[See contest details at the end of the interview. Contest is international]
PVN: Thanks for joining PVN today, David. Let me begin by asking about your latest book. What is the premise of Vintage Soul?
David: In Vintage Soul, a vampire is having a party. He's showing off his wine and brandy collection – all infused with the blood of the famous, the powerful, and the odd throughout history. His lover, also a vampire, is kidnapped right out of the party, despite magical security of the highest order. Donovan DeChance is the man the supernatural denizens of San Valencez call on when something is beyond their understanding, and he's hired to look into the kidnapping.
Then things get complicated. Donovan is the victim of a robbery in which he loses a very old manuscript, and when he starts to put together all the pieces, he realizes a lot more is at stake (no pun intended) than the disappearance of a single vampire. There is another power at work, and if Donovan doesn't find a way to stop a very ancient and forbidden ritual from reaching its completion, it could mean serious trouble for the city, and possibly the world.
PVN: Describe the character of Donovan DeChance. (I would especially like to know about his old manuscript collection.)
David: Donovan is much older than the thirty or so years he seems to be. He has been collecting he books, manuscripts, spells and secrets of the magical world for a very long time (eventually I will write a book that gives more of the early story). In more modern times, he has begun scanning the books and manuscripts into a huge computer archive and then locking the more dangerous things away. He is sort of a "cowboy" or "knight in shining armor" type – he sees that there is imbalance in the magical world, and he works to set things right before it gets out of hand.
PVN: What are the characteristics of the vampires in VS?
David: The vampires, for the most part, are very "urban". Johndrow, the vamp throwing the initial party, is very rich. There is another family of vampires who have handled the banking in the city since it was founded, running separate business for the daylight world and those who walk the night. Much like in many more modern vampire settings, they don't just wander the street randomly killing people. They drink from people who want to fed off of, take victims occasionally, but basically "fit in" to the society around them. There are younger vamps, a lot less controlled, and a band of them led by a guy named Vein tries to upstage DeChance in his investigation. Rather than dwell on the "what can vampires do in my world" thing I left them pretty traditional – no sunlight, etc…but tried to give them that cool, urban flair.
PVN: Would you describe the underground society of San Valencez, CA
David: San Valencez, California is one of the firs fictional settings I ever created and then returned to. It is the main setting for my novel Deep Blue, featuring a magically gifted / cursed blues musician, as well as home to Tommy Doyle, the "Psychos R Us" Cop. By day, the city is loosely based on San Diego, where I spent a lot of years of my life wandering the streets and having adventures when I was in the US Navy. By night, the daylight people – for the most part – disappear from the streets. Supernatural creatures and dark powers lurk in every alley, frequent the bars and clubs and coffee shops, and blend in so that even when they mix with the daylight crowds, they just seem "different" or "edgy."
Donovan travels about the city through a magical corridor lined with portals that he discovered far in the past. The other nightwalkers are just as discreet. They don't make waves or draw attention to themselves, though, I'm sure that in one of the upcoming books I'm going to have to deal with that first big encounter between the two worlds…who knows, maybe Tommy Doyle will make first contact. There are places like Club Chaos, where dozens of different clubs co-exist under the same roof, some harder to find than others, and where mortals and others share dance floors, music, and fantasies.
It's interesting to me to populate the same city with entirely different worlds and to see some of the same places through very different sets of eyes. The Bean and Buzz, Sid's (where Brandt and his band played in Deep Blue, and where the killer in Sins of the Flash met one of his victims) – and Club Chaos. There's also the cemetery in nearby Lavender California that has been the setting for demonic rites and (in Vintage Soul) a bit of collecting from the graves. It's a very rich, interesting environment, and that makes it doubly fun to write.
PVN: Talk about Heart of a Dragon, Book 2 of the DeChance Chronicles.
David: Heart of a Dragon takes place in "The Barrio," the poor Latin quarter of San Valencez. There are two gangs, The Dragons and Los Escorpiones, who are vying for power. They have remained pretty much even over the years, but suddenly a Voodoo Houngan, Anya Cabrera, begins aiding Los Escorpiones, and they are suddenly faster, stronger, and not quite human.
When the two gangs have a huge battle in a place called "Santini Park," one of Donovan's sources calls him to give him the news. There are other forces in the Barrio – an old man named Martinez has lived there for so long he was ancient when the old men and women of the Barrio were children. He is loosely associated with The Dragons, and when things start to get out of hand, they come to him. Martinez and Donovan have a bad history that they've never resolved, but must become reluctant allies.
Salvatore Domingo Sanchez is a young boy with an extreme gift for art. Beyond this, he dreams of dragons. When, with special paints provided by Martinez, he begins to paint the dragons he dreams of on the members of the local gang by the same name, things get very dark, very quickly. Donovan and his lover, Amethyst, are caught up in a struggle for power that could well set a horde or dark spirits loose in the city. Bikers. Dragons. Art, and sex and even a werewolf…no vampires, I'm afraid, but the next book after that, which will likely be Kali's Tale (or something along that line for a title) will be almost all vamps (and Donovan).
PVN: How many books do you have planned for the DeChance Chronicles?
David: I have plots / synopses for at least three more, and just the other day I had an idea involving Donovan and "The Flying Dutchman". There's also the origins story to be told. I can't really imagine running out of ideas.
PVN: You began writing about vampires while under contract to White Wolf. Did you take this job so that you could write about vampire or some other reason? How did you feel about being a contract writer?
David: First, let me state that I wrote my first (and arguably most important) book – "This is My Blood," before I worked for White Wolf, and that is also a vampire novel. It's just been re-released in digital formats.
To answer your question though, it was the fact that I was already a vampire author that they hired me. I'd sold "This is My Blood," and had "A Candle Lit in Sunlight," the novella that novel was based on, reprinted in Year's Best Horror XIX. I met the guys from White Wolf at a couple of conventions, and I pestered them into giving me a shot. It was a very up-and-down experience. I hate the "game speak" that is required, and I hate the restrictions of another person's world. On the other hand, I loved some of the stories and characters. Montrovant, the Lasombra Lord who is the main protagonist of The Grails Covenant Trilogy, is one of my favorite characters ever.
I have said several times that my impetus for creating DeChance and his world was the opportunity to write the same sorts of stories I did for White Wolf without the restrictions.
PVN: Describe your writing day and your writing environment?
David: There's no typical day. I write between the cracks, before work – during lunch – and then I come home. I have three kids here – so we go over homework and study from the time I get home to about 7:30. Then we put my six year old to bed, and from 8:00 on I write in the same room where we all watch TV. I learned to do this when in the US Navy – to write while distractions are all around me. I get up, and I do it again. I write pretty quickly, and I multi-task well. I'm currently building a new Digital Publishing Company – Macabre Ink Digital – and writing a ghost-written Vietnam thriller novel while revising Heart of a Dragon, and a standalone Vampire novel titled (working title) "The Path of the Meteor," that I wrote many years ago.
PVN: What were some of your favorite books as a young reader?
David: When I was younger I read a lot of fantasy. I liked BIG books and trilogies. I also read a lot of historical fiction. I've always been fascinated with the past. As I grew older, joined the Navy, and started getting around more, I sort of migrated to dark fantasy – Tanith Lee and then, later Stephen King. I have always been a bit "all over the place" with my tastes, and that has become more and more the case as the years pass away behind me. I went through an Anne Rice phase that ended around "Queen of the Damned," and I've gone on binges (currently I'm reading the Harry Dresden novels).
When I was young, though, I wanted adventure, quests, and heroes.
PVN: Would talk bit about your history as a writer?
David: I started writing seriously in the mid-1980s. I sent out hundreds of short stories, and most of them got rejected. Then I started my own magazine, "The Tome," and learned a bit more about editing, and revising. I sold my first novel, "This is My Blood," in the late 1990s. Around that same time I sold a Star Trek Voyager novel to Pocket Books, (Chrysalis #12) and my first novel to White Wolf.
In the years following that I wrote several novels that never saw print, sold about 150 short stories, and wrote six novels for White Wolf. I was having a bad time in my personal life then, and the licensed stuff was about all I could handle. Then I wrote Deep Blue and sold it in 2004. Since then, there's been a steady stream of novels and short story collections. I've won the Bram Stoker Award for short fiction and for poetry. I've been president of the Horror Writer's Association. I have a movie out, and another about to hit pre-production, but I never let up.
I think, the minute you quit doing what you do and believing in that work, you might as well curl up in a corner and wait for the darkness to fall.
PVN: What is your take on the preponderance of ebook piracy? Any suggested solutions?
David: I'm fairly new to e-books, but honestly, I don't think anyone who WOULD buy an e-book would steal one. I'm not sure that it's as bad a problem as people go on about it being. Music has helped reshape the way we view fiction. Sure, some books will be stolen, copied, etc. – but they'll also be spread. There are still a lot of honest readers who will buy downloads. I don't worry much about the piracy. My own books use no digital rights management, because I believe the more accessible your work is, the more likely it is to spread…the more you lock it down, the more you tempt those who "can" to steal it.
PVN: You have had a long association with the Horror Writers of America. I would like to know your definition of horror literature.
David: I have always felt that genres are the downfall of fiction. You can no longer do as Poe could, in his day. If you write "horror" you are a horror writer, and it's not on the same level with mainstream, or literary fiction. To me, it's all fiction. It's all fantasy. Some has darkness at its center, some is fluffy and pointless.
I think your answer lies in considering BOTH words. Horror and literature – when blended properly, as with authors like Stephen King, and Peter Straub, Caitlin Kiernan and others – is among the most powerful, memorable work available. Every genre and style has its hacks, and it's geniuses. To me, it's a matter of writing what you write – what moves you – and not trying to write a "vampire" book or a "horror" novel.
I believe (as far as the HWA is concerned) in a far-reaching definition – anything that speaks to the darkness should be considered, I think. We should try to be inclusive, not exclusive in embracing new authors and new styles. Everything changes.
PVN: Where can readers find you?
David: I'm a very accessible person. You can find me at my website Glimpses Into an Overactive Mind
I'm on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/david_n_wilson and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/davidniallwilson
You can also find me publishing over at http://www.macabreink.com/macabreinkpublishing - where you can get This is My Blood and Deep Blue in digital. (you are welcome to review copies)
PVN: Anything else you would like to add?
David:Just a hearty thanks for having me, and the hope that you and those who read your blog will enjoy Donovan DeChance and help me keep him moving into a dark, San Valencez future…
"It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn." – Robert Southey
NOW FOR THE CONTEST
There will be three lucky winners. First winner drawn will receive an ARC of Vintage Soul. Second and Third winners will each receive an ebook download of This Is My Blood.
CONTEST IS INTERNATIONAL
*Ask David a question: One chance
*Make a pertinent comment: One chance
You may also
*Link to this contest on any of the social network sites or your own web page. Let me know the url: One chance for each link.
*If you are a follower: One chance
*If you are an email subscriber: One chance
*If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.
Contest is international! Contest ends March 24, 2010