Monday, January 14, 2013

The Dracula Chronicles: Bound By Blood by Shane KP O'Neill: Interview & Excerpt

 





Tell us about your current release.

 

My current and first release is Bound By Blood, which comes in two volumes because of its size.  It is the first in a new series, The Dracula Chronicles, that adds a new dimension to the Dracula myth.  It is actually Chronicle 3 in the series, but I have begun with this book to give readers the vampire first.  The first two Chronicles are based around the life of the real historical Vlad Dracula.  On retail sites it is categorised as a Gothic horror, but it is also an historical adventure, a romantic tragedy, a tale of paranormal fantasy and romance, and erotica.
 

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
 

Because my books are historic epics the hardest part probably of writing my books is actually incorporating historical narrative without sending the reader to sleep.  I have written in a period of history that a lot of people might not be too familiar with and therefore I have to educate my readers on the period as well as engage them in my story.  For me, no historical content is boring, but that may not be true for everyone. Sometimes I can use dialogue to deliver this, but it is not always possible to do so and on occasion narrative cannot be avoided. This is what I find hardest to write in my books, making people aware of the historical background without boring them and causing them to switch off.
 

How do you describe your writing style?
 

I like to think my style is fast and easy.  I re-invented my writing style while I was writing The Dracula Chronicles.  In my younger days, and even in the earlier drafts of my books, I used to write sprawling prose and very long sentences.  Whereas I felt some people would like and appreciate that, I thought that the majority would not.  I wanted to write in a way that would hold appeal for everyone, knowing different people have different levels of literacy and different levels of interest. I wanted to reach people who speak English as a second language and maybe even people who read very little or even not at all.  Therefore, I completely changed my style. I focused on making my work much more concise and trimmed it down considerably.  I took out longer words and substituted words that are easier to understand, I shortened my sentences noticeably and concentrated on fluidity and readability.  I made it my goal to have something on every page to keep my reader interested so that when I delivered a shock, they would feel it.
 

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
 

I have always wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  By the age of 8 or 9 I was certain of it.  I was most prolific in my teenage years writing books of 50k-80k words that I would read to my closest friends.  Unfortunately, I had a tendency to lend them out and not get them back.  In those days, of course, a typewriter was a luxury item so I had to write by hand – yes I am that old.  So yes, when my friends wanted to be football stars and fighter pilots, I wanted to be a writer.
 

Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
 

Oh yes, absolutely.  I would say 90% or more of all my characters are real people, real historic figures who are known to many people that will read my books.  This put an extra emphasis on my fictional characters being as real to life and plausible as possible to blend in with my real-life characters.
 

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
 

Following the release of Bound By Blood – Volume 1 & 2 there will be a series of horror shorts and then an anthology called Tales Of The Black Sabbath, which will have variant endings from the originals.
 

The next volume from The Dracula Chronicles – The Gates Of Babylon – will surface later in the year.  I have also written down the outline of another vampire series for the future.  That one I will keep close to my chest.
 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?
 

Writing is a great reward in itself.  I have carried these characters and story lines around in my head for many years.  To get this all down on paper and then go through the long and arduous process of getting it into print, so that I can finally hold my own creation in my hands is an absolutely wondrous feeling.

 
Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it? If so, can you share it?

 
Yes, this is a passage from Chapter 21 in the book.  It focuses on Andrei, Dracula’s twin soul, who is the one bestowed with the power to bring Dracula down.  He is the balance to the great evil that is Dracula and his opposite in every way.

 


 
 

The Dracula Chronicles is the brilliant and terrifying new concept of Dracula. It is an epic journey through the ages where the forces of Light and Darkness struggle for supremacy until the Second Great War, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. This bitter feud began after the creation of mankind. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.  

 

On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil. He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers. These chronicles are their story.

 
Amazon 
 
 
Chapter 21 - A location near Cluj in Transylvania. March 1502.
Dracula’s twin soul, Andrei, is waking with his wife in their tent.
Antonia awoke at the crack of dawn.  The morning was cold.  She thought about getting up, but did not feel too good.  It was warm beneath the blanket.  She decided to remain there and snuggled into her husband.
 
Andrei groaned in his sleep.  She smiled at the familiar sound.  They had not spent much time apart in their fifty-four years of marriage.  One night a month he sloped off.  At sunset on the thirteenth day the Dark Ones could see him.  It meant he had to go well away from his loved ones.  He would find a quiet spot to hide and build up his defences.  Then and only then were they ever away from each other.
 
She groaned too.  Her bones felt stiff and ached when she moved.  For a while she had not felt too well.  Andrei sensed it, but she never let on.  When he did ask she assured him she was fine.  They had known each other from birth and wed at seventeen.  He trusted her word even though he sensed otherwise.
 
He felt warm as always.  She moved her knees in behind his and moulded into him until they were one.  The padding beneath them was a comfort.  She was glad of it.  They needed it at their age sleeping against the hard ground.
 
That was one of the many things she loved about him.  He did everything he could to ensure her comfort.  She deserved it he said.  Everything he had she had given to him.  Six sons in their first ten years together.
 
After the split with the tribe many years ago they raised and nurtured their sons alone.  She watched her boys grow into fine young men.  Each one was the image of their father in one way or another.  He proved the perfect role model.
 
In time her boys all fell in love and married.  Their wives joined them so as not to break the family unit.  The unions produced another twenty children.  Eight of those had married to produce a half a dozen more.  It capped a perfect life for her.  She lay there thinking if her time came now she could have no complaints.
 
Andrei stirred when she moved against him.  He reached back with a hand and rubbed her thigh.  She wrapped an arm around him and snuggled up closer.  “Good morning, my love,” she whispered.
 
He shifted slowly around to face her.  His body ached too.  “You are awake?”
“I always wake before you,” she smiled.
 
“That is what you keep telling me.”
 
She reached her head up a touch to kiss him.  “I love you.”
 
“I love you too.”
 
He pulled her in closer.  They locked in a tight embrace and kissed again, slowly.

“You are such a beautiful man,” she said, barely above a whisper.
 
“I am what you have made me.”
 
“No, my love.  This has always been you.”
 
“It is as well for me then that I am.  Or you may not have loved me.”
 
“I have always loved you.  How could I not?”
 
“It helps me know how lucky I have been when you say such things.”
 
“I am the lucky one,” she said, kissing his neck gently.  “I have been blessed.  I and our children.  What more could a woman ever want from a man than you have given me?”
 
He held her tight in his arms.  The same rush of love that had passed through him almost every day of his life did so again.  “You still take my breath away.”
 
She nuzzled into his neck.  “Thank you,” she said.  “You have given me a wonderful life.”
 
He pulled away a touch.  “You say that as though it is about to come to an end?”
 
“We are old, Andrei.  It cannot be that far away.  For either of us.”
 
“Well not quite yet.  I am not ready for you to go.”
 
“Do we have a say in such things?”
 
“I do.  You know I have stopped people from crossing over.”
 
“Yes I know.  But promise me one thing.”
 
“What, my love?”
 
“When it is my time, let me go.”
 
“It is not your time.”
 
“Promise me.”
 
He sighed.  “I promise.”
 
“My body is tired.  I do not know how much more it can give me.”
 
“You need to rest.  That is all.  We will not travel for a time.”
 
“A rest will be nice.”
 
“Until you feel better.  I am not ready to carry on without you yet.”
 
“We can never be ready for such things.”
 
“Not I anyway.  My earliest memories are all of you.”
 
“Mine too.”
 
“I love you, Antonia.”
 
“And I love you, Andrei.”
 
He heard her gasp quietly.  “Antonia?”
 
Her body fell limp at his side.
 
“Antonia?” he said again.  He moved back and sat up.
 
He looked down at his wife.  She lay with her eyes closed and her lips slightly apart.  Tears welled in his eyes.  He knew she had gone.  A terrible feeling crawled through him from the pit of his stomach.  A feeling of dread and loss.
 
He raised her up in his arms and cradled her head into his chest.  Her hair still smelt so good.  He stroked it softly, as he rocked her gently back and forth.
 
The tears flowed freely down his face.  “How can I go on without you?” he cried quietly.  “I do not want to.”
 
He felt so tempted to lay her down and breathe life back into her.  Many times in his life he had done such a thing.  But he knew he could not do that for her.  He promised her that he would not.  She knew it was her time.  That is why she said it.
 
Andrei looked up.  Her soul rose from her body.  It stood only a foot away, looking somewhere far off.  He reached out to touch it, but his hand passed through.
 
“Please do not take her from me yet,” he begged.  “Give me a little more time.”
 
He hummed a soft tune.  It was the one she loved most of all of the few he kept in his head.  He used to do it over her swollen belly during each of her pregnancies.  She always said it was the reason their sons were all at peace with the world when they were born.  How he wished he could relive one of those times.
 
Her soul turned to look at him and smiled.  He looked up through teary eyes and smiled back.  “Do not go yet.”
 
A light shone through the tent.  It touched against Antonia’s soul.  They were coming for her.
 
He cried harder.  What is there without her?  He had not known a world that did not have her in it.  Yet now he was going to discover just that.  His heart felt heavy.  After saying goodbye to her he knew he had only one thing left to do in his life.  Then there was nothing more for him.
 
The light grew brighter and her soul turned to face it.  He could see the excitement on the face of all that was left of his wife.  It should have made him happy.  Instead it devastated him.  Very soon they would take her.  That would be his last moment with her in the mortal sphere.
 
Then he saw them.  He laid her body down gently and jumped to his feet.  Her soul reached out with both arms.  The White Ones walked up to her and took it by the hands.  He fell to his knees in despair.  They did not even look at him.
 
He dived full length to try and come between them.  His efforts proved in vain.  He passed straight through them and hit the ground.
 
They stopped.  Antonia turned to look at him.  “I have to go, Andrei,” she smiled.  “Do not be sad.”
 
He fell back on his haunches.  His heart ached.  He needed her so badly.
 
“Do what you must do,” she said.  “And then come to me.  I will be waiting.”
 
She smiled and blew him a kiss.  “I love you.”  Then she turned towards the light.
 
With that it disappeared and they were gone.  He dragged himself back over to where her body lay alone on the blanket.  Lying down beside her he pulled it over them both.  He wrapped his arms around her and held her close and cried. 
 
 

Shane O'Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with Chronicle 3 to give his readers the vampire first. Chronicle 1 will follow to take you back to the beginning.
The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee's portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid historian, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject.
Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest.


Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter @ShaneKPONeill  |  Goodreads  |  Youtube

 

Enter for a chance to win a Print or Digital copy of The Dracula Chronicles. 2 Winners.
First Name chosen will have their choice of format. Second name drawn will win the format not chosen by the first place winner.  International Shipping is OK.  Ends February 16th 11:59 PM.

 
 
 

5 comments:

Jennifer Wilson said...

Thanks for hosting this giveaway! :) Would LOVE to win the printed version!!

Anastacia said...

Looks fabulous, I have not heard of this book before & I'd really love to read :)

Kelley Grealis said...

This is right up my alley! I love vampire stories, especially ones tied to history. Would you consider the book in a similar vein as that of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian?

Anne Consolacion said...

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Sandy Howe said...

thank you for the awesome giveaway