Image of Marsha Hunt– a right-on Sixties chick, writer, novelist and singer (plus one-time girlfriend of Mick Jagger and father of his daughter, Karis.) Creative Commons licensed for commercial reproduction and modification (via Google)
Cherie looked up and smiled. Her eyes glinted behind her glasses, and she looked suddenly younger than what her silver-white hair and the deep lines around her eyes suggested.
“Hello Nerissa,” she said warmly. “It’s been a long time.”
-Extract from The Breathing Ghosts, copyright Eleanor Keane 2014.
As a free-spirit in the Swinging Sixties, Cherie Kennedy was a true sight to behold: a glossy-skinned, proud black woman with a full Afro and a love of colourful clothes and bold tribal jewellery. She was confident, outrageous, and fearless- she campaigned fiercely for civil rights and gay rights as well. It wasn’t long before she caught the eye of the vampire Nerissa Naughton– herself something of a wild-child- and from there on a relationship unfolded that eventually turned into one of Nerissa’s few true friendships. Even more unusually, whilst Nerissa endured as a vampire, Cherie remained mortal. She used to scrape by selling paintings- she is an imaginative artist particularly interested in myths and legends (In The Blood Witching, Nerissa owns one of her paintings, a depiction of the ancient goddess Inanna descending into the Underworld.) But time passes, the wheel turns, and- although extraordinarily talented, and with no lack of imagination- Cherie’s paintings don’t have quite the lift-off that she imagined. She moves on from Nerissa, and falls in love with another woman, who loves her back, but who doesn’t quite have Nerissa’s fire (although thankfully she also doesn’t have quite the penchant for bloody violence.)
Struggling with her art, Cherie also turns to another love- that of books- and finds herself somehow- decades down the line- working in a University library. In fact, in the same University that Rowan Oakwood attends. This makes her an ideal spy for Nerissa, her old flame, who finds herself increasingly interested in Rowan, as the last vampire hunter of her line (and the first female one.) Nerissa is certainly hard to say no to. But Cherie soon finds that becoming embroiled in Nerissa’s affairs comes with dangerous consequences. Now older, with short silver hair and nondescript clothes, Nerissa’s unannounced return into her life brings up old, bittersweet memories of who she once was and what she once stood for…
Cherie is a character in both The Breathing Ghosts and The Blood Witching, both available to buy from Amazon here.