The third victim for Vampire month this year is Martin Tracey, author of Beneath the Floodlights, a book combining Vampires with Football (that’s Soccer for our American readers). Here he answers the questions and Wednesday he entertains us with a blog post.
1) What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
As a young schoolboy I won 2 back to back national story writing competitions, one was about the dangers of playing on building sites and the other was keeping safe when crossing the road. The latter saw me creating a magic ice cream van which appeared like a superhero offering safety advice, so from an early age I was destined to write about supernatural elements.
2) When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
My debut novel Beneath the Floodlights was released in 2011 and it was vampire themed. Building on my answer to question 1, my writing creativity evolved into song writing and becoming a pop star was more on my agenda than becoming an author. I had some musical success via supporting the Fine Young Cannibals & securing my song Raging Bull on the album Old Gold Anthems – The Songs of Wolves, but then as ‘stardom’ seemed to be passing me by as I reached the ripe old age of 30 plus, I remembered the story writing success of my younger years and that famous cliché ‘everyone has a book inside them’. However, I haven’t stopped at one book because I simply love the novel writing process.
3) What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
My greatest strengths are: working within a framework rather than a rigid plan which enables me to explore many twists and turns and subplots in order to keep the reader engaged; writing in a style that comes over as honest and therefore believable even when writing about the paranormal – I have a knack of telling great stories as opposed to being a literary genius like the ‘classic’ writers of yesteryear. My weakness is definitely trying to devote enough time to my craft. Other writers are far more prolific with their output than I am, and I find juggling life with writing extremely challenging. I am trying to discipline myself to find more time.
4) Tell us about the place where you live. Have you ever derived any inspiration from your home or from anywhere you have visited?
I live in Birmingham and Birmingham and the surrounding areas feature heavily in my books. In Beneath the Floodlights I use Sutton Park as the training base for the footballers and I have the world’s first vampire buried there. Sutton Park is centuries old and soaked in history. It is amazing to think that this piece of unspoilt land is in Birmingham, but such historical points to note are King Henry VIII using the land to hunt deer and a Roman road still exists within the park. Both references are utilised in Beneath the Floodlights.
5) Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
That’s a tough one. Not the book itself but more the concept around the book and its character has inspired me which is Dracula by Bram Stoker. Sorry to be a bit obvious there but if writing about vampires its influence can’t be ignored, much like the influence of The Beatles can’t be ignored in the music world. A vampire book that I also found inspiring is The Travelling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon. In terms of inspiring authors, I like Peter James as he manages to weave supernatural elements into very believable and entertaining stories, Martina Cole for her straight-talking style and Dan Brown for leading the way for mixing fact with fiction. All of these authors can be seen as inspiring my work.
6) What drove you to write about Vampires?
Since an early age I’ve always been fascinated by werewolves, ghosts and of course vampires. My original idea for Beneath the Floodlights was to use werewolves but then I felt that vampires had more scope with the plot and the two films of The Lost Boys and From Dusk till Dawn were a huge inspiration
7) What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?
That’s a great question and perhaps a very subjective debate could be had. However, for me I think it opens up temptation in the mind. ‘Lust’ and even ‘Love’ seem to always be connected to the ‘sexy’ vampires and the reader falls into that world of, ‘well I shouldn’t but I probably would!’ There is a magnetic quality about vampires -they have the X Factor.
8) In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
Count Dracula. Bram Stoker’s creation set it all in motion so respect is due.
9) What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?
I think Anne Rice created something a bit different with her vampires so her vampires win in that department for me. After all Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt played her vampires in Interview with The Vampire. Le Stat is a cool creation. Enough said!
10) How well do you think one of your characters would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
Professor Cezar Prodanescu would give the Count a run for his money. Cezar is from the bloodline of original master vampires. He is wise, cruel, manipulative, magnetic and good at what he does – killing for blood and recruiting for his vampire nest.
11) Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
I’m giving vampires a rest for now. The project I’m currently working on is a haunted house novel. A failing rock star buys a haunted house in the Peak District. Mind you I may yet weave a vampire into the mix!
Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Weaving fact with fiction he likes to explore elements of the supernatural but aims to keep his novels relatable, ensuring that he is able to connect with the reader in a gripping fashion. Martin has had several interviews to showcase his work on BBC radio and attended several book signing events. A short story, Divine Inspiration was published in Words magazine. Martin’s first novel Beneath The Floodlights remarkably brought together the worlds of vampires and soccer. Martin Tracey lives in Birmingham and is married with 2 daughters.
Beneath the Floodlights on Amazon: