31 March 2012
Pic. Credit http://www.mylot.com/ ~ “Writing Poetry”
Presented by: Tim
Mythological, stereotypical vampires have taken a beating over the last few years becoming less the undead monster of nightmare and superstition and more the reflection of current social issues and the reflection of personal struggle against the id.
From the representations of Bram Stoker’s timeless classical vampire, Count Dracula to the socially acceptable ~ almost ~ though somewhat confused Edward Cullen, the vampire image has dramatically changed.
We are joined today by two authors, Mr. Ian Dewar whose new work has just been released, and Ms. Nadine Maritz whose work is in the final editing stages prior to publication, and who offer us further insights into the literary figure that the “new” vampires have become.
ID: Good afternoon! I feel very honoured to be interviewed in such prestigious company.
NM: Thanks so much for inviting me to participate in this interview.
RVN: Good afternoon and thank you for your participation today. It is a pleasure to be able to spend some time with you. If we may, firstly, ask a little something about your background and your interest in vampires?
ID: My background? Heavens; that would certainly bore your readers! Briefly, I am now retired having run my own, international consultancy business for several decades. The urge to write has always been there and in the past, I have managed to do some short ghost stories and articles for various publications. My serious writing endeavours started with a series of monographs on military aircraft (I can hear the yawns now!!). The interest in vampirism stems from reading the ‘Collingwood’ novels many years ago, which I thought were very good for their time!! More sophisticated vampire reading came much later!
NM: I was born in 1981 in the heart of Johannesburg South Africa. There’s a variety of factors that led to me to writing this novel – it wasn’t something specific. I think in a way I was / am infatuated with vampires as an impression.
RVN: What made you decide to write about vampires?
ID: In truth it came about by accident. I’d been looking for suitable ‘subject matter’ for a thriller based in and around the City of Hull in England. I was visiting a well known church there and came across a worn, stone gargoyle, which at first sight, in the poor east coast light bore a striking resemblance to the stereotypical vampire. On closer examination, the ‘features’ were actually more due to a hundred years or so of weathering than the sculptor’s original conception. This find, coupled with reading about a (then) recent archaeological discovery in Israel, must have stimulated the thinking processes a bit as I began to consider a ‘what if’ scenario where evidence of a third humanoid species – the vampire – might suddenly prove the (vampire) species not only existed; but might possibly still exist! I guess that’s when the creative part of my mind went into overdrive!
NM: I think every story in life spurted from something real and original. I like the fact that something can be so angelically perfect yet horrifically devious at the same time. It’s very human. We struggle with what we should do and what we want to do daily.
RVN: Are you aware that there is a thriving community of people who self-identify as “vampires” in the world today?
ID: Oh yes! Even before this book’s plot was finalized, I was aware of one strong community and sought some opinion in the early days on the character of Felix for my book!
NM: I’m sure there are. I thoroughly believe that stories originate from something real even if it was most probably only real for that one specific individual at that time. So I guess my answer would be that if one looks at the history and findings within the vampire archives – definitely.
RVN: In your research for your book, how important was the history, myth and folklore about vampires?
ID: It wasn’t! That sounds harsh and arrogant but I was determined to make the reader step back from the commonly upheld profiling and consider a new vampire ‘concept’ from the very beginning. I just didn’t want my book to be another ‘vampire’ novel… but in effect, I soon realized it was inevitable it would be judged as just that! Most of my research proper, centered round that of the ‘Out of Africa’ evolution theories – and some curious, historical mysteries?
NM: It was partially important. Partially since I wanted it to have a touch of reality, yet since I stay in Africa I want it to be something new.
RVN: Did you have the opportunity to obtain factual information from the modern real vampire community, and did you have occasion to contact any members of the community?
ID: Yes, some! As I said I knew several individuals and drew on their knowledge and opinions to help me develop one (possibly two) of the central characters! When I think about it, most of the principal roles are in fact closely based on people I know?
NM: I try to stay active on some blogs; websites and chat rooms. I like shooting some ideas and getting opinions on them before I start creating something.
RVN: In approaching the subject of your book what was the basic definition of “vampire” that was uppermost in your mind?
ID: Taking cognizance of the fact that our intended, reading publics either accept the idea of vampires, or dismiss it as rubbish, I needed to create a plausible, workable theorem that would satisfy both, thereby allowing each to enjoy the storyline without compromising their individual integrity. I think I succeeded; and several people I’ve more or less bullied into reading ‘Orphans’, have admitted the scientific ‘evidence’ I prepared in support of my theorem worked for them. I think my most notable convert was the anaesthetist who looked after me during my knee replacement operations last year.
NM: Powerful, angelic being that has existed since the beginning of time. If you go into research and you look at the vampire timeline there is mention of these beings in the bible and scroll readings from monks which date back to the early six hundreds.
RVN: Have you been aware of the media reports into the “research” being done by academics into the modern vampire sub-culture and the reports of those who have committed “vampire” crimes?
ID: Yes indeed. In fact, I came across an interesting report on alleged ‘vampire’ crimes amongst the homeless or dispossessed populations of Paris. This made me think about how these crimes were viewed and/or investigated and eventually led to me relocating the majority of my novel to that wonderful city.
NM: I am aware of some. I even mention Borrini’s (1) findings in my novel. (http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/halloween/plague.html http://www.restiumani.it/index.php?)- my novels are fiction though. So even though this was an actual event my characters aim is to meet with Borrini – she however doesn’t get that far. findings in my novel – it is part of the trail Snare follows towards self-discovery.
RVN: Have you had the opportunity to read any of the non-fiction material that deals with the modern, real vampire community?
NM: Again, I have read some – generally I try to stay away from what is known and cast in stone as my main objective is to create something new.
RVN: Please tell us a little about your own work? (Just a teaser)
ID: My pleasure. The basic premise is that for centuries, three humanoid species shared this world. One was finally eliminated, leaving two, ourselves and the vampires! Unlike those of legend, these vampires live for the most part unseen alongside their human counterparts, sharing their likes and dislikes, loves and tragedies, with their lust for blood in recent time controlled by a synthetic… until now!
Jonathan Owen is resigned to the prospect of compulsory retirement from the British intelligence services. Offered a new role, working for an organisation he knows nothing about, Owen is thrust into a nightmare maelstrom of a world facing disaster. Vampire scientists seek answers to their impending doom. A new synthetic must be found but meantime, for more and more of their number, the lust for blood is impossible to resist.
Owen finds himself in Paris, the City of Light! His mission, eliminate one rogue vampire! When he discovers the hunchbacked Albanian might hold the key to everyone’s survival, everything changes. In a race against time he suddenly finds he must form new alliances and use all his wits to prevent a descent into chaos; but a reactionary element within the vampire community itself, has very different plans for the future? For mankind, time is running out!
NM: “My addiction – My Gift; My Curse” is a story written on two levels. The novel begins during the main character’s current existence and expands to include her review of the life she’s led since the day she was transformed. It is circular rather than linear and certain events alluded to or described at the beginning of the book gain a deeper significance once the entire novel has been read.
Readers glean an insight into Snare’s character and current state of mind and, separate to that – in the main story – the reader is taken on a journey of reflection.
This is the first novel of a series. It therefore also serves as an introduction to the different characters and gives the reader an insight into their backgrounds, emotions and circumstances, paving the way for the action to come in the rest of the series.
It’s a modern, contemporary story, told in a way that people can relate to easily. The series is set predominantly in Africa yet it has universal appeal, and the plot takes one on richly rendered excursions to the Old World and other parts of the New.
It is an interesting bilingual read which is a feature that adds to rather than detracts from the theme. The first novel was created to be a compelling yet light read that allows the reader to escape into a completely new world.
It’s the start of a circle that has to be completed.
RVN: Is your work suitable for everyone then?
NM: I do think that it might not be fully fit for kids under the age of sixteen.
ID: I think I should say it does have some ‘unusual’ adult content, so…
RVN: Where can our readers find your work?
ID: The full title of my book is ‘ORPHANS – Time is running out…’ It is available as an eBook from Amazon (2) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/ORPHANS-Time-running-out-ebook/dp/B006X7NKIS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327593953&sr=1-1 ) also ‘Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Waterstones and WH smiths (Kobo)
NM: http://my-addictionbooks.blogspot.com/ for now
RVN: Has your mindset changed from the basic premise of vampires that you set out with in approaching your writing?
ID: No, I don’t think so? It was necessary to divorce myself completely from the legendary vampire in order to create ‘my’ vampire during composition and imagining – but that in no way lessened the interest or respect I have for the traditional and much revered Vampyre!
NM: Changing what we know is my main objective. To get there I had to start with the general knowledge that’s out there currently. Novel one is therefore written in a sense where African Vampire meets European Vampire. The other two novels will come back home. It will be open to more new and exciting adventure even though I will always try and touch on something real somewhere in the storyline.
RVN: Who do you feel is your target audience with your work?
ID: I would like to think anyone (adult) who enjoys a ‘good read’. I’m not claiming that this, my first novel is an outstanding piece of literary fiction (or fact?) – far from it!! But reviews so far have been very encouraging and I do hope your readers will give it a go!
NM: My aim is for it to vary. I don’t want it to be restricted even though I do think that it might not be fully fit for kids under the age of sixteen.
RVN: Do you have other works in the pipeline, along the same lines?
ID: No, I have two novels completed and one nearing completion; but this is the only ‘vampire’ work yet. I am being asked if a sequel to Orphans is forthcoming; but all I can say for the moment is, let’s wait and see!
NM: Absolutely. My story is very visual and therefore I am reaching for the moon. This novel will be the beginning of three, where after, I hope to take it to screen.
RVN: Do you have any general comments that you would like to make about the subject of vampires, especially the existence of real living modern self-identified vampires?
ID: Vampyres have and always will enjoy a prominent place in our diverse communities. Without the vampyre and those who self-identify as vampyres, our world would be much less vibrant and colourful… but maybe less frightening too?
NM: I think that humanity envisions vampires as a powerful image. We know them as being beautiful, immortal and mischievous. Possessing those characteristics makes them intriguing.
RVN: Thank you very much indeed for your time today; we are honoured to be able to introduce your work to the real vampire community.
ID: No, thank you. It really has been a pleasure; and I wish you and all your members the very best for future reading!
NM: Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to participate and share my story.
There can be no doubt that the literary vampire is undergoing a metamorphosis just as the popular vampire in the movies has in recent times. The genre, once cut-and-dried, is becoming a playground of new explorations and new interpretations and it is the imagination of modern authors and screenwriters that is shaping the concept and image of the vampire for modern and future generations. Perhaps now is the time to take the opportunity to introduce the real, modern, vampire community through the new authors and show the real face of today’s vampire.
Copyright: RVN, Ian Dewar and Nadine Maritz 2012
- Matteo Borrini http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/halloween/plague.html and http://www.restiumani.it/index.php?
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