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“I have been fascinated with vampires since I was a small child. For me, they are the ultimate historians.”

April 8, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

DarkMedia Interviews Gabrielle Faust:

Gabrielle Faust’s diverse talents have allowed her to pursue an eclectic career as an illustrator, technohorror author and leading industry entertainment critic. 2005 marked the release of her first published collection of poetry, Before Icarus, After Achilles, which was received by the public with a great enthusiasm. Faust partnered with Immanion Press in August of 2007 for the publishing of her cross-genre technohorror trilogy Eternal Vigilance, a post-apocalyptic vampire saga of epic proportions, the first of which, From Deep Within the Earth, was released in April of 2008. The second installment, The Death of Illusions was released in March of 2009. The third novel in the Eternal Vigilance series, Bound in Blood, is currently slated for release in September 2010. 2009 also saw the release of Faust’s second collection of poetry entitled Crossroads with Seraphemera Books. In addition to the release of the third Eternal Vigilance novel, Faust has also released a new novella with Dark Regions Press Regret.

In October of 2008 she was made the Guest of Honor of the “Queen of the Damned” Vampire Ball in New Orleans, an annual event produced by the worldwide vampire organization the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club. In 2009 she was given the honor of returning as a Special Guest, alongside author Charlaine Harris, for the Endless Night Festival and was dubbed “New Orleans Vampire Royalty” at the Tru Blood & Gold vampire ball. She returned in 2010 to the Memnoch: The Resurrection vampire ball, as well as the New Orleans UnDeadCon, as one of the selected Special Author Guests.

Faust has toured steadily since the debut of her first novel Eternal Vigilance 1: From Deep Within the Earth in 2008. Her next full tour will begin at the end of 2010 with the release of the third installment of the series. However, she is available for guest speaker engagements and appearances throughout the year.

Gabrielle Faust’s work, as both an author and illustrator, has appeared in Girls & Corpses Magazine,GUD Magazine, Doorways Magazine, The Open Vein, Darkened Horizons, Ladies of Horror and The Bloodied Quill, as well as the websites Fear Zone, SCI FI Wire and Fatally Yours.

Faust has been consistently active in a wide array of organizations including the Horror Writers Association, SCARE for a CURE, SXSW Music & Film Festivals and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. Faust was the preliminary graphic designer for the 2011 World Horror Convention in Austin, Texas, developing the iconic logo and promotional materials for the convention. Faust was a recipient of the 2011 Texas Social Media Awards. (via http://www.gabriellefaust.com)

You’ve talked about the rise and fall of civilizations, revolution, and the human struggle not to commit the mistakes of the past as being significant to your writings. Why do these things seem so inevitable, and how do you explore that in your work?

We would like to think that we are far more evolved than we really are. No matter how advanced our technology becomes we are, in essence, animals and pack animals at that. When forced into situations such as oppression, revolution, etc. we react often in a predictable and spontaneously violent way because that is what we are genetically programmed to do. There will always be those who seek power over the weak, those who use their power to advance only their own agendas, and vice versa there will always be those who fight for their freedom and the liberation of the oppressed. Greed, envy, pride, gluttony, all of the so-called “sins” are too ingrained in our psyche to not unfortunately fall victim to the same tendencies and patterns. Empires will rise and fall. Wars will be waged in the name of one god or another. Utopia is a pure dream and universal peace an unrealistic goal. All we can hope to do is learn from our mistakes and try to pass along that wisdom to the next generation in hopes that they will not repeat them. However, that hope is usually in vain…

What do you think makes a good story?

The stories that stay with me, that I find myself reading repeatedly, have extremely well-developed characters with very distinct voices. They are characters that feel as if they could have very well lived and breathed at one time. The best stories keep you on your toes as well. They keep you guessing what will be around the next plot twist and turn. Predictability is certain death for any tale.

When and why did you choose to write about vampires? What would you say is your favorite part of developing stories around them? What’s the greatest challenge?

I have been fascinated with vampires since I was a small child so I think it was only natural that I would eventually find my voice through the genre. For me they are the ultimate historian and, thus, there is so much to draw on when developing their individual stories. Their perspectives are so vast and intriguing that the possibilities become limitless. However, that can also be the greatest challenge: getting their histories correct. When you’re writing about a creature that has lived several human lifetimes you absolutely must do your research to make sure your timeline is correct and all of your references are legit.

Monster or hero? What are your thoughts on the nature of a vampire?

A little of both, just as humans are. I think that’s in large part why we’re drawn to them, we can relate to their actions no matter how cruel or noble. And, often, they strive to be noble in some aspect of their lives only to have the monster in them ruin everything.

Can you tell us a little about your work with “Scare for a Cure”?

I first got involved in Scare of a Cure in 2009 and currently help to promote their annual fundraising events each year. They are an Austin, Texas-based charity that puts on an elaborate haunted house adventure experience to raise money for cancer research. The entire event is volunteer run with all of the materials involved donated. I’m honored to be able to help spread the word about the event. http://www.scareforacure.org/

You’ve written so many different kinds of things, from poetry to novellas. Do you have a favorite format?

My natural tendency is to either write full fledged novels or free verse poetry. I’ve never been much of a short story writer. I highly admire those people who have mastered that format, but for me I’m still figuring out how to navigate it. I adore the novella format though now that I’ve written and published my first one, REGRET. It was an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to dreaming up more stories specifically for that format.

In a previous interview you said, “I love having the option to bounce back and forth from one venture to the other because it keeps my creativity level on high.” Will you tell us a little about your graphic design work? Do you work on your own website or book jacket designs?

Well, before my life as a professional author, I was actually an art director for an ad agency for about ten years. After leaving the ad agency world to pursue my passion for writing, I continued to freelance and apply my design knowhow to my own promotional work. After all, why pay someone when you can do it yourself? I currently develop all of my own websites, social media, press releases, web banners, ads, postcards, posters, etc. For my “Eternal Vigilance” book covers I have worked with a Polish photographer by the name of Wojciech Zwolinski (Dream-traveler) for the main images and then completed the layout myself. I am also a freelance illustrator and have done covers for Michael Marano, Eric Enck and Dear Lioness, among others, but I tend to prefer to have other artists create the image for my book covers. I think it’s because I’m too close to the work and I like the fresh perspective they bring. The work Frank Walls did for the cover of “Regret” was just stunning!

What’s your favorite book to give as a gift and why?

That’s a hard question because it really depends on the person in question. If they are a horror fan, I usually try to track down a copy of Michael Marano’s “Dawn Song” or Kim Paffenroth’s “Dying to Live”. They are two of the most beautifully written and deeply disturbing works I’ve read in quite a while. Elegantly crafted and eloquently written. If they are a science fiction fan I tend to give them a copy of Dan Simmon’s “Illium” or William Gibson’s “Neuromancer”, if they haven’t already read these brilliant books. And if they are a fantasy fan, I always hunt down a copy of Storm Constantine’s “Wraeththu”, which I still feel is one of the most ground breaking fantasy books of the century. Absolutely beautiful!

What are you reading right now?

Well, I’m actually reading three different books at the moment: “Noir” by K. W. Jeter, “The Sign” by Raymond Khoury and “Big Trouble” by Dave Barry (when I just want something silly)…

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Develop a thick skin. Learn how to take a critique without falling apart at the seams. Yes, we all know that this creation that you’ve poured your heart and soul into for the past few years is your baby, your pride and joy. Critiques and reviews may be harsh at times but it is the only way that we, as writers, can learn and grow. Take critiques and reviews graciously and with grace.

Another piece of advice is to make friends with your editor. They are not the enemy. They are your best ally and are there to MAKE YOUR WORK BETTER. If you feel passionately that something they are trying to delete or change needs to stay the same make a strong case to them and find a compromise.

Take a course or two on marketing and advertising. You are most likely, unless you land some million dollar contract, going to be your own marketer promoting your work. You’ll need a firm understanding of social media, blogs, online advertising, writing press releases, etc. Yes, it’s overwhelming, but it can be done and is a crucial piece of the publishing puzzle. In fact, many publishers will not even touch your work unless you have a marketing plan already developed to show them what you are intending on doing to promote the book.

Continue to read as many books, and as many different genres, as you can get your hands on! As Stephen King once said (and I paraphrase), if you don’t have time to read you don’t have time to work on the necessary skills for your craft.

And, last but not least, WRITE EVERY DAY!!! Even if it’s just a paragraph or two. Just as with every skill, you will only improve your technique and style by practicing every single day!

How can your readers support you, your writing, and your other endeavors? What projects are you currently working on?

That’s an easy one! Buy my books! Nothing screams support to an author like book sales. 😉 However, also tweeting or blogging about my work is also deeply appreciated. Its difficult in this day and age when the white noise of people screaming into the void is nearly deafening to get your message out. The greater the army of people helping me to promote my work, the wider an audience I can reach!

I am currently working, along with my co-author Solomon Schneider, on the sequel to my novella “Regret”, which is entitled “Revenge”. We’re hoping to have the full first draft of the manuscript turned over to Dark Regions Press by the end of May with a release date of the end of 2011. I just released a new e-book collection of poetry entitled “The Beginning of Nights”, which is available through my website. I will also begin releasing individual chapters of the fourth installment of the “Eternal Vigilance” vampire series in e-book format via my website in a few weeks. This is a little publishing experiment where I will be releasing a chapter every couple of weeks over the next year. I want to see how my readers react and get actively involved in discussing the story’s evolution as I’m crafting it. Should be interesting and I’m very excited about it. Outside of writing, I have also plunged headlong into my music once again and currently have 8 songs completed. Solomon Schneider will be recording these songs for release in a few weeks when he passes back through Austin on his Dear Lioness/Sage on Fire tour so be on the lookout later in the year for my very first album!

Finally, what’s got you inspired or excited?

Art: Haitian folk art
Music: Apocalyptica and Mumford and Sons

_____________________________________

Gabrielle Faust can be found at www.gabriellefaust.com or on DarkMediaCity.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission.)

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