The Spirit and The Shadow by Thomas Lavalle‏

I have been advised against announcing that I am a first-time author – that it is basically asking a reader to take a chance in my book even though I have no track record. I have no history in fiction writing, never won any awards, and never took a literature or writing class (outside of basic 101 level college courses). While not advised, it is the truth, and as honest as this bio is, so is my writing. My name is Thomas Lavalle. I am a first time writer. I also surf, read comics, and I’m a dedicated father and husband. If you’re interested in paranormal suspense - take a chance and check out my book, it’s awesome!

A fast-paced, paranormal suspense thriller from a new creative team that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you are pulled into the chase for a vampire by those who want his secret, others who are out for justice, and one man seeking revenge.

In a world where vampires and humans coexist, Detectives Aiden Lawson and Robert Garrison are after a vampire wanted for murder. This accused vampire is also hunted by the murder victim's brother, an assassin gone rogue from his clandestine agency. What these men will learn, is that this vampire has a secret – a secret that very powerful men and vampire alike will go to great lengths to acquire. The story follows the paths of these individuals as they uncover the truth. THE SPIRIT AND THE SHADOW is a mash-up of conspiracy and paranormal genres with suspense, vengeance, and BLOOD!

Available at iTunes Lulu Amazon Google Play

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Thomas: Brandon and I were looking for a creative outlet. We both have interests and hobbies that we had not been able to play with due to responsibilities to family and careers. So we decided to make time and try something new. I have seen Brandon’s art and I showed him some of my writing and pitched him with the idea of creating our own illustrated book. We did not want to make a traditional graphic novel, but something else – something that more evenly balances the words with the art. Brandon had never drawn serial art before and I had never attempted writing something this “big”. But we set our sights high, and the result in our first book!

Brandon: When Tommy told he was writing a book, and would like to add an artistic component to it – I was immediately interested. Even more so after reading the initial draft.

Thomas: In terms of the story itself, I guess at the time we were both caught up as much as everyone with the vampire craze. But we were each left unsatisfied with a lot of the emphasis on vampire romance and vampire teenage angst. We wanted to tell a more adult story and something suspense driven. Also, I didn’t want to write a story “about vampires”. It actually started as a murder / mystery ... adding vampires (with all their mythology) along with other supernatural elements helped raise the stakes of a story that would be small in a normal world, and turn it epic in our supernatural universe!

Brandon: Building on what Tommy speaks to above, we wanted to create a world and mythology that, for me, held more true to the dark overtones in more original stories such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. After first reading Stoker’s book in middle school I was very interested in the historical figure, Vlad the Impaler, and I think his brutality and carnage shine through in some of the art.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Thomas: I’m the type of writer that has to story-map my entire work beginning to end. So I probably cranked out the entire first draft of the series (we have planned a trilogy) in about 6 months. This first draft, admittedly, is not very good. What it does is hit all the beats and layout the progression of the story. Brandon then starts providing the illustrations for me to add to the story. I then revise my story and characters based on the art. The integration of all the art took about 12 months. We then spent 6 months in editing, illustration revisions, review/feedback, and final edits. So two years overall ... and that while working 9-5 (if we’re lucky) and keeping our families happy!

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Thomas: Writing is only one part of the creative process for me. I enjoy the entirety of the process. Everything from the first days of brainstorming and ideas to the last days of final edit. I love the collaboration with Brandon and Jenna (our editor). To me, that is what makes the experience. Writing, for me is a lonely exercise. That is the one part that is totally mine, and done by myself. I need that and enjoy it, but the part that is exhilarating is taking those pages and giving them to Brandon and Jenna to illustrate, revise, develop, enhance and publish!

Brandon: It is a creative release that adds another facet to my life which I don’t have through my day job.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Thomas: Proofreading. I absolutely have no patience or interest in this part of the process ... but am totally aware of the importance.

Brandon: When the image/idea in your mind does not translate how you want on paper.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Brandon: Any professional big wave surfer. I’ve been an avid surfer for over half my life, but restrict my surfing to waves that fall into the more mortal realm. It would be awesome for a day to experience one of those XXL days pushing 100’.

Thomas: Taylor Swift. Why not? Lol ... I don’t know …How about George RR Martin, so I can find out how Game of Thrones will end – at his writing pace, winter is never coming.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Brandon: A 2008 bottle of Stone Arrogant Bastard.

Thomas: I just found an old bag of shredded cheese in the fridge this afternoon that my 18 month old daughter pulled out and was running around with – so gross – and now my garbage smells like a dead cow.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Thomas: In an unexpected twist, Taylor Swift appears at the end of our next book carrying a bag of rotten cheese to fend off a vampire attack!

Brandon: Books 2 and 3 of the Spirit and the Shadow. The next two installments move away from the more detective thriller in the first book and dives more into the details of the vampire lore and mythology – adding another unknown element (See last page of the book 1) that will be nothing short of epic!

Thomas: I’m about half-way through the rewrite of the Book 2 script and Brandon is working on the initial sketches of some new characters. He also has some new software that he is playing with to help advance the art and style of the book to be in line with where the story is going and the bigger world our characters are entering!
Pembroke Sinclair's books on Goodreads
Life After the Undead Life After the Undead
reviews: 55
ratings: 100 (avg rating 3.64)

The Appeal of Evil The Appeal of Evil (The Road to Salvation, #1)
reviews: 38
ratings: 63 (avg rating 3.54)

Wucaii Wucaii
reviews: 32
ratings: 35 (avg rating 4.11)

Death to the Undead Death to the Undead (Sequel to Life After the Undead)
reviews: 20
ratings: 39 (avg rating 4.23)

Dealing with Devils Dealing with Devils (The Road to Salvation, #2)
reviews: 22
ratings: 32 (avg rating 4.00)