Saturday, June 18, 2011

BBT: Shattered Glass book tour


ReaderGirls is proud to be participating in the Bewitching Book Tours for Shattered Glass by Elaine Bergstrom. We believe paranormal fans and vampire aficionados will enjoy this gripping novel, the first in the six book Austra series. Elaine Bergstrom has written a thought provoking guest post on The Allure of Immortality. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Book Description:

Helen Wells, 19, is a gifted painter, struggling to create a legacy before the illness that left her crippled claims her life. Stephen Austra is a brilliant glass artist, and an immortal. When they meet, their passion is immediate and intense. But as their love grows, Dick Wells, Helen's uncle and a homicide expert on the local police department, begins investigating a series of savage murders committed, he is forced to believe, by something not human.

Soon all three will be drawn into a struggle with a dark presence from Stephen's past, one that lays claim to the life
of the woman he loves and one that, for all his power, he is helpless to control.

This novel, first published in 1989 to critical acclain is being reissued in a special updated -- and uncut -- version, and includes 12,000 words not found in the original edition. It is the first of 6 books in the Austra series. 

Paperback: 386 pages
Publisher: Elaine Bergstrom (January 24, 2011) 

Language: English ISBN-10: 0982970609 ISBN-13: 978-0982970607

To see more books in the Austra series visit: http://www.elainebergstrom.com/Ordering-Books.html

We welcome Elaine Bergstrom.

The Allure of Immortality...

One of my earliest memories came from the days when I was five years old and battling polio. I woke lying on my side in my bed and there was a dark-cloaked figure beside my bed, a skeletal face close to mine. It did not frighten me, but gave me an odd sense of peace. There are stories of those who have seen the personification of death, and for me Death chose to pass me by. I thought he was a pretty nice guy.

As time went on, I developed an affinity for the so-called “monsters” of films in the 60s, but none with the fondness I felt for vampires in all their various guises. At the time, of course, the goal was to kill the vampires even as the vampires themselves became ever more alluring. This peaked, of course, with the young and gloriously handsome Frank Langella playing a Dracula like no one had ever seen on the screen. I doubt I was the only girl watching that film and thinking, “What a travesty that sunlight was such a problem for him.”

So when I sat down to write my first novel, Shattered Glass, I knew I did not want a traditional vampire, but someone living, breathing and loving with all the passion that a soul can impart and without the restrictions that vampires must live with. I created the ancient and beautiful Stephen Austra, who can walk in sunlight and who works in churches and who does not have to kill to survive, out of the sort of immortal creature that I wanted to sweep me away, and over the years—and in six novels—he and his family have done a beautiful job of keeping me and my fans enthralled. His lover, Helen Wells, was not modeled after me, but after a slightly older friend whose experience with polio was not as fortunate as mine and who spent her short life fighting its effects.

In Glass, the word “vampire” is used just a few times, as the Austra family is not precisely that. Instead, they are a family, some more likeable than others. In the first books, they did not know their origins, but in the final book Beyond Sundown, they finally learn the secret of their history – a secret with implications for humanity as well as their own.

Why did I create romantic vampires? I am an optimist. I think for all its faults, humanity will not only survive its own worse behavior, but thrive. If I could be alive a century from now, I would happily take the plunge. In Glass there is a scene that describes my own thoughts on immortality perfectly:

The last few words seemed sensible but the earlier ones puzzled her. “You make yourself sound so ancient, and both of us so rare.”

“I am much ... much older than I appear. As for us, we are unusual. You especially.” After allowing her a moment of contemplation, he continued. “The night we met, you said your mother should have lived forever. ... Tell me how you felt at the moment your mother died.”

He asked the question as if he knew the answer! She began to speak, then faltered and started over in a voice that surprised her with its strength. “My parents died six months ago while I was at the hospital for therapy. They were coming to see me walk for the first time since my illness. Perhaps they were excited and drove too fast, I don’t know. I ...” She covered her face with her hands, and when she looked up, she saw him watching her, his eyes drawing the words from her. “I felt the flames touch her. I felt her pain. I felt her die, and my response was not grief but impotent rage, as if a terrible injustice had been done and it was too late to set it right.

“If I had been alone, I might have cried out from rage and grief, but it seemed dangerous to react when I could not know for certain that what I felt was real. Later, when someone came and told me of their death, I did scream her name. I don’t believe I stopped screaming it for days. I only remember I missed the funeral, and for that I was thankful.”

“Your denial was natural. Though you had no way of knowing until tonight, you and she both knew the truth at the moment of her death. Your mother could have lived forever. So can you.” He felt her rush of anger and quickly added, “I am being serious. Trust your instincts and you will know I do not lie.”

He had always been kind and sensible, yet now he seemed so serious as he spoke of the impossible. I’ll listen, she thought, and that thought was sufficient.

“I’ve watched you starve yourself, eating barely enough to stay alive and refusing to do what is necessary to become whole and strong. Now I believe I understand this apathy. But you must name for yourself what it is you fear.”

These harsh words were spoken with such compassion, she was compelled to reply. She looked at the sculpture, the windows, her pictures on his wall. It was selfish to wish to create, to love, to question mortality, yet it seemed so perfectly right. Her hands clenched into demanding fists and she closed her eyes, considering and discarding answer after painful answer until only one, the sum of the rest, remained. When at last she spoke, her eyes were filled with tears but the words came strong and even, as they always seemed to do in the presence of this man. “Time! It will never be enough. Death had no right to my mother, and as for me, what is the difference between five years and fifty? There will never be sufficient time for what I long to do.”

“And what is that?”

“Live.” It was a statement, but her voice held the hint of a question.

“And if I offered you eternity, Helen, would you accept it?” His words were sincere but possessed a deceptive calm. He feared she would laugh or, worse, refuse.

She bowed her head and wiped away the tears with her fingertips. When she raised her eyes to his, their smoky depths revealed the puzzling hunger she had too long endured. He had told her to trust her instincts and she obeyed. “I would accept it, Stephen. There are times I believe I would sacrifice everything to possess it.”

But, as Glass
 and its sequel Blood Rites reveal, immortality is as much a curse as a gift, but I believe the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. 

People ask me why romantic vampire fiction is so popular today and there are many arguments. But perhaps the most compelling is that we are more secular today, more agnostic. Is there a heaven or a hell or does our sense of self end when we die? I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I do know that if there is nothing else, I’ll take life forever.

About the Author:

Elaine Bergstrom was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the product of 16 years of Catholic education which, she is sure, has strongly affected her work. Her first novel, Shattered Glass, was among the first vampire romances and created a family of vampiric immortals -- powerful, eternal but with some odd constraints on their natures. It was set in her hometown and the church she attended as a child.

Shattered Glass was nominated for a Stoker,
received critical acclaim and has been followed by four other related novels, as well as under the pseudonym Marie Kiraly (her grandmother's name), she has written two Dracula sequels: Mina...the Dracula Story Continues and Blood to Blood. 

She resides in Milwaukee,
 Wisconsin, where she runs a novel writing workshop, freelances as a TV and film critic and writes grumpy old lady letters to her congressmen and local papers. You can get additional information on her books and upcoming appearances at elainebergstrom.com 

Note: The Kindle edition of Shattered Glass is the "author's cut" version -- including 10,000 words not included in the original paperback.

http://www.elainebergstrom.com Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Bergstrom/e/B000APQK04

Thanks to Elaine Bergstrom and Bewitching Book Tours.


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