Today I am so pleased to welcome Patricia J. Esposito to Joyfully Jay. Patricia has come to talk to us about her latest release, Beside a Darker Shore. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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The Evolution of a Story, or How Plans Change

Some of us relish humans’ mad idiosyncrasies, all our little fears and failures—sometimes that’s what drives us foolish mortals. 

David Gedden, the governor of Massachusetts says these words near the start of my vampire novel Beside the Darker Shore. But that idea was awhile in coming. The first draft of my vampire novel began nobly, with Alex Marshall, a vampire who has never killed. Peaceful and opulent, like water glimmering, Alex emits a scent of saltwater, ocean breeze, and lavender. He is the honorable, decent leader of a peaceful vampire community. People are swayed toward benevolence in his presence.

That was my initial plan. I’ve always believed in the value of reason, in the god Apollo over Dionysus. Alex was to be my hero. But as with most good plans, it changed. 

Writing is a fluid, evolving process, and while writing this novel, I became immersed in the works of Mexican novelist and diplomat Carlos Fuentes. I began recognizing the duality in life, the dichotomies of this world. It’s not easy to come to terms with human beings’ consistent mistakes, their acts of passion, acts of greed, acts of pride that often impede progress. Yes, I wanted to show the value of a community based on reason and cooperation, but I needed someone who recognized the flaws that it would have to entail. 

That is where a less perfect human came in—David Gedden, the governor of Massachusetts, a man who strove to be good, to do good, but who also understood human nature. David brought compassion to the world I was creating. 

So, here was another plan—and another chance for the subconscious to mess things up.

About a third of the way into the novel, the vampire Arturo de Rosa stepped in to challenge all I’d been thinking. The ancient vampire Arturo loosely represents Dionysus. Unlike Alex, Arturo’s skin is more supple, earthy, his dark eyes like night trees, willows swaying in darkness. He is equally compelling, but rouses desire, longing, a new taste of life. 

As a working mom, wife, daughter, sister, I appreciated the irresponsible fun Arturo de Rosa brought to the novel. Most of us spend a good deal of our lives responsible to others, putting others before ourselves. And that is a good thing. But writing, for me, is playtime, and Arturo brought adventure. It was time to let go of my real-life persona and delve into potential.

Maybe potential is often why we write and why we read—the adventure of learning something new or escaping into other worlds. To be someone we’re not, to play pretend. I gave Arturo de Rosa free rein, and he ran away with the book. Suddenly, desire drove the characters, and the need for love became the goal. 

At the same time, the confusing, challenging, paradoxical ideas I was reading in Carlos Fuentes’s work steered my main character David Gedden. Life wasn’t simple. Humans couldn’t be contained as one ideal type. 

I placed David Gedden in the middle, as we all are from time to time, forced with difficult choices— hopefully not as dire as the choice David faces in order to be with the person he loves. 

By my third, fourth, fifth draft, I had an unexpected yet rewarding response from my beta reader who said, “I’m glad after all it is a love story.” That’s how the book ended, with the very human struggle for love. And that is what I kept. 


beside the darker shoreWhat might the ethical Governor David Gedden give up for one man’s exquisite beauty? It’s terrifying to consider when the man is a destructive blood prostitute and David is responsible for the state’s peaceful vampire community. Blood sales in Boston are up, blood taxes support a thriving new nightlife, neighborhoods have been refurbished, and deaths by vampires have plummeted. David is assured reelection.

However, the blood addict Stephen Salando has returned from exile with one unalterable plan: to turn the good governor into a vampire. Stephen is an immortal dhampir, whose beauty obliterates reason, who rouses in David a fierce desire he’s ignored his whole life. But for David to have Stephen, he must ally with an ancient vampire, the community’s seductive archnemesis. To have him, he must become a killer himself.

Will David hold on to his ethical public life? Or will he follow what he most desires, a kiss with a killer to become a vampire himself?


Patricia J Esposito bio photoPatricia Esposito lives by the notion Luis Alberto Urrea once expressed: When the world is so dark and bloody, be brave enough to broadcast innocent joy. Dare to be naive. She has written edgy paranormal fiction for most of her life, but always finds beneath it a romantic heart. Her most recent fiction and poetry reflect that enduring quest for love and joy beneath the human struggle.

Patricia has received honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections, is a two-time winner of Rhino’s Reader=Writer award, and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. With a Master’s degree in English, she edits law books and textbooks for income and tries to keep up with a retired husband and enjoy time with her two adult daughters—when she’s not off exploring the intoxicating realms of the imagination and chasing muses.

Beside the Darker Shore is her first full-length work of fiction. She welcomes the chance to meet other writers and readers through her website or Facebook page.


Patricia is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour.

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