Q. Hi Nadine. Can we kick off the interview by discussing your current work in progress?
A: Hi Laurence. Sure. I’ve been working on a trilogy of South African Vampire Fiction for about two years now.
Q: What’s the title of your work?
A: I’ve called it My Addiction for the past two years but I’m sure I’ll change the name to some degree once we’ve completed the editing process and all. Give it more of an African feel.
Q: Where did the idea come from?
A: I’m not really 100% sure. It’s as if I woke up one morning and just had all these things I wanted to do. I guess it’s because I hit the big 30. J I achieved a lot in that year.
Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A: I don’t like labelling them as a specific genre. I feel they fall well into Fantasy, Adventure and Romance. Of course, there’s Paranormal as we’re dealing with mythical creatures. I’d even say there’s some Thriller in there too.
Q: How have modern day movies and published authors in the same genre influenced you?
A: Well…I think since Twilight hit the market things have changed dramatically for any author in that specific genre. It flooded the market to such an extent that publishers and agents alike are very reluctant to accept anything related to vampires currently.
It’s also changed life for everyone around us. These days you hear more and more about people who characterise themselves as vampires and wolves. It’s not just mythical folklore anymore. It’s around us, part of us.
Q: How does that influence what you’re doing?
A: It doesn’t influence my writing that much. When I write I set the part of myself aside that takes me into another world. I think as writers we are all given the gift of creating something from nothing. If we love what we write it’s a bargain; if the world around us likes it—it’s an honour.
Q: Can you tell us briefly what your trilogy is about?
A: To sum it up, it’s about a South African female vampire–Snare–who was created with a specificpurpose in mind. Unfortunately for her creators, they didn’t take into account her state of mind or her ultimate goal.
It’s fast paced a bit psychotic and all about love.
Q: What sets your trilogy apart from others?
A. Well, my aim is to create a new breed of vampires and mythical creatures alike. The majority of it goes down in a somewhat post-apocalyptic Africa – which is already something different from what everyone knows.
I feel Africa is a bit of untouched ground when it comes to mythical creatures so that would give it an edge. I hope.
Q. If you never got published what would you take away from this whole experience
A: I’d definitely take away a lot.
I’ve met so many people, listened to so many stories, read so many tales that I do feel it’s helped me grow a lot as a person. If I never get published my only hope would be that my stories will at least be kept in the family. That they’ll be taken from generation to generation and that, in a way, I’ll always remain in a small space of someone’s memory.
Q: Any tips and treats for other writers?
1. Don’t be too overeager. Investigate what you want to achieve. Don’t ever think that writing is about just writing and then distributing. It’s not – it’s an art.
2. Get yourself a good editor. Not just someone to proofread your work, but someone you can confide in. Someone that believes in you, your story and your characters.
3. Don’t write with the aim of getting published. Write because you are in love with writing.
Anything after that is a bonus.
Read Nadine’s blog here:
In early April 1453 Mehmet the Conqueror, Sultan of all the Ottomans, and only 21 years old, began the last great siege of Constantinople. He had an army of 200,000 men and a navy of 320 vessels at his command. When the city fell 57 days later a tremor passed through Europe. Ottoman Muslim armies appeared to be unstoppable.
The voyages of Christopher Columbus, financed to avoid Ottoman control of the spice trade, were one outcome. Constantinople’s change of name to Istanbul was another. A third was the birth of the legend of Dracula.
Vlad the Impaler, Prince Drăculea, from the Latin draco meaning dragon, was 22 when Constantinople fell. He had spent four years while a teenager as a prisoner in the Ottoman court. For much of that time he was beaten and abused for his stubbornness, particularly his unwillingness to convert to Islam. For his courage he was later inducted into the Order of the Dragon, a chivalric order of the late Holy Roman Empire, which required its members to defend Christianity, by whatever means necessary.
When Vlad came to power a few years later he decided to impose law and order the hard way. He had his enemies impaled and raided his rivals territories, forcing one to read his own eulogy while kneeling before a grave prepared for him. Rampant criminality, treachery and the wars all around him were the backdrop to what happened next.
When Dracula refused to pay tribute to Mehmet, a small matter of 10,000 ducats and 500 boys, the Ottomans decided to put down the upstart Prince.
So began a war of infamous savagery. Raids, where men, women and children who were not Christian were impaled, burnt alive or beheaded were a feature of Vlad’s tactics.
Mehmet then marched on Vlad’s home town on Targoviste in Wallachia with an army of 90,000. The Prince had about 30,000 troops at his command.
When Mehment saw the decaying remains of 20,000 Ottoman soldiers on the road into Targoviste he was sickened. Legend tells that he returned to Constantinople leaving the conduct of the war to his generals.
The Prince’s territories were occupied and devastated. So began a guerilla war of night attacks and endless raids that became celebrated across Europe.
The Genoese later thanked Vlad, as he saved them from an attack by Mehmet’s ships, so absorbed were the Ottomans in campaigns against the Prince.
Prince Dracula died fighting the Ottomans after treachery on his own side undermined him. Soon after his name became associated with unmitigated cruelty. Pamphlets detailing grisly impalements of whole villages were circulated by his enemies.
There is no doubt though that Prince Dracula was an exceptionally cruel ruler. Thieves, adulterers and liars could expect no mercy. Skinning alive, boiling and slow impalement were some of the treats he enjoyed inflicting on those unfortunate enough to cross his path.
The legend of vampires, people who live forever and drink the blood of their victims, was common in Wallachia and Moldovia, the Prince’s hunting ground, long before the Irish author Bram Stoker married such cruelty with a tale of the undead. Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, about an English solicitor who travels to a remote castle in the Carpathian mountains has never been out of print since.
Whatever your view on the clash of civilisations, the cruel way that Europe once defended itself from Islamic conquest is the ultimate source, in my opinion, behind the Dracula and vampire stories that are now so popular they need their own section in many bookshops.
Cruelty has a fascination that lasts for a hell of a long time.