. In Omega, Will has been brought up to believe he’s worthless so he puts up walls to keep everyone away, but when he meets a woman who copes they same way he does, they figure out a way to let down their guard.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
With this series, it was trying to find that perfect balance between the overarching story line, which has a lot of moving parts and a lot of action, and the romance, which by definition needs some quiet moments. Most paranormal romances are about 70 percent romance and 30 percent plot; I’d say this series is more like 60-40 or even 55-45. So I had to find a way to make sure the quiet romantic parts worked in the context of the bigger, action-laced story. Which is how Will and Randa in Omega, for example, have one of their most intense romantic moments while buried under a pile of rubble after an explosion!
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
LOL, I’ve already talked about the beer my brother left at my house last year, so the next-oldest is….(going to check)…oops—a jar of horseradish that is probably older than the beer. It’s too hot to go bad. I like to make my own cocktail sauce instead of using the bottled stuff—a leftover habit from living in New Orleans, where no self-respecting restaurant would serve bottled sauce. They give you ketchup, a jar of horseradish, a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco, and a saucer to mix your own.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Well, Storm Force, a loose spinoff of the Penton series (totally different characters) is out now as a serial and will be available as a regular novel on June 28. Elysian Fields, the third book in my Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (written as Suzanne Johnson) will be out on August 13. I hope to do another Penton Legacy story later in the year.