"The Change Was Only the Beginning"
Carrie: When Ann Aguirre and I began writing Nightfall, we didn't give much consideration, initially, as to where future books would take us. Our primary focus was on Mason, Jenna, and how they fell in love as the world ended.
But being writers with hyper-active imaginations, we soon imagined the long-term shockwaves an apocalypse would create. Let's say…three years down the road! And who better to star in such a tale than someone readers already knew: Dr. Chris Welsh?
I had the privilege of writing Chris's point of view, which was fantastic because I love when a man comes into his own potential. Sure, he was kinda cute, and although he managed to find some eventual fortitude, Chris Welsh in Nightfall was not a hero. Of all the survivors, he was least able to cope with the magic overwhelming the world. Science had answered all of his questions, and those questions he hadn't been able to solve with cold logic—such as why his first two marriages failed—were simply easier to ignore.
But he can't ignore the Change.
In Midnight, we meet Chris after he's been wandering alone for three years. The events that concluded Nightfall weigh heavily on him. He needs time away from people and any reminders of his perceived failure. Walking, fighting, coping—he becomes a hardened High Plains Drifter sort. In essence, he becomes a man he barely recognizes: someone with a grim disposition and a tough, resilient physique that always gets him out of trouble. Where once he relied solely on his smarts, he now has brawn to back it up.
Too bad cynicism has stripped him of most reasons to use either his brain or his fists. Survival is his only goal. And too bad he has no idea that his most incredible, difficult change is yet to come.
The one stroke of luck he has, however, is wandering into Valle de Bravo, along the border of what was once Mexico. Only, it sure doesn't look like luck when he first meets Ann's heroine, Rosa Cortez…
Ann: Rosa is one of my favorite characters. She's tough, vulnerable, brave, terrified, loyal, and desperately lonely. Not that she would admit it. She loves books, but she's not well educated. She's tough as hell, but she's never had any formal combat training. Everything she's learned, she taught herself, often under the worst possible circumstances. Life has shown her that men aren't to be trusted, that everyone wants something, and that skinwalkers—the shapeshifters that emerged after the apocalyptic Change—are worse than raiders because they have forgotten their humanity entirely, becoming bestial creatures of hunger and rage.
Unlike most people after the Change, Rosa wasn't content merely to survive. No, she had crazy ambition, even before the world ended. Using her survival instincts, she has built a refuge called Valle de Bravo, a little village that clings to rudimentary civilization. She guards her borders. Where she once had nothing, she has men who will fight and die for her. The Change hasn't treated Rosa Cortez too badly.
Yet the Changed world is much emptier. So many people have died, swept away in the burning tide of the magic their bodies could neither channel, process, nor resist. Survivors huddle in tiny pockets, scrabbling to get by. Raiders called dust pirates prey on weaker settlements. By now, the demonic hellhounds have dwindled somewhat, hunted by human and skinwalkers alike, until they've become more nuisance than threat.
Sadly, human nature being what it is: the biggest threat comes from other people who've stockpiled weapons and resources, now victimizing their fellow man in any fashion. Slaving becomes a problem, with human girls at a high premium. The Change was harder on women, and there are fewer of them left. In Midnight, the world opens up a bit, showing more of what happened on a bigger scale. We hint at talents and magical abilities that are still developing after the Change, because in many ways, this is magical ground zero. Nobody knows what will happen next.
This is the world in which Rosa has built her tiny empire. It's also the world in which Chris and Rosa fall in love…
We hope you enjoy Book Two of our "Dark Age Dawning" trilogy. Midnight is available on September 6. We'd love to hear your thoughts on our latest apocalyptic romance, so be sure to visit our website!