It’s Me-Me Monday. That means I get to share something I love. Let’s talk about Sonja Blue.
I first met Sonja Blue back in 1989. She was on a spinning book display. Sonja caught my eye right away. I could tell she was different from all the women with heaving bosoms on the romance novel covers.
Then I turned the book over and read the title–Sunglasses After Dark. It was by an author I didn’t know–Nancy A. Collins. That didn’t deter me, though. I was already hooked. I plunked down all my money–$3.99 was a lot for me back in 1989–and took Sonja home.
Sonja Blue comes into focus in a mental asylum, which she escapes by crawling down the side of the building like a spider. As evidenced on the book’s cover, Sonja is a vampire. That alone made her unusual for me back then.
In 1989, there was no Sookie Stackhouse. She was still twelve years away from being born in print. Damon Salvatore was two years away from print and twenty years from TV.
Back in the dark ages of 1989, vampires were what Anne Rice, Stephen King, and Robert R. McCammon said they were. The whole chic vampire movement was several years in the future. Sonja Blue was my first introduction to this new type of vampire.
Sunglasses After Dark quickly reveals both Sonja’s ruthlessness and her moral code. In action movie style, she thwarts a convenience store robbery, kills some hit men, and beats the snot out of a street gang. Through these acts of vigilante justice, her goal becomes clear.
Sonja’s looking for whoever put her in the mental asylum. Thank you and a kiss on the cheek aren’t in her plans. She’s gonna put the hurt on ’em. Bad.
I’d never met anyone like Sonja Blue. She was nasty, raw, funny, tough…and heartbreakingly damaged. Sonja hated being a vampire enough to be a vampire hunter.
Her over-arcing story is one of revenge. She’s out to kill Sir Morgan, the sadistic vampire who raped her and turned her into a vampire. Each day, she fights against her vampire nature, desperate to cling to her humanity.
A long flashback in the middle of the book tells Sonja’s backstory. In 1989, flashbacks weren’t the no-no they are now. Jackie Collins used them heavily in her fiction. So did Sidney Sheldon. Stephen King did, too.
The flashback showcases Ms. Collins’s top-notch world building. This world building is a preview of what the Urban Fantasy genre was to become.
Sonia’s inhuman vampire tendencies are caused by a minor demon, which entered her to complete the transition between human and vampire. Sonia managed to stay partially human because she received medical attention before she died from Sir Morgan’s attack.
Through Sonja’s red eyes, the reader rides a roller coaster through a dark funhouse of mythological creatures rendered in the unforgettable style of Nancy A. Collins.
- There are ogres–both the child-molesting and the mafioso type.
- Telepathic hustlers hang out in seedy bars trying to score drugs.
- Televangelists possess otherworldly powers and use them to bilk people out of their hard-earned money.
The cast of characters in Sunglasses After Dark inspired me to write the kind of characters I write. The good guys are caught somewhere between hero and villain. The bad guys are really, really bad. Everybody is a little dirty and perverse…and a lot lurid.
There are six Sonja Blue books. They are (in order)
- Sunglasses After Dark
- In the Blood
- Paint it Black
- A Dozen Black Roses
- Darkest Heart
- Dead Roses for a Blue Lady (Short Story Collection)
A comic book series based on Sunglasses After Dark came out in 1995 and 1996. They were published by Danzig-Verotik comics. They’re available around the ‘net.
Nancy A. Collins has written fourteen novels since 1989. She has said in interviews that Sonja Blue remains her favorite character. Ms. Collins has written about Sonja since she was in high school.
Sonja is one of my favorite fictional characters, too. She’s in every character I write, and I compare every character I read to her. Over the years, I’ve read most of Ms. Collins’s work. Her characterization and dark stories have made me the writer I am. I highly recommend checking her out.
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