This month I’m pleased to welcome Marc Vun Kannon as my–our–blog guest. Adrian–aka Mr. Vampire with the Seriously Narrow Mind–fought me this one. After I told him I was inviting a werewolf author, a heated conversation followed–
Adrian: “What part of All Things Vampire don’t you understand?”
Me: “And what part of All Things Vampire don’t you understand? Just ‘cuz vampires exist and werewolves don’t…
(In case our readers have forgotten, vampires are real, but werewolves are fictional creatures.)
Me: “…doesn’t mean you should exclude them. Besides appearing together in a lot of movies, werewolves and vampires have existed together in some early myths, hence the appropriateness of the topic for the blog.”
Adrian: “I didn’t know that.”
Me (grinning hugely): “Shows how much–or how little–you know. Dogbreath.”
With that nastiness out of the way, I’m pleased to welcome Marc to the fold. And I’m posting this on the day of the full moon.
JC: Marc, I checked out your website. You’ve certainly produced a mélange of material. Before we get to that, tell our readers how you got started in writing and what you’ve written so far.
MVK: I got started in writing many years ago, when I had a couple of dreams one night. When I told my wife about them she said they sounded like they would make a good book. The story which eventually became Unbinding the Stone started writing itself through me a few weeks later. As I wrote it, it got larger and spilled over into a second Tarkas novel, called A Warrior Made. About that time I also got the idea for St. Martin’s Moon but that wasn’t so cooperative with me. Instead I wrote a large number of short stories, usually because someone asked me to. I wrote “Chasing His Own Tale,” “Steampunk Santa,” and “Off the Map” because my publisher asked for them, while “Boys Will Be Boys,” “Ex Libris,” and “Undermind” were written as contest entries.
JC: You recently did a vampire short story. Tell us about that.
MVK: That story is called “Bite Deep.” I was asked to write a story about fire for an anthology, and somehow that translated as vampires at Christmas. Did I mention it was the month before Christmas? Anyway, I wrote the whole thing at a breakneck speed, and somehow came out with the Christmas story, redone with a vampire cast, that combined several of the world’s major mythologies into its backstory. That Christmas, the vampires got a savior of their own.
JC: Great. Are there any other vampires in your stories?
MVK: Yes, although it took a bit to realize that. When I was writing my second novel, A Warrior Made, I realized that at some point I had created a creature that drains blood to consume the life it carries in it, is dead, has cheated Death, and therefore cannot appear under any sun. I call him a proto-vampire, since he lacks many of the other standard characteristics, but he’s a fore-runner.
JC: Now, tell us a little about your latest novel, St. Martin’s Moon, the one with werewolves on the moon. I find that both intriguing and amusing.
MVK: St. Martin’s Moon is a werewolf adventure set on a lunar colony. The story follows Earth’s greatest werewolf hunter, who is recalled to space service to investigate a werewolf attack on the Moon, an event they considered impossible.
JC: How did werewolves get on the moon, or where they always there?
MVK: They went up there voluntarily, hoping to find a refuge from “the curse” in the one spot in the solar system where there is no full Moon in the sky. But something goes wrong, and two of the colonists are found dead and shredded. They send for an investigator, and get the best Earth and the Space Service has to offer, which in their view is the worst thing that could happen.
JC: What type of werewolves are we talking about here? Traditional or non-traditional.
MVK: Completely traditional. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my monsters, although some students of werewolf lore wouldn’t consider the Universal model to be especially pure. But it’s the lore I grew up with, and to me a werewolf is Lawrence Talbot, trying to deal with the curse. Unfortunately traditional werewolves are little more than killing machines, so there’s not a lot to do with them. St. Martin’s Moon is about the people who become werewolves, and the person who has to hunt them, both sides knowing that werewolves are normally innocent people and hating what they have to do because of “the curse.” Both sides dream of a cure, but neither expects one.
JC: But there are no vampires in this particular fictional world. Right?
MVK: No. Which is why it’s fictional, because obviously, the, um, real world has… it has– In fact, there’s a specific reference to a story about them, which one of the people on the base finds especially unsettling. He can’t imagine a man becoming a creature that would consciously go out and kill men, who wouldn’t kill themselves in a heartbeat. Can you imagine? Well, I suppose you could. Anyway, Marquand (the werewolf hunter in the novel) points out that they wouldn’t have any heartbeats to see the sunrise in, but I don’t think the guy got the joke. Of course that’s all it was, a joke.
JC: You sounded a little nervous there, Marc. I understand. Don’t worry, we’re not gonna send out a vamp hit squad to silence you. So how did you come up with this intriguing idea of werewolves on the moon?
MVK: Completely spur of the moment. I was looking at a book on a shelf, with the title Blood Moon. I immediately thought, “Wow, a werewolf adventure on a lunar colony! Cool!” It wasn’t, but the idea was set. Of course, as the story was being written, it changed considerably. What had been intended as a mystery/horror story ended up becoming a Science Fiction Romance. Twice over, since the colony was also haunted, and one of the ghosts was Marquand’s lover, killed on the Moon years before.
JC: I find it interesting that in our previous interview with author Scott Gamboe, he had a similar flash of an idea for his sci-fi vampire novel. Okay, where can readers learn more about you and where can they buy the book?
MVK: For the stories I’ve already written, they can go to my website, http://www.marcvunkannon.com and they will find FAQs, reviews, and links to all of my stories in most of the places where they are available, and believe me it’s quite a variety. Many of my stories are available through Amazon for the Kindle, several are available through BN.com for the Nook, and they are also available in a multitude of formats through both OmniLit.com and Smashwords.com, if you read ebooks on other devices. For paper copies Amazon is the best bet.
For the stories I’m currently writing, and I always seem to have a few in progress, I mostly talk about those on my blog, http://authorguy.wordpress.com. St. Martin’s Moon has been released already as an ebook, and soon will be available through Amazon as a paperback.
JC: What are some of your favorite novels?
MVK: Well, before St. Martin’s Moon came out, I would have said Lois McMaster Bujold’s Curse of Chalion is my absolute favorite. I’d probably still say that now, but it’s a more difficult choice.
Lawrence Watt-Evans’ Misenchanted Sword is the first of his that I read, and one of my first exposures to a story where the hero isn’t a mighty warrior and doesn’t want to be. Dave Duncan’s Seventh Sword Trilogy is similar in that regard, and also one of the best stories of a primitive world encountering higher technology I’ve ever seen.
I love Hoffman’s Thread that Binds the Bones, mainly for one character who starts out evil, recognizes a good thing when he’s exposed to it, and deliberately chooses to make himself worthy of it. Tanya Huff’s Summon the Keeper is a favorite, but I’ll read anything by her.
JC: Care to share what you’re working on next?
MVK: My current most vocal project (the one that shouts loudest and demands I write it the most) is a story called Ghostkiller, about a man whose job it is to kill ghosts for a living. I’m up to chapter five now, and it’s starting to get weird.
I have the third Tarkas book, the sequel to A Warrior Made, but no vampires in that one either.
I have three other stories I’m working on, all vampire stories, in which they figure out ways to see themselves in mirrors and thereby elude the… um… or another one I have, about a vampire who feeds off a space alien and ends up going out into space. I also have one in which the vampire condition is affected by the biochemistry of the person, so they don’t all feed on the same blood. Some want rabbit, others want wolf. The bad ones are the ones who need blood that no longer exists, like dinosaur.
JC: Interesting. Any advice to other writers out there?
MVK: There are only two rules I’ve ever found. The first is to pay attention. Everything that you will have to write about, every piece of story you will have, has its origin in the things that happen to you, and the stories you tell yourself about them. Second, try not to do what you have seen done before. This is paying attention to the stories you’ve read or seen, recognizing those scenes when they appear in your own work, and finding ways to handle them differently. There may be only 7 or 20 or 36 plots in the world, but there are an infinite number of characters, and each of those characters will see those few ordinary plots in an infinite number of extraordinary ways.
JC: If there’s anything I’ve left out or anything else you’d care to share, please add it.
MVK: Yes. Please don’t kill me.
JC: Hey. We’re civilized vampires. We don’t maim and kill. But if you’re ever in Detroit, let me know and I’ll have you over for dessert. It’s the least I can do.