I’ve got another excellent interview for you Dear Readers! This time I was lucky enough to chat with Scott M. Baker on his debut novel The Vampire Hunters and much more. Have a look!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a Boston native who has spent the past twenty years in northern Virginia. I’ve been writing in the horror genre for seven years. Most of what I’ve published up until now has been zombie-related short stories, some of them pure apocalyptic horror (“Cruise of the Living Dead” and “Dead Water”) and others with a humorous tinge (“Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” and “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly”). The Vampire Hunters and the other two books in the trilogy are my first novels.
When I’m not writing, I’m either on my back deck with a good cigar, an iced coffee, and a scary horror novel, or I’m acting as servant to my six house rabbits.
Can you tell us about your book The Vampire Hunters?
The Vampire Hunters is a mixture of horror, urban fantasy, and action/adventure. The story focuses on Drake Matthews and Alison Monroe, two former Boston cops who traded in their badges for stakes and now find themselves in Washington D.C. trying to flush out a nest of vampires led by two of the most evil masters in history. Slowly but surely the hunters cull out the nest. But when the masters decide to raise the make the conflict personal, the living and the undead square off in a final massive battle in which only one side can prevail.
How does The Vampire Hunters differ from other novels about vampires?
There has been a growing trend within the genre to portray vampires as monsters rather than sympathetic figures, which harks back to the movies and literature that dominated in the first half of the twentieth century. That’s how I’ve always viewed vampires, and that’s how they appear in my books. They may be charming and seductive, but in essence they are pure evil.
Where my trilogy stands out is in the characterization of the hunters. I’ve always been fascinated by those who kill the undead for a living. My first hero as a kid was Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, which influenced the development of the main character, Drake Matthews. My hunters all have their personality flaws and vices, and carry a lot of emotional baggage with them, but they’re fighting the good fight. The Vampire Hunters is the story of the men and women who battle the undead.
What got you interested in writing about vampires?
Ironically, it was the movie Van Helsing. I liked the movie, and thought Steven Sommers did a good job mixing fantasy and action, though a lot of the fight scenes were over the top. I thought I could come up with a story that was more realistic, and by time I left the theater I had developed the idea for The Vampire Hunters. I just hope my readers don’t have the same criticism about my book as I did about the movie.
Who’s your favorite fictitious vampire (other than your own)?
Your question implies that some vampires are real.
I have a tie for favorite vampire. First is Spike (James Marsters) from the second season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, before he became a love-struck idiot. Spike made an awesome villain when he and Drusilla descended on Sunnydale and terrorized the town. But his character really became interesting when he developed a mercenary streak that allowed him to sell out Angelus just to keep on hunting humans.
Second is Marlowe (Dan Huston) from the movie 30 Days of Night. The undead in both the graphic novel and the film adaptation are some of the most vicious vampires ever created. I loved them because they’re pure evil, completely animalistic and visceral. But I got a real sense of how devoid of humanity those creatures truly were when xxx taunted one of his young female victims who pleaded to God for mercy.
What is your favorite vampire book/movie/show?
Favorite vampire book: Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series because of the way he blended vampires into the Cold War (I’m a Soviet history major by training).
Favorite vampire movie: Blade II. Wesley Snipes as a vampire hunter. Enough said.
Favorite show: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. It was what rekindled my love for vampires. I’ve always admired the way Joss Whedon can mix humor and intense drama, and still make it work.
Given the current vampire craze, people feel especially attracted to vampires, why do you think that is?
People are attracted to them because some elements of vampirism are very enticing. Who wouldn’t want to be immortal, to never age, to be alluring to the opposite sex, and possess unbridled passion (especially if you could look like Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise)? When those elements are stressed, the undead become the anti-heroes of paranormal romances. It’s what makes the vampires of Charlaine Harris, Laurell Hamilton, and Anne Rice so appealing.
My vampires embrace the other, darker side that represents the loss of inhibitions and restraint, the loss of humanity, and the loss of the soul.
If you could ask an ancient vampire one question, what would it be?
Who was the first vampire, and how did he/she become one of the undead? It would be fascinating to know how it all began. It’s a mythos I touch on in the final book of my trilogy.
Tell our readers why they should check out your book – in 3 words.
And finally, what other projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
The Vampire Hunters: Vampyrnomicon, the second book in the trilogy, will be published as a trade paperback in April 2011 (it is currently available as an e-book from Shadowfire Press at shadowfirepress.com), and The Vampire Hunters: Dominion, the final book, will be published as an e-book in February 2011 and as a trade paperback in October 2011. I recently finished a novel titled Rotter World about humans and vampires trying to survive a zombie apocalypse, and am shopping that around to various publishers. Currently I am writing my fifth novel about something stalking the deserts of New Mexico, which will be my homage to the monster movies of the 1950s.