I’ve got all kinds of goodies for you, Dear Readers! Not only do we have an interview with the wonderful Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall on their Cowboy and the Vampire series, but we also have a huge book giveaway! Woo! Two lucky readers will win the first two books in the series – The Cowboy and the Vampire AND Blood and Whiskey! Check out the interview and giveaway details below!
Can you tell us a little about The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series?
The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series is a glorious mash up of gothic existentialism and gritty western realism that imagines what happens when vampires descend on modern day Wyoming. Blending horror, action and comedy, it’s the kind of story that would emerge from a whiskey-fueled, late night conversation between Bram Stoker, Zane Grey and Dorothy Parker.
The first book in the series, The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance (Llewellyn), was published in 1999. Back then, it was compared to Anne Rice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fast forward a decade. Sparkly vampires explode onto the scene and our publisher re-releases the book with a sexy new cover and changes the title to The Cowboy and Vampire: A Darkly Romantic Mystery.
And as the decade slips into the next, we finally get our act together and write the second book, Blood and Whiskey.
Blood and Whiskey picks up where the first book left off (although, like all good series, each book stands alone). After narrowly surviving a vampire apocalypse, Tucker, a down on his luck cowboy, and Lizzie, a newly turned vampire with a growing thirst for blood, hightail it back to LonePine, Wyoming (population 438) to settle down and try to start a family.
Rugged, rural and hardscrabble, LonePine is a long way from happily ever after. It’s damn beautiful country to live in though, or — more likely for this broke cowboy and his vampire girlfriend — to die in. A scheming Vampire nation is hot on their boot heels and there’s a price on Lizzie’s head.
The central question at the heart of Blood and Whiskey is how far Lizzie and Tucker will go to protect their unlikely love. The lust of their initial meeting has waned as, sadly, it is too often wont to do, and now they have their share of arguments and daily irritations. He flosses too loudly and she has to kill humans to survive. But they’re working through their problems and would probably make real progress if the fate of the world wasn’t hanging in the balance.
How much are Lizzie and Tucker willing to sacrifice for each other? It’s a question all of us face at some point in our lives, though usually without vampires trying to kill us.
How does The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series differ from other novels about vampires?
One aspect that stands apart is the Meta – the “place” in our world where consciousness goes at death. Our vampires die, literally, every dawn like clockwork, and their sense of self rushes off down the tunnel of light to exist in the Meta until nightfall. Their long undead lives are an endless cycle of near death, and then post death, experiences. Human consciousness exists there too, but only when we die with finality. A few lucky humans have returned from the Meta with scant memories and a new sense of purpose. Most vampires return with a jumbled mass of sensory experiences and a renewed hunger for blood.
As Kirkus wrote in its review of Blood and Whiskey, the Meta has interesting implications for human spirituality too.
And then there’s the battle between the Royals and the Reptiles — two Vampire races, each with unique origin stories. The ethnic undercurrents between them, and what those tensions may mirror in the “real” world — were captured by Kirkus Reviews: “Introducing racial issues isn’t the only adjustment the authors have made to the vampire mythos, but it’s more than just the details that set this series apart. Rather, it’s the way the authors utilize those details to create meaningful conflicts and world-altering choices for the characters.”
What inspired you to write about vampires?
What is one thing you would like people to take away from their experience of reading Blood and Whiskey?
We’d like readers to feel just a little bit lost, a little bit lonely, when they finish the last page, because they miss the characters, their new friends, and the world they return to just isn’t as exciting.
Who’s your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?
Max Schreck as Nosferatu, and also Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck.
What is your favorite vampire book, movie and/or show?
The film “30 Days of Night.” We like the realism, which is similar to The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series —only with less humor. The filmmakers did not hide from speculating about a brutal truth of what happens when amoral, hungry vampires descend. And Alaska is the perfect place for vampires — the sun doesn’t shine for months and you could happily gorge yourself on frantic, sweaty, trapped humans.
Tell our readers why they should check out your book - in 3 words: (bwahaha)
Escape your life.
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
We’re working on the third book in the series, tentatively titled Undead Asylum. We won’t give too much away at this point, but there’s more focus on the Meta and vampires being used against their will as weapons of mass destruction – VMDs. But of course, at its core, The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series will always be a love story. A funny, tragic, horror-filled love story, with an overly-sensitive cow-dog named Rex.
To enter into the giveaway all you have to do is send an email titled “Cowboy and Vampire” to firstname.lastname@example.org telling me why you want the books. On May 10, 2011 I will pick two winners for a copy of both The Cowboy and Vampire and Blood and Whiskey.
Added note: the winner has 48 hours to respond, if they don’t within that time then the book goes to someone else, so make sure to check your email on the 10th!