Friday, December 10, 2010
Interview with Jamie Wasserman ~ Blood and Sunlight
So, how long have you been writing?
I've been writing pretty steadily since third grade.
Tell us why you chose the town and area that you used for Blood and Sunlight. I love the names of some of these places, like Hell House. Is it real?
Blood and Sunlight takes place in my hometown of Ellicott City. Hell House, the old ruins of a Gothic looking seminary, where some of the action takes place is real. As are most of the locations in the book. Ellicott City is a wonderful former mill town, the seat of one of the most important railroad lines in early America, and filled with surviving buildings, shacks, and Gothic architecture left over from its hey-day. And on top of that, it's surrounded by woods, and monstrous rock edifices, and the river. It was the perfect place to set a horror story. The novel is as much about my love affair with vampires as it is with the town.
You've got a couple of characters who are really flawed in this. Was that something you worked on, or did it just happen?
I realized about halfway through my second book that I am incapable of telling a story without flawed characters and Blood and Sunlight is no exception. The main protagonist Melanie is bored, self-destructive, unappreciative and terribly lonely. But she's also a bit of a romantic and still desperately wants the world to bend to her ideals. She believes in love over all else though she rarely knows where to look for it. Even the hero of the story is not without his faults. I think it makes for a more realistic story.
Okay, so why a vampire story?
It felt like a natural fit for the setting. Ellicott City is this sheltered, ancient community filled with secrets. Its Gothic atmosphere seemed to lend itself well to a vampire re-telling.
Tell us how long before you realized you enjoyed writing and that's what you wanted to pursue?
I've always enjoyed writing. Though until recently it was mostly poetry. I was writing poems in third grade.
When did your very first story—or anything—get published, and what was that?
My first publication was with a local literary arts newspaper called Lite. I eventually joined their editorial staff and learned a tremendous amount.
What is it that you enjoy writing about the vampire genre?
The vampire myth is one of the most malleable—it's different in the hands of every writer. I like the freedom of working with that creature. He's also an odd combination of monster and object of desire. It makes for a complex, personal figure. Plus, let's face it-- they're just plain cool.
I couldn't agree more.Have you any favorite authors, books, movies you'd like to mention which helped you either create your vampires or inspired you?
Gosh, too many to name. I really immersed myself in vampire literature and film while writing. Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls, Spektor's Light the End, Let the Right One In, Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series and True Blood, Twilight, Salem's Lot, but also classics like Dracula, Camille, Varney, the old Christopher Lee Hammer films. The genre is as rich and varied as anything.
Writing from a woman's p.o.v.--was that difficult? Did you have to have your wife read scenes and you get feedback from her?
Writing from a women's point of view actually felt more natural for me. I tend to enjoy books written by female authors more and Melanie felt like the strongest character--she almost dictated that it be her story. Now with that said, once my wife got a hold of some of the early drafts, she was quick to point out areas where I was clearly a man trying to write as a woman (and not doing it well). She played a major part in the writing of this book and I doubt it would have seen publication without her.
How long did it take for Blood and Sunlight to take shape and get to a final draft, start to finish?
I started back in March, 2009 and finished in April 2010. It then went through another month of hardcore edits once Penumbra Publishing got a hold of it. Patricia Morrison should be working at a major publishing house. She's just that good.
What are you working on now? Will we see a sequel?
I really wish I could do nothing but write full-time. There's so much I want to do and just not enough time. Currently, I'm about 2/3 through my second novel. It's a Young Adult, vampire romance called 'Holding Back the Day'. Although, it's kinder and gentler than Blood and Sunlight, there's definitely a dark edge. I can't seem to tell a story any other way. I'm also writing a serialized story for Amazon's Kindleboards about a vampire guppy named Fin-Land Aquarius III. The first installment is actually going to be published on Amazon and a few other sites for free download by Penumbra as well. They're wonderfully tolerant of me. Next up will be a sequel to Blood and Sunlight.