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The Order of the Blood: An Interview With Authors Nicole Vlachos and Lane Morris

September 18, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

The Order of the Blood, written by authors Nicole Vlachos and Lane Morris, is not your typical piece of vampire literature.  This fast paced tale of politics, war, and impossible choices is exactly the kind of book that seeks to join many of today’s top writers in revitalizing the genre.  And worthy of distinction is not only the book itself, but the women who brought this world to life.

What’s it like writing as a duo? Could you tell us a little about how you collaborate?

Lane: It takes different forms. At times we take turns–I will write a section, and Nicole will pick up the thread and vice versa. Other times, it is very conversational through chat. It really depends on what we’re working on, and what kind of moods we’re in!

Nicole: It works really well for us–we’ve been writing together for over a decade! We tend to feed off one another’s ideas and share a common desire to write a good story and strong characters.

Was the process of getting published difficult, and what, if anything, would you do differently the second time around?

Nicole: Getting published is really difficult. It’s a vicious cycle where most publishing houses won’t consider you if you don’t have an agent and most agents won’t take you on if you’re not already published. There is self publishing which is costly and comes with no marketing assistance. We were fortunate enough to find an independent publisher, Nicholas Grabowsky, who started his own publishing company, Black Bed Sheet Books. Because he is also an author, he’s very attuned to what authors need and what the market is for the books he publishes. The dream is always that a major publishing house will get behind your book and throw lots of money behind it to get it out there to the masses, but that just doesn’t happen everyday.

Nicole, you mention the influence of your father in developing your taste for the macabre. Did both of you grow up with horror from an early age and how has it shaped your tastes as an adult?

Nicole: It’s funny because Lane and I couldn’t be more different in our tastes! I have always been drawn to the dark side of things, thanks to my father. He started me young and I just grew to love the scary! I’m also a big fan of intelligent horror. I don’t really like gore for the sake of gore.

Lane: I grew up in a No-Horror house, and I’m a scaredy-cat. I don’t watch or read horror, but I do like a good ghost story.

To you both, who are your greatest inspirations as a writer?

Lane: CS Lewis and JK Rowling inspire me for the same reasons. Both have an ability to create fully formed worlds full of believable, realistic beings, writing in a style that appeals to all ages. The creativity and imagination delights me. I also love Pamela Dean and Tom Robbins.

Nicole: Again, the stark contrast, though I do love JK Rowling’s work. I would say that Clive Barker is my greatest influence as a writer. Cerebral horror really speaks to me. Reading The Books Of Blood was a huge turning point in my creative life. I loved that each story was written in a different ‘voice’, yet they were all obviously Barker’s creations. That really helped me develop my characterization and writing style. I am also a fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman…a lot of the horror and fantasy genre authors.

Your book, The Order of the Blood, features a love triangle between two vampires and a human. Who would you choose yourselves, Ian or Gideon?

Lane: I wouldn’t have either one of them! If you give me a choice between Vampire Bill and Vampire Eric, I’m always going to choose Human Hoyt. Gideon would end up eating me, and Ian really can’t love anyone other than Robin.

Nicole: If I had to choose between them, I wouldn’t, though Gideon would be the most fun to date for a while. Actually, of all of our characters, I’d choose Roger. He’s solid and loyal and wise. Still waters run deep.

What would you say your book offers that’s new to the vampire genre?

Lane: We weren’t trying to do something new, so much as we were trying to write the best mythology we could. I like to think that the story telling is strong, and the characters (whether you like them or not) are interesting, or at least polarizing.

Nicole: Well, we actually wrote The Order Of The Blood back in 2002 and it was languishing in editorial purgatory (aka The Infernal Computer) until Nick Grabowsky rescued it! I think what we’ve tried to do is stay true to the legend of the vampire while putting a modern spin on it. We always try to make the mythology as fresh and intricate as we can. I don’t ever want to bend an established mythology to fit the needs of my characters or the plot. The story has to grow around the mythology. Our book has been called “Twilight for grown-ups” by a reviewer (DreadCentral) and I think that is a compliment. One thing I have been very specific about is that this book is not a Young Adult novel. This is a book geared towards adults and honestly, I think recent years have seen too many vampire genre books directed at the YA crowd and not so much towards the rest of us who enjoy a good blood-soaked read!

What are you reading right now?

Lane: I am reading a book called Deluxe: The decline of luxury, and a new vampire novel by a friend, Emily Reese, called Second Death.

Nicole: I am currently reading Invisible Prey by John Sandford and Second Death by our friend and web-mistress, Emily Reese.

Outside the vampire genre, what is your favorite thing to read?

Lane: I read everything from YA novels to physics books. I love memoirs because I find people so very interesting.

Nicole: Aside from Horror and Fantasy, I love a good Mystery.

Will you write another book together, or are individual projects currently in the works?

Lane: We have several works in various stages of completion.

Nicole: There are a few that are in the editing phases right now and a sequel to The Order Of The Blood is in the works!

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Lane: Write for yourself. Write the stories you want to read, and never stop pursuing the dream.

Nicole: Keep writing. Learn from your failures as well as your successes. Believe in what you’re doing and other people will too.

How can your readers best support you both and The Order of the Blood?

Nicole: We appreciate any and all feedback, positive and negative. Suggest it to your friends and reading lists! Word of Mouth is our strongest ally.

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Nicole and Lane can be found on DarkMediaCity, and more about The Order of the Blood can be found here.

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

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