First up for Vampire month is Australian writer Rebekah Harrington. This post sees her answers to my indepth interview. Look out for her guest blog post on Thursday
Raised in country Victoria, Rebeka started her writing career working for the local newspaper as a teenager. While she decided not to pursue this as a career, she has always enjoyed writing and being creative
With so many varied interests and eclectic taste in most things, Rebeka enjoys incorporating all of them in her writing. She particularly enjoys writing about vampires.
Rebeka seeks to define and explain vampires in a way not done before. This has been achieved with her debut title “Vampires Revealed”. Following titles will revolve around exploring the world and characters created in her first release.
Currently Rebeka lives inMelbournewith her “demented” but lovable cat, dividing her time between writing and managing a small boutique entertainment agency.
What is the earliest memory you have of writing? What did you write about?
In primary school, maybe about Grade 1 or 2. I wrote about a wizard with a magic ‘finger’. The wizard was having such a giggle at walking around ‘zapping’ people with a tail, rabbit ears and the like.
When did you decide to become a professional writer? Why did you take this step?
I’m not sure I actually made that decision, my writing made it for me. When I returned to writing it was because I had time to devote to it. It was only when others enjoyed my work and encouraged me to publish that I took that step.
Even now I don’t think I would class myself as a ‘professional’ writer. I write because I enjoy it and apparently my readers do too.
What would you consider to be your greatest strength as a writer? What about your greatest weakness? How do you overcome this weakness?
Hmm that is really tough to answer. If I had to pick one thing as a strength, it would be my ability to ‘channel’ a character. This might sound crazy (maybe I am) but not only do I talk to my characters, but their lives play through my mind like a movie. When I’m writing describing something it really is exactly that. I see characters and scenarios in my mind long before I start to put pen to paper. This makes my characters much more real for me and I hope for my readers too.
My weakness as a writer is remembering I’m writing fiction. Too often I fall into the trap of writing too succinctly. This is a direct result of my training as a journalist. Why use 100 words when 10 will do? So sometimes I forget that I need to add descriptions and nuance for the benefit of the reader. But I’m working on it!
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 Melbourne, Australia which according to the ‘experts’ is one of the world’s most liveable cities. Australia in general is a fantastic place to live. The stereotype ‘laid back Aussie’ is well-deserved, and I’m no exception.
We have brain melting summers and freezing cold winters. We can proudly boast some of the most dangerous and poisonous creatures on the planet. Never a dull moment in the Land Down Under.
When I’m writing I try to avoid making cultural references, only fellow Aussies would be familiar with colloquialisms.
Which book, if any, would you consider to be your greatest influence and inspiration?
There is no one particular book, but certainly Alexandre Dumas is easily my greatest influence. A lot of his early work was written in serial for newspapers, for which he was paid per word. Hence the reason his writing is verbose to the extreme. However he never seems to get bogged down and bore the reader. If I can ever write half as well as him I will be ecstatic.
What drove you to write about Vampires?
Selfish curiosity pure and simple. I was not happy with how many assumptions are made about vampires and the complete lack of explanation in most vampire fiction. All the myths are just accepted as fact, no one seemed to dare challenge that. (Don’t get me started on vampires that sparkle.)
So when I had the time I collated every question I could think of, all the myth and everything I could lay my hands on relating to what we accept as ‘vampire portrayal’.
Then there is the one-dimensional view of vampires – they drink blood. To focus on vampires only as blood drinkers is like summing up humanity as oxygen thieves. I simply couldn’t believe that blood was the only thing that motivated vampires.
Given that I couldn’t really find my answers or any satisfaction elsewhere, I decided to do it myself.
What do you think is the attraction for Vampire fiction? Why is it such a popular topic?
You’re really not going to be happy if I say ‘I have no idea’.
I think escapism plays a big part in their appeal. The opportunity to take a journey with someone who is powerful, charismatic and more than just a little enigmatic. They are so unlike humans, but because they look human we want to relate to them. Sometimes this happens with dire consequences and sometimes not. All depends on the author.
For me it’s about observing and scrutinising humanity from a unique perspective. Who else can sit in judgement of mankind if not a superior being like a vampire?
In a fight between all the greatest Vampires of fiction, who do you think would come out on top?
Anne Rice’s ‘Lestat’ would give most a run for their money. Although I’d like to think my ‘Bektamun’ would easily put him on his backside.
‘Spike’ from Buffy or Eric (Sookie Stackhouse series) would certainly wreak havoc while charming the pants off more than few in the meantime.
It would be fun to see… Could someone arrange that please?
What about in some other contest such as sexiness or dress sense? Who would win that one?
Charlaine Harris really hit the mark when she created Eric, he makes even me weak at the knees and I don’t bat for that team if you know what I mean. I think Eric epitomises the allure of vampires. Old, powerful and infinitely devious all packed into a gorgeous Viking warrior. Forget the TV show (True Blood), when you read Eric you can see/feel his age and demeanour in the way he deals with people.
Ok, time for me to stop drooling.
How well do you think your character would fare against the winner(s) of the above?
I’d like to think Bektamun could make mincemeat of any vampire which crossed her path. But considering there are few female vampires as lead characters (books, movie or TV) there is no benchmark to measure against.
In any case, Bektamun would go down fighting.
Tell us the basic premise behind your latest novel.
My current release “Vampires Revealed” is an autobiographical mocumentary, narrated by Bektamun. She is 3000 years old and wants to let humans in on the fact vampires are real. Not only that, she goes to great lengths to explain in a way humans can understand what it is like to be a vampire.
It has been described as a “manual for vampires’. While there is some rather tedious information to be conveyed, Bektamun keeps you interested by relating some of her experiences and encounters.
In Vampires Revealed, Bektamun introduced several characters. My next book (which I am desperately trying to find time to finish) starts to explore some of those characters and discloses more of Bektamun’s history.