Research vs. Creative License

One of the challenges with writing a novel that has real people as characters is that you have to do some research if you’re going to talk about their past. I have my plan written up for the chapter I’m working on, but before I start writing, I’ve got to get my facts straight. I’m not going to get too bogged down in all that since the action is in their present, not in the past, but I do have to have a few details right in order to explain things.
It’s a fine line, though. How tied to the truth does it have to be if it’s fiction? Dan Brown obviously didn’t care about facts so much as telling a good story, and I have to say even with all the things he got wrong, I really didn’t care as a reader. It was still a great mystery and a fun read.
To me, it’s all about the story I want to tell. If those details add to the believability of what I’m describing and help you understand the characters better and the setting for the book, then it’s important to me to get it right. Otherwise…ehh. I mean, come on. After all, they are vampires. I think I’ve got some lee-way.

Write the Story You Want to Read

My real introduction to the world of vampire fiction was not Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. I will admit to owning and reading nearly all of her books.

I am not such a rabid fan that I cannot admit to her writing’s shortcomings (the overuse of the word “preturnatural” for one), but despite those flaws, I was mesmerized by the tales she told. Lestat is one of my favorite literary figures of all time. I cannot say I always liked him, but liking him isn’t the point. I was fascinated and captivated by him. I always wanted more at the end of the book. Though I do not have the same descriptive writing style (some would say she can be a bit TOO descriptive), I do strive to give my characters the same sense of vitality and depth of personality that makes Anne Rice’s novels so appealing to me.

It’s their humanity in spite of having transcended it that is at the core of every plot. It doesn’t matter how much power or sex or money or fame the characters are able to amass. It is their drive to understand and be true to their humanity that made the characters compelling to me. And that is something I hope I can give to my own stories. Characters who are more than just stereotypes, but people with real feelings, real hopes, real aspirations, real disappointments, and real desires. People to whom their sense of self is of the utmost importance.

That is what makes for good storytelling, in my opinion. Because stories are not about plot points–getting from point A to point B. Stories are about the people in them. Their journeys, which in my opinion should be just as much internal as physical.

Every few years, I reread my Anne Rice collection, and each time I’m swept along for the ride. I only hope that my own writing can do that for people who read what I’ve written. That is a high bar to set for myself, and I may not always achieve it, but I will keep working at it every day. What matters most to me is that I’m writing a story I would want to read, a story that pulls me in and won’t let me go until the very last page. To me, that is success.

Rachel Tsoumbakos Blog Post

My friend Rachel Tsoumbakos blogged about my book yesterday! 

Check out her blog and her writing as well. I truly admire her work. Her books Emeline and the Mutants and The Ring of Lost Souls had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish! If you’ve never read them and you like horror and paranormal fiction, you’re in for a real treat.


Thank you all so much for helping make the sneak peek of Ma Chere Antoinne #57 in historical fiction! I hope you enjoy it!

Official Description Is Ready

This is the description that will appear in the Amazon bookstore:

“Hidden away in the gated community of the Central West End in St. Louis, a vampire, Claire Marie, and her progeny, Raul, have made their home. They have worked very hard to escape notice, maintaining the outward appearance of a normal human life. However, when pieces of her past come up on the auction block, Claire Marie is  filled with nostalgic longing, wanting to collect those items for herself. This urge will  set off a chain of events that could bring an end to their comfortable way of life forever. Old enemies are patiently watching, and it could mean the end for them both.”