by Chris DeFazio
I had my first book, A History in Blood, published at TouchPoint Press in October of 2013. Since that time several of my friends and acquaintances have asked me how I had come up with the idea for the novel and what motivated me to write.
The answers to these questions are, as you would guess, multifaceted and interrelated. But the simple first part of the answer is I love books and reading and have always wanted to write. And once I started, I quickly realized that I love to write as well. I believe being passionate about a writing project is a key element. If the passion isn’t there, it will definitely show in the work.
The kernel for the idea of writing a novel about an ancient Roman vampire was my love of history, and particularly Roman history. I’ve always been fascinated by what the Romans accomplished and thought that it might be interesting to attempt to relate some fictionalized history in my story through the eyes of someone who had actually lived it. And it tickled me to suggest that Titus, my vampire, having lived two millennia, still didn’t have life (or death) quite figured out yet; far from it as a matter of fact.
Another motivation for writing about the vampires was what I looked at as a few bad turns the genre has taken over the last several years, namely over-complexity, ease and appetites.
One thing I haven’t liked is the complexity of adding of other supernatural characters to the vampire lore. Vampires and humans, their source of blood, is the ultimate antagonist/protagonist relationship. Adding others to the mix does little else but muddy the waters in my mind and can dilute the storyline, taking it out of focus.
In terms of ease, some spins on vampires can have them exist without killing humans. In one, they can exist on animal blood. I ask, where is the horror in that? If the deal was, “Chris, you can live forever and being eternally young (ish) and all you have to do is drink some squirrel blood,” I don’t know about you, but I’m all in!
The other side of the ease coin is instant monster-hood. Here, the minute someone is turned they become a driven, blood-drinking ghoul with no remorse and an instant hatred of all things human. Again, this is too easy, because there is no choice. Sure, my vampires feed on humans, but they like them, sometimes even love them as well.
To me the true horror of being a vampire is having that terrible choice, having to choose to kill humans to drink their blood or to die. My vampires have the same personality and core that they had as humans and need to come to terms with what they are and what they need to do to survive. It’s as simple as that and that is true horror, the horror of having to choose to be brutal killer in order to exist. I think that choice “humanizes” my vampires and greys the black and white distinction between the vampires and the vampire hunters. Enough so that after all these years even I’m still not sure whom I’m rooting for! Well, that’s not true and I’m sure you guessed it; it’s the vampires.
And finally, in terms of appetites, some lore has the vampires, blood motivated only. And my novels certainly have blood as an overriding factor as well. But from my point of view, living forever with Just Plain Blood (pun intended) would be a bit droll. As for eternity without love, sex, food and alcohol . . . count me out! The same goes for my vampires and I think giving them motivations and desires other than blood, makes them a tad likable.
Believe me, they are still horrible monsters, but horrible monsters that you might want to have a beer with every once and awhile.
Chris DeFazio, a Boston University alumni, is a practicing ER doctor and physician assistant educator who lives in the Boston suburbs with his family. He is a credited editor of the Manual of Emergency Medicine, editions four through six and counting.
Chris writes to entertain his readers and immerse them in his stories via macabre circumstances and a twinge of historical flair. A History in Blood is the first title in the Blood Trilogy, a series revolving around the colorful life of Titus Acilius, the Roman legionary turned modern-day vampire. A History in Blood was released in 2013. The second book, Just Plain Blood, was released in 2014. The final and newest release, Blood Future, was released in October of 2015.
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