Please welcome Stacey Bryan, Urban Fantasist, Poe Devotee, Paranormal Enthusiast, and author of DAY FOR NIGHT to the podium!
You know, I, like you, became interested in Edgar Allen Poe around the same age you say you did. I remember memorizing The Raven just for fun. I have no idea why. But I remember repeating the stanzas over and over until I knew the poem by heart. Weirdly, though, I didn’t write any Poe-like stories back then. I stuck firmly with ordinary suburban dramas.
Something Wicked this Way Comes was one of my first influences in the paranormal/second reality world. I recall being fascinated with the ending and what happened to the main character’s best friend. I still didn’t attempt writing anything even near this genre, though, for years, until I wrote a satire on The Terminator, an alternate take on the movie taking place in L.A., full of what I hoped were humorous observations about the city and Angelenos in general. I think Day for Night was born out of that experience, years later, because I realized how much I enjoyed making fun of Los Angeles, which can be a very silly city sometimes.
I’m also partial to urban paranormal/fantasy. Following the lives of people who are rooted in everyday, established reality who then are tossed head over heels into some unexpected paranormal experience are more palatable to me than those taking place in an unrecognizable future time, faraway place, or alternate world. Not that those stories and locations are bad, of course! I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to do them justice as a writer. I guess it’s just a “Twilight Zone” kind of feeling I like, where one minute a woman’s walking around wondering why everyone is so strange before she eventually realizes everything is out of whack because she’s a store mannequin that somehow became animated.
Rae, The main character of Day for Night, has her world turned upside down one afternoon while doing laundry when she comes across an alien abduction taking place right in the laundry room. She’s a wannabe ex-actress—yes, somehow both!—who’s just been kicked off her reality TV show for no apparent reason, and she’s definitely not in the mood and/or prepared to have Whitley Streiber morph, in her mind, from fiction writer to autobiographer.
But even though the weirdness bottle is uncorked and events are not going back to normal but are actually escalating, Rae’s environment remains the same: she still has to deal with driving and traffic, shallow pet psychiatrists, and living in a worn-down Glendale apartment building instead of the condo she lost when she got kicked off the show. I guess L.A. becomes a kind of character itself, the King or Queen of Crazytown, where its free-wheeling citizens float through their lives and even though everyone’s crammed together on its streets and freeways, they’re separated by metal and rolled-up windows.
Rae definitely feels alone as things seem to go from bad to worse, and living in Los Angeles does nothing to alleviate that feeling. It’s a perfect place to engender denial, though, and Rae fills her mental pool with it and regularly does backstrokes up and down its length.
It doesn’t seem fair that, along with unemployment and romantic encounters that never seem to go anywhere, she now has to deal with the emergence of vampires. But yet she does. And although they will figure largely into a solution for fighting back against the gray invaders, she still resents the fact that they exist at all. And the timing is terrible! It seems like every time she tries to go online to figure out how to apply past credits and return to school at UCLA, something unnatural snaps her attention away, as if both the aliens and the vampires have something personal against continuing education.
In the end, Los Angeles as the setting for paranormal activity seems to me rife with possibilities for endless humor and even excitement, complete with celebrity sightings and interactions. I feel like anytime you can have the name Larry King on the same line as the word vampire, the potential is wide open for fun!
When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.
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Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She received a BA in English from UCLA, studying under world-renowned Irish journalist and novelist Brian Moore. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on various short stories and mapping out the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer.
guest post logo by me!
alien and vampire images by pixabay.com