Dec 13, 2010

Jamie Wasserman Interview and Contest

I recently read Blood and Sunlight by a fabulous new writer of vampire fiction, Jamie Wasserman. He also happens to live nearby in the historic town of Ellicott City, Md (not far from Baltimore), one of my favorite places to roam. I'm so happy to have Jamie here to tell you about himself and his new book.

[2 lucky readers will win a copy of Blood and Sunlight. See details at end of post]

PVN: Would you describe the characters of Melanie and Keenan the main characters of Blood and Sunlight?

Jamie:  Melanie is a troubled 23-year old who feels trapped in her hometown of Ellicott City. At heart, she's a romantic but does nothing to try to achieve her dreams. Instead, she latches onto whatever comforts are available-- whether it be sex, drinking, or drugs.

Keenan is a two-hundred year old vampire who first came to Ellicott City to work on the railroad. He's making his best effort at being human. He's desperately lonely but ever optimistic. He's found a comfortable existence but rarely takes chances.

PVN: In Blood and Sunlight: A Maryland Vampire Story  mention is made of The Vampire His Kith and Kin by Montague Summers? How does this book figure into your story and/or your research?

Jamie: Montague Summers is probably the only modern writer to make a serious study of vampires as a real creature. Before that you'd have to go back to the 1600's to find anything credible. He not only describes the vampire in detail but presents historical accounts of encounters with vamps and methods to dispatch them. My would-be slayer in the book takes this book as his 'bible', adding his own mythology along the way. As a writer, I drew heavily on Summers' work as well.

PVN:  The novel's setting is historic Ellicott City, MD which is also your home town. Would you describe the town to PVN readers? and explain why you used it as the background for the novel.

Jamie: Ellicott City is a former mill town surrounded by woods and rock and rivers and streams. The buildings and churches still look period though regular fires and flooding continue to take their toll on the area. Beyond that, the town is filled with wonderful ruins, strange legends and hauntings. For a writer, it's a place rife with possibilities.

Ellicott City was also my old stomping grounds as a teenager. I spent a lot of time sneaking around the grounds of the old monastery (Hell House in the book), drinking on the dillpapadated steps of the burned out girl's school, or hanging out smoking cigarettes on Main Street. The place has a secluded other-worldly feel that lends itself perfectly to a gothic re-telling of the vampire myth.

PVN: What are the characteristics of the vampires in your universe?

Jamie: I included the staple-- the need for blood. Animal blood will do but it's not as potent as human and requires that my vamps drink more often. Though not contained in traditional folklore, sunlight (and fire) is extremly harmful to them. I love the old Hammer films of the 60's with Christopher Lee and sunlight figured often in dispatching the vamp.

A simple taste of blood is enough to turn a person but not everyone comes over the same way-- each person is affected differently. Some are driven mad with it, their body quickly exhausts itself, while others seem to adapt perfectly. I went into the book thinking of vampirism as almost a blood disease and wanted to treat it as such.

My vampires are maddeningly fast and strong but also very human-- they make mistakes. They are not cold and calculating killers...but they can be. They can't read minds but they do have some power over the brain and a unique way of 'sharing' memories.

PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?

Jamie: You know, I've never really thought about that. Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed monster movies and ghost stories. If I'm being honest with myself, I guess my interest in the paranormal is an escape, wanting to believe that there is more here than just what's on the surface.

PVN: Describe your writing day and your writing environment.

Jamie: I work a full-time day job and have two kids and another one on the way. Time is not my friend. I've learned to fit in writing whenever I can--on my lunch, in the morning when I first wake up, just before bed. When I take trips for work, the laptop goes with me. I'm always making notes or thinking of new scenes or ways to fix old ones.

I'm positively green with envy over writers who have the luxury of doing nothing but writing.

PVN: Which books or authors have inspired you?

Jamie: Way too many- Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Bram Stoker, Caitlin Kiernan, Let the Right One In, Stephen King, Light at the End by John Spektor, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Anais Nin, Lola Haskins, and so many more. I devour books.

PVN: Please tell us about your current projects.

Jamie: I just finished a serialized novella on the Kindle Boards about a vampire guppy. Penumbra Publishing, the wonderful small press that did Blood and Sunlight, is going to make it available for free for Kindle Readers and on Smashwords in various formats. It's obviously a light-hearted story.

I'm also about 2/3 of the way through another novel. Vampires, of course, because I haven't gotten them out of my system but this one is more of a romance. A sequel to Blood and Sunlight is next on my list and I've already mapped out a basic story line.

PVN: How can readers contact you?

Jamie: They may visit my website:, join my Facebook group, or email directly: I love hearing from readers!

PVN: Anything else you would like to add?

Jamie: Just thank you. Small press and Indie writers survive largely on word of mouth and blogs like this and readers like you play a big part in that.

Also, if anyone is in the area and would like a tour of Ellicott City, drop me a line!


Two lucky readers will win a copy of Blood and Sunlight

To enter the contest email Jamie at

   put PATRICIA'S VAMPIRE NOTES CONTEST  in the subject heading 

The contest is open to US and Canadian residents.

Contest ends December 21 at midnight PST.


booklover0226 said...

This sounds like a great book and I've added it to my must have list.

I grew up in Ellicott City, MD!! Not in the historical section but in the outskirts. We were always in the historical EC, especially during the spring and summer.

My mother attended Catholic school in historical EC and several of my relatives stil live there.

Wow - what a small world.

Tracey D

Susan Blexrud said...

Small world is right. I have a good friend who used to live in Ellicott City. It is definitely a spooky (but great fun) town. Lots of interesting shops! Best of luck with your book, Jamie. Patricia Altner is a gem and PVN is a wonderful place to start a blog tour.

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Tracy and Susan

It really is a small world. Whenever I have an out of town visitor I like to take them to Ellicott City. It's fun to just walk around and maybe have lunch at Tersiguel's.

Thanks for the kind words, Susan!

katsrus said...

This book sounds really good.
Sue B