I’m so thrilled to have Freydís Moon on my blog today to talk about their debut novel, With a Vengeance. Kye is a human who has a lot on their shoulder: grief, a family estate, a demonic haunting, and a rogue ICE agent sniffing around. This dark paranormal erotic romance is as affirming and as it is hot, while featuring a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe.
Today, Freydís chats with me about the origins of this novel, the myriad projects coming down the pipeline, and the works they’re looking forward to most.
Summoning With a Vengeance
Who came to you first? Kye? Eli? Or something else altogether?
So, I actually started developing With a Vengeance as a short story for a Horror anthology submission call, but I learned very quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to wrap up the story in under ten-thousand words. I definitely developed Kye first, and I actually had some help from readers on Twitter. I knew I wanted to write a story about a person grieving, and a person who would be facing the manifestation of their depression and dysphoria. It was a provocative and controversial topic, and I honestly didn’t know if I’d go through with it, but I’m glad I did. Eli developed a little differently than I imagined, but his investment in Kye’s overall health, well-being, and rage started and remained the undercurrent of the story. I knew Kye was a mess, and they needed someone who honored, encouraged, and cared for that aspect of their personhood. A demonic entity was the perfect conduit for preventing and encouraging aspects of self-destruction.
How much did you know about what you wanted the story to be when you started writing it?
I knew I was writing Horror, I knew I was writing someone erotic in nature, and I knew the general conflict was going to orbit possession. I wanted to unstitch the toxicity running rampant in the Dark Romance category (no shame, no judgment, I love and appreciate toxic books, too) and repurpose it for a transgender audience. DR is very much a cisgender heterosexual category, with an off-shoot into some MM as well. Although I appreciate what’s going on in the category overall, I wanted to craft a story that served as a bridge into immigrant issues, religious trauma, familial grief, and gender crisis. All these huge, messy, dark topics were things I hadn’t seen coalesce in a book before, so I decided to try my hand at it. We’ve got bestselling limit-pushers like Den of Vipers and Haunting Adeline being recommended alongside the other heavy-hitters in Dark Romance on TikTok, but I’d never seen a book with a transgender main character being given the same space. Granted, I’m sure there’s a book out there (or several) that can be comp’d to With a Vengeance, but I personally hadn’t found them. WAV might not ever reach the popularity most Dark Romance titles seem to find, but I do hope its existence is a balm and an encouragement to other trans, queer, Latine authors and readers out there who enjoy something a little darker.
What was your favorite scene or moment to write?
I think my favorite scene to write was probably that first scene in the car after Kye goes to the pharmacy. I remember seeing it clearly in my mind, and knowing exactly how I wanted it to play out. Kye is in this very raw, very unhinged space where they’ve made the choice to take their medication again, and handle their mother’s affairs, and maybe stay alive. They’ve also started seeing the manifestation of this voice that’s been such a healing, haunting presence in their life, and of course, they do everything in their power to resist him. I think the encapsulation of reluctant desire—Kye being in a thin mental state, and hating how much they love how Eli treats them—and Eli pushing their boundaries. Kye gagging on Eli’s fingers was definitely the first time I let the reader know what I had planned. It’s the speed bump, you know? It’s the if this is a little too much, exit the ride now moment.
Are you a planner, a pantser, or something in between?
I’m definitely somewhere between the two. Typically, I never write an outline. I have a vibe, a few tropes, and a conflict, and I run with it. Hilariously, this is what a lot of young writers on Twitter completely and utterly despise. I see a ton of advice and hot takes about how often that tactic doesn’t play out, but it works for me. Since I’ve never really had to plan a book—I’ve written fanfiction, but my original stuff is usually quite short—I never had to look at the big picture. Exodus 20:3 is a novelette, Three Kings is a long novella, my 2023 project is a novella. With a Vengeance is the longest thing I’ve ever written, but I just recently wrote (re-wrote, to be fair) the first book in my Dark Academia duology, and I used a loose outline for that.
Is With a Vengeance your first novel?
What do you know now that you would want to tell past!Frey?
I think I’d tell myself that things will be fine. There’s a lot of bullying, paranoia, and finger-pointing online, but it’s okay to simply disengage and do your thing. I think the access to authors and creators online has established this very false, very dangerous standard that encourages people to put themselves at risk over the opinions of strangers, and we’re seeing the results slowly but surely impact creativity.
Write for you; write what you want. People will weaponize outrage, and that’s not your business. Folks that gatekeep are not friendly neighbors—lock your door. Block all cop behavior, always. Don’t read reviews that aren’t four or five stars. Internet entitlement spreads like a virus. Avoid the drama, write your heart out, be kind.
What projects are coming up next for you?
So, my next project is Three Kings! It’s a MMM polyamorous cozy coastal cottagecore that I’ve lovingly comp’d to Legends and Lattes. If you like low-stakes, high heat stories then this is for you. It’s about a transgender witch, a lost selkie, and a sweet fishing captain. It’s got some of my favorite tropes and themes, too: Sex Pollen, Forced Proximity, Perfect Husband, Established Relationship, Trans Pregnancy, Low Fantasy, Domestic Setting.
It’s on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60745237-three-kings
I do have a Gothic Romance coming out in 2023. I’ve talked about it on Twitter before, and it’s actually the first novella I ever wrote. After querying, enduring too many near misses, and a bit of impatience, I decided to move forward with publishing the eBook through NineStar Press and self-publishing a special edition paperback (you all are seriously going to flip). I’ll be announcing it after the first of the year!
Are there any books on your TBR that you want to shout about? Anything coming up that you’re particularly excited for?
I’m very, very excited for Lord of Silver Ashes by Kellen Graves. I’ve loved watching Kellen’s journey, and they’ve crafted such a lovely world. I mean, fae lore, dark academia, spice? It’s everything I love in a series. I’m also super excited for the hardcover edition of A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson and for Harley Laroux’s Losers. Lily Mayne is part of Monsters and Mayhem, a collection of MM Horror retellings, and I couldn’t be more excited to get my hands on a few of those titles. Not book oriented, but I’m also going to rewatch The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass this autumn.
Freydís Moon is a biracial diviner and bestselling author with an affinity for quirky, speculative storytelling. A lover of culture, mysticism, history, and language, they constantly find themself lost in a book, trying their hand at a new recipe, or planning a trip to a faraway place.
Commercial portrait headshot by Yela @popcorncheek