Interview with author Jami Deise
I'm excited to welcome
to my blog today!
Jami is the author of the new vampire novel
THE TIES THAT BLEED.
After reading Jami's other work, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. She didn't disappoint. I LOVE vampire stories (especially when the vampires aren't angsty or sparkly) and vampire legend. After reading it, I had a ton of questions for her. Here are her answers!
Caroline: Where did you get the idea for a vampire book? I thought your writing leaned more toward women’s fiction.
Jami: I’ve been working on this particular idea for a long time. A friend introduced me to the Anita Blake, vampire hunter series back in 2001, and I just loved it. It’s not what it once was, unfortunately. Around that time, I also saw the Shane Black film A Long Kiss Goodnight, which is hugely underrated. Diana is kind of a combination of the two. It’s also about how becoming a mother forces women to change their identities. Obviously in not such a drastic way as Diana did, but we all put parts of ourselves on the back burner when we have children. And yes, I love women’s fiction, but I’m also a big horror fan. I read Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot when I was in the 7th grade, and that got me hooked. The beginning of the first chapter is a bit of an homage to ‘Salem’s Lot, if you can find it!
I loved that movie, and yes, it's totally underrated. Unfortunately, I didn't get the Salem's Lot reference. The only Stephen King I've read is IT, which freaked me out and I haven't been able to read another of his. Moving on, what did you have to do differently or how did you have to think differently to write the vampire/mystery genre novel versus KEEPING SCORE, your women's fiction novel? There was a lot of physical action, and a lot of dying in THE TIES THAT BLEED.
I did a lot of things differently, but it wasn't because of the different genres. BLEED actually started life as a screenplay called BLOODLINES. I wrote it way back in 2002 and then a few years ago decided to turn it into a novel. Screenwriting is very different from novel-writing -- the biggest difference being that in a novel, you have to detail what the protagonist is thinking and why. In the screenplay everything is shown. Plus screenplays are much shorter! I had to add some characters to keep BLEED from being a novella. And finally, in a screenplay you can end scenes right in the middle, as soon as a character says or does something important. I had a few of them in BLOODLINES, and I might have been able to get away with them if I'd written the novel in the third person. But in first person, I had to finish those scenes. Writing a novel after having written screenplays for ten years -- that was tough!
What kind of research did you do for this book? Is there a leading authority on vampires out there?
Oh, there are tons of books out there about vampire lore. There’s even an idiot’s guide to vampires. I researched the original legends, back when people actually believed in vampires. I wanted to stay as close to the source as possible. And of course I made up a lot of things too.
I remember getting creeped out a few times while I was researching witchcraft for my second novel. Did those old vampire legends ever give you nightmares?
I have been a horror fan since I watched the Exorcist on TV in the 7th grade, so no. But I can understand that research giving you nightmares because you were researching real life covens, right? I watched Still Alice last week. That stuff gives me nightmares.
Yes, some of the information you find out there can be rather chilling. Speaking of practicing one's beliefs, you seem to have a grasp of Catholicism. Is that from research or first-hand experience?
My husband and son are practicing Catholics, so I get a dose once or twice a year.
Is a drakvar a thing from vampire lore, or is it something you created? How about a revenant?
I put my own twist on these – mainly with the names – but there are other legends about children born of a vampire/human union. And revenant is an earlier form of the vampire legend. Some of these legends had them as mindless zombie-like creatures. The vampire legends are older than the book Dracula. I think Dracula was the first sexy vampire with a brain. Before that, they were closer to the revenants in the book.
Are there more adventures to come for Diana the vampire hunter?
I have some planned, but I’ll have to see how sales go to decide whether they’re worth putting down on paper.
About the Author
Jami Deise discovered Stephen King’s novel “Salem’s Lot” when she was in middle school and never looked back. Along with vampires, she has always been drawn to stories about what mothers will do for their children. Her first novel, KEEPING SCORE, is about a divorced mom who’ll do anything to get her 9-year-old son onto her town’s best travel baseball team. Currently a resident of St. Petersburg, FL, Jami spent most of her life in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism, Jami spent ten years working in public relations for lobbying groups before turning to fiction. Jami is on Facebook; tweets from @JamiDeise; blogs at www.jamideise.blogspot.com, reviews women’s fiction at www.chicklitcentral.com, and reads for a New York City-based literary agency. She is in her 40s, married with a college-age son and a very protective German Shepherd.
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