Derek Gunn is the author of Vampire Apocalypse a horror novel which has recently been optioned for a film.
Where does your interest in vampires come from?
I suppose it stems back to watching Hammer Horror films on BBC Television, that's a UK based station. Every saturday night during the summer they showed two films late at night that kept me captivated. From there I started to read, first Bram Stoker, then Stephen King etc. There's something about vampires that seems to have been lost in recent years. They are not like any other monster. They look like us, can hide among us and yet are so fundamentally powerful that they are terrifying. Something clicked in me and I wanted to create my own interpretation.
What attracts you to the horror genre?
I love being scared. Not by gross-out but, by atmosphere. There are also some really good stories being told in horror fiction but it remains a relatively small market. The current trends in Crime fiction are probably more terrifying if the truth be told with. Horror allows us to let our imaginations run a little further and play a little more, creating extreame situations that test our characters and make us wonder how we would react.
Explain the setting of the Vampire Apocalypse series and the vampire assassins lead by Peter Harris.
The story is set in the near future in a world grown insular after a brief war has left the world depleted of resources. Fuel is rationed, States close their borders, communities die and technology stagnates. It's not too improbable anymore either. As the world struggles to cope with such problems the vampires come from the shadows and quietly begin to take over community after community. They offer power to those who will join them and death to those who don't. It doesn't take long and, after a brutal but brief war, they take control. They use a serum to control the population, wall the cities off and breed humans as stock.
Peter Harris and his colleagues are not vampire assassins really, they are a small group of people who, after certain events, are forced to take the fight to the vampires and their guards, the thralls, or see hundreds die. The thralls are humans who have been bitten but have not fully become vampires. They have enhanced speed and strength and guard the vampires during the day.
What has it been like watching the process of Vampire Apocalpyse becoming a film?
It's been very exciting and nerve racking. There's a lot of maybe's and could be's when a book is optioned. Lots of books are optioned and only a small number are actually made but it is great to see each hurdle disappear. All the right noises are being made and the script is finished so it's all very positive.
How many books will be in the series? What story lines will each cover?
There are currently three planned and commissioned. The second book, Descent into Chaos, is due out around September this year. This one is much bigger. The characters have more time to develope in the story lines, new characters are introduced and, of course, there is loads of action. There's a few twists that I don't think anyone will be expecting. The third book, Fallout, is nearing completion and is scheduled to come out next year. After that I have a few more ideas that, if these three are well received, might be worth exploring, but I have a few other ideas boiling over that I want to get to first. Of course if the movie is made and there's enough interest I could easily be convinced to write another one. I love this world and its characters and there is so much potential.
What books do you like to read?
I read Horror, Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Westerns. In fact anything except 'chic lit' really. I read a lot as well. When I am not writing I am reading. Oh, and in between all that I have to go to work, unfortunately.
When and where do you write?
I write in what was once a small dressing room. My dog sits at my feet and pushes me when he wants a walk. My wife locks me up there and lets me out when I've written something worthwhile. I'm hoping this qualifies because I'm starving.
Where can readers find more information about your projects?
I have two websites. Firstly DerekGunn.com has all the information on my writing, some free chaptes and free short stories that people can have a look at and see if they like what I do. VampireApocalypse.com is a site dedicated to, strangely enough, the Vampire Apocalypse series. You can also keep up to date on myspace and those nice folks over at Permuted Press allow me to use their Forum pages to host my own Forum as well. SO there's loads of ways of keeping up to date. You can also send me an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise to answer all questions and listen to any comments anyone wants to send.
Read an excerpt of Vampire Apocalypse