Fangirl Tackles Vampires in New Urban Fantasy Novel

As well as being our geekess in residence, Fangirl Unleashed Tracey Sinclair is a published author – and her new novel Dark Dates, an urban fantasy book set in London, has just been released. After two ‘mainstream’ books, it’s her first venture into the supernatural; so, we asked, why the switch? And does the world really need yet another book about vampires?

Dark Dates urban fantasy novel by Tracey Sinclair
Dark Dates - the new novel by Fangirl Unleashed, Tracey Sinclair

“It all came about by accident, really!” Tracey explains.  “I wrote a short story about vampires based on the idea of a speed dating service that matched them to their ‘victims’ – and it sort of grew from there. Before I knew it I was completely smitten with the characters and they took on a life of their own which just became enormous fun to write about. So I sort of became an accidental fantasy writer – but I love it!”

Aren’t we drowning in vampire stories now, though? Is there anything new to say? “Well, yes and no, I think. Certainly I got a lot of negative push back from agents saying that ‘urban fantasy’ is over. But the thing is – I still love reading those books. My friends do. We’re not ‘over’ them. How unusual can we be? I think there’s always an audience for good writing, whatever the topic. Plus while there are a lot – a lot – of urban fantasy books out there, hardly any are set in London, which is a shame because it has such a rich history, which makes it an ideal backdrop for a story about creatures that live for centuries. And I liked the idea of vampires living in the same world we do – ie, one that is currently infatuated with the idea of vampires. So that effects them – how they behave, what they think, how they interact with humans. I thought that would be an interesting angle to explore. The writers I love – Joss Whedon, Jim Butcher, the Supernatural crew – all manage to write larger than life characters that are tapped into pop culture, and somehow live in the same world that we do, and that’s definitely what I was aiming for. “

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Cassandra Bick - she's not Buffy...

Above all, though, what she wanted was to create a likeable, believable heroine: “I spend so much of my time writing articles about the need for more strong women characters in fiction that I eventually thought, hell, just write your own! My heroine Cassandra Bick isn’t superhuman – she’s not Buffy, she gets worn out if she has to run up a flight of stairs – but she’s not some drippy girl sitting around waiting to be saved. Of course she has an impossibly hot, extremely dangerous love interest (or two!) – there were some tropes I wasn’t willing to abandon – but I didn’t want her to be Anita Blake at one end of the scale or Bella Swan at the other. She has some supernatural ability, but it’s fairly minor – really she’s just an ordinary, slightly geeky girl who gets caught up in a conflict between vampires that is spilling into the ‘normal’ world of London, and it’s about how she deals with that. I wanted to write someone that you’d enjoy going for a drink with! If I’ve managed that, I’ll be happy.”

Bella Swan - Twilight
...she's definitely not Bella, either!

Want to read more? You can buy Dark Dates (or download a sample) in the UK here, or in the US here.



Heyo. I'm Nick Dourian, the Editor-In-Chief around these parts. Now, I went to a few other sites, read a few awesome bios, and I really want to fabricate a badass origins story for myself, but I'm feeling particularly unimaginative today, so 'f' that jazz. I read comics, drink bourbon, and cook meats. Imagine Ron Swanson, but with a fuller beard and cuter eyes.