"He's been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives between two big lakes in Wisconsin, writes before six in the morning and tries to teach his two sons to act like they've been to town before. He's published more than fifty short stories on topics as diverse as big-game hunters, mermaids, modern witches, Victorian gentlemen and country musicians."
The quote above comes from Alex Bledsoe's own internet site. Bottom line, IMHO, he's a nice guy, an interesting guy, and a terrific writer! His latest work Blood Groove(Tor, April 28, 2009) is a not-to-be-missed vampire novel.
Today he answers questions from PVN. After reading the interview look for contest information. One lucky commenter will win an autographed copy of Blood Groove.
PVN: What attracted you to vampires?
Alex: At a visceral level it's the power over us mere mortals. More philosophically, it's fun to envision a consciousness that has developed past the normal human life span. Is nihilism the inevitable result? Does depending on other beings, at the level a vampire must, alter your perspective on what you once were, and currently are? Freed from the constraints of time and biological change, what morality even applies to you? Questions like that fascinate me, and I hope come out in the story.
PVN: What are the attributes of your vampires?
Alex: Stephen King said, apropos of writing "'Salem's Lot," that the brick wall he kept running up against was "Dracula," because it really *is* definitive. Because of that, my vampires have the abilities Stoker gave them, but the twist is that they don't fully know the extent of them; after all, how many of us understand everything about how our own bodies work? So there are still some surprises.
PVN: Baron Rudolfo Zginski - what an interesting fellow - describe this character.
Alex: I wanted to use the Dracula archetype, so I needed an aristocratic, Old World, Eastern European vampire figure. I'd invented Zginski for a short story many years ago; when I began plotting the novel, I realized he fit perfectly with what I wanted to do, which in high-concept terms was "Dracula Meets the Lost Boys."
Zginski's primary characteristic, and his greatest weakness, is his arrogance. It's not so much based on his disdain for others as on his certainty that he is simply better, smarter and stronger than anyone else. He had these qualities as a mortal, and becoming a vampire just amplified them. And the thing is, he *is* smarter and stronger than almost everyone, but that "almost" keeps tripping him up.
PVN: What sort of research did you do for this book?
Alex: I'm old enough to remember the Seventies pretty clearly, and I was 12 in 1975, the year in which the book is set. Most of my research involved locking down whether or not things I recall actually happened before or after this date. Teresa Nelson, the Memphis contact for About.com, was invaluable in helping me verify this. I made one deliberately anachronistic choice (if you spot it, it means you were there), but otherwise tried to get everything as accurate as possible. The trickiest part was recreating the attitudes, which were on the cusp of the feminist and civil rights movements becoming truly mainstream. Lip service was paid to equality as a concept back then, but the reality--especially in the South--retained a lot of the old status quo.
The older historical bits, particularly Zginski's plan to turn a profit on the Irish Potato Famine, required old-fashioned grunt work. Luckily, I enjoy that sort of thing.
PVN: Will there be a sequel to Blood Groove?
Alex: There will be. It's titled "The Girls with Games of Blood," and it puts Zginski between two vampire sisters who have been feuding over men since the Civil War. It will be out in the spring of 2010.
PVN: What authors inspire you?
Alex: In vampire fiction, my taste runs to the classics: "Dracula," LeFanu's "Carmilla," and the long-winded but absurdly fun "Varney the Vampire." In horror fiction I'm a long-standing fan of H.P. Lovecraft, especially "At the Mountain of Madness." In more general fiction I admire Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Andrew Vachss, Ross Macdonald, Robert B. Parker, Charles de Lint and William Faulkner.
PVN: Describe your writing day and what your writing environment is like.
Alex: I'm a stay-at-home parent, so my writing day revolves around my one-year-old son. When he's napping I'm chained to my laptop, and when he's awake, I'm usually editing something with pen and paper. It's a bit chaotic, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
PVN: Anything else you would like to add.
Alex: Blood Groove comes out on April 28th from Tor Books, and on unabridged audio from Blackstone.
PVN: Alex, thanks so much for this interview!
The contest portion is closed.
Now for the Contest information:
One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Blood Groove
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 Alex a question. Each question counts as an entry.
*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL or on Twitter use @patriciaaltner in the Tweet. Each link or Tweet counts as an entry.
Be sure to give me your email information so that I will be able to contact you.
The contest will end Friday April 24 at 11:59 PM ET