I’m sitting here with Ottawa’s only vampire novelist, in her cramped kitchen, surrounded by posters of her novel covers with peeling paint. There’s barely enough room in this kitchen to breathe but we will soldier on!
Question: What do you write about and why?
Answer: I write wonderfully eccentric gin and tonic pot-boiler vampire novels because it saves me the trouble of having to serve prison time for infanticide. I have no children of my own nor have I ever desired to have kids so instead I give birth to pulp fiction novels, which are a lot less expensive; they never talk back to me and I don’t have to save for their college education. I put a lot of effort into rearing my novels, of course nowhere near as much as most parents do with raising a child, but it’s still represents a two to three year commitment. As for why vampires I can only say in my defence that they chose me; the sneaky little buggers came in through the backdoor. A pulp fiction magazine in Roswell, George, called Man’s Story 2 purchased some of my erotic poetry and afterward their editor asked me to submit short vampire stories for another of their magazines called Vampires 2. Apparently they liked what I wrote and bought a few more and that gave me the silly idea of turning my new-found interest in vampire short stories to novels.
Question: As it seems to be case with many novelists, has one vampire novel grown into a series?
Answer: Much to my own surprise, yes. I call mine The Crimson Series; novel number four was released in October 2010 and novel number five is officially being released on October 11, 2012 at Ottawa’s swanky new event location called @TheSpace, after enduring multiple harrowing sessions with my dastardly but wise editor, David Three Rats, who ironically became a character in novel number four. You see this gives me the power of doing with him as I please and maybe even killing him off! Here again I easily escape serving a prison term because no one cares if fictional characters are sacrificed. Actually, I’m having so much fun with my current raft of characters that I can’t imagine killing off any of them at present… maybe in novel number six.
Question: Vampires are the darling of the literary world, why do you think that is so?
Answer: The basic elements of vampires are a human invention, born from mythological story-telling and a pre-industrial ignorance on the stages of decomposition of the human body. Vampires didn’t start out as vampires; they began as the “undead” that rose up from the grave to feed on the living and these folkloric tales date as far back as medieval times. We have 18th poetry and prose to thank for inventing the vampire and specifically Bram Stoker’s Dracula which made vampires a staple of the horror genre. Later, 20th Century film helped the vampire to evolve into an enigmatic and powerful seducer, the perfect predator who embodied sexuality and immortality. Who can resist those compelling qualities? Humans are fascinated with immortality, power and lust and vampires have all of these attributes in spades.
Question: Vampires have been enjoying unprecedented success in film and print, what does your Crimson series have to offer that makes them stand out?
Answer: Oh, that’s an excellent question. There have been a lot of novels written about vampires, and many movies too, but few of these feature just one solitary vampire. In my Crimson series, there is only one vampire – to be precise the One and Only vampire on Earth, whose powers are handed down the line by a predecessor. In 2006, a physics professor from the University of Central Florida wrote a paper on geometric progression and he argued the mathematical illogic of having more than one vampire in that if every victim bitten by a vampire in turn would transform into a vampire and bite someone else and turn that person into a vampire then there would be no humans left in the world within two years – just vampires. For me, the impact of the vampire has more punch by having only one. But admittedly, I cheat a little because I also have hybrid vampire characters, off-spring from the one and only vampire who bit pregnant women in their ninth month to create a new race of hybrid vampires. In my Crimson series, the hybrids have all but died with the exception of a very small handful of four that remain alive.
Question: Did you set your stories in ancient or modern times?
Answer: Modern times, specifically in the sedate city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in such old, darling neighbourhoods like Sandy Hill that date back to the times of the lumber barons during the 1900s. The cover photography for the second trilogy, specifically The Crimson Time, features a photo from Strathcona Park taken by David Three Rats. I think it helps readers to connect the story to a real time and place that can be visited. I can even envision a “Crimson crawl” to the various pubs visited by the characters as depicted in novel number four, The Crimson Time: a vampire crawl. And for novel five, The Crimson Crimes: a vampire revenge, the old Carleton County Jail in Ottawa is featured on the cover. I adore Ottawa; we have a lot to offer in our button-down, pinstripe city – get out and explore it.
Question: The Crimson series is comprised of The Crimson Man, The Crimson Boy, The Crimson Woman, The Crimson Time and now The Crimson Crimes. What is the name of the sixth?
Answer: I named the first trilogy with a similar subheading on each cover A Fantasy, A Fantasy Continued, A Fantasy Realized. In the second trilogy, I’ve used the sub-heading, A Vampire Crawl, so for the fifth I named it The Crimson Crimes: A Vampire Revenge and for the sixth, The Crimson Dream: A Vampire Escape. Each story can actually be read as a standalone or in sequential order or as many people have taken to reading them backwards.
Question: If these are stories that are set in modern times, then are the characters concerned with regular human issues, such as acquiring wealth, raising families, saving the world?
Answer: (laugh) I wish my characters were as lofty-minded about doing well in the world. Unfortunately my characters are lacking in many of the attributes that would be assigned to saints. They are anything but upstanding – they drink too much, smoke too much, break judicial laws, kill and fornicate at every opportunity. In short, my Crimson world is a place where you can live out your wildest fantasies.
Question: Which brings me to my second last question – what about the erotic element in your Crimson series?
Answer: A relatively unexplored sub-genre of the vampire mythology and one that more authors are discovering is worthwhile to write and read. For me vampires are sex; they take what they want, when they want with no regard for consequences. The erotica in my Crimson series is not to window-dress the fiction but to add a more human element that readers can relate to and that is lust. Besides who doesn’t want to get their partner all hot and bothered from reading? I always recommend to readers to keep their partners close by, especially with the first installment in the Crimson series.
Question: Where and how can readers buy the Crimson series?
Answer: If you live in Canada, U.S. or International, through my website: www.patriciaKmccarthy.com where you can download eBooks or purchase right on-line the paper versions. My Crimson series is specialized and perhaps the most graphic fiction you will ever read, for a reason. Some independent bookstores sell the Crimson series in Ottawa. My email door is always open and if any publisher listening to this interview is interested in becoming that international distributor let’s get together for a drinky-poo and discuss our new partnership.
Thank you for taking the time to chat!
It’s the dead of night in the dead of winter, and bodies have been found, stacked ceiling-high, in a hillside cave in Ottawa’s Strathcona Park; necks pierced, blood drained – the usual. The city is gripped by a dusk-till-dawn curfew. The press, police and public have whipped each other into a glorious panic over someone or something called the “Vampire Undertaker.” Well, when did a silly curfew ever shut down the kitchen party at the Crimson house? Bring beer, bring smokes, but please bring yourself to meet The Vampires (there are at least four of them) and their quirky human pals. We can take turns feeding the baby vampire, stalling the cops when they come knocking, and tripping out on that time-dream machine up in the bedroom. You’ve got to love people who know how to make their own fun! You’ll never know where Patricia K McCarthy’s “Crimson” stories will take you or guess what’s going to happen next, not that you’ll be complaining! Oh, and of course this novel is well-seasoned with smutty bits – every good plot deserves pepper.
About the author:
Patricia K. McCarthy lives and writes in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Her Crimson vampires series has received extensive media coverage in national and local newspapers, as well as on radio and television. For details, visit her website.
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