Author: A.J. Krafton
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Publication Date: June 12, 2015
Publisher: Self Published
Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.
In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.
So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…
When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.
It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…
How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?
The Musical Inspiration behind AJ Krafton's THE HEARTBEAT THIEF
I tend to listen to music that is emotionally-laden. My writing playlists lean heavily toward rock and metal—Type O Negative, Blind Guardian, My Chemical Romance, and especially the Italian band Lacuna Coil.
Lacuna Coil's songs take me to a place where urban fantasy becomes real. Their song "Our Truth" from the album Karmacode even appeared in one of the Underworld movies. What can be more urbanly fantastic than a movie about vampires and werewolves and (quite literally) everything in between?
While I have lots of favorite LC titles, the top of the list is Senzafine, one of their Italian-language songs.
Senzafine is the Italian word for "without end" or "endless". It's the word that inspired the main character's name: Senza Fyne. It also told her story.
It wasn't only the title that inspired the character. The lyrics themselves and their underlying interpretation accurately portray the internal struggle Senza experiences and is the perfect companion piece to the story.
This video of Senzafine contains an English translation of the lyrics so that you can enjoy the song, even if you don't speak Italian. (It also has live clips of LC, which makes me very happy. I love seeing them in concert!)
While the provided translation may not be perfect, it does get the gist of it. The female singer expresses her desire to break free of her life, her destiny. The male voice sings of darker things, the force that fights against the female. There is a constant battle between good and evil and the female admits that is sometimes hard to choose between them. There is also the realization that she must be prepared to live alone, dependent upon only herself.
And that, to me, sounds very much like the symphony of Senza's determined heart.
And what of Knell? He's not forgotten in this song. In fact, I believe the last lines belong to him.
Non c'e scelta senza me
Non c'e vita senza me
There's no choice without me
There's no life without me
I hope you'll read The Heartbeat Thief and keep these words somewhere in the back of your heart. And when you finish, and you close the book, think back upon Senza and her struggle to escape her destined life. Think back upon Knell and think back upon those last lines. I hope you'll find them as deliciously poignant as I do.
Most of all, think back upon your own feelings, and firmly resolve to resist destiny's plans for you and choose your own, instead. The song will still be there to inspire you on your journey.