Thanks so much for hosting me today, Leandra! I swear you always have the best guest post ideas, and I was stoked to get to share in that today :) My recent release, An Absence of Light, was a whole lot of fun to write because it allowed me to "go home" while I wrote it. It's set in the central valley of California, in the town of Vacaville, which is close to where I grew up. I took a few small liberties with a couple of the places within the town, and transplanted an auto shop or two, but otherwise I tried to keep the setting as true to life as possible.
An Absence of Light has always been Buffy meets the X-Files in my head, but basically deals with Leah being forced from her home by the Shadows--creepy creatures that breed evil and have left her running for her life.
Leah has a particular love for In-N-Out. (Okay, I'll admit it, that I can wager my California native card by admitting that I really don't like In-N-Out.)
Vacaville also has the best outlet mall ever. No, I'm not joking :) Just ask Leah. Lots of shopping, great deals, and NOT the place to ever go on a Saturday. Or after dark if you're worried about shadows, like Laura often is.
One of the places that I look a little license is the auto shop that Laura works at with her fellow Shadow hunter, Manuel. I actually modeled it after Master Tech, a little place in my hometown of Woodland, California. I used to have this car that was always breaking down and I spent a good amount of time there, getting the dang thing fixed. So when Laura walked into my head, loving cars and working for a man who runs a shop, well, this just fit perfectly!
The story doesn't just take place in Vacaville, and there's a few trips into Oakland, California, when the characters go Shadow hunting. Oakland is an interesting city, full of really cool spots, and a few that kind of frighten me from time to time. The latter are the perfect spot for hunting shadows:
Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.
She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.
When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.
Available here: Amazon
Meradeth's never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:
>She's a Northern California girl. And now is braving the cold winters in Montana.
>When she's not writing, she's sequencing dead people's DNA. For fun!
>She’s also an anthropology professor and loves getting people interested in studying humans.
>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.
Find Meradeth Houston online at: www.MeradethHouston.com