Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anything Can Happen at Midnight

I suppose it was inevitable that I'd want to write about vampires at some point in my life. I've been interested in the undead ever since I was about five and a vampire story in a Batman comic scared me senseless. Over the years that followed, I saw dozens of vampire movies, read most of the best-known vampire books (and many obscure ones too), and never completely lost interest in the idea of blood-drinking creatures of the night.

It was a few years ago that I wrote my first vampire short story, "100,000 Midnights," which was published in one of the magazines I sometimes contribute to. I started writing sequel shorts to that one, soon had a handful of them, and then made the decision to combine them all into one book instead of publishing them piece by piece. That became the novel 100,000 Midnights, which was released as an e-book just over a year ago by Musa Publishing. While it was a slow starter in sales, possibly because it was aimed at an audience outside my usual pulp stomping grounds, it's really started to pick up in recent months, probably due to the help of some very positive reviews. Here's the Amazon page for 100,000 Midnights

Now, I'm happy to announce that the second book in my vampire series, Across the Midnight Sea, is now available for Kindle, Nook, and most other electronic formats. Here it is on Amazon.

So as I write this, I'm thinking about what it's like working on this series of vampire stories (and yes, there will eventually be a third book), and I'm starting to smile as I realize how much fun it is.

The vampire books, or I guess I can call it the Midnight series now, since that word appears in both titles and will find its way into future volumes' titles as well, are my personal playground where anything can happen. Other series of stories I've written or are currently writing seem to have more rules that I have to follow (not that that's a bad thing, it all depends on what I'm trying to accomplish with a given project). For example, when I work on a character like Sherlock Holmes or Allan Quatermain, I have to maintain the essence created by the originator of the character. When I work on a Marcel Picard detective story or a spy novel like Nobody Dies For Free, the stories take place in a realistic version of our world and I have to obey the laws of science and reality. But with the Midnight books, my typing hands are completely unbound.

The Midnight books are set in a world full of supernatural beings, though the general human public isn't aware of what goes on in the shadows.

100,000 Midnights begins with our protagonist, Eric (who I've never given a last name to) stopping in a diner late one night. Eric is what you might call a very young hermit, a somewhat eccentric young man who has few friends and often feels like he was born in the wrong era. So he's sitting alone in this diner and he meets Siobhan, who turns out to be a 292-year-old vampire, though she physically looks like she's not even twenty yet. Eric's whole life changes that night and he finds out that there's a hell of a lot more going on in the world than he ever imagined. He also discovers that he has a natural talent for dealing with supernatural emergencies, though that doesn't mean its always easy. And, he also soon discovers that he can't ever really go back to the way his life used to be, not that he wants to, because that would mean leaving Siobhan.
I'm not going to say anything more about the plot right now,but Eric's nocturnal adventures continue through that book and into the sequel.

The Midnight books are also, I realize, a place where I can pay tribute to many of the things that have influenced me. Quite a few of the places in those two books are thinly disguised versions of places I've been to. Someday, I'm going to do a blog post featuring photos of the real-life locations that have inspired the places in the novels. There are references and homages to a lot of other things in there too, things like the work of H.P. Lovecraft, old Archie comics, H.G. Wells, Dracula (of course!), Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, and probably a dozen other things, some of which I might not even have been aware of putting in there at the time!

When I started the set of vampire stories that eventually coalesced in the first novel, I really didn't know exactly where I was going with them. Now, two books into the series, with a third just barely started, I'm still not sure where Eric, Siobhan, and the others will eventually end up, but I hope those who have read and enjoyed the first book and those who are currently reading the second, will come along for the ride. You can never be sure what will happen at midnight.     

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