Welcome L.A. Wilson for taking a moment to chat with us today. We've got a few questions for you about your writing and your recent Eternal Press release, In Blood Covenant.
EP: What drew you to write about vampires?
L.A.: Most most of my life I've found vampires fascinating, mainly to me, a good vampire is highly erotic. I dislike intensely the 'monster' vampires that just come in and rip people's throats out (what's the point of that? ANY monster can do that).
This is how a good vampire should be: seductive, erotic, hypnotic and enticing: this is how they claim their victims, by seduction, only showing their dark side after the fact. Both the male and female vampire are manifestations of the erotic subconscious of mankind, the dark side of sexual obsession. When Bela Lugosi played Dracula in the 1930s, women used to swoon when he was on-screen and off. Of course there's much more to the vampire than eroticism, but that is the major factor for me.
EP: What time period does this story take place in?
L.A.: Modern day, only the Vampire Altair is a creature of the past--15th century Spain and the Spanish Inquisition. Altair is terribly confused by the modern day world. Whether he shows this clearly in my book, I'm can't be sure, but he even refuses to drive a car or use a telephone, as he is afraid of modern technology. He very much needed Jagger to look after him, but of course, everything goes wrong!
EP: Are vampire characters more difficult to create and how do you makethem different from all the rest?
L.A.: Altair was my first; he just appeared out of nowhere, and he was easy to write about. I confess that I was inspired by Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire - one of my all time favourite novels BTW - especially the Vampire Armand as played by Antonio Banderas in the movie version. I also find a lot of Spanish men terribly sexy, so Altair was a natural for me.
EP: This novel carries a heat rating of two flames. Does this mean your vampires are sexual creatures?
L.A.: Vampires certainly use sexuality as a means of seduction, and it is in taking blood that brings them fulfillment, the equivalent of the human orgasm. So even though Altair is sexually inactive, because he is undead, he finds his orgasm when he takes blood; it is an orgasm to him, but he himself is incapable of any kind of sex act; he's impotent, which is why he ran away from Vicky when she tried to get him into bed with her and Jagger. It's often been said that a vampire's fangs are tiny phallic symbols as they penetrate their victims, a surrogate sex act. I find those vampires who are fangless, as in some movies and books, to be uninteresting. A vampires fangs are totally erotic, and without them, they're impotent in every way.
EP: How graphic is the violence? Would you recommend this book for a young adult?
L.A.: Good question! I don't write for young adults; I'm strictly an adult writer, so I'm not sure I can answer that question. There is some graphic violence, especially towards the end of the book, but I don't think it would upset the average young person today who are brought up on a diet of extreme violence in movies and video games, just look at Tarantino's movies, like 'Pulp Fiction' for instance. I don't think 'In Blood Covenant' even compares! I wouldn't even let my kids watch the movie version of Interview with a Vampire, and when they finally did watch it, they loved it! Especially my daughter, who today watches those appalling 'Saw' movies and it doesn't bother her one bit.
EP: Tell us a bit about Jagger. How did he come about as a character?
L.A.: Jagger - he is someone who is totally bored by every day life; frustrated and destroyed by it. He's that one person who seeks to push the boundaries and go deeper and further into the extreme, and he lets himself be taken over by obsession. He wants to be obsessed because it rescues him from mediocrity. So when Altair came along, it was like tasting an addictive drug to Jagger and he wanted more almost immediately.
Altair offered Jagger much more than immortality; Altair offered him a rescue from mediocrity, because as it says in the book, there's nothing mediocre about vampires. They are the elite to Jagger and he wants in, baby, give it to me! I think Jagger is a bit of myself, of that 'Everyman'. That someone who wants to escape the mundane and experience all the savage wonders that life, and death, have to offer.
EP: I don't want to spoil the ending but can you give us a hint as to what a Blood Covenant is?
L.A.: It's a binding contract, a contract between the immortal and the mortal, where the immortal one promises to give immortality to the mortal in exchange for their 'soul'. It's very Faustian in theme. Jagger was selling his soul in a way, as Altair believed, like a lot of people still do today, that the soul resides in blood. A lot of ancient peoples believed a person's soul was in their blood, thus, when you ingest their blood, you're taking their life and their soul (which only a god can do), and this is what gives the vampire his immortality: he can then give it back to whoever signs into his blood covenant. This is why only human blood can sustain the vampire, and not animal blood. There is no soul in animal blood, only human.
EP: When did you first discover writing? What inspires you?
L.A.: Wow... I think writing found me. I used to be a painter, and one day, I just decided to try to 'paint' with words instead of oils, and I became addict to it, just like Jagger did to Altair, and I couldn't stop. What inspires me are the myths and legends of King Arthur; Arthur is my true love and I have eight books so far about him, self published in a series called 'The Silurian'. I've been writing about King Arthur for 20 years! My first novel about him was published here in Australia in the late nineties, but it's no longer in print. I dedicate ALL my novels to him, for without him, I don't think I would have carried on writing after In Blood Covenant.
EP: Do you have any mentors or someone who was instrumental to your writing career along the way?
L.A.: My mother in law, Mary, really helped me in my early days; she was my first critic/editor and helped point out all that I was doing wrong, and never stopped encouraging me over the years. She was the one who truly supported me in my quest to be an original novelist, and even when she didn't like something I had written (especially my very graphic sex scenes!), she never ever put me down for it. Today though, my greatest support is my lifelong best friend, Jackie; she keeps me behaving myself, as I am prone to get very rude indeed...
EP: We all know that to research something historical or 'real world' you head to the library, ask experts and surf online. Tell us how you research something which has never existed?
L.A.: Myths of vampires abound in our culture: and so, my research was based on mythology and supernatural beliefs, but I find vampires much more profoundly rooted in the human subconscious than other mythological creatures (like werewolves for instance), as they represent our terrible human desire to overcome death and live forever--only the vampire represents the dark side of immortality, in that they are condemned to forever live off the blood of the living: a parasite.
I also did research for the Spanish Inquisition--nasty! When I first wrote this book, there was no Internet as such, so it was books, books and more books! Funny that, isn't it? Books, who'd have thought it?
EP: What's your impression of the cover for In Blood Covenant? Is there a particular scene it brings to mind?
L.A.: Strangely, it's the image of the Compostela Cathedral that strikes me the most; as when Altair first came into my life, I had no idea where he came from, and then one day, he just revealed to me where he was made a vampire, right on the doorstep of the great cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain. At that time, I didn't even know there was a great cathedral there at all--and I found it in a picture I saw somewhere in a book. And now, there it is on my own book cover. Spooky...
EP: Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
L.A.: Only that I hope people enjoy reading the book as much as I did in writing it. It was the quickest book I ever wrote too, completed in eight months. (Though the editing took a lot longer than that!)
Thanks LA for coming out of the shadows to chat today. In closing, please tell us where we can find you online? Blogs? Book trailer? Website? Myspace? Goodreads?
You can find me at www.authorsden.com/silurian
and at: www.thesilurian.info
In Blood Covenant
Novel: 96,000 words $5.95 Heat Level: 2 flames
Lorne Jagger considers his life a mediocrity until he meets a spellbinding dark stranger in a Welsh inn—Señor Altair Salvar, a vampire from the terrible days of the Spanish Inquisition.
Mesmerized by Altair’s charismatic power, Jagger begins a strange relationship with him, a battle of wills between human and immortal—a battle for immortality, or a trip into obsession and dark desires? For when Jagger learns the true nature of the Spaniard, he becomes obsessed with the desire to be made nosferatu, an obsession that drags his wife and friends down with him into a place of murder and lies.
And yet there is something far more profound to this vampire than Jagger could ever know—not until he discovers the true meaning of the words, ‘In Blood Covenant’.
Jagger stood paralyzed in Altair’s arms, feeling the pain of the bite now dulling to a throbbing ache, everything changing as Altair’s teeth touched the nerves that carried the messages of pain to his mind, messages speaking deeper to his altered mind.
He felt the bite course through his entire body, down every pathway of nerves and flesh. He did not struggle against this penetrating sensation; he fell into it, suddenly lived in it, swallowed, devoured. Dying?
He heard Altair’s deep moan of pleasure, felt his hand stroking through his hair, all of him taken, embraced by a power beyond knowing as the vampire stripped away everything that remained of normal life within him. He found life in this moment close to death, and he slumped in a strange peace, releasing all of his pain into Altair’s mouth.