This month I have the pleasure of bringing to your attention a horror writer with a foot on two continents. Violet Castro hails from San Antonio, Texas but currently lives in the UK. She writes film and book reviews for SciFi and Scary from her home across the pond and lucky for us, Ms. Castro published her newest project this year: Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of the Keepers.
V grew up in an environment where scary stories and folk tales are routinely told by the young and old alike. She is Latina, which she states is definitely her superpower. Her Mexican ancestry provided numerous legends for her to draw ideas from for her writing and Ms. Castro laments that there are not enough Mexican themes in modern day horror. However, her new novel aims—and succeeds—in remedying that issue. She finally put pen to paper after seeing little to no Latinx representation in the horror genre. She credits books like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz for putting horror into her heart. She has stated that it was hard to overcome the fear of exposing her writing to the world but she finally did it. Kudos to her for overcoming those insecurities that plague us all and giving the world the gift of her innermost thoughts.
In her book, Maria is a Mexicana vampire from Juarez, Mexico who has to abandon her original hopes and dreams when she is turned during a slaughter at the maquiladora where she worked. She becomes a dark enforcer of justice, wreaking vengeance for those that others would take advantage of; providing a sense of justice she did not receive while alive. The novel follows Ms. Castro’s protagonist through her journey of self-acceptance to what she has become, and forming a new life that defines a woman’s power and grace through trials and tribulations. I thoroughly enjoyed this new spin on the vampire tale and its connection to Mexican historical figures like Queztalcoatl and Tizoc. Maria is a total badass in the best way–just like her creator and the world needs MORE of this. Stay tuned as I hear this is just the first book in the series!
Here is an excerpt from Maria the Wanted and the Legacy of the Keepers:
He glanced back at his companions again. “Do you want to live in death? I’ve never saved anyone in my life and I’m not about to start now. I will only give you a gift. Do you want my gift?”
“Si,” she answered with hope as small as the child inside of her. Maybe the Sacred Heart still burned. Tears drenched the stranger’s fingers. Maria’s fear throbbed and writhed inside her as she wondered what would happen next. The stranger reached for a pair of scissors lying on the table. With a swift motion, he sliced open his wrist. Before she could react, his body was leaning over her and two long needles punctured her neck. A roar of laughter and howling filled her ears as the warmth drained from her skin. Pinpricks of pain dotted her body.
This was the end. The end of Diego, their baby, The States, night school, a good job. This was the death of the only dream she had ever dared to dream. Maria could feel her eyes become heavy while a small tide of blood moved down her throat, nearly choking her.
The gringo placed his hand over her lips. “Don’t move until we leave. Your boss will be back soon, so I hope you enjoy your vengeance, Maria.” A wicked smile, and then he closed her eyes. She kept them shut.
“We didn’t think you had it in you!” The other two were still reveling in their killing spree. “You old vamps are all the same. You forget how to party!”
You can find V. Castro and her work here: