11/23/2012 11:03:00 AM Writer goes for old-school scares Oblong moves to Indiana in native's
Michel Vamrell — known as Missy Brown growing up in Robinson — gets into character. (Submitted photo)
Another Crawford County native has joined the ranks of published novelists.
But while Michel Vamrell - whose real name is Michel Lake - writes about the supernatural, don't expect sparkly vampires or hunky, shirtless lycanthropes. In the recently-published The Full Moon Slayer, Lake goes for the jugular.
"In it, I bring back the traditional werewolf," Vamrell, 30, said. To accomplish this, she did a lot of research - starting in 2006 - into the folklore of werewolves in Europe between the 1400s and 1800s. She even studied phases of the moon so that all the full moons in the book occur on dates on which they actually happened in real life.
Described as the first volume in "Alice's Trilogy of Horror," the book is published through Author House and tells the tale of Alice Blake and her family. The Blakes move to Oblong, Ind., thinking it is a quiet little town.
There are unexplained deaths in the surrounding area, however, and Alice is fated to "find herself in the middle of bloodshed and despair."
"My childhood was spent in a hospital and at home watching horror movies," said Vamrell, who grew up in Robinson when she was known as Missy Brown.
Vamrell suffered acute asthma and other respiratory problems she didn't outgrow until high school. Once, she was hospitalized with a fever that caused her to hallucinate. She describes herself as a "sickly child" and "small and fragile."
While growing up, Vamrell spent a lot of time at home, where she was cared for by her late mother, a respiratory therapist. Her mother was also "one of my biggest inspirations," she said.
Vamrell's mother was a fan of movies based on the works of Stephen King and science fiction such as "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." She recognized her daughter had similar tastes early on and so, when Vamrell was home sick, she got to watch lots of scary movies by directors such as Wes ("Nightmare on Elm Street") Craven and John ("Halloween") Carpenter.
Vamrell also developed a taste for books by King and V.C. Andrews and, as she grew older, sociological texts.
Vamrell has an associate degree from Lincoln Trail College and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Eastern Illinois University. She joined the military in 2003 and married in 2006.
"My husband has played a big part in the development of the story," Vamrell said. "He had the idea for the ending of the book."
Vamrell and her husband live in Macomb. She will receive her master's degree in liberal arts from Western Illinois University in December.
Vamrell hopes to have the second volume of the trilogy, Nightmare, completed in time for a Halloween 2013 release. "If not, it will be a Christmas present," she said. She is working on the plot and character development and expects the actual writing will take three months. Editing should take another three.
Vamrell considers storytelling an important part of life and the first stories most people hear are essentially horror stories. It's no wonder the tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Hansel and Gretel have inspired big screen horror films.
"I love to write. It's something I've been doing since I was seven years old," Vamrell said. "It's who I am. I write from my dreams, my heart and my knowledge."