Meet three guest authors of Undead Con 2, the 2011 horror writers convention that will take place Friday, October 28 through Saturday, October 29 at the Chateau Bourbon Hotel in New Orleans.
Xavier University Professor of Experimental Psychology Charles Allen Gramlich is a highly sought-after guest author during fandom conventions across the Gulf Coast. He has produced novels, short stories, poetry and tutorials throughout his distinguished career. In addition to horror, science fiction, fantasy and nonfiction, Gramlich explores the vampiric state through beautifully written text.
In his Preface to Midnight in Rosary: Tales of Vampires and Werewolves in Crimson and Black, Gramlich details how in earlier days of his career he ‘preferred the villainous aspects of the vampire.’
Per the MiR Preface, “I recognized the erotic attraction that characters like Carmilla and Dracula had for some readers, but I was far more interested in the horror than the seduction. By the mid-1980s, though, when I began to write seriously myself, a change had swept over vampire literature, perhaps by Anne Rice’s 1976 Interview with the Vampire. Vamps were still dangerous, but the focus fell increasingly on their seductive and romantic qualities. The age of the antihero vampire was ‘dawning.’”
While reading Gramlich, I became very interested in his vampire character Kainja. For those of you who know the movie Dracula 2000, there is a certain New Testament Biblical connection that Gramlich associates with his own ancient vampire well before the movie. Charles published his plot twist in 1993.
Novelist Lewis “Lewie” Aleman is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. This former Archbishop Rummel High School teacher is currently enjoying status as an Amazon bestseller in the US and the UK simultaneously for his third book, The Anti-Vampire Tale.
I asked Lewie…why vampires?
“I think I actually owe that one to a friend of mine who had been telling me for a few years to write a vampire book,” said Aleman. “I wouldn’t do it until I had my own story to tell that was different from the plethora of other vampire books on the market. Most of all, I had to come up with a story that my heart was into. You spend a lot of time in the world you create writing a book, so I just couldn’t commit to it until I had a story that I really wanted to tell. It took me several years to come up with a satisfying idea, and then it took about a year of brainstorming before sitting down to write it.”
Comic Writer Kurt Amacker is the creator of the ‘Dead Souls’ vampire series and ‘Immortal 60’, his time-traveling, worlds ending, goddess-versus-good series. Kurt had some interesting insights on profiting from and ‘fleshing out’ the Undead.
“Vampires are both a blessing and a curse when writing,” according to Amacker. “From a strictly commercial standpoint, they sell. Everyone loves them. You can spin a lot of really bad fiction and stick to the basics and someone will like it. They can become a crutch, and instead of creating something new, writers keep going back to the well with volume 18 of a series that may have petered out ages ago. However, vampires can serve a story well for some less obvious reasons. They’ve been alive for ages, so they’ve literally witnessed history that most people can only read about. They’re stuck with a moral quandary that would drive most people over the edge. They’re also so powerful that they can–for better or worse–fix almost any problem in a narrative. If your characters needed an answer to a problem, it would be easy for a vampire to have it. Obviously, it depends on the mythology you work from, but if a vampire wants to kill someone, he’s dead. If he needs to travel somewhere, he goes. But, you can explore those facets and flesh out what’s interesting about them, or they can trap you.”
Look for these local fan faves to discuss writing vampires and more as they host multi-author panels for convention attendees on Saturday, October 28.
For more info on Undead Con 2 scheduling, go to ARVLFC.com.