Oct 27, 2008
Gail Martin - Interview
Patricia's Vampire Notes is proud to be a part of author Gail Z. Martin's Halloween Days of the Dead Blog Tour. Gail is the author of the complex and engrossing series The Chronicles of the Necromancer.
Dark Haven, book 3 in the The Chronicles of the Necromancer, will be on shelves in early 2009
Gail, thanks so much for giving this interview. It's great to have you here!
PVN What are the characteristics of your vampires? And what is behind the name vayash moru?
GM So far, what we know about my vampires is that they have the potential to exist for hundreds of years unless they are destroyed by fire, beheading, complete obliteration or a stake through the heart (for younger vampires). Vampires who are several hundred years old can withstand some sun exposure although it does burn them. New vampires are easily destroyed by exposure to the sun. Newly brought across fledglings share a close bond to their makers. This bond can include being privy to each others thoughts. A new fledgling is dependent upon its maker. Within the first few lifetimes after being brought across, if the maker is destroyed, so is the new fledgling. After that bond weakens, many fledglings escape the enslavement of their makers, and may do so violently.
In the Winter Kingdoms, tolerance for the vayash moru differs by kingdom. Nargi is highly intolerant and has a history of organized persecution. Trevath does not actively hunt vayash moru, but it is intolerant and an unfriendly place for Those who Walk the Night. Dhasson, Margolan, Isencroft and Eastmark do not persecute vayash moru, but they do not completely welcome vayash moru among mortals. In these kingdoms, vayash moru are sometimes unwelcome at social occasions, infrequently hold positions of authority and do not intermarry with mortals. Dark Haven is a holding in Principality. It is the traditional sanctuary for vayash moru. In Dark Haven, vayash moru openly live among mortals and may intermarry or remain with a spouse after they are brought across. They hold high positions and do not need to hide the Dark Gift.
For hundreds of years, peace between mortals and the vayash moru has been managed by the Truce, an agreement that mortals will not hunt vayash moru in exchange for a promise that vayash moru will be selective in their kills. As a result, criminals are often provided to vayash moru as a form of execution, and vayash moru select mortals for kills who are wrongdoers.
As for the name, I was looking for something that could create its own meaning. “Vampire” comes with a lot of baggage—good books, bad movies, and plenty of clichés. I wanted a name that would let the reader evolve their own impression of the beings without a lot of preconceptions. “Vayash moru” sounded right. (Sorry, it’s not more scientific that that. When I need a word I sit down and play around with sounds until the right thing happens.)
PVN Tell us about the ghosts in your novels. How did they come to be? What role do they play?
GM I’ve loved ghosts and “real” ghost stories since I was a kid. So it only makes sense that when I get to build my own world it would have haunted houses and ghosts.
As for how the ghosts in the Winter Kingdoms came to be, it’s in the usual way—they died. But in the Winter Kingdoms, ghosts—like magic and the vayash moru—are an accepted fact. It’s just that most people can only see ghosts that are strong enough to show themselves. The other spirits, the ones who aren’t strong enough to make themselves be seen at other times, can be seen at Haunts, the fall equinox.
Ghosts in my world are just part of the extended family. You’re only as dead as you think you are, and death is just another phase of life. There’s old age, and “after age.” So ghosts continue to be part of their families—if they were a positive influence in life, they remain so after death. If they were meddlesome and trouble in life—well, things don’t change.
That’s where a Summoner comes in. A Summoner has the ability to intercede between the living, the undead and the dead. He or she can help restless spirits find their rest, help lost spirits make the passage to the Lady, and resolve disputes. If you think about all the people who wish they could ask a recently dead relative where the key is to the safety deposit box or who wish they could say a final good-bye, you can see the importance of a Summoner in the society. A good Summoner stores balance.
PVN The Chronicles have a wide variety of characters, do you have a favorite? why? or why not?
GM I’m partial to a number of my characters, but I think that Tris and Jonmarc are my favorites. I identify most with them—Tris has to come to terms with having a gift that is often misunderstood and that makes him different, and Jonmarc has to deal with some significant loss and disappointment in his life ands decide who he wants to be.
PVN Bava K'aa, sorceress and summoner fascinates me. How would you describe her?
GM I hope to get the chance to write her story someday, the story of how a love triangle almost destroyed the Winter Kingdoms. She was from a common family without noble birth, but her powerful gift made her the equals of kings and her daughter, Serae, married Margolan’s King Bricen. At the time of the Mage Wars, she is a young woman, just in her early twenties, and she is forced to imprison the soul of the man she loves because he has become the Obsidian King. So she’s a woman who is able to make hard choices, and she has a strong will. Tris remembers her as an indulgent grandmother, but she was also able to be crafty and navigate court politics. She’s a remarkable woman, and I hope to be able to tell you all the details someday.
PVN How do you keep track of so many characters?
GM I do make notes to myself from time to time, and particularly on minor and incidental characters, I often have to go back and look up details. As far as the main characters go, it’s like keeping track of your friends. You do it because they’re real to you and they’re very clear in your mind. I spend a lot of time with these guys, so keeping track of them isn’t that hard for me!
PVN What stories or authors have most influenced the intricate fantasy world you have created?
GM Some of the other authors I’ve enjoyed who create intricate and long-running fantasy worlds include Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Anthony, David Drake, Christopher Stasheff, Anne Rice, Joel Rosenberg, and many others. I really enjoy it when I can feel like I could just step into their worlds. And I hope to provide that kind of experience for my readers.
PVN What is your writing environment like?
GM Wow….I guess I should tell you that I write in an ancient haunted castle, but the truth is, I have a converted attic in a house in the suburbs. I do, however, have a lot of dragon paintings surrounding me and some nice feng shui elements. I have my iPod in a speaker that glows with the music, and I enjoy calming new age or Celtic music to write by, although I’m just getting into Midnight Syndicate for some creepy mood music. My screensaver is the cover from The Summoner (available for free download from Solaris Books) and I have copies of the books nearby in case I have to look something up.
PVN Without giving too much away would you tell us what can we expect in book 3 Dark Haven?
GM In Dark Haven, the effects of Jared the Usurper's reign of terror strike at the stability of the Winter Kingdoms. Undead forces align against Lord Jonmarc Vahanian of Dark Haven in a struggle for power between mortals and the vayash moru. Magic has become a dangerous and unpredictable force. As King Martris Drayke prepares for his wedding, he must also prepare for war against rebels still loyal to Jared. Isencroft is on the brink of civil war over the looming reality of a joint kingdom. Only one thing is certain—the Winter Kingdoms will be changed forever, and innocence is the first casualty.
GM I would like to add that if people pre-order through this page, they also get virtual bonus items from eight of my author friends, since I know my readers read a lot of books each year! Go to www.TheWinterKingdoms.com
PVN Sounds like a great offer, thanks!
You have created such an imaginative world. Thank you for sharing it with everyone through this interview!
Be sure to catch up with Gail on the rest of her blog tour this week.
Oct. 28 Boris Legradic (Bulgaria) http://borislegradic.blogspot.com
Wayne Kelly (Canada) www.onairpublicity.com/blog
Oct. 29 Shelfari.com (US)
Oct. 30 Speculative Horizons (UK) speculativehorizons.blogspot.com
AsIf DreamHosters (AU) www.asif.dreamhosters.com
Oct. 31 Chronicles of the Necromancer Blog.
Now for the contest information.
Two lucky commenters will win either a signed final copy of The Blood King or a signed advance review copy of The Blood King.
For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:
*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.
*Ask Gail a question. Each question counts as an entry.
*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.
Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.
This contest ends at 11:59 pm, tonight, Oct. 27, 2008.
Winners will be announced later in the week.