My inspiration for writing Message in a Vessel had all to do with the cover of SLAY. I never would've thought in a thousand years, not even as my paranormal alter ego, that I would write a vampire story. I never wanted to write one because there are so many great stories already out there by even more popular authors than me. They made their mark on the fiction world because of that. Who am I to travel into their territory?
Still, the cover refused to let me go. Power and strength in the hands of a beautiful black woman who won't be deterred from her mission. I loved it enough to decide to explore what I could add to the vampire world without sounding like an idiot. So, naturally, I though this belonged to my other alter ego who was the paranormal expert. That was how I wrote my first story. Even though I enjoyed writing it, I still wanted something more challenging. The only way I could get more challenging was to allow my other ego to take the helm as V.G. Harrison, vampire storyteller. For some reason, that didn't sound right to me. I only know sci-fi and that's the way I like it. So, I tasked myself to come up with a sci-fi vampire story.
Numerous many ideas flooded my brain, but the main one was the vampires are the aliens. Where have we heard that story before? Check out episodes of Buck Rogers and Star Trek. Also, let's not for Lifeforce back in the day. Look through the Stargate series and I'm sure you'll find on there, too. I didn't want vampires as aliens. The only other option was to make them natives of this world. The best way to do that was via a virus that made them this way. Mosquitoes spreading a virus like they spread malaria was the obvious culprit. Only in this case, once they turned one person, that person could change another and another.
I also needed my vampires to be somewhat intelligent and not a bunch of rampant monsters, if they were to survive. So, my vampires are intelligent to the point that only those who provide a much-needed service to the community were the ones held in highest regards. No skid row vampires are allowed. They're only good enough to be food sources. My heroine and vampire, Dr. Adelynn Jakande, came from a family of scientists, so she's definitely not in that group. When it comes to who's worthy of inheriting the Earth now that food shortages have become a major concern, Dr. Jakande begins to doubt who's truly the stronger of the two species. The vampires for taking control of the world or the human food sources who have managed to do what they can to survive in it?
Message in a Vessel wasn't meant to be a high-octane story with fight scenes, gore, and domination over the weak. It was story meant to show that even the quietest person in the room can change the world. You just have to take a leap of faith.