Let me tell you about the inspiration for Protecting the Dead. It's set in and around Decatur, Georgia, one of the many suburbs of Atlanta. It shouldn't be an odd area, but it is. Oh, it is.
To give you a few examples of the strange things which no one in the area questions, one of the neighborhoods is called Druid Hills, and there (at least used to be) a statue in the Buckhead area called, "The Storyteller," which is clearly Herne the Hunter reading to an audience of various animals. I once also saw a brochure for an antiques shop which had, as one of its treasures, a decorative pin which looked like a hand of glory. These are only small tastes of its many oddities.
It only made sense, then, to set an urban fantasy there, in a fictional version of the apartment complex my sister and I visited which told us about their tenants, "Oh, our residents never leave." Given the not-quite-alone feeling we had gotten in the apartment, we could much too easily believe it. Here's an excerpt:
She knew she was being rude, certainly wasn’t being a good assistant to Geoffrey, but couldn’t quite force herself to look up again. If she did, she was going to see things she couldn’t wholly deny. She couldn’t take that. Whatever its dangers, denial felt safe. If only life could be all picket fences and well-tended lawns and SUVs and…
Okay, so she really wasn’t dumb enough to think such details meant an utter lack of misery, but they just seemed so nice, compared to her life. She felt someone sit on the couch beside her, knew it was Geoffrey, even before he spoke.
“Give her a minute,” he whispered, tenderly stroking her blue hair.
One of the residents sighed softly. “I guess we are a bit much for a first day. Especially with our moon phase coming up and all.”
She wished she lived the sort of life which made it impossible to guess what they were talking about.
Geoffrey’s soft touch made her raise her head again, her eyes a little misty, as she gazed at the two werewolves’ worried yellow eyes. Their normal clothing only made the situation weirder. The one who had greeted them, Hugh, dressed much like her boss tended to. The second one was even wearing a business suit. She was trying not to scream.
Fortunately, Geoffrey surprised her out of the impulse, pulling her close, his arms tender, mouth by her ear. Into it, he whispered a series of soft, soothing sounds. Like at her lunch with Glory, none of them were quite recognizable, except for her name. “Lydia,” he would breathe, before those only half-hidden words began again. “Lydia.” It made her real name so darn tempting that she couldn’t quite remember why she’d ever chosen another, and it finally made her sanity begin to piece itself slowly back together. She felt his soft kiss against her ear, before he finally leaned back. She didn’t really know what to think, after that.
Protecting the Dead
by Katherine Gilbert
After a childhood filled with demons and her devil-worshiping parents, Lydia longs for a quiet, normal life, a safe haven somewhere blissfully dull. Being the manager at the Roanoke Apartments seems to fit that bill. But Lydia soon learns that you can't leave the past behind so easily. She finds herself faced with unclogging drains for werewolves, conducting nightly vampire counseling sessions, and caring for two talkative cats. Then there's the distraction of Geoffrey, the hottest, and most angelic, boss anyone ever dreamed of. As if that isn't enough, the demon who nearly killed her shows up to finish the job. So much for a peaceful, simple life...
Katherine Gilbert was born at house number 1313 and then transplanted to a crumbling antebellum ruin so gothic that The Munsters would have run from it. She has since gained several ridiculously-impractical degrees in English, Religious Studies, and Women's Studies. She now teaches at a South Carolina community college, where all her students think, correctly, that she is very, very strange, indeed.
Where to Find Katherine:
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/katherinegilbert
Smashwords Author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/katherinegilbert