I don’t find many other Otaku among authors. Otaku being the Japanese word for Anime and Manga geeks. Sure many have seen an anime or two. The standard fare. Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, those kinds of things. I don’t generally find many that have seen literally hundreds of anime, and read twice that in Manga.
But Melanie had.
I still remember sitting on the couch at the party at ConCarolinas with her the year she went chasing the light, talking about different titles we’ve seen and read. How much we thought that writers could get out of these stories they’ll probably never read. I left that night with the promise that I would bring some Manga with me to the retreat the next day for her to read.
We talked so much about our shared love of Japanese culture over the course of that next week. She loved the Manga I lent her, Dance in the Vampire Bund. I remember the way she laughed when I told her to never watch the anime, because they ruined it. We connected over how much we both loved the anime Elfen Lied, and how it has a little bit of something for everyone in it.
The piece that she submitted for critique was a fan fiction of the anime El Cazador De La Bruja. And it was some of the most tender, touching, innocent romance writing I’ve ever read. It was absolutely gorgeous.
It took me a long time to be able to write Null and Void. At first, I wanted to write something with romance in it. But a romance writer, I am not. My writing tends to be a bit darker that Melanie usually went for, but she liked my kind of dark. And I knew that she would be mad if I didn’t make the story for her dark.
So I took elements of El Cazador De La Bruja, and mixed them in with Elfen Lied, and Null and Void came into bloody existence. But there had to be hope. Because Melanie was always happy, and always hopeful. And again, she would kill me if I there wasn’t a happy ending. I can hear her now, “Finding the light in of the void is the real trick. Leaving it dark would just be easy.”
So pick up a copy of Chasing the Light, and I truly hope you enjoy my story Null and Void. I’m certain Melanie would have. And remember to look for the light, even in the void.
That was what Melanie always did.