My literary taste is diverse. At the moment I find myself thorne between beta reading for my good friend Scott Baker and the apocalyptic stories by Mark Gillespie. I will speak a bit about Mark Gillespies work. Please excuse spoilers and my ideas jumping around from one story to another. I was intrigued by The Curse because each time a story starts with a society segregated based on sexes, it sounds like a fun read.. So, you have this few hundred women living in New York, a dystopia place, guarding Helen… The author picks up the legend of Helen of Troy, the woman that started wars. So, there’s Helen, and the curse.. The ladies from New York say that if a man has intercourse with Helen he will die because of the curse.. On the other hand, Helen has great PR. She’s the most beautiful woman in the world, worth diyng for!!! Let me tell you that there’s no shortage of men that are willing to try their luck..
Eda on the other hand is a young woman that enjoys reading and walking around the empty city.. She’s curious about the world, about what is left there after the big war, The End War, the war that ended them all.. The story is sucking you in, it’s seductive like Helen.. I found myself rooting for Eda, hoping that she will be escaping and that she will find her way and happiness.. But what brings you happiness in a post apocalyptic world where only a few people survived??? On the other side, Black Fever is more toward horror.. The type of horror that plays a bit with your mind, and that you can’t fight.. The Black widow is this enigmatic figure without a facial expression that plays with the deepest fears of people pushing them to suicide… I am in love with the fear and darkness of the story.. Reading more! If I won’t say more, I am lost in the darkness of the black rain… Follow Mark Gillespie and get his books on Amazon!!! https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07M5DGJVG/ref=dbs_a_w_dp_b07m5dgjvg After the end trilogy by Mark Gillespie
1.Tell me a little bit about the making of a comic for Webtoon. (please feel free to elaborate)
Well, I’m a big fan of author Jonathan Maberry, as well as his zombie series Rot & Ruin, so adapting it into a comic for Webtoon is definitely a dream project for me.
Of course, like all creative projects, it hasn’t been without its challenges. While the novel is filled with amazing backstory and incredible world building, the pacing of a Webtoon comic is much different than a novel—and comic reader’s expectations are different. In fact, the narrative format (a vertical scrolling format designed specifically or phones and tablets) is quite different even from print comics. So, there was definitely a learning curve to a Webtoon comic’s structure, pacing and format.
I also factored in that this particular platform (in the US) doesn’t offer a lot of this genre. So, I had discussions with David Lee, Head of Content at Webtoon, on how far to push the horror right out of the gate. I did my best to amp up the emotional and relationship story elements right away, as these are aspects that really resonate with Webtoon readers.
In other words, there was a lot of thought on the best way to tell this story for this particular audience, while staying true to the original novel’s plot, characters, and of course, the spirit of the book. I’m happy to report that the launch was a smashing success. In our first week online, we are pushing near 200,000 subscribers. That’s incredible engagement for any web comic in its first week online, much less a horror comic.
2.Who’s your favorite character from Rot & Ruin?
Tom Imura, the older brother of the protagonist, Benny Imura. Tom is patient, caring, trustworthy, and quietly confident. At the risk of sounding terribly pretentious or grandiose, these truly are qualities I admire in others and strive for in myself. But let’s face it, Tom is also a trained swordsman, bounty hunter and zombie killer—so I’ll leave all the badassery for him.
3. Is there a comic book character that influenced your decision to work in this creative area?
Absolutely. I own a complete 45-year run of Captain America, starting from issue #100, published in 1968. I suppose my admiration of Cap really drove my love of the medium as a kid (though I own over 50,000 comics in my collection, so my interest in the medium spans many genres, not just superheroes).
Cap is the guy you know you can trust- who always has your back. Sure, I love darker characters like Batman, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, and the Punisher—but with Cap you always know where you stand. You know at heart, he’s a selfless man who wouldn’t hesitate to jump on a grenade to save a stranger. In fact, I’d say he some of the traits of Tom Imura as well.
4.If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you pick?
Rod Serling. If only to thank him for inspiring me to become a storyteller. There is no question his work (The Twilight Zone, The Night Gallery—even the original Planet of the Apes, which few realize he co-wrote) had the single greatest impact on me growing up.
I admire that Serling explored the darkest aspects of humanity with a grand imagination and an earnest social conscience. It is obvious in his work that he cared deeply about the plight of his fellow man. And in my own small way, I have tried to keep some of that alive in my own fiction.
5.Your own writing style is dark and mysterious, leaving a lot of open questions, do you ever consider turning some of your short stories into novels?
Currently, I run the film/television division of Webtoon. I have always been wired for writing for the screen. However, I grew up reading novels and short stories, and have a deep affinity for the short form. Growing up, I loved reading the short fiction of greats like Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Ray Bradbury, and more.
For the larger part of my career, 95% of my ideas were either for a film or a short story—and almost nothing in between. But that has changed the past couple of years. In fact, I just signed a contract (literally today) with a wonderful publisher for my first novella called The Many Deaths of Cole Parker.
It’s a horror fantasy with a sci-fi twist and will be published in either September or October, 2020. You can check out my website at http://www.taylorgrant.com for updates. I also have a novel called Middle of Nowhere that’s been in the works for quite some time. It’s a dark suspense thriller that dances on the edges of horror. Depending on who reads it, some might say it’s a psychological thriller, some might suggest its psychological horror. I’ll let readers decide.
I believe The Many Deaths of Cole Parker is the best thing I’ve ever written. I hope my readers agree.
6. What is the first horror movie you ever watched? And how did it influence your creative self?
Well, the first horror film I ever saw was on TV when I was 5 years old. It was the original black and white Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney. My mom teased me about it for years. Apparently, I didn’t want to leave her side, and fell asleep on the floor next to her—with my hands literally cupped over my ears. You see, it wasn’t the visuals that scared me as much as the MUSIC. That haunting score! Ha ha.
I have vague memories of seeing a Vincent Price double feature The Masque of Red Death and The Abominable. Dr. Phibes at a drive-in theater at a very young age Those lavish technicolor images are still burned indelibly into my brain.
But it was watching Ridley Scott’s Alien during its first run in the theater that was life-changing for me. While all of my friends were fascinated by Star Wars or Star Trek (which I also loved, of course), I was completely OBSESSED with Alien. I saw it something like 9 times in the theater during its first run. I was still underage for an R-rated movie, so I literally rode my bike to the theater every weekend (you have to remember that movies stayed in theaters up to six months back then) and BEGGED strangers to buy a ticket for me. While the movie terrified me, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I bought every magazine that even mentioned it for the next couple of years.
That film’s brilliant merging of sci-fi and horror is now part of my DNA. In fact, if you read through my horror short stories, I’d say that probably 25% of them have some sort of sci-fi element.
7. A cliche question, do you have a favorite monster?
See above. Ha ha.
8. This being mostly a zombie lit related page, here’s the Zombie question. Do you prefer the idea of the slow shuffling zombie or the fast ravenous infected?
I suppose the purists won’t agree, but I actually prefer the fast, ravenous infected. Now, hold on, before you get all judgy. I have loved the slow-moving zombies all the way back to 1943’s I Walked with a Zombie from Val Lewton, through George Romero’s oeuvre, and straight into Robert Kirkman and Jonathan Maberry’s zombie universes. They are classic, wonderful, and a huge part of horror history. But something about the fast-moving ones is just so much more terrifying to me, so much more unpredictable. So, for that reason, I have to give them the edge.
1. When did you become fascinated by vampires? I’ve been fascinated with vampires most of my life. My mother loved horror movies, so I grew up watching the old Universal and Hammer horror movies. I’ve always been intrigued by the dynamic between Peter Cushing as van Helsing and Christopher Lee as Dracula; they were more like action movies than straight vampire films. Peter Cushing running along a table to tear down the curtains in front of Dracula or jumping on a burning windmill to turn the blades into the shape of a cross to kill the vampire. When you watch that as a ten-year-old it has a huge impact on you.
2. Why did you choose to write about classic dark vampires? When I started writing The Vampire Hunters trilogy there were not many contemporary bad-ass vampires in bookstores. Vampires were more sympathetic and human, like in Anne Rice’s or Stephanie Meyer’s books or the True Blood series. I figured there were many fans out there who felt the same way I did, so I decided to write the type of vampire book I wanted to read. One thing I wanted to do was develop my dark vampires. In most books/movies, they are two-dimensional characters, creatures there only to be destroyed. That’s why I created two vampires – the bad-ass monster types that kill to feed (snuffies) and the masters. My masters can take human form and are driven by their emotions and experiences. Each has their own backstory about how they were turned and how that impacted their vampiric future. Each has their own motivations for why they want to take over then planet. Rather than just monsters, my vampires are protagonists.
3. What’s your favorite vampire story? 30 Days of Night. It’s so dark and the vampires are so feral the movie is visceral. I’m not sure what scene clinched it for me: the battle with the child vampire or the scene when the young woman being used as bait pleads to God for help and Marlowe looks to the sky, back to the woman, and says “No God.”
4. Favorite vampire TV show, and did you watch V Wars (opinions on it)? My favorite vampire TV show is Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon is one of the best writers around. His plots are intricate and his characters perfectly developed. I was blown away by the Season Two finale. I also admire the way he can blend horror and heart-breaking decisions with humor and make it work. Buffy had a major influence on how I wrote The Vampire Hunters. I did watch V Wars. Twice, which says a lot since I rarely watch an entire season of a TV more than once. I loved the concept that the vampires are infected and could possibly be cured, which makes them not just creatures of the night to be eliminated. I’ve read the graphic novel and am about to read the novel so I can compare them. My only criticism is that not all of us who worked for the government and evil. Having said that, however, Calix Niklos has made my top three bad guys list (right behind Hannibal Lector and Hans Gruber).
5. If you could do a dream cast for The Vampire Hunters who would be in it? Nathan Fillion would make the perfect Drake; I wrote the character imagining him in the role (although the iced coffee drinking, whiskey swilling, cigar smoking wise ass with a pet rabbit is me living precariously through my character). As for the other characters, I haven’t put a lot of thought into it but, if given my choice, I would choose Scarlett Johansen as Alison Monroe, Peter Sarsgaard and Arabella Morton as the vampires Ion Zielenska and Antoinette Varela, and Brent Spiner as Dr. Reese from Salem State. I’m not sure who I would pick to play Jim Delmarco.
6. Would you like to be turned into a vampire? I’m not sure. I would never willingly be turned if I had to live as feral vampire unable to blend in with humans. As I get older, there is a part of me that is attracted to the aspect of eternal youth and of letting my instincts and passions take control over morality and reason. And who can say no to an unsatiated sex drive? If I could be a vampire who can control his urges, like Eric Northman or Michael Fayne, then I would say yes.
7. If you could pick one vampire book to live in, which one would you pick? Tough choice, but I would have to go with the Brian Lumley books. Intelligence agencies battle vampires controlled by the former Soviet Union as part of Cold War politics. It’s almost as if he wrote those books with me in mind.
8. What are your vampire must read books for your fans? Two of my favorite vampire series are Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series and Guillermo del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain trilogy. Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot is a classic. Three books with interesting takes on the genre are V Wars by Jonathon Maberry, Vampire$ by John Steakley, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. A unique novel is Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines by D.L. Snell which is about vampires and zombies battling over the few remaining humans left in a post-apocalyptic world. And, of course, the vampire novels of Rhiannon Frater and Laurell K. Hamilton.
9. If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you choose and why? I’ve been very fortunate to have met and chatted with many contemporary writers and have become friends with several of them. I would choose the one who I have not met and who had the greatest on my life: Graham Masterton because he was the one whop got my hooked on modern horror. When I was a kid, I read the classics – Wells, Verne, Poe, Shelley, Stoker. When I was ten, my mother bought me The Manitou for Christmas. It was the goriest and most intriguing novel I had ever read up to that moment and got me hooked on modern horror. The Manitou was once of the influences that made me want to be a horror writer.
I was something of a late bloomer, comparatively. Having been raised Christian, I was a bit sheltered from any brand of darkness that wasn’t, well, Christian. So I was around 18 or 19 before I stumbled on Anne Rice and her work, and of course there was no turning back after that.
2.Why did you choose to write about classic dark vampires?
I suppose technically, I didn’t. The vampire genre is a bit saturated, after all, and I never planned to write vampires until Zane’s story was born. The real life events that inspired the Sin City Sanguines demanded to be told as a vampire story, but I still didn’t want to write inside the box. So I found my own niche within the genre, and it seems to have worked out pretty well.
3.What’s your favorite vampire story?
Definitely Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Her ability to weave a deeply personal -dare I say human -story with the threads of the supernatural is absolutely unparalleled.
4.Favorite vampire TV show, and did you watch VWars (opinions on it)?
I haven’t watched VWars yet. I don’t watch much TV at all, actually, and when I do, it’s the same stuff on loop in the background while I’m working.
5.If you could do a dream cast for The Vampire bride who would be in it?
6.Would you like to be turned into a vampire?
Sometimes I think I would. If I could be an Anne Rice vampire and live both within and outside human society, not have to deal with everyday human drudgery, and really be privy to the Big Picture of human history, that would be ideal. I’d make meals out of rapists and drug dealers and take all their money and go travel everywhere.
If you could pick one of your vampire books to live in, which one would you pick?
Ryker (Sin City Sanguines Book 2) is my best work to date, so I think I’d pick that one. I choose this one over Zane (book 1) because Ryker is still my favorite SCS character, and we don’t meet him in book 1.
What are your vampire must read books for your fans?
Obviously the Sin City Sanguines, the Vampire Chronicles, and also JR Ward’s series.
If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you choose and why?
Probably Thomas Harris, because Hannibal Lecter is one of my favorite characters in American literature, and I would want to talk to him about how Lecter was formed in his mind, how much he himself relates to the character, that kind of thing.
Dacre Stoker, descendent of the creator of Dracula, Bram Stoker took some time to answer a few of my questions. It’s always a pleasure to share his thoughts with other vampire fans. Dacre Stoker is the first of the Stoker family to pick up the Dracula legacy and add new literary creations to the genre. I am personally a huge fan of his work.
1.Do you think that you would have been fascinated by vampires even if Stoker would not be your last name?
Probably not, my fascination with vampires has been a result of my overwhelming desire to understand my famous relative Bram Stoker and to figure out what inspired him to write Dracula.
2. What are your future book projects?
I am working on the continuation of Dracul. Turning some of Bram Stoker’s short stories into Graphic Novels.
3. From all the versions of Dracula which one is your favorite?
1. BBC mini Series Dracula in 1977 with Louis Jourdan (most faithful adaptation)
2. 1992 Bram Stoker’s Dracula Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
4. Did you see VWars on Netflix?
Absolutely, loved it. I actually wrote the introduction to the first book in the series back in 2012. I have been a fan of Jonathan Maberry ever since. He created a very original take on modern vampires. I love the way he integrated different world wide vampire myths into a story set in the US.
What do you think about the adaptation of Jonathan Maberry’s idea?
Very original concept to have the vampires activated based on their DNA backgrounds.
5. Your 5 must read books. I am cheating a bit, as I mentioned some book series.
Ken Follett Pillars of the Earth (Series)
JD Barker Fourth Monkey (Series)
Bram Stoker The Mystery of the Sea
John Irving The World According to Garp
Pat Conroy My Losing Season
6. You picked up the religious conflict in Northern Ireland in your novel Dracul, how “political” are vampires nowadays?
Vampires are not oblivious to the societies in which they are living in at the time. So to be successful predators they must be aware of political and cultural issues. It is hard to escape political issues, vampires are no different.
7.If you could live for a few days inside a TV show or book, what would it be and why?
“Game of Thrones”, riding, sword fighting, drinking and attractive women….what is not to love for a few days, if one is lucky enough not to die!
8.What is the last book that you read?
London Underground: A Thriller by Chris Angus. I like historical based fiction.
9.Will the Stoker on Stoker be available for people online too?
Telos Publishing has recently released a Stoker on Stoker on paperback companion book to my presentations. It is available on Amazon and on the Telos Publishing website . I am currently working on having my presentation filmed with locations visits and turned into a short documentary.
Find Dacre Stoker on Facebook and his work on Amazon and bookstores. Bio
Dacre Stoker is the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker and the international best-selling co-author of Dracula the Un-Dead (Dutton, 2009), the official Stoker family endorsed sequel to Dracula. Dacre is also the co-editor (with Elizabeth Miller) of The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: The Dublin Years (Robson Press, 2012). His latest novel, Dracul, a prequel to Dracula, released in October 2018 co-authored with JD Barker, has been sold in over 30 countries. It was the UK’s # 1 Bestselling Hardcover Novel in Horror and Supernatural in 2018 with film rights purchased by Paramount Studios.
“It’s nice to be understood” I want to start my review on Bbc’s Dracula with this quote from episode 2..Dracula was longing to connect in a real way. He was thirsting for blood and a higher level of understanding.. How lonely must a being feel after 400 years of not finding the intellectual nourishment he needs to flourish. “Blood is lives” I will draw here a parallel to the Bene Geserit nuns from Dune.. With each drop of blood Dracula was sharing not only life energy but also the knowledge of each and every one of his victim.. I finished watching the mini series today and like Dracula is thirsting for blood I want to know more… The connection between Dracula, Sister Agatha and then Zoe van Helsing was obvious.. We can compare the search for answers of the two.. Sister Agatha wanted to find God, Zoe wanted to find the truth in science and they both connected through their DNA after partaking in Dracula blood.. Like wine is turned into the blood of Jesus.. Draculas blood contained so many lives, it is rich in knowledge .. He absorbed the experience of peasants and of the people of high birth alike . Dracula woke up to a new world after a sleep that lasted 123 years. Instead of feeling lost and outcast he uses the new technology to his advantage. The extremely charismatic count Dracula finds Lucy.. Renfield is funny. I enjoy his acting. Now what I don’t know is who Jonathan Harker was that kept calling Jack.. Lucy’s transformation was heartbreaking.Another question that I have is who or what are the sufferers, are they zombies, ghouls, we don’t know . Being robbed of her beauty she refused the gift of a eternal life, even a eternal life of clarity and strength. The modern adaptation of Dracula was fascinating. I honestly believe that they kept the soul, the spirit of the story and added a modern touch to it. I won’t comment the ending, I let you discover it for yourself.. The ending is open from my point of view, because as with many other myths connected to the vampire Dracula, we don’t know exactly what is fact and what’s legend. Same as sister Agatha I would ask whiseass questions, why not?!? How often does one take the chance to chat with a undead creature that is longing for some flavor in its existence….
I am very fortunate to present you with a end of the year gift! A Q&A with the creator of the VWars world,Jonathan Maberry!
The Netflix show was #1 in so many countries, I don’t think anyone missed it!!!
Check out the incredible work of Jonathan Maberry, available on Amazon and lots of bookstores!
QUESTION: Do you think that the name of the new race, Bloods sounds more threatening than vampires?
JONATHAN MABERRY: The name comes from street slang in the VWars books and comics. Bloods is shorthand for blood-drinkers, and in the books non-vampires are known as Beats, which represents the classic view that humans are alive, and hence have a heartbeat. It’s a bit inaccurate because none of the vampires in the VWars universe are actually undead. But street slang isn’t known for being entirely accurate…merely cool.
QUESTION: In VWars the book there are more races of vampires, based on the ethnic background, will there be more than 2 in the future of the show?
JONATHAN MABERRY: If we get picked up for a second season we will definitely see more vampire species emerging. We didn’t want to crowd it too much in the first season, since we had to spend a good deal of time establishing the world of VWars, but for anyone who saw the last episode, it’s clear the plague is spreading.
QUESTION: Being a Blood was transcending each blood’s personal race and background and becomes a them against us type deal…Is that a possibility?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Sure, especially since there isn’t such a thing as ‘pure’ blood, especially in North America, where the story begins. They call America the ‘melting pot’. And looking at the results of companies like 23andMe or Ancestry.com show that all around the world people have blended DNA. Even in my own family, when two of my sisters and I had our ancestry checked there were subtle differences. Genetics is a bit of a roulette wheel.
QUESTION: The VWars bloods can’t turn humans, does that make the gap between them and humans bigger?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Because the vampirism in VWars isn’t a supernatural curse but something medical, it requires the right co-factor for infection to spread. As we’re discovering, however, a lot of people have that co-factor. In the books it was between 5 and 10 percent; but it’s proving to be quite a lot higher in the show. And that opens the door to new problems. Since not all (or even most) of the vampires in VWars are predatory or murderous, the rest will want to fit into society as best they can. However there will be issues of immigration, healthcare, legal rights, neighborhood zoning, and so on. Some humans and Bloods will want to be separate but equal; others will want to merge. There will be conflicts on all levels.
QUESTION: The evolution of the two main character is fascinating, I honestly started rooting for Michael Fayne. Would you be with the humans or the bloods?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Fayne is a sympathetic character. He is not evil. His DNA has changed, which means his biology and chemistry has changed. Mood, emotions, and impulses are greatly driven by the chemicals produced by our brains. When he began to hunt shortly after his transformation he was acting in strict accordance with this new nature. Even before he realized it, Fayne was no longer human, and no longer driven by the same bio-chemical triggers. Only later, when he realized that it wasn’t just him, and that there were consequences to his actions, he forced himself to stop feeding—and therefore stop killing humans. This was critical, because it shows that a strong will can rise above enough our basest and most compelling natures. It makes Fayne heroic from a certain viewpoint. Also, actor Adrian Holmes really sells the human, inhumanity, and conflict of his charac
QUESTION: Fear is in our DNA .. I don’t think that there’s a deeper fear than of a predator that feeds on the human life essence, would a real cohabitation of two human type species be possible?
JONATHAN MABERRY: There’s no fundamental difference between two different vampire species cohabitating than, say, a vegan in a relationship with someone who loves a good steak. Or someone with different political views, religious views, or even cultural identity. The vampire species’ in VWars don’t eradicate the basic personalities, likes, or dislikes of that person; though there are changes, and that will be explore if we go to second season.
QUESTION: Ill will make a parallel to True Blood.. The synthetic blood would have worked but would there not be vampires that would prefer to live the predatory life?
JONATHAN MABERRY: Yes, there would be vampires who choose to opt out of the blood substitute and live more according to their nature. This creates a lot of dramatic potential in the show, because any hunting/killing would result in more fear, hatred, and pushback on the part of the humans. They would likely want all vampires stopped, controlled, or exterminated just out of fear of being hunted by them. It’s not an unreasonable fear, either, but it will likely lead to a dangerous overreaction.
QUESTION: How does it feel to have your book turned into a TV show?
JONATHAN MABERRY: It’s deeply surreal. When I first created this premise and began the book project back in 2011, I had no idea it would ever become a TV show. It was shopped for years but without success, so I figured that it would be the same outcome that happens to most writers: we get a whiff of Hollywood but no bite. And then about two years ago I got a call saying that it had sold to Netflix. That absolutely stunned me. Netflix is the perfect home for it. They are risk-takers and they have a serious eye toward both content and quality.
When I went to the first table-read –where the actors, director, producers, and some other crew gather for the reading of the first couple of scripts—it was crazy. Here were all of these actors from shows I’ve watched and enjoyed (Smallville, Vampire Diaries, The Expanse, Battlestar Galactica, Orphan Black, The 100, Arrow, and others) embodying characters I created and reading lines of dialogue from my books and comics. There is nothing in a writers’ career that prepares him for that.
It was even crazier when I was on the set to watch the first few days shooting. Watching the actors becomethe characters. So wild.
And, of course, the day it premiered, seeing the final polished cuts of each episode was amazing. And seeing my name in the credits (twice!) was beyond anything I could have imagined!
QUESTION: For the future (let’s hope there will be many more seasons) do you have a actor that you would love to cast, and would he/she be a Blood or human?
JONATHAN MABERRY: That’s tough. I’d love to see my friend, Ray Porter, in V-Wars. He’s the narrator of my Joe Ledger novels, but is also an actor with a lot of chops. He’s been in Monk, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Argo, Almost Famous, Modern Family, CSI, and so many other shows. He’s one of those actors who has enormous range, and tends to submerge so deeply into a character you almost can’t recognize him.
1.When did you become fascinated by vampires? One of my first memories is of a nightmare I had as a little girl. I wasn’t that old at all. Maybe three. I dreamed of a castle on a mountain with a huge blue moon behind it. I saw a woman running away from the castle with long flowing red hair. A man chased her down and swept her up in his arms and carried her back to the castle even though she fought him and screamed. The man wore a long cape. It was very scary and I woke up very frightened for the woman.
Years later, I wrote The Tale of the Vampire Bride. It felt like a story I was destined to write about Glynis trying to escape Dracula.
Where did that dream come from? I’m not certain. My parents didn’t watch scary movies. I lived on the campus of a seminary school at the time. I had pretty much zero exposure to the outside world. The more fanciful part of me wants to believe that I somehow inherited my grandfather’s love of horror (I was raised in Texas. He was in Ohio. I rarely saw him.) But I probably saw the cover of a Dracula novel in a second hand bookstore when my mom was buying books to read and my imagination took it from there. 2.Why did you choose to write about classic dark vampires? Honestly, they feel like the only real vampires to me. There are completely terrifying imho because they can seduce you with their beauty or compel you with their powers. I was very scared as a kid that Dracula would summon me out of my bedroom to feast on me and I wouldn’t have the willpower to stop him. I had read a children’s book that retold Bela Lugosi’s Dracula in black and white photos, so by the age of seven, I knew who Dracula was. As a precaution I always tucked my covers securely around my neck. I don’t know why I thought this would prevent him from biting me, but that’s kid logic for you.
So, traditional vampires were my first exposure to the mythos and they’re my favorite. I know the current take on them is to make them gory, ugly, and more like zombies, but they don’t scare me on the same level as a vampire who can compel me right out of the safety of my home and into their arms to be drained of my life. The loss of willpower is very frightening to me. Also, the concept that something beautiful can be very, very dangerous is unsettling. Society usually teaches us that to be beautiful is a virtue, but vampires are clearly not virtuous. 3.What’s your favorite vampire story? Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla immediately comes to mind. It’s such a beautiful and haunting story. When I first read it, I was struck by how much it influenced the literary and film vampires that followed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula definitely draws from Carmilla . Dracula is my second favorite vampire novel. 4.Favorite vampire TV show, and did you watch V-Wars (opinions on it)? I’m going to define a vampire tv show as being one structured around a vampire. So I’ll remove Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the equation right away, because I LOVE that show. So…just looking at all the shows that heavily centered around a vampire, I would have to say Forever Knight. An oldie, but a goodie. Moonlight was another favorite. I was so annoyed it only got one season. I definitely watched V-Wars. I had a migraine the day it came out, so I had to wait a few days before I could watch it. I binged it in one day while lounging on the couch in a darkened living room. Jonathan Maberry is a friend (and mentor to some degree), so I definitely wanted to support him. I enjoyed it a lot. The premise was clever and a lot of fun. What really sold me on the story was the friendship between Michael and Luther. The way the vampire virus tested their brotherly bond was incredibly emotional. I want there to be a second season with all my heart and soul. I need to find out what happens next. 5. If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you choose? This is so, so hard. On one hand, Jane Austen comes to mind. She was so revolutionary for her time and her influence still has impact today. Agatha Christie would also probably be very, very interesting to talk to. Again, she’s another woman that had a massive impact on the literary world. But I will have to say Octavia Butler would be my final choice. Her imagination was so mind-blowingly incredible. The stories she wrote are beautiful and yet very unsettling. She made me cry more than once. She pretty much created her success out of sheer force of will, because let us be honest, she was a black woman in a white male dominated field when she started her career in the 1970’s. The odds were not in her favor, but she’s an icon today. 6.Would you like to be turned into a vampire? Well, it depends on what kind of vampire. If it’s a gross, gory, ugly one, hard pass. 7. If you could pick one of your vampire books to live in, which one would you pick? One of the modern day ones. I need my internet! I need my air conditioning! 8. What are your vampire must read books for your fans? Other than my own…Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I don’t actually read a lot of vampire (or zombie) novels. A lot of people are convinced I’m huge Ann Rice fan, but I only really liked the first two novels in her series. That being said, I never reread either one. She writes lovely prose, but her vampires never really appealed to me. They didn’t resonate with me, which is probably a big reason why my vampire novels center around women.
I am reading the Vampire Academy novels by Rachel Meade right now for research purposes (my agent assigned several series for me to read). I think she’s been pretty creative with the mythos and making it her own. I wasn’t too into the first book, but the series really ramps up and has some downright unsettling moments. I’ve enjoyed this series a lot more than Twilight because the risks seem much higher right away. There is a lot at stake (haha) from the beginning.
I’ll be honest. I think writing vampires is not an easy task. It has to be a balancing act between the monstrous and the romantic. For a long time, romance dominated vampires and the inevitable backlash was a more gruesome take on them. I like finding that middle ground. I love the films Near Dark and The Lost Boys because they found that balance.
I’ll be honest. All the vampires I write about scare me. No matter how pretty, charming, or seductive they might be, I know that in the end my worth as a human to them rests in my veins and arteries.
I remember someone teasing me that I would love to meet Glynis from The Tale of the Vampire Bride.
“No, no,” I said. “I think I’d pass on that.”
The truth is no matter how much I love her as a character, having her tiny little self in my world would be terrifying.
Rats 27 dec She was looking so beautiful on the rooftop warming up . The sunny days got very rare, heat was hard to find. Since the two leggers dried up and disappeared we don’t get the red flames or the hot surfaces anymore. The upper floor was most of the time grey like the fur on good old Misty. She was the oldest, born long before the cold came, and some believe that her fur coat changes with the color of the above. Now I was here, hidden, looking at her. The round red ring made her fur shinny. She was beautiful, round, her tail was long and whip like. She was licking her paw with slow lazy movements. One of her front teeth was chipped, but it makes her even more desirable. She’s beautiful brown. Like the sweet stuff that is hard and crunchy that I scavenge now and then. “Mmmm, brown stuff” I should introduce myself, I am Zig and I am a rat . I am hidden here on the roof of the building lusting after this hot female that spreads her pheromones around. There will be more males around soon. I already had to kill two on my way up. I am actually white, but I color my coat with sooth to blend in better. I am one of those, I used to be a lab rat. After the two leggers disappeared I escaped the lab. And now I want to sink myself into this soft new generation female. My red eyes sparkle, I can feel it. I fed on the two juicy idiots that crossed me on the way up here. I mean, the pheromones that she’s sending out made them stupid. I got closer. Her fur was standing up and she sent even more pheromones around. I mounted her. She squequed. The pleasure took me to a place of horror, or metal stuck into my soft flesh and my fur being shaved on places on my body. I wanted to let her be. Her belly thick and pregnant with my Youngs already. I bit her, hard. Her spine cracked.. Her body went soft as I went soft inside her. The beauty of her brown soft coat was sticky with blood. My hunger was aroused in another way now. I licked off the blood, first just to clean her, then I bit again, just a taste of soft sweet flesh. Before I had the slightes idea what I do I was sucking marrow from her juicy bones. I am so full. Sated in all ways I lay there, enjoying the heat on my blood splattered fur before it went away again..