I am more conscious of writing characters with agency than I am of writing “strong” characters. This is in part due to the fact that many of my early drafts flounder when the main characters lack agency, which I then need to address in revisions! With this story, however, I knew from the start I would intentionally give my main character a voice and a choice in her fate. I decided this for two reasons. First, women, especially those who were not members of the elite, are often silenced in the historical record due to the nature of the sources that survive from the pre- and early modern periods. Giving them a voice in fiction is very important to me. Second, female victims who lack agency is one of the great tropes of classic vampire fiction. Writing vampire stories in the post-Twilight era is a deft game of trope-tipping, and I absolutely wanted to knock that trope in particular on its head in a way that felt organic in a historical setting.
― Isabel Cañas, Interview, Nightmare Magazine
What booksellers are saying about Vampires of El Norte
- An epic adventure, gothic love story. The romance of Nena and Nester, torn apart as children, captured my attention in the first few chapters and never wavered throughout the book. A great follow up book to The Hacienda.
― Kathy Clemmons, Sundog Books in Santa Rosa Beach, FL | Buy from Sundog Books
- The rancho and surrounding landscape are so alive that I can easily tell Cañas lived this in a thousand and one nights of storytelling at her abuela and tias’ feet. While I was reading, I wondered why Cañas chose vampires as the monster rather than something like El Cuco. Especially since the MC Nena uses the legend of El Cuco to quickly explain the danger of the situation to her family. Cañas’ author’s note explains this and her choice to keep the vampire/El Cuco separate made the Yanquis approach all the more monstrous and creepy. The romance between Nena and Nestor was fabulous. Loved the ending, and especially the way Nena “dealt” with the vampires in the end.
― Candice Conner from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL | Buy from The Haunted Book Shop
- Isabel knows the realm of gothic romance like the back of her hand- Like she’s an apprentice to Del Toro himself. Vampires of El Norte is haunting, both in the depictions of vampires, and the history it follows, of continued colonization that’s violent, horrifying, and seemingly never ending. Yet amongst all of it, there is the reminder that above all, love, all kinds of it, is how we fight back against those who terrorize. Love is the strongest force possible to back the fight. Familial, platonic, and romantic. And salt. Lots of salt.
― Caitlyn Vanorder from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC | Buy from Bookmarks
About Isabel Cañas
Isabel Cañas is a Mexican American speculative fiction writer. After having lived in Mexico, Scotland, Egypt, Turkey, and New York City, among other places, she has settled in the Pacific Northwest. She holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and writes fiction inspired by her research and her heritage.