Our final Vampire Month victim is Australian writer, Erica Hayes, author of many books including the Shadowfae series which has some of the sexiest covers I have ever seen. Shadowfae is all about fairies and succubi but there are vampires in there too. Despite being decidedly antipodean, she has somehow found herself in Northumberland in the UK…
1) What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
I recall writing a kiddies’ adventure tale when I was in primary school. Scribbling, more like. I was awful at handwriting. The last kid in my class to be allowed to write with a pen… but yeah. The story was a bit like The Famous Five, except my characters went around digging holes and discovering underground cities. Or something. Sadly, the manuscript is lost…
2) When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
Not so much a decision as a thing that happened. I just kept submitting stuff until something stuck. It never occurred to me to stop. My first novel was terrible… the owner of this blog may recall that one My second was a little better. My third got ‘good’ rejections. The fourth – the one that got me an agent and my first publisher – was the one that broke the mould. It was different and sparkly and a bit demented. It stood out. That’s the key.
3) What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
Weakness? Time management. I write kind of slowly, and I am too easily discouraged or put off when my day doesn’t go well. If I have a crappy start, it often screws the rest of my day. I lose a lot of writing time that way. To solve this problem, I try to do my word count first, other stuff (like promo, emails, research, crits etc.) later in the day. That way, my best creative energy gets spent on my own work. And If I get discouraged and mooch off to watch TV and feel sorry for myself, well, at least I’ve done a few words for the day.
4) Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?
My first urban fantasy series (Shadowfae Chronicles) is set in Melbourne, which is the nearest big city to where I grew up in Australia. It’s a charismatic, moody, vibrant place. Perfect for vampire gangsters.
Right now, I’m living in Northumberland, England for a few years – long story – and hey, it’s certainly added authenticity to my ‘cold, miserable weather’ scenes No, seriously, it’s a lovely place, steeped in history. Maybe I’ll be moved to write an historical…
5) Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
Eh. I’m not sure. Maybe all the bad ones that sell a zillion copies, and I go, ‘hey, I can do better than that!’ There’s an awesome speech by Stephen King somewhere on YouTube where he talks about being inspired by mediocre books. Priceless.
6) What drove you to write about Vampires?
I’m not sure I’m ‘driven’ to write about them. But I do find them interesting, and fun to write about. It’s good fun being inside their heads.
7) What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?
In my genre – romance – it’s because of sex appeal, first and foremost. Vampires are hot because they’re dangerous and magical and immortal and could kill you in an eyeblink… but they don’t, because YOU ARE THE ONE. It’s a powerful fantasy.
Also, we find the society they live in endlessly fascinating, in all its possible iterations. There’s so much you can do with a monster subculture. Vampires as hidden, vampires as slaves, vampires as overlords, vampires are the only people left. They’re our enemies, our allies, our protectors, our predators. Or hell, they just mooch around drinking beer and picking up girls. The choices are endless.
But you know what? I think we like monster literature, and vampire literature in particular, because we’re desperate to believe that this – the mundane world in which we live – isn’t all there is. We want secrets, bigger pictures, higher purpose. We want there to be something out there.
8) In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
Well, it’d have to be someone who can move about by day. Otherwise you just wait until they’re asleep in their coffin and BLAM! hit them with a shovel or something. Dracula was kind of disappointingly easy to kill, once they got the hang of it.
Still, you’d have a hard time defeating Anne Rice’s vampires. Lestat is basically a god, by the time a few books go by… author wish-fulfilment, much?
9) What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?
Hmm. Eric from the TV series True Blood is pretty hot. At least, he was before he got wussy. I like to pretend that season 4 of that show never happened…
Dress sense? Gary Oldman wears some pretty sharp suits (and blue eyeglasses!) as Dracula.
Honorable mention to Lacroix from Forever Knight, who always managed to look dead cool despite the fact that everyone else in the show looked like a bad-hair eighties refugee.
Scariness? Salem’s Lot scared the piss out of me when I was younger. Also, the boss vampire from the movie 30 Days of Night is one scary mofo.
10) How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
Ha! In my later Shadowfae Chronicles books, Poison Kissed and Blood Cursed, I have this metrosexual vampire called Vincent. He’s a second-rate gangster and no one take him seriously, so he was feeling sorry for himself one night and had a little accident with a vampire threesome, and got himself infected with the vampire disease. It made him a little crazy. He eats everything that moves.
He’s good-looking and has pretty cool dress sense, if you like clubby and sexually ambivalent. But he has more enthusiasm and malice than real power. Lestat would probably kick his ass.
11) Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
Oh, okay My latest book is called Redemption, and it’s a fallen angel/vampire apocalyptic romance. In near-future New York City, demons are hijacking the seven signs of the apocalypse to bring on the End and create hell on earth. Warrior angels must stop them.
In Redemption, my frosty angel hero, Japheth, is tracking down Rose, an angel-slaying vampire minion of hell. They meet. They kiss. They try to kill each other. Violence, action, angst and hot romance ensue.
You check it out at my website: http://www.ericahayes.net/redemption.html