Gabrielle Faust – in 2008 she was dubbed “New Orleans Vampire Royalty” at the Tru Blood & Gold vampire ball.
Vampireloveaffair.com – I’ve had the recent privilage of interviewing some fun up-and-coming authors as well as some established authors, my interview with Gabrielle has been one of my favorites. Her career as an author has taken her to some events and sites I would love to visit as well.
1) What was your first introduction to vampires/vampire romance literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write? -The first vampire novel that truly engaged me thoroughly and inspired my life-long obsession with the genre was Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire”. My mother gave me her well-read copy when I was eleven and I was instantly hooked. Around the same time I discovered Brian Lumley’s “Necromancer” series. I wouldn’t say that either was THE book that made me want to write within that genre, but they were the catalyst that started the evolution of my intense interest. After years of studying the folklore, history, sociology, as well as indulging in the literary side of the culture, it seemed only natural that I would begin my writing career in the genre I was so loyal to. I wanted to tell the tale that I myself had not yet read…
2) How did you come up with your book’s title? – For the ETERNAL VIGILANCE series I actually came up with the title in high school a long time before I started writing the series. We were studying about Thomas Jefferson in History class and I came across the famous quote “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Something in that really struck me and I remember scribbling it down in the margin of my notebook. When I was working on the first ETERNAL VIGILANCE novel I found myself revisiting that passage and dwelling on it quite a bit. Since the setting for EV is a war-torn futuristic world in which the main character, Tynan, is drawn into the rebel uprising against the dictatorship and coerced by his vampire Elders into taking the role of the “hero” on the front lines, it seemed very appropriate. After all, what does a vampire truly do but stand “eternal vigilance” over the world for all time?
3) Who designed your current book cover? – The photos on the covers of books 1 through 4 are by the Polish photographer Wojciech Zwolinski. I am quite blessed to have such a magnificent talent to work with for the imagery. In fact, all of the images are actually self-portraits of Wojciech himself. The layout and title design was done by yours truly.
4) Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies? – Absolutely! Most of the time our own subconscious is the darkest, most twisted place imaginable. Good horror is based on those primal fears, the ones that we can’t explain, the ones that grip us and reduce us to gibbering paranoid invalids. On more than one occasion my own dreams have ended up becoming key scenes in my novels and the greatest passages drawn from my own emotional response to a situation. As for whether my stories are the products of nightmares, childhood experiences or fantasies, I think it’s a combination of all of the above. To believable a story has to have some sensation of grounded reality no matter how fantastical.
5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? – I suppose that would be the fact that I have a tendency of talking out loud to my characters when I’m working out a scene. I can see in my head their actions unfolding and often times it’s infuriating or frustrating to see them about to get themselves into one violent situation or complicated drama or, at times, even get themselves killed. I’m also extremely ADHD so I write in short powerful bursts usually no longer than a half an hour in length. Then I have to get up, work on something else and then come back to it a few minutes later. This tendency has created the issue of my always having a dozen different projects I’m working on at the same time, though, which is quite the double-edged sword.
6) Which of your characters is your favorite? – I don’t know if I have a “favorite”. I have characters that I am more emotionally connected to, for better or for worse, such as Tynan, Phelan, Jasmine and Khanna. However, it would be difficult to say one was my favorite over another…
7) Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why? – Ah, the infamous dinner party question. Well, it really depends on whether or not you want a nice eloquent evening or one filled with arguments and drama. If you’re leaning towards the later you’ll definitely want Tynan, Malakai and Seafra there. If you’d prefer a more reasonable dinner discussion, I might suggest Phelan and Jasmine. Then again, if you place those two at the table with any of the others aforementioned, there will no doubt be a fight by the end of the night.
8) Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)? – Tynan is most definitely my alter ego. It’s been quite interesting working with him over the years. I can track my own personal spiritual and emotional growth from book to book because he tends to be my outlet for expressing my own personal observations about the world, humanity, philosophy and politics. The character that is least like me would have to be Moria. She is the opposite of everything I am: fey, timid, uncertain and in need of protection. As a woman I am much more like the Phuree warrior Khanna, perhaps a bit to a fault. What can I say? I’m a stubborn, hot-headed Scotch-German girl.
9) What would your ideal career be, if you couldn’t be an author? – I’ve had a dream for a while of running a gothic bed and breakfast that has an attached horror-centric bookstore & wine bar. One of my many “plans” for the future. However, if I couldn’t be an author, I would love to work with Cirque du Soleil. Set designs, costume designs, marketing, etc. Any aspect of that world would be a dream!
10) Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself and it leaves you wondering where that came from? – On a couple of occasions I’ve found myself writing scenes that make me get up and turn the lights on and leave me seriously contemplating the meaning of certain images. Usually it has been based on a nightmare or the need to really show the viewer just how disturbed or violent a certain character has been pushed to becoming, their breaking point.
11) Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content? – Every gory or erotic scene needs to have a purpose, a reason for existing within the flow of the overall story. Otherwise it is just gratuitous. If you can tell that the scene has been inserted for merely the shock factor aspect then it is not necessary. I also have a distaste for the new “torture porn” mentality a lot of horror authors have adopted these days as they try to outdo each other. Yes, violence and sex are necessary parts of the horror genre. However, when it becomes merely about seeing what body part can be dissected in a grotesque manner or how perverted the author can drive their characters sexually, it becomes juvenile and decreases any value and impact the actual story might have had to begin with. I know any author has the power to disgust me. But can they scare me? Or turn me on? That’s the question!
12) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? – I’ve learned so much over the past few years while creating my novels. About myself, I have realized my true capacity for commitment to a project, my ability to persevere in the face of great obstacles and the extensiveness of my own imagination. About the actual business and craft of book writing and publishing, it has been a very eye-opening process on many levels. The creation of a novel, from first page to published and printed book, is a long and arduous journey and one you have to develop a thick skin for. The weak of will and the fragile of heart must have a very hard time on this path. I also learned that the publishing world is a brutal shark tank at times akin only perhaps to the music or film industry. You have to keep your wits about you at all times and never take anyone’s offer at face value until you’ve truly gone over a contract or agreement with a fine-toothed comb. That said, I am more committed to my work than even when I first started my career as a novelist!
13) Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones? – I will be a guest at this year’s ApolloCon conference in Houston (June 24-26), ArmadilloCon in Austin (August 22-26), KillerCon in Las Vegas (Sept. 22-26) and the assorted events in New Orleans throughout Halloween week including UnDeadCon, the Theater of the Vampires masquerade, the Vampire Wine Tasting and Endless Night. I will not only be a guest of the Endless Night ball as an author, but I will also be performing onstage with fellow musician Solomon Schneider at the House of Blues that night. It is going to be quite the epic week in New Orleans, as it always is. I will have several other signings and additional conventions throughout the year which will be listed on my site at www.gabriellefaust.com/events.