Back in 2009, Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan released “The Strain”, the 1st book in their vampire trilogy, followed by “The Fall” and on October 25th, 2011, the final book “The Night Eternal” will be released. Not your typical vampire tale, these books have the ability to terrify you, while keeping you, totally, engrossed.
The books follow the story of a rag-tag group of survivors, as they fight to defeat the vampires, keep their loved ones alive and to, ultimately, save a world that has been ravaged by a vampiric plague of epic porportions.
Horrific and entertaining, we wondered what type of mind could share the duty of conjuring up such a bleak, yet engaging, nightmare.
So, here is part I of my interview with Chuck Hogan, co-author of “The Strain” trilogy.
1 – What made you want to collaborate on a vampire novel (besides GDT)? —
Two things. First of all, Guillermo’s initial outline for the trilogy excited and astounded me. The concept of old-school vampires and a plague that spreads without mercy is so terrifying . . . and that was just the launching point. Secondly, I had always been a horror fan, but as I got older I was having trouble finding things that engaged and unsettled me. The opportunity to step outside my profile as a crime writer and do something completely unexpected really excited and energized me.
2 – Have you ever been a fan of the horror/vampire genre and who are some of your favorites? —
The beautiful thing about The Strain Trilogy is the ability to move from gore to high fable to creeping dread to domestic drama to unbearable suspense to the uncanny and on and on. The epic journey is designed to support these swings in mood, and that complements my tastes, which are wide-ranging. In my formative years, I never missed the Creature Double Feature on Saturday afternoon TV, even if it meant switching back and forth between “Gamera” and the Red Sox. I did a book report on Stephen King’s “Night Shift” in seventh grade. Unrated Italian horror movies became a weekly rite of passage once I hit seventeen. Now I prefer chills and subversion over books and films that rely on shock after shock. “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death” (1971) is a personal favorite, which, despite the exploitation-style title, is truly an eerie mood piece.
3 – I’ve read that the exterminator “Fet” was your idea; Can you tell us some other plot points or ideas from any of the books, that were, specifically, yours? —
Guillermo, from our first meeting, urged me to feed the story whatever it needed to live. The main tenet of our process is absolute freedom in the writing, followed by absolute ruthlessness in the editing. Fet turned out to be a great counterpoint to the main character, Eph, and, as an exterminator for the city of New York, his maturation into a vampire hunter is both natural and unexpected at the same time. But people often come to us at readings and book signings asking which one of us came up with their favorite lines, and by that point neither one of us can remember.
4 – Would you recommend collaborating to a first time author (perhaps as a way to double their chances at getting published)? —
I’ll use tennis as an analogy. You need to win a few matches on your own in order to establish your own style of play before thinking about finding a doubles partner whose style complements yours.
Hope you enjoyed Mr. Hogan’s answers, as much as, I enjoyed asking the questions. In part II of his “no-holds-barred” interview, we ask him what he thinks about E-readers and find out why he should have been a lawyer or banker.
Please hit the subscribe button above to, automatically, receive the 2nd part of my interview, as well as, all of my other articles, including, a review of “The Night Eternal” and an interview with Gregory Maguire, author of the “Wicked” novels.
To read some of my other work, please check the Anne Rice Examiner page and Tampa City Comic Books Examiner page. And, by all means, for a terrifying and fascinating read, pick up “The Night Eternal”.
See ya next time!