Good Morning Everyone. I have Megan Cashman here to talk about her book The Dark Proposal. Please welcome her to the blog.
Hello Megan! I’m thrilled to have you here and thanks for being today’s “Pick”.
Please share a little about you, your works and what got you into writing.
I am a 30 year old from New York City. I have a background in journalism, having worked for cable news stations and did some freelance work. This is my first novel.
I’ve always wanted to write a book, even as a small kid. It was all a matter of finding the right time in my life to truly dedicate myself to something I’ve always wanted to do.
Did the plot and characters work out as you wanted or did they shape the story as you were writing?
I’d say both. I did have in mind on how I wanted the characters to initially come across as. But as the story develops, their development took a life of their own.
In the begin we are introduced to a meek and timid Claire, she seems like a bit of a downer, with being a new college grad, not finding much work, and barely making ends meet. What went into creating her as such a downplayed character?
I was going through almost exactly what Claire was going through when I started this book. I was struggling to find work in a poor economy and that put a damper on my spirits. I felt her meekness and timidity worked with the story. I really don’t think Daniel would’ve made his move if Claire was more stronger.
When we get our first glimpse of Daniel he definitely had the dark vibe in seeing how he acted at first toward both Claire and Nancy. Did Nancy possibly know more then she let on about him?
Nancy felt that something was off about Daniel. She knew he wasn’t exactly a nice guy and had an arrogant streak. But she sensed there was something about him she couldn’t quite put her finger on, but it was enough to make her suspicious of him.
We see Claire has her stronger moments when people around her start to cut her down, but at other times she clamps her feelings down when her “alarm” are going off in her head. Is she avoiding confrontation, not wanting others to try and talk her out of things or tell her what to do?
Claire is avoiding confrontation by being in denial at times of what is going on around her. She wants to be accepted by Daniel’s group of friends and keep him as her boyfriend. She’s not exactly afraid of being alone, but she does seek approval from others.
When Daniel show her his darker side she is truly scared and wants to run, but he tell her she can’t turn back. As things progress and she really sees what’s going on she does become almost robotic, void of emotion and care. Was that part of what I’d call “conditioning” for what she’s to become?
Yes. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Daniel wants Claire to be obedient so it would be easier for him to have a new vampire by his side.
Daniel does some despicable things to her and turns her world upside down, her friends figure out certain things and Claire realizes that she has to really hide things from everyone. She soon begins to change and sets the stage for the tone in the rest of the story. How did that development shape her character?
She is kind of broken at this point. Depression and helplessness has set in, but she is not free to express those emotions because that may lead to her revealing what it really going on with her and Daniel. Unfortunately, in this world the paranormal is widely believed to not exist, so Claire has little chance of being understood. So, by being trapped and not being free to express herself, she breaks down.
With your paranormal world the creatures have different names in their world from those in the human world, what made you choose to create that disconnect from keeping it the same in both worlds?
I felt because they are centuries old creatures in a world with increasing surveillance, they would need to hide their identities more.
When she gets in too deep and realizes she has only two ways her life will be shaped, both of which she dislikes, she breaks down and chooses the greater evil in her eyes. She then becomes more like the Claire we first saw, before the climax near the very end. Do you think she could eventually become stronger once she accepts things?
Claire does become stronger during the next two books. She has no choice but to accept the life she basically chose. How she does that is part of the storyline for the follow-ups.
Can you share a little, without spoilers please, about what’s coming up in this trilogy?
Besides Claire’s adjustment, the vampires deal with the detectives and hunters tracking them down even more – as is mentioned in “The Dark Proposal”. Claire’s friends and family try to remain in contact with her, and she becomes good friends with Hilde.
Lastly the fun questions:
Plotter or pantser?
More of a pantser, though I am forcing myself to be a plotter to make writing more easy.
Early Bird or Night Creature?
As I get older, I’m more of a early bird in order to get my day started on the right foot.
Are you more like Claire, Hilde, Samantha or Monica?
I’d say Claire and Monica. My downer side is like Claire’s, but the rest of me is like Monica – reserved, diplomatic in my relationships
White, Milk or Dark chocolate?
Coffee Tea or other?
I’m one of those “I need my coffee” in the morning, but I like to wind down with a nice big cup of tea.
Music or quiet while working?
I need some noise or else silence will drive me crazy. Sometimes music helps if I’m writing at home, and I prefer instrumental music in order to focus properly.
Favorite place to sit and write?
I prefer going to Starbucks or Panera Bread. There’s something about being out in public that energizes me. If I stayed home all the time, I would feel less energized.
Computer or good old pen and paper?
I wish I could say pen and paper, but the computer makes the process easier.
Pick your poison (alcoholic drink of choice when going out)
Usually a cosmo or a martini.
Thanks for stopping in Megan, it was great to be able to pick your mind and talk about Claire and Daniel.
Girls, if you had the perfect boyfriend who suddenly reveals he's a vampire, and also wants to make you one or else...what would you do?
That is the dilemma college graduate Claire McCormick faces. Her life is brightened up by Daniel Bertrand in a whirlwind romance, who only to turns out to be a bloodthirsty vampire. He also won't take no for an answer when he proposes for Claire to join him for eternity. She faces becoming evil herself or have evil done to her and her loved ones. The Dark Proposal explores Claire's nightmare and fears while she makes her decision. Along the way, she learns why exactly Daniel wants her to be vampire.
The Dark Proposal will be the first book in a trilogy that follows what becomes of Claire and the vampires. It will be released on Kindle this September.
About Megan Cashman
Former freelance journalist Megan Cashman is getting ready to publish her first book in September 2012. The Dark Proposal will be released as an E-book on Kindle. Megan has worked for cable news stations, both local and national, and has a master's degree in journalism under her belt.
Born and raised on Staten Island, New York's forgotten borough, Megan always had a love of reading and writing. Her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Anne Rice, Khaled Hosseini, and Sarah Dunant. She enjoys books that take her to a different world and/or see her world differently. She hopes to do the same for her future readers.
As for other things, Megan likes to hit the beach in the summer, rollerblade, do yoga and cook. She loves to blast her iTunes with all her songs. Her favorite acts are U2, Enigma, Depeche Mode, Garbage, Sarah McLachlan and many more - she even likes Celtic and New Age music!
Her favorite movie is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. She tunes in to watch Once Upon A Time, Girls, Game of Thrones and True Blood.
Where to Find MeganTwitter: | Facebook | Website/Blog
Claire McCormick sighed heavily when she saw the professor’s name on the letter.
“I can’t believe he’s gone.” she mumbled.
“Who? Colin Willis?” came a voice from across the office.
Claire looked up at the other secretary and nodded. “Yeah, I just don’t understand why would anyone would want to kill him.” She set aside the letter and continued going through the papers she had to put away. “He was my favorite professor. He was so encouraging and fun, and I used to always look forward to his classes.”
The secretary, Nancy Giordano, shook her head sadly. “Yes, it was a big loss for all of us. Such a pleasant man. Even worse,” she stood up to use the copy machine. “There hasn’t been arrests or any leads. Nothing has happened!”
Claire could only nod. Two weeks had passed since the death of Colin Willis, and the case seemed to have already run cold. The professor was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment after neighbors reported a foul odour coming from there. Willis was found on his bedroom floor, his throat slashed open. There was no evidence of forced entry, robbery or anything of the like. From what Claire had heard, it was as though someone calmly walked into Willis’ apartment, killed him without a fight and calmly walked out.
She blinked a few times to clear her mind. She didn’t want to spend too much time dwelling on how the professor died or sadness would weigh her down. Instead, she focused on getting her work done for the day. Claire worked part-time at the English department at Richmond College, a small private institution in New York City. Although she had graduated a few months earlier, she kept her job as she struggled to find work.
Even Nancy seemed to want to change the mood of the office. She went back to her cheerful humming and even brought up a subject that always lit Claire up. “How’s your niece doing?”
“She’s doing very well!” She beamed. “Ava is learning to sit up by herself. She is getting so big! I should have new pictures to show you soon since my sister-in-law is always taking pictures!”
She finished going through the papers and went over to the filing cabinet to begin filing them. Looking at the clock above the cabinet, Claire almost smiled again as she saw it was fifteen minutes to five.
But it was who entered the office right then that prevented her from smiling altogether.
He strolled in calmly and casually, not making a grand entrance in hopes of being noticed. He politely said hello to Nancy, who was back at her desk and had tightened up by the mere sight of him, but he did not appear to notice. He then nodded at Claire, who mumbled “Hi” back to him, but was taking in his appearance. She could have glanced at this man and continued filing away the papers. But it was what he wore that made her almost stare.
It was eighty-five degrees outside, partly cloudy with the sun peeking out now and then, and the man was wearing a long sleeved red shirt buttoned up except for the top one at the collarbone. On his legs were slim khakis, brown socks and loafers. How could this person dress like that in the heat?
Upon examining this stranger’s attire, she also noticed his skin, or what little was shown of it. Despite the three months of summer, the man was noticeably pale, almost sickly looking. Was there something wrong with him?
After acknowledging his odd appearance, Claire noted the rest of him. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, a little under six feet of medium build with light brown hair and blue-green eyes. She also saw that he was handsome, with high cheekbones framing his face. However, his clothing overwhelmed his good looks.
“Laura Matthews will be available shortly, Daniel,” Nancy was telling him, saying the chairwoman’s name. “Have a seat and she will see you in a few.”
“Thank you, Nancy,” the man responded politely but distantly, with a cultured sounding accent. Claire couldn’t tell whether it was British or not, but it certainly wasn’t American.
He went to sit on the cushioned chairs against the wall, opposite the filing cabinets. That was when she saw he had a satchel over his shoulder, the type many professors carried around campus. If this Daniel was a professor, why hadn’t she ever seen him during her four years at Richmond College?
Nancy was talking to the man, though in a more guarded tone than her usual perkiness. “Daniel, how was your summer in Australia? I understand you did some reporting Down Under?”
Over at the filing cabinet, Claire’s ears perked.
“It was a great trip, as always. Spent time with friends and family, got a lot of work done. Can’t complain,” Daniel answered.
“You went to Australia for the summer?” Claire left the cabinet drawer open and walked over to the professor. “Do you go there often?”
Daniel looked over at Claire, sized her up and replied, “Yes, I have relatives and friends in Sydney. The summer is my one chance to see them.”
“And you’re a reporter? For what publication?”
“Many. I’m a freelancer.”
Nancy put on one of her broad smiles. “Claire graduated from our English Writing program this past May. She’s been doing some freelancing ever since, but it is difficult out there.”
Claire felt a bit embarrassed that the secretary introduced her to Daniel in this way, but he didn’t seem too fazed. Instead, he raised his eyebrows, slightly intrigued “A freelance writer? And what was your name again?”
“Claire. Claire McCormick. I work here part-time.” Why did she say the last part?
“Where have you been published?”
“A few places online and local newspapers, nothing too spectacular. And I interned for a bi-weekly Brooklyn magazine.”
“So, I take it writing is really something you want to do?”
She nodded. “Yeah, I mean, I like to write. I like to tell stories and inform people. Writing is how I communicate to the world.”
Daniel smiled. “That’s always good to hear. You can tell when someone is serious about the written word.”
“Are you an international journalist?” Claire knew she looked stupid standing before this person in the middle of the office, gushing about writing and traveling like a wide-eyed young girl. But she too eager to learn about what seemed like an exciting life.
Daniel smiled again, though this time he seemed to hold back a laugh. “Yes, in some degree. I am not world famous or else I wouldn’t be here.”
“Where have you’ve been published?”
Daniel named off some magazines and websites for men, traveling, lifestyle and even one major news outlet. “I’ve been freelancing for six years and I still have to fight my way to get published. As I said, I am not world famous, so I still feel the competition.”
Before she could ask any more questions, Laura Matthews appeared in the doorway to her office. She gave Claire a stern look, which sent her back to filing the papers, and called in Daniel. He walked in without speaking, and closed the door behind him. Once that happened, Claire immediately shut the cabinet she was working on and rushed over to Nancy’s desk.
“Who is he? How come I've never seen him before?”
“That’s Daniel Bertrand, he’s an adjunct professor here. He only started last year and only works nights. Since he’s new, he gets stuck with the 101 classes,” Nancy answered as she shut down her computer.
“Really? No wonder why I’ve never seen him before.” She thought back on the conversation. “He said he’s been freelancing for six years. Is he working on his PhD?”
“No, I understand he got his two years ago.”
“Two years ago? Nancy, he doesn’t even look old enough to have one.”“
Yes, I know. I always assumed he just looks young for his age. I’ve heard he’s about thirty years old.”
Claire is a recent college graduate. Like many of us is struggling to find work in a downed economy. When the mysterious Daniel Bertrand walks into the office she can't help but notice his features and pale skin. Once she learns about his freelancing she brazenly asks for some help in finding work. From here things start to get darker.
When Daniel meets the reserved and soft spoken Claire, he at first thinks nothing of her, but once he realizes she has potential he decides that she could be the one mate for him, as long as she gets shaped how he desires.
As Claire and Daniel get acquainted their relationship takes of at record speed. They start dating, and she often goes to his Tribeca neighborhood to meet for dinner, and eventually meeting his "friends" at a local bar. When happens at the bar is eye opening for Claire, open groping, kissing, etc are all over the scene and Daniels friends act completely different from how most so. Claire soon sees Daniel's true nature and she gets freaked. but she knows too much and Daniel reminds her of this more than once. Her family and friends would be in danger if she lets on that anything isn't right.
Her only two options are both ones she dislikes - either end up dead or she joins him and becomes a monster like him. Clair chooses to protect the ones she loves and reluctantly decides that she'll become a monster. With this their relationship takes it up a few notches within a week. She moves in with Daniel and over the upcoming college break, they travel to Paris. However, this is more then a pleasure trip, it is here that she meets the elders, who decide if Daniel is worthy of performing the task of transforming Claire.
Claire also comes to find out that Daniel has a hidden agenda of his own. For personal gain which the others aren't aware of. Now being with Daniel she sees what some will do to get where they think they belong. Now she is left to learn about the monster she has become and try to placate Daniel. What chouices will she make now in her new life? We'll have to wait for the next book to find out.
I liked this story as we see Claire has both her strong and weak moment. This made her very realistic as we can't always be strong all the time. Daniel to me became a "Two Face". One side is the more human side which he initially showed Claire, on the other side is his true nature, which is frightening and dangerous. Megan does a great job of making the characters come off the pages and bringing out the emotions. I'm curious to see how she develops the new Claire and what this new version will do to Daniel and his group. A solid 4 stars.