Bestselling author L. A. Banks‘s new novel, Undead on Arrival, book three in her Crimson Moon series, is about Sasha Trudeau, a genetic experiment, conceived in a lab for the sole purpose of being the perfect killing machine.
“The overarching theme of the series is: the US Military started mucking around with trying to create the perfect soldier, not realizing that wolf DNA, differed from Werewolf DNA, and Shadow Wolf DNA—and not knowing that Werewolves, the kind that morphed into people-savaging monsters, were victims of a demon infection virus,” Banks said in an interview. “Before long, their specialized platoon that they’ve shot up with the wrong DNA starts turning—all except one, heroine Sasha Trudeau. She is a member of the third phyla, Shadow Wolves, and it takes a huge, sexy, Native American guy who also shares her same ancestry to show her the special attributes of that species—namely, they can enter and exit shadows as a form of evasive maneuvers, travel, and fighting.”
By the start of Undead on Arrival, the military has formed the Paranormal Containment Unit with Captain Sasha Trudeau leading it. “There is a war brewing between the vampires and the werewolves, and it all comes to a head with the Fae in between at the United Council of Entities meeting in New Orleans,” Banks said.
In a fantasy novel, Banks says that it’s really important to get your rules straight, so that readers aren’t enjoying the story and then go, Hey, wait a minute, how is that possible? “So the set-up is key,” she said. “If your supernatural being has some sort of thing readers haven’t seen before, like ‘shadow walking,’ then you have to set it up and give them cues, and make sure you don’t violate your own rules. Once you build the world, it’s sacrosanct—unless you have a really compelling reason to break it, but you’ve also got to do that in a structured way. Having a world that readers can step into and know will remain consistent and exciting is really important. What gives it depth and perspective is when you layer in things like: What is the culture of this new species? How do they mate, eat, exchange currency, barter, form family bonds, etc.? That’s the best part about writing speculative fiction—you, as the author, get to be the master of the universe and to build it!”
Prior to writing the Crimson Moon series, Banks had been working on a long-running (twelve book) series called the Vampire Huntress Legends. “I participated in a couple of anthologies that asked me to focus on a different ‘entity’ [other than vampires]—so I chose werewolves,” Banks said. “I fell in love with the concept and the lore, did a lot of research watching Animal Planet, and all of that gave me enough fodder for the series—plus I was very intrigued by the advances in genetic research. The fusion of those two interests became nothing short of the perfect storm.”
The current plan for the Crimson Moon series is that it will consist of six books. Banks recently turned in book four, Cursed to Death, which is slated for an October release.