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I’m With the (Vampire) Band, a guest post by Marlene Perez

Writers have always found inspiration from a multitude of sources. For me, television, books, and music sparked my imagination. My taste in music was as deeply personal as the kinds of books I read. For me, the two have been intertwined since childhood and I still hang out in my room listening to my vinyl record collection and reading. Or writing.

I created a playlist for every manuscript I’ve written. Sometimes, I listened to the songs before I wrote, which would bring me into the world more quickly somehow. Other times, I would listen as I wrote, feeling the emotional highs and lows the music evoked. My Dead Is series even featured a jukebox that provides clues to the mystery through song titles, so those playlists always included the clue songs.

The titles of my new teen vampire trilogy, THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY, I’M WITH THE BANNED, and A SUCKER FOR YOU, were all riffs on song titles. It wasn’t too surprising then that the vampires in the books were musicians. In THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY, the main character, Tansy Mariotti, went to a party with her two friends to listen to a band, but got more than she bargained for. Spoiler alert, Tansy hadn’t expected the band, even though they were called The Drainers, to be a group of bloodsucking fiends.

Writing about vampires can be challenging because of the depth and breadth of the vampire canon. From Dracula to Twilight, authors have written about every kind of vampire under the sun, even vampires who can actually spend time in those golden rays without turning to ash. As I was figuring out what kind of vampire I wanted to inhabit my fictional world, it sometimes seemed like everything had been done, even vampires in a band. In Anne Rice’s novel Queen of the Damned, the vampire Lestat joined a rock band, and his song woke the queen of all vampires, and boy was she cranky.

Stories of real-life musicians and how they treated their fans were the inspiration for The Drainers, my fictional vampire band. In some cases, it was almost unbelievable the way certain rock legends treated their fans. If you type in the name of your favorite artist and the word “groupies” into a search engine, you might find some disturbing stuff. But fair warning, it made it impossible for me to listen to their music the same way. In my trilogy, the vampires were bloodthirsty creatures, willing to use their power to compel their fans to give them their blood. It’s no wonder Tansy wanted to stake them.

Like many writers of paranormal fiction, I was a huge fan of (most seasons) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What’s not to love about a kickass yet vulnerable main character, her loyal friends, and her hot vampire love interest? Not to mention the live music at The Bronze. I found the whole Spike/Buffy pairing incredibly squicky and not just because I was Team Angel. Despite some shortcomings (Spike, Riley, and what we later learned about the treatment of cast members), I admired the overall tone of the show. Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed humor with more serious themes, such as friendship, consent, and death. The show inspired the snark meets dark tone of the Afterlife trilogy as well as Tansy’s weapon of choice for fighting vampires.

One of my favorite vampire novels was Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Sunshine was a post-apocalyptic novel where vampires were out in the open, instead of part of some secret, hidden world. The world of Sunshine held a variety of paranormal creatures, including vampires, witches, and werewolves. Robin McKinley took a common “rule” about vampires, the inability to withstand the sun, and made it her own. Sunshine helped me to think about what strengths and weaknesses my vampires had. Would they be creatures of the night or able to glitter in the sun? How can you fight a vampire? How can you kill a vampire?

Tansy learns the answers to some of these questions in the first book, but in I’M WITH THE BANNED, the second book in the Afterlife trilogy (October 5, 2021), she and her friends had a whole new paranormal creature to figure out. They had to discover who was murdering werewolves before someone sets off a vampire-werewolf war.

And finally, in A SUCKER FOR YOU (TBD 2022), somehow Tansy found herself in a van full of werewolves heading to Vegas to stop an elopement and just maybe prevent the end of the world. And a certain band might be headlining in Vegas.

If you want to spend a few hours reading and listening, pick up a copy of THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY or I’M WITH THE BANNED and check out the playlists for the books. You can find them here on Spotify.



Meet the author

Marlene Perez is the author of books for children and adults, including the best-selling DEAD IS series for teens. DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK was named an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers as well as an ALA Popular Paperback. DEAD IS JUST A RUMOR was on VOYA’s Best Science Fiction, Horror, & Fantasy List.  Her novels have been featured in Girl’s Life, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan. The first book in her new teen vampire trilogy THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY is out now and the second book I’M WITH THE BANNED, will release October 5, 2021.

She grew up in Story City, Iowa and is the youngest of twelve children. She lives in Orange County, California with her husband and children.

Find me on social media.




About I’m with the Banned

I never wanted to be a vampire queen.

But on the bright (if not sunny) side of the debacle, I’ve got a super-hot new boyfriend. And he just might be the perfect guy.

Well, if the perfect guy ghosts you for a month and then comes back to school with a new look, a pack of friends, and a secret. But we have bigger problems.

The Drainers are back. They’re singing a different song, but have they really changed?

Even worse, werewolves’ hearts are being ripped from their bodies—which is putting the people I love in danger. I need to figure out who is behind the murders before there’s an all-out vampire werewolf war.

No one is going to mess with my friends, even the ones who like to get wild and howl at the moon.

Sometimes, all a girl can do is grab her tiara and start kicking some supernatural ass…

The Afterlife series is best enjoyed in order.
Reading Order:
Book #1 The Afterlife of the Party
Book #2 I’m with the Banned

ISBN-13: 9781649370099
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 10/05/2021
Series: Afterlife #2
Age Range: 14 – 18 Years

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