31 days of Halloween – Tony-Paul de Vissage
Bio: Tony-Paul de Vissage is a Southerner of French Huguenot descent, who now lives in the Midwest. He began writing late in life—six years ago—and now has four novels under his belt, and hoping for more. More information can be found on his website: http://www.tony-paul.com/ , MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Videos of his novels can be seen on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/tonypauldev
Someone once told me a good blog should open with a somewhat shocking sentence, to catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. In keeping with that, I’ve decided to make my opening sentence the following:
When I was six, I was seduced by a vampire.
Now…now…don’t get your knickers in a twist. It wasn’t a predatory female and I came away from the encounter intact…physically, anyway, but mentally?…from that moment, I was hooked by the fanged fiend, the nosteratu…the vampir!
My mother was a moviegoer and since she didn’t believe in babysitters, whenever she went to the cinema (which—since we had five movie houses in town and each showed a different film and changed the marquee twice weekly—was several times a week), I was dragged along. Horror, romance, western, musicals…it didn’t matter what was playing. I was bought a ticket, supplied with popcorn and plopped into a plush-covered chair to have my impressionable young mind warped for the next 120 minutes.
I still remember it well…of being in the darkened theatre, Maman sitting next to me but it was as if I were totally alone…staring up at the screen at those faces enlarged to frightening proportions, and the words appearing in stark black-and-white, accompanied by music designed to send a shiver down my spine and make good-bumps prickle my skin…Dracula’s Daughter…
When I toddled out of that theatre, I was completely under the spell of a woman who, according to the dialogue in the story, had “died 500 years before.” A woman who didn’t want to be a vampire but had to answer the call of her heritage from her father, a certain well-known bloodthirsty Count. Not only under her spell, but completely and thoroughly hooked as far as vampires in general and Dracula in particular were concerned.
And I still am.
On my website, I’ve written a fanciful little piece (in two parts) of how I met the Brothers Andriescu, a duo of vampires who, with their cousin, were touring the South looking for the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh and how they became my patrons in the Art of Writing All Things Vampire. Take that with a grain of salt… or a clove of garlic, if you wish. It was Countess Zaleska, aka Dracula’s Daughter, who started me on my Road to Nosferatu. I’ve often said that, with her fight against the Dracula curse and her desire to be human, she was the first of the so-called “contemporary” vampires—those with the angst of being a monster wanting to be accepted by society. That trend was officially started in the late 1970’s, but to my way of thinking, the Countess was the forerunner of them all, way back in 1933.
Somewhere in my literary blogging, I’ve a piece called “When Imagination Calls,” about my advent into the world of writing. I started off small…writing short stories…and after having three published, the fledgling decided to try his literary wings and write a novel. The Countess was right there at my elbow, though it probably wasn’t the story she expected since Dark God Descending was about a Mayan vampire and he was a pretty likable guy—for a “monster.” It wasn’t until Vampires are Forever came out that I wrote about a “real” vampire, but this one still wasn’t true to form because it was a light-hearted story with not much anguish and torment, and definitely no ripped-out throats and dripping blood.
Then The Night Man Cometh…and I did the Countess proud, as I traced the journey of a vampire from his beginnings in 1249 to some time in the 36th century. Damian la Croix voluntarily became a vampire to escape the Black Death. He never apologizes for his Undead state nor does he ever wish it to be otherwise. No regrets, no looking back. He’s sansmort and loving every minute of it. I am vampire—hear me roar! Damian is a “traditional” vampire, with a vengeance. No anxiety, no soul-searching (if he had one) for this guy. Damian was a lot of fun to write because I could make him just as mean and cruel and outrageous as I wanted…and some people will say that’s good therapy since I worked out my own aggressions through words instead of walking into a bar and starting a fistfight (at which I’d probably have been decked with the first punch.)
My fourth novel is being released this month from a publisher in the UK. Entitled Sweet Sips of Blood, it’s an anthology of all my short stories. Some are funny, some ironic, a couple downright chilling, but they are all, as the blurb says, …sweet sips of the vampires’ secret souls…
I’m still enjoying novels about vampires, and any television show or movie which even hints at the presence of one will definitely get my attention. Back in the 1970’s, I started collecting vampire novels and at last count had over 300. (This has now tapered off due to financial reasons.) I always look forward to Hallowe’en because then the “Creature Features” and cable channels such as SYFY and Chiller roll out the tried and true, as if specifically for my benefit. To paraphrase the motto of New Orleans, that well-favored haven of vampires and other denizens of the supernatural, Laissez le frissons roulez!
Let the shivers keep coming!
Thank you, Countess, wherever you are!