Avery Doyle loves vampires; when his first one-night-stand, Caroline, turns out to be a true vampire on the run, he jumps at the chance to leave his ordinary life and join her as a “child of the night.” The honeymoon ends, however, when Caroline’s brutal Creator Sebastian enslaves them on his island estate and Avery must confront the dehumanizing reality behind his dreams. In order to survive, Caroline and Avery take their place as servants in Sebastian’s household during a gathering of the most powerful vampires on Earth, the Hegemony, and soon find themselves involved in the myriad schemes, plots, and revenges that form the night-to-night existence of The Order. Sebastian, however, has a plan that will change The Order forever and shatter human civilization. A fast-paced thriller that both re-imagines and pays tribute to the traditional vampire, Ancient Blood is a story of love, ambition, sacrifice, and betrayal that is frighteningly human.
Ancient Blood is the story of Avery Doyle getting what he’s always wanted most: to be a vampire. Avery is a regular guy who loves vampire movies, books, and TV shows and has always wished that he could be cool and mysterious and powerful (not to mention sexy) like the vampires in his favorite movies and shows. Enter Caroline, a young vampire who is on the run from her estranged Creator/father/lover Sebastian and Avery’s fondest dream comes true. Or so it seems until Sebastian captures them both and brings them back to where he is hosting a conference of the world’s most powerful vampires: the Hegemony. There, Avery discovers that vampires are both everything he’s ever imagined, but nothing like he dreamed. Vampires are the true aristocrats of the world, you see, because blood is easy to get when you control the power of nations.
I’ve been told that what I write is Horror, but I’ve often had difficulty accepting that label because my goal isn’t to scare people. I like to make people think, but I suppose some of my ideas are frightening and the consequences they lead to are often horrible, so I guess it fits. I suppose I write the type of books that I like to read. I like stories that involve interesting characters confronting aspects of themselves. For me, writing is an intensive and difficult process, so I need to make it worthwhile. I want my stories to be entertaining, but I can’t write fluff. Others do that better than me, so I need to concentrate on giving voice to the characters in my head.
The inspiration for Ancient Blood came from my experiences playing roleplaying games, especially Live Action games where you spent much more time trying to accomplish your goals through social manipulation and back-room dealing than by beating other vampires up physically. It opened my eyes to the idea that a vampire’s best defense against the outside world would be using the power that wealth and political power brings, especially in America. From there, it’s an easy jump to imagine that if vampires did actually exist, they wouldn’t run around killing victims in alleys, they would cultivate huge groups of people happy to give their blood and soul for a taste of the money and power a vampire could easily amass.
I started with the idea of doing a different take on vampires than what I was seeing out in the movies and novels of the time. This was many years back, however, so certain things have caught up a little. But I liked the idea of vampires having a society, a political hierarchy that explained why nobody knew about them. If you live forever, what do you do with your time?
I love researching the folklore of vampires in different cultures and bringing that into my work, but it’s probably fair to say that I’ve been more influenced by the newer Anne Rice style vampire. That crap with crosses and mirrors and holy water never made much sense to me. It’s all based on the idea that the vampire is inherently evil and that the Christian faith is inherently good, both concepts that I reject. Vampires start as people so, to me, there would have to be good vampires and bad vampires. And as for religion, well, what about a vampire that’s older than Jesus? Why the hell would he care about a Christian cross? People created the vampire idea to explain things they didn’t understand, but every good boogey man has to have a weakness, so they made those up too. I wanted to start from scratch with my vampires.
In most movies, all vampires worry about is feeding, but think about it like a person. How much of your day do you worry about eating? A society gives you what you need to survive (food) without having to work as hard for it, so you have time to do other things. In my vampires’ case, they spend their time building up their personal power so that nobody can mess with them. The more power and wealth you have, the safer you are. It’s been that way for hundreds if not thousands of years. All a vampire needs is to save some money and, over time, he’s got a fortune. Money is power in our world and power equals safety.
So, that was the basis for The Order: Vampires as the true aristocrats of the world because blood is easy to get when you control the power of nations and, ironically, nations are easy to control when you can offer their leaders everlasting life, enormous sums of money, and the ability to dispose of their enemies.
I’d like to think that a major aspect that separates my work from others in the same genre is the level of believability I strive to put in every story. I try to deal with the world as we know it, rather than create a fantastical setting that justifies my story. To me, a story with fantastical elements that is grounded in the reality that I see every day is more effective. I did scientific research to try to create a vampire that was as biologically plausible as I could; granted, a real scientist or doctor could probably poke holes in my concepts, but it was important to me that they hold up an intelligent reader. I don’t discount the possibility of the extraordinary, but it still has to be grounded in some kind of realism for me. I want readers to be able to believe that the events of my novel have actually happened.