Liv Rancourt and Debbie Christiana have a couple things in common. Both are published authors with Black Opal Books and are thrilled and excited to each have a short story included in Rayne Hall’s anthology, BITES: Ten Tales of Vampires. To celebrate the release of BITES, Liv and Debbie thought it might be fun to have a conversation about (what else?) writing and vampires.
LR: So when you heard that Rayne wanted to put together a collection of vampire stories, what interested you about the project?
DC: Two things. I’ve taken many online classes and mini workshops with Rayne. She’s a wonderful teacher and makes you work hard and keep at it until you get it right. In even attempting to submit a story, I knew it had to be of a certain caliber or it wouldn’t be accepted. It was challenge I wanted to see if I was up to. I was thrilled when I got the green light. I also think it speaks highly for you and all the authors she chose. Second, I love vampires.
DC: What interested you?
LR: I was on Twitter one morning and happened to catch a tweet from Rayne that said she was doing a survey and wanted to know what people found fascinating about vampires. I was in the middle of promoting my novella A Vampire’s Deadly Delight, and after tweeting back and forth a couple times, I gave up and sent her a (long!) email, detailing why I liked to write about them. She responded with, “Well, I have this anthology…” Turns out I had a story she liked and we were set. And I was most pleased to see that you had a story in Bites too. I loved Twin Flames, and it’s nice to be in such great company.
DC: This isn’t your first anthology. What do you find is the best part of having a story in a collection?
LR: Getting to play with other writers. I don’t have a lot of experience with promotion, but I do know that doing it on your own is hard. With an anthology, it’s a team effort. Go team!
LR: What do you like about having a piece in an anthology?
DC: Having anything you’ve written published is always thrilling and exciting. Working with Rayne was a pleasure. I knew you from Black Opal Books and your novella A Vampire’s Deadly Delight and three other authors. It’s nice to see everyone’s hard work pay off. Now I’m familiar with five talented writers I didn’t know before. It’s a good way to put yourself out there to readers as well as meet other authors.
DC: How did you become interested in writing about vampires?
LR: Vampires make great characters because they have so much baggage. They bring up issues of life and death, good and evil, contagion, the soul, power and control; there’s just a whole lot of stuff to work with. Writing speculative fiction or paranormal is a way of dealing with hard issues with a safety net. I like to say that vampires are my spoonful of sugar that helps reality go down.
LR: Your piece, The Land of the Rising Sun, took an unexpected approach to the vampire myth. What was the seed for that story and how did you grow it?
DC: I was in a Red Cross mobile bus giving blood. It was last March and the horrific earthquake and tsunami had just hit Japan. They had a small television on and the watching the people pulled from the wreckage was heartbreaking. For some strange reason I thought…you know a group of vampires would make an excellent search and rescue team. They’re strong. They have no need for food or water and can sniff out a human better than any dog. The downside was they might want to take a bite out of the survivors. Laying there with five other people with a bag of blood hanging from their arm, a light bulb went off. An exclusive blood drive held for vampires who chose to help humans instead of hurt them. Inspiration sometimes comes from weird places.
DC: The characters, both human and vampire in your story Tangled Dreams, are knowledgeable in Gregorian chant. Are you a natural lover of ancient music or did you research the subject?
LR:Well…[blushing hard]…in one of the first lines of the story, the main character identifies herself as a choir geek. That would be me talking right there. I’ve sung in choirs off and on since grade school, and in church choirs since about 1990. My voice and temperament suite singing chant, and I’ve made something of a study of it in the last ten years or so. I’m not an expert by any means, and I’m always a little nervous that the Early Music Police might nail me for something or other someday. I like being able to share what I know, though, and hope that someone might pick up the story and want to know more about chant because of it.
LR: What vampire(s) have had the most impact on you?
DC: I saw the 1922 Nosferatu silent film one Halloween weekend when I was a teenager. The shadow of him on the staircase with his long fingers is one of the creepiest images I’ve ever seen.
Well that’s our take. What’s yours? Why do you like vampires? Do you have questions that we didn’t address? Put them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them. Thanks very much for reading along!
Debbie & Liv
© 2013 by Debbie Christiana & Liv Rancourt