Before there was Twilight
Since the recent explosion of Twilight mania, Twilight fanatics, myself included, seem to be everywhere. Not a day goes by here in Memphis, TN that I do not see some sort of Twilight memorabilia either plastered across the chest of a young Bella wannabe, or should I say Edward‘s girlfriend wannabe, and even on personalized license plates. Personally, I’m more team Jacob and I say this very bravely expecting to dodge all the tomatoes that team Edward’s minions will be throwing at me. But before there was Twilight, and believe it or not there was an existence before Twilight, a plethora of great authors and vampire tales did exist. Although Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight series is found in the teen section, the age range of the Saga’s readers is very diverse. So, with that in mind, I would like to introduce some vampire authors whose works were around before the Twilight series hit the stores and might not be suitable for teens. I hope my upcoming sequence of Before there was Twilight articles will provide you with some new titles to sink your fangs into and quench your thirst for some great romance, mystery and excitement.
Tanya Huff, is the first author in my Before there was Twilight series of articles. She has written several series of book which have been published since the late 1980’s. Her works that I am most familiar with are the Blood Books and her Smoke series. They also happen to include my favorite vampire of all time, Henry Fitzroy. The Blood Books were adapted for television under the title of Blood Ties and premiered in 2007. If you haven’t seen Blood Ties, you should.
With that said, I give you an interview with Ms. Tanya Huff.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started writing.
I’m Canadian. I have a degree in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson Pollytechnic (it’s a university now). I live in the country with my wife, nine cats (counts the cats again) and two dogs. I’ve always been a story teller and the writing is just a natural extension of that. I’ve been a full time writer since 1992.
Are there any recent works/authors that you admire?
I’m a huge fan of Charles de Lint, Terry Pratchett, and Diana Wynne Jones. I have an automatic order in for their books at Bakka-Phoenix in Toronto. A new book comes in, they run my credit card.
What do you think of the suggestion by some that people tend to gravitate towards the vampire genre during hard economic times and do you believe it’s somewhat true? Do you see this craze lasting much longer?
Hmm, I hadn’t heard that. Dracula, the play, came out in 1924 and it was, according to a Stoker scholar I spoke with recently, responsible for a surge in popularity for the book. (when Stoker died in 1912, Dracula wasn’t even listed in his obituary). That’s a craze that’s five years before the Great Depression. The Hammer films were mostly popular during the 50’s in a time of strong economic growth. Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire set off another craze in the late ’70’s when there was certainly an ecomonic stagnation if not a full recession… I think I’d like to see the data the suggestion is based on before I ventured an opinion.
If author’s could predict crazes, we’d all be rich.
It has been said that there will not be any more Blood Books. Is this true and will there be any more Smoke books?
I wrote the last Blood Book, BLOOD DEBT in 1996 (it came out in ’97) and said at the time there’d be no more books. Fourteen years later, there still hasn’t been so I’d say I’m definitely sticking to that. I do write the occasional short story though. There’s been two new ones so far this year — NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO in A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters and QUID PRO QUO in Evolve. The odds are very, very high there’ll never be another Smoke book but I’m not 100% on that.
What do you think of Kyle Schmid’s characterization of Henry Fitzroy? Did he exceed your wildest expectations or was there anything you thought he could have elaborated on more?
I think Kyle Schmid did an amazing job bringing Henry to life! I was never able to cast the part in my head (I often cast characters when I write) but now, when I think of Henry, I think of Kyle. Playing the vampire isn’t the hard part — the fangs and the contacts do a lot of the work for the actor — but Kyle completely nailed Henry as a man and a Prince. Someone who carried the weight of history with him and yet still chose to live very much in the present day. I can’t thank Kyle enough for the terrific job he did.
The rest of the cast was pretty damned amazing too!
Do you have an opinion on why the Twilight craze seemed to set off this huge vampire mania over the past couple of years?
Honestly, I have no idea.
I would absolutely recommend the Blood Books for those readers who only know the Twilight series, but what would you recommend as some of your favorite pre-Twilight vampire genre books?
The Saint-Germain books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbo, most of what P.N. Elrod has written,Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin — there’s a lot out there, but these readers need to remember: Twilight is a teen romance with vampires. These books aren’t.
Is there anything that you can tell us about the Smoke and Mirrors project in the works?
I can tell you only that they’ve been optioned by the same terrific people at Kaleidescope who brought us Blood Ties and I’m thrilled about that. It’s still too early in development for anything else.
Were there any challenges in bringing any of your books to life? (research, literary, psychological, and logistical)
None that couldn’t be overcome.
Do you have any upcoming events or other projects you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on a stand alone, created world fantasy with heroic werewolves and tech at about the Napoleonic level and after that I’ll be writing another book in the Enchantment Emporium mythos.
If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would that be?
In order to be a successful writer you need three things: talent, discipline, and luck. Of these three, discipline is the most important. A certain amount of talent is necessary but discipline is essential. Ideas are easy. Putting your butt in the chair and writing every day, that’s hard.
Be the kind of person who makes your own luck.
Ms. Huff will also be a guest at the upcoming Comic-Con in San Diego, CA from July 22-25 and also at Ring Con in Bonn, Germany from October 15- 17.
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Check out my articles on Kyle Schmid at Kyle Schmid Examiner
For more info on vampire authors: Gabrielle Faust – Eternal Vigilance author and Author Alex Bledsoe resurrects his vampire in Memphis