Archive for Vampire Authors
Well Charlaine Harris, the author behind the award winning Southern Vampire Series has had a really great week. It seems that she picked up two awards recently, neither one of them something to complain about. You would think that by now Charlaine would be the most nonchalant person about these awards, but as you will see at the (very shaky) video of her at the awards event, she still gets pretty choked up about them.
The two awards were given out at this year’s Bouchercon – which is basically the Academy Awards for mystery and detective writers. The name of the show is actually the Anthony Boucher World Mystery Convention, but every mystery writer I know calls it the Bouchercon. The annual show is a non-profit all volunteer organization and has been running since 1970.
The first award that Charlaine picked up this year was the Macvity, named after the “mystery cat” in T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. It is run by the Mystery Readers International and the members both nominate and vote for the winners. Charlaine won in the Best Mystery-Related Non-Fiction category for her The Sookie Stackhouse Companion. Needless to say, we feel somewhat smug in saying this was a great companion book ages ago. It’s a great book for any Sookie fan with not only a new short story but also maps, timelines, recipes and even a Sookie Concordance to clue all of us in on those special words in the series. I think congrats are in order, for she was up against some pretty darn good books. See the complete list here.
Her other award was for The Anthony, named after the founder of the convention Anthony Boucher. This award is from the other professionals in the industry and I think it must have really wowed her to win it. She won for Best Critical Non-Fiction and again it was for her book The Sookie Stackhouse Companion. Wow- they must really love her out there in Cleveland Ohio where Bouchercon was hosted this year.
I think she must be particularly pleased as this is such a distinct honor since most people would never consider the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse to be a crime or mystery book. Yet you have to admit that there is always plenty of both happening in the stories. You can see the other books she was up against in the Anthony Awards here.
So hats off to Bouchercon for reaching out to the new horror and recognizing that some books just go beyond the basic classifications. And, of course, our hats are really off to Charlaine Harris for an astounding year. Two awards at one show, for the same book. She must have been floating all the way home.
And just to prove that she was indeed excited to get these awards, we caught a video on YouTube that was obviously shot from the audience when The Anthony was given to Charlaine. My apologies for it being shot all over the room, but it gives us a feeling of sharing in the glory:
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get those little goals that seem to slip right out of reach. At least that is the way that the vampire author of the best-selling book and movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sees it. Seth Grahame-Smith has seen a lot of success the last ten years, and pretty much most of it has been with sub-culture genres like zombies and vampires.
His initial book in the genre game, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has sold over 20 million copies, according to Wikipedia, my favorite source of questionable information. But even if it isn’t that exact number, it has to be pretty close to it.
Zombie and vampire author Seth says that he came to write the book when he was working as a low paid writer of non-fiction for a small publishing house and he said he wanted to try his hand at writing fiction. His editor came to him with a page with two lists. One side was a list of classic stories and the other was a list of genres. They played at matching books to genres and when they linked up Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice with Zombies he had visions of hoop-skirted damsels running for their lives from slavering monsters. He couldn’t resist.
He was certain that he would be getting plenty of hate mail from Jane Austen fans but just the opposite happened. They would show up at his book signings in droves, telling him how his book was their favorite Austin mash-up. Who knew? So instead of engendering hoards of angry young women brandishing Jane Austen tomes, the vampire author found a new set of fans that were happy to recommend his book to others.
The same curious thing has happened with his latest venture. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter came out of Seth’s love of history. He confesses to have spent ages reading through source material and it shows in the book, which derives much of its tone from the fact he quotes directly from Lincoln diaries and letters between the President and his wife in the book. It is what gives it the eerie sense of possibility.
He expected to see angry mobs accusing him of defiling one of America’s most loved presidents, but instead found that many loved this playful interpretation of an almost super-hero version of Lincoln. There seems to be something in it that appeals to the American sense of heroics.
So sometimes no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to get the reaction you anticipated. Even if you are a best-selling vampire author like Seth Grahame-Smith, who was really expecting pitchforks and threats when he came out with his last book, Unholy Night, a re-telling of the biblical story of the birth of Jesus, which just happens to have some supernatural creatures in it instead of those three wise men, he finds himself surprised.
The vampire author recently told TodayOnline that “I hear from pastors, ministers and priests about how Unholy Night’s a great way to teach faith. It’s crazy”. It is almost as if Rodney Dangerfield is lurking in the background muttering, I just can’t get no respect. Except, of course, it is the opposite; it’s the respect that Seth finds so astounding, for the paranormal work he has done.
If you were the author of a best-selling vampire novel that then inspired a best-selling book, wouldn’t you at least be curious enough to read it? That was the question that Twilight author Stephanie Meyers was asked recently by media giant MTV when discussing the erotic vampire novel “Shades of Grey”. While it is true that she acknowledges that she has indeed heard of the books, how could she not, she made it very clear that she has no interest in cracking open a volume and checking it out.
“I haven’t read it. I mean, that’s really not my genre, not my thing,” she said when asked about the book. She acknowledged that she knew the origins of the inspiration for British author E.L. James hugely successful vampire novel series. “I’ve heard about it; I haven’t really gotten into it that much. Good on her – she’s doing well. That’s great!”
The series of vampire novels began on the web actually, when James wrote a fan fiction piece that is more than loosely based on Twilight called “Master of the Universe”. The online story, written at first simply for fun because James was a big Twilight fan, was eventually picked up for mainstream publication and has gone on become the top three sellers for the first quarter of 2012 on the New York Times Bestseller List.
The erotica themed story Shades of Grey may not be Meyers cup of tea though, as she has always been quite honest about her belief in women not having sex before marriage, a theme of her Twilight series that she has never denied. Since the Shades of Grey series is about an older wealthy man seducing a young girl away from her friends and family, it hardly sounds to be the kind of book Meyers would be interested in reading regardless of its inspiration.
Today the world of True Blood fans are in mourning at the news from vampire author Charlaine Harris that she has decided to make the next book in the Southern Vampire Series her last one. Our darling of the barkeep set, Sookie Stackhouse, will be having her final adventure next May when Dead Ever After comes out.
Charlaine Harris has been musing for some time now that she knew she was coming to an end with the series. The world renown vampire author has said in several interviews that she could see that after twelve years of writing and fourteen books published she is ready to move on from Bon Temps. The question simply became how to find the right ending to the series.
The announcement came on her Facebook page and was of course met with a wide variety of comments from fans imploring her to continue a little longer with the wildly popular series. She admits that although she knows it is time to move on it will be hard to leave the crew of the storyline she is so closely identified with behind.
When confronted with her fans disappointment Harris said that “it would be doing readers a disservice to continue writing a character when my heart wasn’t in it. I’ve loved writing Sookie, but if you see the end of the road, you see the end of the road.” The vampire author admits that she loves the characters and that for her a big part of the work in writing that final story will be in finding a way to say goodbye to these characters after having them be a part of her life for over ten years.
There are, of course, other projects either in the works or currently ongoing. Besides the graphic novel she is co-producing called Cemetery Girl, vampire author Harris has several other genre-driven series. Her Harper Connelly fantasy mystery series follows the stories of a woman who can tell by looking at a body how the person came to die. Another mystery series with a dark bend to it are The Shakespeare Mysteries, named for the town that the main character Lily Bard lives in. Finally, the very busy vampire author has a series called the Aurora Teagarden Series. The books are what is commonly called a “cozy detective series” because the main characters are usually elder women who love to sit and sip tea discussing and often solving murders without leaving their cozy living room chairs.
Of course, w hat is missing in all of these books is our favorite kind of character, a vampire. But Harris does not rule out returning at some time to Bon Temps, even if it is just the occasional visit. She has considered that her desire to see “what happened to Harry Bellefleur!’ or ‘This is what happened to Tanya,” may yet lead her back to visit the old town. We can only hope that it does!
Well the word out on the web is that if you are a fan of Buffy The Vampire Slayer or any of the other many amazing fantasy-based vampire stories projects Josh Wheden has been at the helm of the last bunch of years, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion is the book to get. You have to admit, if like many of us here you love vampire stories or fantasy based television shows, he has been the man to deliver.
For a person who has pretty much dominated much of pop culture, and helped put the concept of high schools and vampires on the map, it is about time someone did a great book on the current state of his career. This book does that in spades.
It is a big hefty book, not some thin little almost-magazine and it is filled with tons of information on his work. Comparisons of scripts to finished films, interviews from many different years, in depth analysis of many of the projects he has worked on from Buffy and Angel to Firefly and Dollhouse and even the comics he worked on. This is a tremendous undertaking and frankly one I envy.
If you are any kind of fan of the man’s work, and it is hard not to be if you love fantasy or vampire stories at all, then this is a book well worth having. A celebration of the man’s talent and an appreciation of the depth to his work, it is great to see a book that sees more than just the cover gloss of his work. If you love to really get into the creative spark behind the stuff you read and watch, don’t miss out on grabbing a copy of Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion.
This week will see the launch of this year’s big comic book and fantasy show in Chicago, the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo or C2E2 as they like to say. It is a big show that focuses on many elements of the fantasy world, especially comic books and the world of fantasy in film and television. But for fantasy readers one of the big draws will be two ladies who are unarguably the biggest stars in fantasy writing today: Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice.
They will both be at the show talking about their latest projects; although Harris is scheduled for her talk and a bit of autograph signing on Saturday and Rice will be doing her talk and signing on Sunday. It is no secret that the two have much in common and in fact are fans of each other’s work.
Harris has said publicly that her inspiration for writing her Southern Gothic series that television show True Blood is based on was Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. She was fascinated with the book and began to wonder what would happen if vampires were to congregate in one special town and be open about who they were. This lead to her creation of the town of Bon Temps and the many fascinating creatures we have all come to follow in her series, along with our Sookie.
Rice has said she was a fan of the show and has read and enjoyed the books by Charlaine Harris. Though the two have never met face to face, they have emailed so the show may be a chance for them to finally sit down together and actually discuss their visions of vampire life or rather death.
I for one would love to be a fly on the wall when that meeting happens! I wonder if they will be going for dinner together. I have been at many of these events and it is just the kind of place where an adventurous editor may invite them both to see if some kind of joint project could come out of it. This is just me speculating but wouldn’t that be an interesting book? In any event, I hope that in between panel talks and lines of autograph hunting fans they have a chance to at least have a quiet glass of wine together and talk.
Like many writers who also write book reviews, I have authors that I have on my short list that I would love to interview. Of course, when it comes to vampire books, the one that always tops my list is Anne Rice. But if you put the Queen of Vampire Fiction aside, there are plenty of great authors I can think of that would be fun to interview for this blog.
One guy that I have come to like as a write is Jim Butcher. I got into his stuff via his character Dresden and it just snowballed from there. I mean, there pretty much isn’t a single thing the guy has written that I haven’t loved. And the cool thing is, he is so down to earth on his blog, which you can read here. The guy even outlines what you need to do when you sit down to write your own masterpiece. And somehow, the attitude that I love in his books shines through even more on his site. His latest book, Ghost Story was nominated for Best Paranormal Fantasy at the Goodreads Choice Awards and his latest collection of Dresden stories Side Jobs is finally out. So although Jim writes far more about wizards and such then vampires per se, I still put him in the “good guys” list for authors I would love to interview.
There are a couple of other authors that come to mind: Poppy Z Brite wrote Exquisite Corpse, a book that for me was a shock and yet also a great introduction to thinking in a whole new way about vampires. If you don’t think her serial killer/lovers are vampires, at least acknowledge they sure as heck share the sensibility of vampires. I know her writing has gone in a lot of different directions in the last bunch of years, but I still consider her one of those very precious vampire/horror writers.
Of course, of the modern crop of vampire writers, I would be remiss to leave Sherrilyn Kenyon off the list. Her Dark Hunter series is just about the best “poster child” for a great fantasy series there is and even her Bad Moon Rising in the Hellraiser series kicks butt and takes names later. It is hard to classify her work because she has created such an inclusive universe of beings that vampires just seem like the least of anyone’s concerns. Well, except that she doesn’t know how to make a non-lethal character, so it would not do to underestimate any of her characters. I love a woman who knows how to write awesome and powerful characters that can still leave you rooting for them to succeed. They kinda leave you thinking, if these are the “good guys” the ones they are after must be beyond frightening, and they are!
I am sure there are dozens of great writers I missed out here, but this was just a bit of a musing about how many great writers are out there providing us with some of the best fantasy writing that has been seen in a long time. It really is a great time to be a fan of any kind of paranormal storytelling – but especially of vampire tales!
Seth Grahame-Smith seems to be on a roll in Hollywood these days. The author of Pride & Prejudice & Zomibies, as well as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has inked a deal to develop his not yet released next book UnHoly Night for the big screen. His books continue to fascinate Hollywood despite the problems he has had getting them from development deal to final cut.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, which was picked up a good while back, is still struggling with cast and director problems. It has gone through several directors, had almost everyone in town turn down the lead role and still continues to pull interest as the studio continues to look for a director/casting deal.
However, luckily Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is slated to come out in June of next year and so far everything looks good for it to meet that goal.
This latest book, UnHoly Night is yet another twisted look at a well-distributed book. This time he is tackling the bible and its very familiar tale, with the Three Wise Men here turning out to be three thieves recently escaped from prison. They reluctantly help the young family escape when Herod begins to kill all firstborn children. From there they meet up with many magical creatures and with Grahame-Smith at the helm who knows what else. This is definitely a book and film that will be worth looking for.