Having a mom like Izzy meant Mia had to grow up fast. No extracurriculars, no inviting friends over, and definitely no dating. The most important rule: Tell no one of Izzy’s hunger – the kind only blood can satisfy.
But Mia is in her twenties now and longs for a life of her own. One where she doesn’t have to worry about anyone discovering their terrible secret, or breathing down her neck. When Mia meets rebellious musician Jade she dares to hope she’s found a way to leave her home – and her mom – behind.
It just might be Mia’s only chance of getting out alive.
In this interview with TheBigThrill, author Liz Kerin offered exciting new insight into her latest novel, NIGHT’S EDGE:
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I was inspired to write this story as a means to unpack a particular trauma from my own childhood. I witnessed my mother having a horrific near-death experience when I was ten years old. It changed the way I viewed the whole world, the trust I had in adults, and destroyed the sense of safety I had within my family. I do not wish to discuss the specifics of my mom’s condition, out of respect for my family’s privacy, but I will say that this experience was the nugget of inspiration that unspooled into this larger dramatic work, which is a work of FICTION. If I’d wanted to write a memoir, I would have. But I think genre provides such an amazing creative buffer. It helps us feel safe to confront life’s most monstrous moments and process them.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I immediately felt a deep affinity for my main character, Mia, and became very protective of her coming-of-age. I was determined to see her through it. I found myself thinking about her – thinking AS HER – while driving down the freeway, walking my dog, or cleaning the kitchen. She was always with me. When you connect with a character that deeply, the months (really, years) of revision and promotion are worth it. In fact, there were some moments that felt effortless. That’s how determined I was to get her story out into the world.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I started writing this right before the pandemic began, and during that time I was taking a lot of long walks around my neighborhood listening to “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. For some reason, that song will always remind me of writing this first draft, as well as the Punisher album by Phoebe Bridgers. I was also hugely inspired by novels like IN THE DREAM HOUSE, I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED, and THE ROUND HOUSE – none of which are vampire books, but all of which unpack trauma, abuse, and coming-of-age with a riveting POV. These stories really got under my skin during the two-plus years I was working on this.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Absolutely. Mia’s devoted her entire life to being a caretaker. The blood she gives to her mother represents her lost childhood and vitality. This is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a horror thriller. Mia realizes she has to seize her impending adulthood and connect with others before it’s too late, but she’s terrified to leave her mother’s side. I related to a lot of that emotional nuance, and I realized the horror/thriller genre didn’t have many characters who embodied that conflict (especially young women).
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope readers – particularly those on the precipice of their own coming-of-age – will feel inspired to take risks and see themselves as a whole person – not just an extension of their nuclear family. Trauma binds families in all sorts of peculiar ways, even when we try our best to lead with love. Children have to feel free to make mistakes and strive toward the best version of themselves.- even if it means loosening those bonds. Also, to be clear: I believe a person can experience a coming-of-age at any age!
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
NIGHT’S EDGE has a sequel – FIRST LIGHT – coming in early 2024! So right now I’m doing my edits on that, as well as drafting a new standalone novel about sisters who escape a sex magick cult in 1930s New York. Two very different worlds, but both thrilling, absorbing, and spooky!
Liz Kerin is an author, playwright, screenwriter, and graduate of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is also the author of The Phantom Forest (2019). She lives in Southern California.