Guest blogging with me today is Nicole Hadaway, author of a new novel called Release, available from Vamplit Publishing. Hadaway's take on the undead is a little different from other vampire/werewolf novels: Release is set during WWII, and her vampire heroine uses her unique talents for saving children from concentration camps.
CK: Thanks so much for joining me at Suburban Vampire, Nicole. How and when did your interest in writing begin?
NH: Thanks so much for having me here, Catherine. I can’t say that I always thought of myself as a writer, though I was a voracious reader from second or third grade. I also always had an active imagination and made up characters in my head; I couldn’t watch a movie without rewriting it in my head, inserting my characters into the story and imagining different twists and turns the plot could have taken. I must have been about twelve or thirteen when I wrote my first short stories, one of which involved a house haunted by a pair of reddish eyes outside the second-storey window; the resident of the house is eventually found with his eyes gouged out. Quite ghoulish, I admit and I guess scary, but I’ve always loved a good supernatural scare!
As I got older and went to college, I was encouraged to do something more "practical," so it was off to law school for me. I practiced law for a while and enjoyed it, but it didn’t always allow for the creative outlet I craved from time to time. I would still make up stories in my head, more and more wishing I could write them down but feeling that, while I had great characters, I didn’t have an original enough storyline to put them in. It wasn’t until about a year ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom, that something inside me finally clicked, and I figured out how to write a character-driven novel. Once it hit me, then I became determined to finally do what I’d been thinking of doing for years – write my characters into an original story.
CK: Please tell us about Release.
NH: I can’t say too much without giving the plot away, but it centers on a female vampire who, along with her two friends and human lover, saves Jewish children and fights Nazis during WWII. I picked a female vampire as my protagonist because, in addition to the fact that her character had been with me for 20 years, I also wanted to do something a bit different from what was currently out there in the genre. Many (though not all) of the vampires featured are male, with human females as the heroines. I’ll agree that it’s a great fantasy to fall in love with a strong, sexy male vampire, but me – I always wanted to be the vampire, not just fall in love with one.
In addition to having a female vampire as the protagonist, there also is a sexy male vampire (the protagonist’s brother). The vampire theme, bringing immortality into a mortal world, gave me the chance to include the idea that mortality gives meaning to life (if you’ve only got a certain amount of time in which to accomplish things, you’re more likely to throw yourself into life, whereas if you’ve got all the time in the world, the motivation isn’t as great). Also, the backdrop of the Holocaust allowed me to pose the question – who are the real monsters? Is it humans, or the mythological characters such as vampires and werewolves which humans create?
CK: I'm always curious how writers of vampire literature stumbled into the world of the undead. What vampires of film or books first got you interested in the genre?
NH: I think I’ve always been interested in fantasy worlds; I remember drawing pictures of fairies and toadstools in third grade. As I got older and was introduced to scarier things, I think it transferred into the vampire (as well as werewolf) genres. Believe it or not, I’ve not read many vampire novels, as I always preferred mystery stories, especially ones set in earlier times. Vampire TV shows and movies, however, – I LOVE them. My favorite vampire film is Fright Night, followed closely by The Lost Boys, then Near Dark, and even the 1979 version of Dracula with Frank Langella. On TV, I’m trying to catch the current Vampire Diaries, and I wish they would bring back Blood Ties.
CK: How did you decide to weave vampires, werewolves, and demons into a tale about WWII and concentration camps?
NH: Well, as I said before, I’ve had the character of Miranda (as well as her demon friend Vanessa) in my head for about 20 years now, and I always wished I could write her into an original story. I’d noticed in several vampire-themed television shows that they would flashback into previous times, and it made me wonder what Miranda did during such a tumultuous time as WWII. The more I thought about her adventures, the more the plot took shape, and once I finally figured out how to go about writing a novel, the WWII adventure seemed like a good story in which to introduce Miranda and her friends.
As for rescuing Jewish children from concentration camps, that started when I was searching for a "job" that Miranda could hold during the war. While I do like the bad vampires, I wanted my heroine to have a conscience and morals more like a human being. Since she was going to be involved in human affairs, she would need a "job." At first I thought she could be in a singing girl’s group that entertained the troops, but I’m not sure the Army at that time would have allowed a vampire into service! I also thought about her being an ambulance driver, there were a group of women ambulance drivers in the Army, but as they would be needed during the day and Miranda couldn’t drive in the sunlight, I had to scrap that plan. Then I had remembered from one of the WWII movies I’d seen that there were many resistance networks during the war. Since resistance operations were covert, often taking place at night under the cover of darkness, it seemed like the perfect "job" for Miranda. I discovered there was a part of the resistance network devoted to hiding Jewish children with non-Jewish families and in convents. Rescuing Jewish children was certainly a good way to show Miranda’s conscience and morals, and I thought who wouldn’t like to read a story about a vampire that does good things by rescuing Jewish children and killing Nazis?
With regards to the demons and werewolves, I put them in the story mainly because I also liked the werewolf genre and the Judeo-Christian mythology regarding demons. In addition, I thought that giving Miranda friends, all of whom had different strengths and weaknesses, made for a more interesting story, because they wouldn’t all react the same way to a certain situation.
CK: What type of historical research did you conduct to make your WWII setting come to life? Did you have a favorite resource material?
NH: My favorite resource material was – Wikipedia! I was very thankful for that site because they had so much good information on there, and it was easily accessible. Other works I consulted were The Real History of World War II: A New Look At the Past by Alan Axelrod (Sterling Publishing Co., 2008); Hidden Children of the Holocaust: Belgian Nuns and Their Daring Rescue of Young Jews From the Nazis by Suzanne Vromen (Oxford University Press, 2008). On a personal note, I will say that as I was reading some of the stories about the people who risked their lives to save children, I would often cry. These people never thought of themselves as heroes, they acted out of a sense of what was right. Yet their stories were so moving because of the courage and sense of duty they possessed. I can only imagine what others in the library thought as I would head off to the restroom with tears in my eyes!
In addition to books, I also used websites such as that of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Gen Braugher’s website, www.scrapbookpages.com, which had great pictures of Wewelsburg Castle. My husband’s photos from his visit to Dachau were also among my research materials.
CK: Many modern authors seem to shun using too much vampire lore (sensitivity to garlic, fangs, etc.) to create their characters. What is your viewpoint on the subject?
NH: It’s always nice to see new twists on the vampire genre, with more vampires in today’s genre being able to withstand daylight and not being affected by religious objects, as well as the "vampires with a conscience." That being said, I do have an affinity for the vampires of a few years ago (especially the '80's!), which were very tempting and seductive, yet evil. Their beauty and immortality made one want to be one of them, but the price – losing one's soul – might stop someone from actually becoming something eternally damned.
For my own story, I do have vampires with consciences (although I don't answer the question of whether or not they have a soul). With regards to vampire lore, I also preferred the old-school vampires and consequently, my vamps cannot walk into sunlight without bursting into flames; are repelled by certain religious objects including crosses, Jewish medals featuring certain angels, and holy water; wheeze if they get around too much garlic (akin to an allergy); need to be invited into homes before they can enter; mesmerize people; and even shape shift into crows and fog.
CK: Does your lead vampire have any distinguishing traits or skills?
NH: Nothing that sets her apart from others of her kind, except that she does have sympathy for humans and a conscience when it comes to choosing which humans to prey upon. Also, Miranda does involve herself in mortal affairs more than other vampires do. A few traits that distinguish my vampires from many in the genre is that my vampires are born, not made through bites, and they can only be hurt by enferous metals, which is a metal found in heaven (and hell).
CK: You're working on a sequel to Release, tentatively titled Return. Can you tell us anything about that novel, or are you keeping the plot under wraps?
NH: I can only say that as Miranda prepares for her wedding to betrothed, the events of September 11, 2001 (the time in which the novel is set) cause a rift to open between the realms. Unexpected visitors appear on Earth. I can also tell you that a third in the trilogy, Redeem, is also planned, but I can’t give anything away on that yet.
CK: Where can readers purchase Release and learn more about you?
NH: Release is currently being sold exclusively at http://ebookundead.com. People are more than welcome to visit my personal blog http://nicole-hadaway.blogspot.com, fan me on Facebook at Nicole Hadaway – Official Author’s Page, or follow me on Twitter.
CK: Thanks so much for joining me at Suburban Vampire, Nicole. Best wishes for Release.
NH: Thank you, Catherine. I very much enjoyed being here and talking about my novel.
Thursday, October 1st: The first five commentors on Nicole Hadaway's blog (http://nicole-hadaway.blogspot.com) to correctly guess her favorite vampire movie (which they should know if they've read the interview) will get a free .pdf version of Release.
Vamplit Publishing is also going to offer a free copy of the book The Dancing Dead by Grace Mahoney (vampire poetry) for every copy of Release that's purchased at ebookundead.com, also starting October 1.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Suburban Vampire Archive
- ► 2012 (54)
- ► 2011 (151)
- ► 2010 (240)
- October contests, events, releases, etc.
- Contest & Interview: PINOCCHIO: VAMPIRE SLAYER Aut...
- Let the Blood Flow- Get Your Tickets & VIP Pass fo...
- Music Monday: DIG MY GRAVE
- Interview with Nicole Hadaway, author of RELEASE
- HOW TO CATCH AND KEEP A VAMPIRE winners
- Last chance for free vampire dating advice
- DRACULA, THE UN-DEAD contest
- HOW TO CATCH AND KEEP A VAMPIRE contest deadline a...
- Tickets now available for Vampire Film Festival
- Contest: HOW TO CATCH AND KEEP A VAMPIRE
- Sue Dent interview & Vampire Film Festival updates...
- Music Monday: Sean Lennon's UNDEAD score
- New TRUE BLOOD video: Depeche Mode's CORRUPT
- A birth date that causes people to wince
- Death Cab for Cutie's NEW MOON single
- Vampire trailer contest, new vamp films, and other...
- Music Monday: VAMPIRE by People in Planes
- Twilight Proms
- Tim Burton talks (a little) about DARK SHADOWS
- MR. DARCY, VAMPYRE contest winners
- ▼ September (21)
- ► 2008 (264)