Tag Archives: vampires

Author Interview: JG Gatewood

Author JG Gatewood is a prolific YA author that loves to write about vampires.  I hope you will give him a warm welcome here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Jason GatewoodHello. My name is Jason Gatewood. I spent my early years in Iowa before my family decided to move to Colorado when I was 13. I’m never leaving (if I have my way). I love everything about this state. The outdoors. The mountains. The professional sports teams. It’s just a great place to live and raise a family. I’ve been married for 17 years and have two sons, Branden (13) and Evan (8). Fortunately, my wife feels the same way about Colorado. We also have a 100 lb Alaskan Malamute. I am currently working on my MA in Professional Fiction Writing from the University of Denver.

When and why did you begin writing?

I feel like I always enjoyed writing, from grade school all the way through high school. But I never really did anything or tried to complete a whole story until 9 years ago when I was laid off. While looking for a new job, I took my time and wrote my first book. I made a lot of mistakes, but have learned so much along the way.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I received the first proof copy of my first book. It didn’t feel real until I held it in my hands.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My most recent novel is an Adult Urban Fantasy book called The Vampire’s Curse: Life Eternal. It is the first book in a trilogy about a young man who is fighting a losing battle with brain cancer. He is visited on his deathbed by a vampire who offers him eternal life in exchange for a year of service. Out of options, he agrees. But he despises what he’s become. His family and friends think he’s dead and he’s lonely. He refuses to serve his year and now he’s on the run. Most of my stories are suitable for pretty much any age above 12, but this one is not. It is definitely adult in nature.

What inspired you to write this book?

One fall weekend in 2016, my wife and I decided to watch all the Twilight Movies back to back. There’s nothing wrong with them, I even read the books, but I got into a conversation with my wife about how PG the books were. When I think of vampires, I don’t typically think PG. I told her that night I wanted to write a vampire book that was the opposite of Twilight, and where I experimented with the ideas of what we know about vampires. A month or two later was NaNoWriMo and I went through with the idea. I’m really happy with it. It gave me the opportunity to unleash myself. I’m usually a pretty reserved person, so being able to say all the things I normally wouldn’t say, was quite a cathartic experience.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t know that I have a specific style. It depends on what I’m writing. For instance, The Vampire’s Curse was a completely different style and tone from what I normally write. My YA fantasy book is from the perspective of a teenage girl, so I tried to channel as much of that as I could. I have to get into my characters and I let them dictate the style.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I had the idea for the title before I ever started writing. He’s a vampire who hates being a vampire. It made sense to me and I ran with it. Usually, I go through a few different titles before I settle on one.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In this story, there wasn’t a deeper meaning. I had fun with it, and as I mentioned before, It gave me the opportunity to say things I wouldn’t normally say. I wrote it more as an entertainment piece (including humor) and that was all there is to it. This isn’t always the case. My YA book deals with issues of racism and differing religions.

What authors have most influenced your life?

What about them do you find inspiring? There are so many. Stephen King is probably my favorite author and the one whom I inspire to be the most. However, I write primarily fantasy, so, from that standpoint, I would say, Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Branden Sanderson. Their world building and plot design are so amazing and I only hope to be as masterful as them someday.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Outside of the above-listed authors, I haven’t been taken under any wings, but I am a member of a critique group through RMFW that contains members with varying backgrounds and accolades. Thes people have helped my writing so much. They truly are my brothers and sisters.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I usually design my own covers. For this book, my publisher took with what I created and went in a similar direction. But ultimately, they decided on the cover.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

This isn’t something that happens overnight. Sit back and relax and enjoy what you are doing. Writing is a craft that takes time to develop. Write often and keep writing. When you aren’t writing, read. Read anything you can get your hands on. I mentioned I am currently working on my Masters. I have read many stories and novels I never would have picked up before that I absolutely loved and learned a lot from. My last bit of advice, find a critique group or writing community. I was nervous at first, but it was probably one of the best things I ever did.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

The biggest thing I have to say is, Thank You!. I enjoy writing. It keeps me calm at the end of a bad day and makes me smile when I am feeling down. But none of it would be worth it if I wasn’t sharing it with people. So again I say, thank you.

cover_vampires_curseJ.G. Gatewood
Parker, CO

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The Vampire’s Curse: Life Eternal

Publisher: Isabella Media

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Book Review: Dracula

Book Name: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
First Published: 1897

Bram Stoker was born on November 8, 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. He was a sickly boy but he fully recovered when he was seven. He had no other major health problems and even became an athlete at Trinity College, Dublin when he studied there from 1864-1870. He graduated with honors with a degree in Mathematics and became auditor of the College Historical Society and President of the University Philosophical Society.

While he was a student, he became interested in the theater and later became a theater critic. He became known because of his good reviews even though theater critics were not highly respected those days. He gave a positive review of Henry Irving’s Hamlet, which resulted to Irving inviting him for dinner and the two becoming friends.

In 1878, Bram Stoker and Florence Balcombe married. The couple moved to London and had a son in 1879. Stoker worked as manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theater for 27 years. By working for Irving, the position gave Stoker the opportunity to meet famous personalities and travel. It was during this time in his life that began writing his novels.

In 1890, Stoker went to the English town of Whitby, where it is said he got some of his inspiration for the novel Dracula. He also met the Hungarian writer Armin Vámbéry, who told him scary stories about the Carpathian mountains. Stoker then studied European folklore and vampire stories for several years. It was not until 1897 that he published Dracula. Other inspirations for the novel include the Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire, the crypts of St. Michan’s Church in Dublin and Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla.

Stoker had several strokes and died on April 20, 1912. His cause of death is not definite – some say he died from tertiary syphilis while others claim it was due to overwork. He was cremated and his ashes were placed in an urn. When his son Irving Noel Stoker died in 1961, his ashes were also placed in the same urn. The ashes of Bram Stoker and Florence Stoker were supposed to be put together but when Florence died, her ashes were scattered at the Gardens of Rest.

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” -Bram Stoker, Dracula

In the late nineteenth century, a young British lawyer named Jonathan Harker goes to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to finalize a real estate transaction involving Count Dracula. On the way, he encounters superstitious villagers who become fearful upon hearing his destination. He continues despite their fears and is driven to the castle by a mysterious man.

His accommodations are suitable, but he finds his host Count Dracula to be a strange thin and pale man. He discovers that the Count drinks human blood in order to survive but the latter escapes to England along with fifty boxes of earth. Harker is left at the castle sick and weak.

In England, Jonathan’s fiancée Mina Murray is with her friend Lucy Westenra. Lucy has three suitors who have offered her marriage – Arthur Holmwood, Dr. John Seward, and Quincey Morris – and has begun to sleepwalk. Mina is worried about her friend and because she has not heard from Jonathan for a long time.

A damaged ship carrying Count Dracula’s fifty boxes of earth arrives, but the ship’s crew is missing. Mina finds the sleepwalking Lucy near the graveyard, with a tall, thin figure nearby. The figure vanishes and Lucy does not remember anything when she awakens. Lucy is cold and has two tiny puncture wounds on her neck, but Mina thinks she has just accidentally pricked her friend with a pin. Over the next several weeks, Lucy’s health deteriorates but her former suitor Dr. Seward cannot determine what is making her sick.

When Mina receives word about Jonathan, she goes to help him. Lucy’s condition worsens so Dr. Seward asks the help of Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing notices the spots on the girl’s neck and her blood loss. They give Lucy several blood transfusions, but the girl improves only temporarily. Van Helsing suspects that Lucy is being victimized by a vampire and puts garlic in her room and around her neck to protect her. However, the vampire is able to attack the girl again and Lucy dies.

After her death, a beautiful lady begins attacking the children in the village. Disturbed, Van Helsing asks Dr. Seward to help him open Lucy’s coffin. He also gets to read Mina’s transcription of Jonathan’s diary about his trip to Transylvania. He gathers Lucy’s previous suitors and explains to them that Lucy has become a vampire and how they can save her soul and kill Count Dracula.

Dracula Book CoverDracula is not a novel, that is a single tale woven as a movie might be, instead it is in epistolary form as a collection of journals, letters and papers. The many viewpoints through each journal entry serve to create the suspense which sets the tone of the novel. I will confess that Dracula is not my favorite book of all time. I have never been into horror novels and this one is the granddaddy of the horror genre. Still, it is a classic that has been a part of our literary history and part of our pop culture. It is well worth the time to go back and see the original tale by its creator.

Author Interview: Meredith Allard

Being a fan of both fantasy and historical fiction, when they combine together, I feel that it makes a most satisfying read. So it is with pleasure that I introduce Author Meredith Allard to you here on No Wasted Ink.

Author Meredith AllardI’m Meredith Allard, and when I’m not teaching or writing (which isn’t often), I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, and finding great vegetarian recipes since I love to cook. I also practice yoga, and I’ve been known to shake my stuff at Zumba classes. I have a special affection for belly dancing, and I may practice a shimmy or two while brushing my teeth in the morning.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing because I had always had these crazy story ideas floating through my head. Throughout my school years I was lucky enough to have teachers who used my writing as examples for the class, and that added to my feeling that I was a writer. I knew that writing was in my future, and I tried out journalism and screenwriting but neither felt right. Finally, I found my way to writing novels and I knew I found my home.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first thought of myself as a writer when I was 12 and I was asked to write our 6th grade graduation play. In truth, I was probably only asked because I had the neatest handwriting in the class, but I felt like a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

At its heart, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a love story that spans time. It’s about James Wentworth, a 319 year-old vampire who has tried to make the best of his immortal life though he misses his wife, Elizabeth, dreadfully. He meets Sarah Alexander, who looks just like his Lizzie, and though at first he has feelings for Sarah because she reminds him of his wife, he begins to love Sarah for being Sarah. But there’s more to that story than meets the eye, and James and Sarah have to unravel a lot in order to understand what’s happening to them. James needs to navigate between the past and his sad memories of Salem during the witch hunt days and the present when he is faced with a reporter desperate to prove that vampires walk the earth.

One of the things that set the Loving Husband Trilogy apart from similar books is that the point of view goes back and forth between James and Sarah. That’s one thing I found missing in some other vampire stories—you only got the human girl’s point of view. I always wanted to know what the vampire was thinking and feeling. In the Loving Husband Trilogy we hear from both James and Sarah—what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling, why they make the choices they do. I think it adds another layer of interest to their romantic story.

What inspired you to write this book?

A student handed me Twilight (this was in 2008) and though I wasn’t into vampires I read it because she raved about it. After I read the Twilight books, I started watching True Blood, and from there I started reading Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, and of course the standard in the genre, Dracula by Bram Stoker. After I had a brain full of vampire, a story about a vampire still mourning his long-dead human wife occurred to me. I kicked the idea around in my head for about six months, and then I decided to see if there was anything to this crazy idea. From the moment I started writing I never looked back because the characters and the story took over. Originally, I didn’t have any intention to write a piece of historical fiction, but once I decided to set the story in Salem, Massachusetts I knew I had to incorporate the Salem Witch Trials somehow. The story travels back and forth between Salem during the witch hunts and present-day Salem. This isn’t a blood and guts vampire story. It’s a love story, and James is a very human vampire.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think I have a specific style, though I do like to incorporate elements of poetry into my fiction writing. I love to read poetry, and though I’m not wise enough to be a poet, I can use elements of poetry in my fiction.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The original title of Her Dear & Loving Husband was The Vampire’s Wife. A beta reader suggested that The Vampire’s Wife was too much of a giveaway about the story, so after stumbling across Anne Bradstreet’s poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” I changed it to Her Dear & Loving Husband. The revised title has the same idea as the original title, but it takes a little more digging to figure out what it means. And I love that the poem was able to serve as a connection between James and Elizabeth and James and Sarah. Little things like that make me happy.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The underlying question in the novel is: what does it mean to be human? How is it that the vampire shows more human-like qualities in his ability to love when the humans can cast off or condemn others so easily?

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, the novel is completely fiction. One of the things I loved most about writing this novel, and the entire Loving Husband Trilogy, is that I could let my imagination run wild.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I do what I do (write novels) because of the influence Charles Dickens had on me as a writer. I read David Copperfield and Great Expectations in college, and I thought, “That’s what I want to do. I want to write novels that are worlds unto themselves.” I get a lot from Dickens—the way I structure my stories, my tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, (my use of parenthesis), and I get my social sensibilities from him. My novels aren’t meant to be social commentaries the way Dickens’ novels were, but I love it when readers find deeper meanings in my books. I think of my stories as layered. If readers want to read the books for the entertainment, then the entertainment is there. If they want to look deeper, there are layers that can be peeled back and pondered.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Still Charles Dickens. Though he doesn’t know it.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Dara England from LFD Designs for Authors designed all three covers from the Loving Husband Trilogy. I knew the minute I saw the design for Her Dear & Loving Husband that that was the cover I wanted. It captures the mysterious aspect of the story perfectly.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stay true to your dreams, and be patient. We live in a time when we want things immediately, but it takes time to learn the craft of writing. I agree with the 10,000-hour theory—the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master at something. I would say that it took me at least that long before I wrote Her Dear & Loving Husband. Allow yourself time to grow into the writer you want to be. Stop comparing yourself to other writers’ time frames (I had to learn this one myself). You’re on no one else’s time frame but your own. Give yourself time to hone your craft.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’ve had many readers tell me that they don’t usually read or like vampire stories, but they were glad they read the Loving Husband Trilogy because it was so different from other paranormal books they had read. For readers who do enjoy paranormal romance or urban fantasy with a good dose of historical fiction thrown in, I hope they will give Her Dear & Loving Husband, along with Her Loving Husband’s Curse and Her Loving Husband’s Return, a try.

Her Dear and Loving Husband Book CoverMeredith Allard
Las Vegas, NV

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Publisher: Copperfield Press
Cover Artist: LFD Designs for Authors

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Author Interview: Tracy Angelina Evans

I met Tracy via a writing group on facebook where we discussion the little details of marketing our books and the joys and frustrations of being an author. I’m happy to add a fellow science fiction writer to the list of authors being interviewed here on No Wasted Ink. I hope you’ll enjoy her interview as much as I have.

Author Tracy Angelina EvansMy name is Tracy Angelina Evans. I use the full name because many know me as Tracy, but some know me as Angelina. It’s a long, convoluted story. Besides writing, my greatest love is music and, to me, the two are really inextricably linked. My main character Cadmus Pariah, for example, was spontaneously born out of a song called ‘Deeply Lined Up’ by a band called Shriekback. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been one to have “causes.” If I am fond of something, I will do my best to persuade any and all that they should, too. My family have long contended that I should have been an Evangelical preacher because of this trait.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing during my first grade in school, mainly to cope with loneliness and with the bullying I endured beginning then. It was an escape into a better world for me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In the early 80s, when I transitioned from writing animal-based stories, to stories revolving around human beings. My fascination was with science fiction and fantasy, and that is what I began to focus on myself.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The third book, of the trilogy known as ‘The Vampire Relics,’ focuses on the third and last relic to be found and utilized in an attempt to redeem those Vampires who want to return to mortality and earn a place in what many would call Heaven. That book is finished and is being edited as we speak.

The book I’m writing now, deals with the remaining Vampires on Earth, including Cadmus Pariah, who has now been raised in power to the title of Plenipotentiary of the New Hive. It centers on his struggle to recapture the emotions abused out of him for decades, and what he does to each individual who brings out said emotion. The working title for the book is called The Harming Tree, which is an actual musical instrument created by Barry Andrews, who gave me permission to use the name.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have always had a love affair with Vampires, and began to properly study their lore in the late 80s. It fascinates me that so many different cultures hold the same myths and legends about a supposedly mythical creature. My aim was to bring that together and kind of explain their genesis by way of much older teachers, often called the Elfs or Elves. The development of Cadmus Pariah and why he does what he does was a major motivator for me as well.

Do you have a specific writing style?

A friend of mine quipped that I was a Method Writer, because I delve into each character as I write them. Sometimes that can be extremely painful, considering the fates of Cadmus and Faust the Confessor. Some would call it Purple Prose, but I prefer Poetic Prose. The noun-verb-noun style that Hemingway inspired, has always left me wanting. Russell Hoban outshines many modern writers because of his love of the word. His passing was a loss to us all.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Each book is the name of one of the three relics; thus, the Chalice, the Blood Crown, and the Augury of Gideon.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That there is a world unseen that roils around us, that is much older than we are, and is responsible for who we are today.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I tend to anchor some characters to real life people. I don’t know of any writer who doesn’t, but I know plenty who deny they do. Cadmus, for instance, if very heavily anchored to Barry Andrews. He know this, of course, and I think he’s a bit perplexed to have such a vicious entity be his “demon child.” They’re nothing alike really, so please don’t judge Barry by the dastardly deeds of Cadmus Pariah.

What authors have most influenced your life?

JRR Tolkien, Clive Barker, and Russell Hoban (schizophrenia anyone?)

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

I would give my left eye to be mentored by Clive Barker. He isn’t a mere writer, but a world creator. He paints his realms, then writes about them. I find that fascinating and I admit that I do covet his abilities.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Stacey Lucas drew the cover of ‘The Chalice’ simply because she was the absolute best at committing Cadmus to paper. For the ‘Blood Crown.,’ I wanted a bigger scope and to offer the reader a hint of both Cadmus and Orphaeus. Amanda Cook, an artist in Los Angeles, was responsible for that cover. She will also being doing the cover for ‘The Augury of Gideon.’

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what brings you the most joy, even if that joy inspires a level of discomfort. Listen to your characters; they have a lot more to say than you give them credit for. They will often write it for you, if you only give them the chance.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Despite some of more extreme scenes in the books, I hope the overall essence of ‘The Vampire Relics’ gives you Good Dreams.

The Chalice Book CoverTracy Angelina Evans
Duncan, South Carolina

I try to interpret the myth that has intrinsically created our society, a myth that never died, we just choose to no longer see it or acknowledge it.

Publisher: Fey Publishing
Illustrators:
Stacey Lucas and Amanda Cook

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