Saturday, September 18, 2010

Telling Adam about my books

Answers for Adam

Someone by the name of Adam from Plattsburg, NY, wanted me to answer some questions about my writing. I thought some might be interested in my replies to him.
First, here are his questions: “It seems like sexuality when it comes to these vampires may be a prominent theme in the book. Are there any sort of moral issues that come with your characters being promiscuous? I remember hearing about The Twilight novels and how they treated sexuality and it was very subdued but very intimate, I think mostly because of Meyers religion, but has anyone ever disagreed with the promiscuity of the vampires? Why have them be so promiscuous in the first place?
“Also, when did you first start writing your first novel? Was it before, during, or after this giant vampire craze that's going on? Have you included werewolves in your stories at all? I understand that vampires are very human fictitious monsters, but werewolves turn into people. I feel it's like vampires are part human, part vampire, and werewolves can be either one or the other once they transform. Have you ever included them? Do you avoid any popular vampire cliches that come with your novels?”
Here were my answers:
“First, I really don’t consider myself a journalist. I don’t even like the term. I prefer to call myself a writer because that is what I do. When Hamlet was asked what he was reading, he replied, “Words.” I write words whether I am writing fiction, reporting or writing non-fiction about the outdoors.
“Originally, in high school, I thought I would like to be either a writer or an actor. I did study acting for a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York but dropped out for a variety of reasons, mostly money.
“What followed was the usual: having a job, getting married, raising a family. Throughout those years I read much, thought much and would do some writing that would end up in the garbage without taking anything to completion. My reading was far ranging from philosophy, theology, history, science plays and novels.
“Concerning vampires. My interest goes back to the 50's when I first saw the original Dracula. Since my grandmother came to this country from Romania, I asked her if there was any truth to the story. She said it was just a bunch of foolish superstition. But my interest remained. I eventually read the novel and liked it.
“When you asked me if Stephanie Meyer had anything to do with me deciding to write about vampires, I paused for a moment to think of who you were talking about. Then I realized you were talking about the author of the Twilight books which I have not read. I did see one of the movies and thought it was rather tame and aimed at the young teen girl crowd.
“No, she had nothing to do with what I write. If anyone started me down the path to look at writing vampire novels, it was Ann Rice. I liked the way she approached the topic from the point of view of the vampire.
“Why vampires? Simply because they are the most human of all the fictional monsters. But whereas Ann continued to portray vampires as blood sucking monsters and because I don’t believe in monsters, I decided my vampires would be undiscovered creatures in the natural world of creation. I’m not saying they do exist. In my writing, I am only suggesting what they might be like if they were to exist.
“Of course, since we are talking fiction here, I couldn’t totally scrap everything ever written about vampires. My vampires do take and do need to take blood by using their fangs. They don’t age and they do have some abilities the average human does not have. But they can go out and about when the sun it out, they can eat real food and engage in real sex.
“You asked about the sex part. You used the word prostitution. For them, sex is all about pleasure and the use of pleasure to snare victims. Although they can engage in regular sex, sex is not the way for them to procreate. They can only create another vampire when the come across a human who has the gene within them, which when mixed with their blood starts the process to become a vampire. In my stories, there are very few humans who have the gene that would allow them to become a vampire.
“Since sex for them has nothing to do with procreation and has everything to do with pleasure, they do tend to be promiscuous. It’s kind of like what it would be for humans who could eat all they wanted and never have to worry about putting on any weight.
“You also ask about how I can write about vampires and write about the outdoors in a book that wouldn’t be found to be objectionable by anyone. The answer is simple. I live in a beautiful place. I have always loved the outdoors. When I was growing up in Detroit, I wished I could live in northern Michigan or Canada. I have lived in New York City and I still love the place. But I like mountains, lakes, forests and streams more. I like the cold and I like the snow. These are the reasons why I live where I do.
“And let’s face it. The idea of writing vampire stories in the Adirondacks isn’t all that difficult to understand when you consider how the remote areas of Romania aren’t all that different from the Adirondacks. They still have wolves in Romania.
“A thought on writing. Writing is the arrangement of words to create an idea in the mind of the reader. Think of words as an evolved form of hieroglyphics. Nouns create a picture. Verbs put the picture in motion. Adjectives and adverbs provide some color for the picture. If it weren’t for words, we would not be able to think with any degree of clarity. Without words we would be lost within our emotions. Words can trigger our emotions but they can also channel our emotions. So after all is said and done, you could say I like to write because I like to play with words.
“I started my vampire stories about five years ago, long before the latest craze. No werewolves, no shape shifters, no ghosts, no nothing I don't believe in.
“Sex is prominent in the books because sex is prominent for there to be any life. Sex is always intimate and very personal. Without it, we wouldn't exist.
“Just for the record, I was born and raised a Catholic and still attend Mass most every week.
“You might find the following post to a blog I have interesting. It's me commenting on an earlier post where I talk about morality. It goes as follows:
"There are some writings in the Old Testament that I believe can shed some light on this subject. In particular, I'm thinking of Adam and Eve who decided to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
"Forget about whether or not this is a true story. True story or not, it points to a major problem we humans have. If you look at the story carefully, you might ask why would they (we) want to know the difference between good and evil - and why wouldn't God want them (us) to know the difference? Maybe because God knew that knowing the difference would only make their (our) lives miserable?
"To jump forward just a bit in the story, the first thing Adam and Eve discover after gaining this precious knowledge is their nudity. Then they run to find a couple of fig leaves to cover their sexual organs when they hear God approaching. If you aren't laughing by now, I think you should be because God doesn't seem to have a problem with their sexual organs being on display. They have a problem and their real problems begins because they are ashamed of what God has created. They are ashamed of being human.
"Jump way forward and the only laws God ever gave us are the Ten Commandments as written - not interpreted but as written. It is we who burden ourselves. As we reach for the stars to become something more than human, we dig our own holes and feel more and more dirty about being human. We long to become pure spirits and fail to appreciate existing in the flesh and blood. “Yes, being of flesh and blood does mean that we will die. But without flesh and blood, we would never have even been. It's as though we search for what isn't and reject what is - all because we chose to see only darkness and never the light."
“To get back to what I was saying and what you are asking, I use my vampires to imagine an alternate morality. My vampires believe they were created by an act of God which took place when God gave Cain a mark to protect him from being killed by humans because he killed his brother Able. Maybe my above post will help explain what I am trying to do.

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