Today I’ve managed to sneak a few minutes with Nicholas Pashcall, the author of ‘Dead and Proud of It’, another one of the authors supporting the 2016 round of the ‘Vampire Books for Blood’ campaign. Nick, thanks for joining me today, I’ll let you start us off by talking a little about what ‘Dead and Proud of It’ is about.
It is an intense face-paced novel revolving around a vampire that was on the run from the law for doing what it does best. After escaping, it’s amazed at how long it stayed unconscious, and goes on a rampage leading to New York City, where he meets with several others of his kind for a bloody good time!
What inspired some of the good times that your rampaging vampire finds?
For one, I was in a line for a bar, real high-end joint. Me and my buddies were laughing when we heard noise at the front of the line. Looking over there, I smiled when I saw a greasy haired man, maybe twenty-five years old, threatening a bodybuilder bouncer. No weapons, just soft words and smiles. The bouncer looked afraid, truly afraid, and the strange guy walked in ahead of everyone else. I put that into the story as a way of remembering the incident.
That is an impressive skill set to scare with only a few well placed words and sly smiles. I want to be able to do that too. This skill-set obviously inspired some aspects of your main character. How did your vampire unfold?
I thought of a combination of feral nature rolled into a human shape, opposite of what vampires are normally. Rather than be graceful and witty, my vampire is crude and foul, teaching lessons nobody needs to learn as punishment for everyone around him. He treats humans the way we treat cats.
I’m assuming you mean that he’s treating them as a lower life form, because there is an increasingly large number of people who are pampering cats and dressing them up – just go and search Youtube for some interesting human/ cat interactions. Anyway, he’s working with humans as lower life forms, have you found that the readers taken offence to his interactions with others?
The people that’ve read it say that they found the character too lovable to be evil.
He must be able to deal about some charm through those sly moves then. Who is your favourite character to work with?
Maestro is an old favorite of mine, a vampire that collects the souls of singers for his ghostly choir. He’s a character addicted to creature comforts while running a small criminal enterprise out of his posh dance club. Dealing with money and loopholes written in law, he helps move illegal goods up and down the East coast.
I like the sound of him, I always like living vicariously through the characters I read about and someone that is a bit legally ambiguous sounds like fun. Would Maestro be the character you would most want to go out to socialise with, perhaps take in a drink with him at his dance club?
I’d take Holly out for a drink just to listen to her complain about her lot in death, and to see how she would react to the person who put her in the mess she’s in. I can imagine rage and angst, but not the words… I think it would be an interesting little encounter.
Do you ever encounter your characters in your dreams?
I mostly pull my characters from my nightmares, especially for my short stories. For the past decade, I’ve had nightmares and bouts of insomnia. That’s part of the fuel for my creative process.
Interesting, that’s the first time I’ve heard of nightmares fueling the creative process. But if it works and your sleep isn’t too disturbed why change it. How have your secondary characters developed through their encounters with circumstances and other characters within this book?
Well, one was created as a many-faced character, different names meant different personalities. Other characters came to me from the different personalities I’d encountered over the years. Merging several people into one template that were allowed to grow into their own throughout the novel. There will be a sequel, so character growth is sort of needed!
That’s a great idea to deliberately allow your characters to grow. And very exciting for all readers is that you have a sequel planned! Have you already started working on it yet?
I have five novels I’m working on, one of which just came out October 7th, by the name of “Lust of the Damned” that has sex, drugs, and rock and roll in an undead circus. It’s pretty twisted, and not for anyone under the age of eighteen, but it should get a few people interested in it.
Wow, you are busy! With that level of workload you must be one of the lucky authors who is a full time writer.
Yes, I’m a writer, every day all day.
So, how long does it take you to finish writing novel when you have so many projects on the go at the same time?
About two months. If I focus on one novel at a time I can usually write it in six weeks and take two to edit. Normally I bounce between projects to stay interested.
What was the most rewarding aspect of this book that kept you interested?
Catharsis for the mind. Just writing out what the protagonist was doing made me feel better.
So did you go and deliberately place your protagonist in situations that allowed you to find that mind release through using specific thematic elements?
Yes and no. Someone will always find a theme in your work, even if you didn’t put it there. This one has a few themes that are hardly subtle, but they can be missed if you are just enjoying the book.
Was research a key element of writing this book to ensure that readers could just enjoy the book without running into any conflicts of knowledge that would dislodge the fantasy of the book/
Some, into myths and legend of a certain time period of Europe. The book has flashbacks to when the main character was alive, so I had to research what that area was like and what he would have been as a landowner. It was about ten to twelve hours of research, pretty simple.
Do you find it simple to keep yourself writing? Do you have a daily target?
I write two-thousand words a day, be it in novel form or short story and some novel, etc. I make certain that I keep climbing the mountain, as any progress halted is progress that I’ll have to make-up when I’m on a roll!
How does the editing process play out when you are climbing that mountain of writing a book?
I get a mug of coffee and do a few “replace” search functions on the document removing common errors.
That’s brave using find and replace! I’m not sure I could edit my own work that way, I’m sure I’d pick up something odd somewhere any make a bigger mess. What’s next after find and replace?
Then I read the book line by line, editing as I go. During the editing stage I try and do five chapters a day, and always keep a spare page opened where I can type down thoughts and notes that I may need. You’d be surprised how often you change a character’s eye color in a book.
That’s a good strategy for keeping up your character continuity. Do you personally participate in the creation of your book covers, or are you outsourcing that work
I use a specific service done by a couple in Europe. They handle all of my artwork and have never let me down.
And from the covers from your current published books we can see that they’re doing a good job. How did you feel when you got your first book review?
Exhausted. I’d just punched out a long book where I had a cover I didn’t like (before I found my artists) and a story I felt was good enough to read. Never did I think my horror would become a supernatural thriller for young adults. And the review was positive enough, so I felt pretty good about it.
I’m glad that the first review was positive and didn’t scare you away from continuing. Do you have any self publishing tips for other authors wanting to get into the writing game?
Keep at it. You may only sell three copies every month, but keep advertising using Twitter and Facebook. Find groups and come up with witty little blurbs to attract people to your work. Do giveaways through Amazon where the person must follow you on Amazon before getting their book, and you’ll slowly build an audience that’ll be happy when a new book is published.
How do you feel about the future of reading/ writing and publishing?
If you want to be published, you have to write. If you want to write, you have to read. It all boils down to finding a genre, reading it for a while, and finding the holes. The missing parts that you can fill in.
As reading is a big part of the game, which authors are your favourites and have directly influenced your work?
Tolkien, King, Anthony, Wellington… a mix of fantasy and horror that I would say, yes, they’ve influenced my writing style. I’ve mostly spent my days reading various works of gothic and dark fiction before taking up the pen to write out stories.
What were you reading when you were younger?
When I was ten I snuck “The Exorcist” into my bedroom and read it at night during the Christmas Holidays. I think it’s what actually finally hammered the last nail down telling me that what my mother believed in (Presbyterian) was not what was actually real. I started learning of my father’s religion (a mutilated version of Buddhism). I was young and let an adult book impact me in so many ways.
Not the best recommendation for a ten year old, but it definitly left it’s mark so you can’t fault it there. Is there a book that you wish that you would have written?
The Goosebumps series. I want to write for young adults, I just don’t know how…
I can understand your hesitation there, there’s so many well written books for that age group it’s hard to figure out how to best serve the readers with something original. Are you currently reading something good?
“Father of Lies” by Sarah England. A good possession story just gets me in the mood, you know?
*Laughs*. Glad to see that you’re keeping yourself in the right mindset. Now, we’ve reached my personal favourite section of the author interview, the quick fire round. Nick, parry answers back to these questions back as quickly as you can.
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Scorpions and bees. Swarms of flying scorpions would make the world a more interesting place.
Can you stand on your hands unassisted?
If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
Fur robes from an incredibly fat man somewhere in Russia.
Can you curl your tongue?
What is your favourite quote?
“Nonsense is the only sense there is.”
I haven’t that one before but I do like that one. Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Buddhist eight-fold way while trying to follow the middle path.
What is your zodiac sign?
Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
Dragons, they can fly!
The fire breathing also helps :). Who is your favourite literary character?
Don’t really have one. I have too many stories in my mind to try and pinpoint one character. My favorite story would be the Amityville Haunting if that answers the question partially.
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
Yep, that’s up there. What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
“Sing with me children!”
What is your best tip for authors?
Don’t stop. Never stop. Do one more round of edits.
What is your favourite word?
Is there a question that you haven’t been asked that you’d like to be, or anything that didn’t come up?
My books are really just extensions of me. Every character, from demon to demigod to man, is a reflection of me from one point of view. I think that can be said about every author and their work.
Want to connect with Nicholas? Connect here!