Emmett Spain is a new author who has already earned quite the fanbase with his debut novel Old Haunts. On top of that, he’s a huge Buffy fan, which earns him a couple hundred awesome points. Thanks to Twitter, I got an interview with the up and coming author, check it out:
Can you tell us about your book Old Haunts?
It’s an urban fantasy novel set in an alternate version of London called London City, and it focuses on a guy whose life basically sucks. An old lady haunts him, his cash well is dry, and he’s pretty much on the edge of losing all hope. Around this time he decides to try and do something good (trying to help a woman whose dead husband is haunting her), and fate basically rewards him by putting a bounty out on his life. With a lot of encouragement from the only friend he hasn’t pushed away he decides to fight for his existence, but then he unwittingly stumbles upon a potential catastrophe in the making (see: the apocalypse). Vampires, werewolves, gunfights, magic and hilarity ensue.
Tonally it’s similar to the books of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher—I love that mix of dry humour, action and pathos that makes urban fantasy stories kick ass.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well… I work full-time in the professional world, but my passion really comes from my writing. I’ve been utterly hooked on storytelling and stories ever since Angel went evil on Buffy. So awesome. I had read stories before then and loved them, but from that moment onwards I found those worlds and those stories so electrifying. I started out writing pretty average fanfic and some really heavy teen angsty stuff, but just kept working at it and learning about storytelling and what makes stories great… then when I hit on the idea for Old Haunts everything finally came together.
Where did the idea for your book come from?
I had just endured the worst day at work and was in a foul mood when I came home to veg out in front of the TV, which is right around the time I channel surfed by the Ghost Whisperer. I hit the roof. I just felt it was so twee and lite and not how ghost stories should be told. It was then that I hit on the idea: what if being able to communicate with ghosts wasn’t something you could turn into a positive? What if their presence on this plane was a form of purgatory, and their ‘moving on’ was pre-ordained by some greater power? With this in mind I envisioned the life of a ‘ghost whisperer’ as being like a curse—forced to listen to dark souls pour poison in your ear at all times. From there I conceived the main character and the world of London City, which is essentially a twisted take on present day London. I wanted the setting to reflect where the protagonist is at emotionally when you meet him, so London seemed perfect for that—grey, cold, and somewhat impersonal in the way big cities tend to be. From there the idea expanded and the setting became more and more intricate as I started populating the universe with all the most twisted and interesting stuff my mind could conjure. I’m particularly proud of the Quarantine Zone—the veiled werewolf hunting grounds hidden within an abandoned portion of South London. So much fun to write.
Here’s a question I ask all authors I interview: I’ve noticed that most of the authors I follow on Twitter talk about the music they’re currently writing to. What kind of setting/atmosphere do you find most conducive to your writing?
Generally I’ll write in a quiet environment with no music playing at all. I find when I get into a writing headspace I’m listening to the characters back and forth in my head, and music can tend to drown them out a little. The few times I do write to music I generally choose something moody and with very few lyrics—The Crystal Method’s ‘Community Service’ CD is gold for that.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, Passionate, Awesome.
Who’s your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?
Probably Spike from Buffy. There aren’t many characters who are so well drawn and who have had such an amazing arc. He was a poet, a villain, a monster trying to be a man, an insouled vampire wrestling with himself, and even a champion for good. Charming, funny, abrasive, violent, brilliant. Joss Whedon’s vampires set the benchmark for what I try and do.
What is your favorite vampire book/movie/show?
Book: Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Dresden series.
Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was 16 when Buffy, Xander and Willow were 16, so that show will always have a special place in my heart. I’m currently rewatching season 7… and will probably rewatch each of the seasons until I’m old and grey. Then I’ll rewatch them some more.
Movie: Blade 2. There are better vampire films out there, but this boasted more exciting action than most.
What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it?
The last book I read was ‘My Booky Wook’ by Russell Brand. I wanted to like it, but I found the constant escalation of his indiscretions really wore down any sympathy I had for him going in. An occasionally funny, but relentless read of an ungrateful user’s life. Wouldn’t recommend it.
If you could ask an ancient vampire one question, what would it be?
Hmm. Probably, how do you maintain your sanity? Staying alive for that many years has got to mess with your brain.
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
People should watch out for a short story set after the events of Old Haunts called Homecoming—I’ll be distributing that to my twitter followers on September 30th, so anyone keen to grab a copy should follow me @oldhauntsauthor. I have a sequel for Old Haunts in the works that I’ll keep under wraps for now, and another short story set during the events of Old Haunts from the character of Kirsten’s perspective. That’s another one I’m going to give out to my twitter people around Christmas time—I could go down the route of getting it published but I really want to provide rewards to the people who invest in the universe. Without them I can’t do what I do, so they should be rewarded!