Interview with Tony-Paul de Vissage

Thank you for joining me in the shadows. Pay no attention to that odd silhouette over there. Weird things live here.  Where do you hail from?
Merci.  Actually, things in shadows don’t bother me.  You should see some of the creatures lurking around my apartment! And when it storms, I get this most melodious moaning in the hallway as the wind blows through it.
Where am I from? I’m originally from the Deep South…think ’gators, Spanish moss, and magnolias.
Tell me about your latest book. What makes it stand out from the crowd?
The fact that it’s about two feet taller than everyone else.  Seriously…I guess one reason is because I’m a character in it. (Oui, moi!) It’s called The Clan Andriescu, and it takes the stories of three members of a vampire family and tells of the women they love and the ones they lost. The three don’t have the usual “Oh I wish I weren’t a vampire” angst, and occasionally the endings aren’t even HFN.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
I have a vampire series called The Second Specieswhich will be released by Double Dragon Publishing sometime in October. Three books have been completed so far and there are a projected eight in the series. There’s also a novel called Death in the Blood on line for a September released from Class Act Books.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Be prepared for rejection.  (Expert here, at last count, I’d gotten 33 rejections for one specific novel.) Be prepared to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
How did you deal with rejection letters? Any tips for unpublished writers?
When I get a rejection letter, I cry.  If my mother were here, I’d be sobbing on her shoulder, “Maman, what did I do wrong? Why don’t they like me? I’m going to quit writing!” 
Seriously, I read it, think, OK, so it wasn’t for you. Your bad luck. Then I shrug, and go eat a chocolate bar (with peanuts) and get back to work.
TIP?  If you think your story’s good, just keep sending it out until you find the publisher who agrees with you.
(The same goes for finding an agent. At lat count, I’ve been rejected by 35 of them. My goal is to live long enough to make every one of them eat that rejection letter.)
What tools of the trade are must-haves for you? 
Computer (of course…I used to write in long hand, believe it or not, but a former boss gave me a computer and I was hooked. I’ve gone through 4 of them at last count), a set of dictionary, thesaurus and Chicago Manual of Style; a 12-cup coffeemaker and a supply of unsalted roasted peanuts. Oh…and a good beta reader.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research a story?
Most of it’s crazy.  I tried to learn Transylvanian for The Second Species. (Key word there is tried.  All those “S sounds like Sh” and “V is like W” and “J should be Y” drove me frantic. Though I do know how to pronounce Sighisoara…whoa! 
I bought a bastard sword when I was choreographing a sword fight scene. It’s now leaning against the wall next to the computer. (Just waiting for some critic to wander in.)
What do you like to read?
Mysteries; vampire tales (surprise!); parodies and satires. I like series. If I find a set of characters I like, I want to keep reading about them. I also like Regencies, b
elieve it or not.  The dialogue and turns of phrase those characters use are just great!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Several.  I like JR Ward and her Black Dagger Brotherhood for her take on the vampire situation. I like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, especially the novel where Harry rides an animated fossilized T-rex down Chicago’s streets. Too bad the TV series was such a flop. I hope some day it’ll be re-done properly.  I also like JD Robb’s Eve Dallas/in Death series.  Team Rourke! (Eve’s good in a pinch, too.)
Bram Stoker wrote more than just Dracula and I’ve read a few of his other novels, too (and seen the movies).
Now for the fun questions.  Let’s strip away the veil of invisibility. Do you have a day job alongside writing and will you tell us about it?
Strip?  Here? Now?  I knew I should’ve worn my best underwear!  Pardon, you want seriousness, don’t you?
A day job? Mais non. I’m one of the great unwashed unworking masses.  I used to be a doctor’s assistance, ’way back when.
If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have chosen?
I was originally trained as a dancer.  Oui…in ballet.  Maman dragged me to dance class when I wanted to be outside playing Tarzan and jumping from my tree house onto a rope swing.  (That probably saved me from breaking bones earlier than I might’ve.) You should see my grande ronde de jambe.  (If we knew each other better, I might show it to you!) 
Unfortunately my height worked against me.  Dancers have to be tall.  I’m not. Then I was in an auto accident and finally broke those bones and that ended that.  I recovered but Maman didn’t. She just couldn’t accept I’d never dance again.  (Sounds like a bit of soap opera, non?)
Who is your favorite superhero (or heroine)? Can be from a comic book, movie, novel, cartoon, video game or anywhere else heroes reign.
There are so many and I like them all, but a few years ago, I discovered Green Arrow and Black Canary.  I bought all the comics covering their courtship and marriage. I thought those were the most hilarious stories I’d ever read. I keep watching Arrow on TV hoping Black Canary will show up.
Your favorite book hero?
This one I can’t answer.  There are too many to choose from.
You finally have an evening free to spend any way you want. Money is no object. Where do you go? What would you do?
Order a gigantic combo pizza, with a side order of Buffalo wings, open a bottle of Vampire 2001 merlot, get a bunch of the latest paranormal DVDs and invite the little old lady upstairs to come down and help me watch them. (She’s such a dear, 69-years-old and wild about vampires!)
You’ve been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you? Why?
If I wanted to be sneaky, I’d shift as my friend Mike Arsuaga’s hero Drake does in Top Dog and become a Yorkie.  Quickiest way I know to get cuddled into some young lady’s lap. For serious shifting, I’d elect to be a horse, specifically an Andalusian…and I’d gallop across the meadows as fast as I could with the widn blowing through my mane and my tail held high.
Thanks so much for being my guest today! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?  Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.

BIO: Tony-Paul de Vissage is a Southerner of French Huguenot extraction, whose first movie memory is of viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter, on television, and being scared sleepless–and that may explain a lifelong interest in vampires.                                           
This was further inspired when the author encountered a band of transplanted Transylvanian vampires sightseeing in the South.  Thinking nosferatu were getting a bad press and in need of some favorable publicity, he decided to do what he could to change that attitude through his writing.  Though it may be argued his efforts have probably done the opposite, no vamp has complained…yet.