Interview with Authors of Vampire Novels

Interview with Authors of Vampire Books

In this interview I discuss with three other authors of vampire fiction the allure of the vampire, favorite fictional vampires, and interpretations of the vampire archetype. Authors joining me are Brooklyn Ann, Deborah Sheldon, and Julie Lomoe.

What sparked your interest in vampires?

Brooklyn:  I’d been a horror lover ever since I was a toddler. As a kid, I devoured the Bunnicula books, watched countless vampire movies, and read any other vampire story I could get my hands on.

Alison:  When I was a young child, I used to have vivid nightmares involving skeletons and amputated body parts, such as a severed foot lurking behind a door. Although the nightmares terrified me, I think that they helped to spark my fascination with horror. Later, in childhood and early adolescence, I loved watching eerie TV shows, such as Twilight Zone and Dark Shadows. It was Barnabas on Dark Shadows that sparked my love for vampires. From Dark Shadows, my fascination grew to include Dracula, Anne Rice’s vampires, and Caleb Morley from the cancelled daytime drama Port Charles, among other vampire characters in movies, TV shows, and books. 

Deborah:  My interest is primarily in monsters. I enjoy tinkering with monster tropes and devising my own versions. In my award-winning collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (IFWG, 2017), my 21 dark fantasy and horror tales included established but reworked creatures such as mermaids, faeries and harpies, plus some monsters I invented. My novella Man-Beast (Severed Press, 2021) reimagined the yowie – Australia’s version of Bigfoot – as part of natural fauna like the crocodile or kangaroo. And my novel Body Farm Z (Severed Press, 2019) explored zombies and how they might exist in the real world according to the five immutable processes of decomposition. That one was pretty wild, actually!

Redhead Town (PsychoToxin Press, 2024) is my take on vampires. The spark for this novella came from my adult son, Harry, who has proffered quite a few story ideas over the years. This time, he suggested, “Vampires, except they’re like meth-heads”.

While my vampires ended up more like heroin users, the analogy stands. I was also inspired by my state government’s introduction of ‘Legal Injection Centres’ for heroin users, where two Melbourne suburbs were chosen without community consultation. Naturally, these centres turned both suburbs into hubs for increased drug-dealing and crime. And lastly, crippling Covid lockdowns happened, so that influenced Redhead Town as well.

Writers are like magpies searching for shiny things to collect. With a bit of luck, the things you gather come together into a cohesive whole and form a story that’s worth telling.

Julie:  Without a doubt, it was my fortuitous discovery of Michael Easton as the vampire Caleb Morley on the defunct soap opera Port Charles. In September of 2001, soon after the fall of the Twin Towers, my husband and I moved to a new home in upstate New York. The past few years had been stressful: my home health care business, ElderSource, Inc., had failed and we’d gone bankrupt and lost our house. Diagnosed bipolar, I had spiraled into a deep depression, and Caleb Morley and the other denizens of Port Charles helped pull me through.

I’d always been drawn to the dark side. As a child, I’d spent summers with my Aunt Alice at her cabin on Cranberry Lake in northern Wisconsin. Her husband had a collection of lurid and violent comic books. I was fascinated, and I made up songs about them, like “Melvin the Mummy and Enoch the Two-Headed Corpse.” Back home in Milwaukee, such temptations were unknown. I led a safe, sheltered life, but walking home from school, I often made a detour to the police station in Whitefish Bay, where the cops let me see the lock-up cells. There was never anyone in them.

Fast forward a few decades. Having failed to become a successful artist, I got an M.A. in art therapy and found a job at the now defunct Hudson River Psychiatric Center. There I worked with profoundly psychotic, sometimes violent patients. The experience was so overwhelming that I turned to writing murder mysteries. For research, I interviewed the hospital’s forensic pathologist, who showed me around the autopsy lab and gave me pointers about the most effective drugs to use in committing murders. Still, though I was drawn to mayhem and murder, vampires weren’t big on my radar until Caleb Morley came along to brighten my day.

Brooklyn: I love how we came into our fascination with vampires in such different ways!

What aspects of vampires do you find most fascinating?

Brooklyn:  A cross between the balance between strength and vulnerability. They’re immune to age and sickness, often have super strength and powers like flight and mind-control. But they can be killed with simple things like the sun. And so many are vulnerable to garlic and crosses.          Also, there’s something potently primal about the fact that they need to drink the blood of those who used to be their peers to sustain their lives.

Alison: One of the aspects I find most fascinating is the way vampires combine the feral allure of animals such as wolves, foxes, cats, and other fanged creatures, as well as the immorality and body-transcending aspects of deities. I also love their androgyny—the gracefulness and beauty of Anne Rice’s vampires and Caleb Morley, the power and aggressiveness of Carmilla and other female vampires, etc., as well as the bisexuality of many vampire characters.

Brooklyn:  Yes! They really do tap into the primal, animalistic side of us. And androgyny is sexy as hell.

Deborah:  Perhaps it’s the addiction to something awful that’s the most compelling feature. I used to be a cigarette smoker. At first, smoking offered a way to get ‘street-cred’ amongst my peers, since in high school I was a straight-A nerd who was relentlessly bullied. Later, cigarettes became a prop to my social persona. By my mid-twenties, I found I couldn’t do without them. I tried to quit numerous times and failed. Throughout the nine months of my pregnancy with Harry, I managed to abstain; for him, I gave up absolutely everything, including aspirin. But the siren song of nicotine called me back within six months of his birth. It took a major health scare in 2007 before I abandoned my addiction for good at the age of 39.

For me, that’s how I identify with vampires. Doing something awful, but having to do it, needing to do it, whether you want to or not.

Brooklyn: I hear that, Deborah. I started smoking when I was 13 and it took 21 years for me to be able to quit.

Julie: I’m drawn to the allure of danger combined with erotic attraction, along with physical beauty and sensuality. As a woman, the idea of being overwhelmed and powerless to resist the allure of a fatal attraction is fascinating, although it might be repugnant in real life. It’s a way of exploring the shadow side that exists in all of us, the realm of irrationality and dreams, in a fantasy world that’s safely walled off from everyday reality.

What is your favorite vampire film and/or TV show? Why?

 Brooklyn: Interview With the Vampire was my hormonal awakening and intensified my obsession with vampires in new ways. I loved the concept of a sympathetic vampire and hearing about all the history they were there to witness firsthand.

Alison: I, too, was very influenced by Anne Rice’s books. However, my favorite fictional vampire is Caleb Morley (portrayed by Michael Easton ) from the cancelled daytime drama Port Charles. I loved the feral sensuality and beauty of Caleb, his seductiveness, intensity, sarcastic humor, and passionate devotion to his beloved Olivia (portrayed by Kelly Monaco). Unlike most TV and movie vampires, Caleb savored his vampire nature, loving the thrill of the hunt as well as the eroticism associated with biting and blood drinking. There was, however, another aspect of him, a separate personality manifesting as his brother, the gentle, celibate Father Michael. He constantly battled this opposing aspect, seeing it as a nemesis he must battle in order to survive as a vampire.

As for vampire films, my favorites are The Addiction, directed by Abel Ferrara, and Only Lovers Left Alive, directed by Jim Jarmusch. I loved the gritty black-and-white NYC background of The Addiction and the thought-provoking philosophical concepts the film explores, such as predestination vs. free will, original sin vs. redemption. I also identified with the film because the main vampire character, Kathleen Conklin, is a bisexual former grad student  who, like myself, is obsessed with existential questions. Regarding Only Lovers Left Alive, I loved that it, too, explored issues of immortality and the search for meaning. Unlike most vampire films, the two main vampires in this film were not depicted as evil but were, instead, introspective, nostalgic, intellectuals who were deeply in love. I also liked the fact that parts of the movie were filmed in old/historical structures in Detroit, which is near my place of birth.

Brooklyn:  And I am adding Port Charles and The Addiction to my watch list. I adored Only Lovers Left Alive!

Deborah:  I have two favourite vampire films and, like a loving mother, couldn’t possibly choose.

Nosferatu (1922) is a perfect little gem of terror that I watch at least once a year. Max Schrek as the titular character steals the show; every time he’s in shot, you can’t tear your eyes away. Because of legal action from Bram Stoker’s widow, this silent German masterpiece was almost lost, as all copies were court-ordered to be destroyed. Thankfully, bootleg copies remained. (Coincidentally, I have a short story called “Last of the Sacrificial Women” coming up in a Nosferatu anthology, due for publication mid-2024.)

My other favourite vampire film is the British gothic Dracula (1958). As the Count, Christopher Lee is terrifying yet hypnotically alluring. There are many scenes to love in this classic, but my favourite would have to be the final showdown between Dracula and Van Helsing. Peter Cushing (as Van Helsing) sprints across two long tables and takes a flying leap at the drawn curtains, ripping them down to let in the sunlight. The sheer desperation in his athleticism always gives me shivers.

BrooklynNosferautu is such a gorgeous film. I need to revisit 1958’s Dracula. I was too devoted to Bela Lugosi to give that one a fair shot.

Julie:  My favorite vampire TV show is Port Charles. I adore Michael Easton as Caleb Morley. Last night I looked up the show on Wikipedia and found some fascinating information. Though PC started in 1997, they began using 13-week story arcs in December of 2000, when they turned to the supernatural elements. They sped up the plots and gave them a tighter structure in hopes of luring younger viewers, and these episodes were critically praised. I began watching during the story arc “Tempted,” which aired from September 3 to November 30 of 2001. Alas, ratings didn’t keep up, and the show was cancelled in 2003.

I’ve watched episodes of other TV vampire shows, but they’ve never drawn me in. And I’ve never seen “Dark Shadows,” though I plan to look it up. As for movies, though I’ve seen many, the film “The Hunger” directed by Tony Scott in 1983 comes to mind because I love David Bowie as a vampire. Speaking of pop music, I love the haunting song “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” a hit for Blue Oyster Cult in 1976. And I was mesmerized by Frank Langella when he played Dracula on Broadway in 1977.

What is your favorite literary vampire? Why?

Brooklyn:  Most Vampire Chronicles fans love Lestat, but he’s too arrogant for my tastes. I think Louis is still my favorite, not only because of him being my first crush ever, but also because he isn’t an all-powerful, all-popular character. He has weaknesses and capacity for growth and change as a character, and that potential stirred my imagination enough for me to embark on writing my own vampire stories.

Alison:  my favorite literary vampire character is Carmilla from Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella. She was the first bisexual/lesbian vampire I discovered, and I loved Le Fanu’s beautiful, passionate depiction of Carmilla’s relationship with her mortal beloved, Laura.

Deborah: The titular character in Sheridan le Fanu’s novella Carmilla, published in 1872.

There’s beauty, friendship, attraction, a suggestion of forbidden love, death and dread, all set amongst bleak weather and castles, and written in the wondrously overwrought nineteenth-century style. What’s not to like? Interestingly, Carmilla was published some quarter-century before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which is usually considered the first official vampire story.

Brooklyn:  Okay, you’ve both convinced me to bump Carmilla higher on my watch list!

Julie:  It’s definitely Jeremy Lowell, the actor/vampire from my novel Hope Dawns Eternal, published in 2015 and available on Amazon. More about him later.

Last October I made my debut as a playwright, with a vignette in Woodstock as part of an evening of ten short plays called “The Haunted Tavern” produced by the Tivoli Players. My play, also called Hope Dawns Eternal, features an elderly woman named Julie, who is drinking alone in the tavern when she’s approached by an attractive young man who reminds her of Michael Easton. It turns out he’s a vampire, and he lures her out of the tavern with the promise of eternal life. I took a humorous approach, and my vignette got lots of laughs and cheers.

Describe one of your vampire characters. What do you like most about that character? What do you like least? Why?

Brooklyn: Since I was talking about Louis, I’ll go with the vampire who was originally inspired by him. Silas McNaught. Though Silas has changed so much from my original drafts that he mostly only resembles Louis in looks. What I like most about Silas is that he’s very quiet about his power. In Wrenching Fate, he seems like a kind man whose main use of control over the Coeur d’Alene vampire populace is money, and his psychic powers are mostly mentioned in context of his visions of his fated mate. However, in later books, you find out that he can use those powers in brutal, painful ways if he has to.

What I like least about him is that he’s an enabler. When he finds his destined mate, she is so suspicious and skittish that he gives her everything she wants to keep from scaring her away. This includes enabling her drinking problem. They do identify and work on that problem later on in the series.

Alison: My two main vampire characters are the narrator (loosely based upon myself and my fantasies about being a vampire) and a vampire she identifies as her Awakener. I like the Awakener character’s wisdom, feral allure, and seductiveness as well as his compassion towards the “victims” who summon him to release them from their mortal anguish. Both vampires are, in a sense, euthanizers, preferring to kill those who want to die.

The characteristic I like least about him is his occasional impulsiveness. For example, as a newly turned vampire he was much more ruthless, unable to control his obsessions, lust, murderous rage, and hunger. Although he has learned to subdue these impulses somewhat, he still feels rather condescending towards humanity and their mortal weaknesses.

Deborah: Zachary is an eighteen-year-old vampire in the first stages of transformation. He works nightshift at the same supermarket as my main character, Mark Murphy. I like Zachary because he loves the idea of turning into a vampire. But that’s also why I don’t like him. To me, Zachary is a person who embraces the idea of an existential death, someone who wants to self-extinguish but not necessarily die, and that strikes me as depressingly bleak.

Excerpted from the novella, here’s a sample of Mark’s opinion of Zachary.

Zachary flexed his mouth around his teeth in a parody of a smile. His fangs were growing. Shortly, those eye teeth would hang outside of his bottom lip, extended and needle-tipped. The greying whites of his eyes were getting darker too. And he stank. Mark could smell Zachary’s foul mouldiness across the three-metre designated workplace distance. Soon, this kid would be feral, running wild with his kin, a supernatural amnesiac who could no longer remember his former life, which was the scientific assumption. Becoming a black-eyed redhead was like reformatting a hard drive: everything got wiped clean. Redheads wouldn’t recognise their own family members if they fell over them. A fate worse than death.

Brooklyn: Oooh, these books sound awesome! 

Julie: Jeremy Lowell, the vampire who’s the first-person narrator of my novel Hope Dawns Eternal, is a complicated, multi-level personality. He plays a vampire on the soap opera Oak Bluff, married to the love of his life, Alifair Churchill, and he’s alarmed when he learns the soap will be cancelled. But Harvey, the head writer, assures him he’ll have a role in another soap: “Chuck and I will be heading over to Hope Dawns Eternal. He’ll be the show runner and I’ll be the head writer. They’re hoping we can inject some new blood into the show.”

“At the mention of blood, I feel a jolt of adrenaline. True, the blood I’ve been sucking as the show’s resident vampire has been fake until now, but lately I’ve developed an uncanny hankering for the real thing. I haven’t acted on my cravings yet…”

From this point on, Jeremy wrestles with his identity and tries to conceal his true nature as a vampire. He describes Mark Westgate, the actor who plays him, as “an introverted wimp, and I’m the one truly in charge. They always address me as Mark, and it’s in my best interests not to enlighten them, because they’d be terrified if they knew who they’re really dealing with.”

Jeremy is tall and slender, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He bears a striking resemblance to Michael Easton as Caleb Morley. But working on the book’s cover art with the designer Kim Killion, I was careful to choose a male model who looks nothing like Michael. (At a meet-and-greet in Syracuse after the book came out, I gave him a copy and he promised to read it, but I don’t know if he ever has.)

What do I like least about Jeremy? The fact that I planned to write a sequel about him but never followed through.

Alison: My Awakener character (who goes by various aliases throughout the years to help keep his vampire identity a secret) was also inspired in part by Caleb Morley, in terms of appearance and allure. However, my character is more philosophical, much less rash and vengeful than Caleb is.

Feel free to give a synopsis of one of your vampire books and a link to purchase it.

Brooklyn: Here’s the back cover copy for my novel, Wrenching Fate:

She’s haunted by her past…

Akasha Hope trusts no one. Her parents were shot down by uniformed men, and she spent her childhood on the run. She’s so close to making her own dreams come true when he shows up and disrupts everything. Her new legal guardian.

His kindness makes her suspicious, while his heart-stopping good looks arouse desires she’d kept suppressed.

He promises her a future…

Silas McNaught, Lord Vampire of Coeur d’Alene, has been searching for Akasha for centuries. He’s perplexed to discover that the woman who has haunted his visions is anything but sweet and fragile. Her foul mouth and superhuman strength cover a tenderness he’s determined to reach.

While government agents pursue Akasha and vindictive vampires seek to destroy Silas, they discover the strength in their love. Can they survive the double threat?

To read the first chapter and choose your preferred retailer, visit

Alison:  The first book I wrote in my vampire series Feral Rebirth was Revenance, followed by Toxicosis, and then, in August of 2023, I published the prequel, Dark Visitations. Here is a synopsis of Dark Visitations:

“Visited by otherworldly beings from childhood on, Alley, a young punk musician, has experienced a life-altering transformation granting her immortality while forcing her to prey on humans. In this prequel to Revenance and Toxicosis, Alley relives the terrifying encounters and dark, brooding obsessions that led to her Awakening as a vampire.
On the eve of a successful performance, Alley is hit by a car and lapses into a coma. After she is resurrected from her deadly coma by a vampire, becoming one of the undead, Alley remembers the moments shaping her former mortal life and her desires to escape what she considers her imprisoning flesh.
She recalls her childhood visitations with the beautiful, seductive being she calls the Tooth Fairy and the sinister, skeletal entity known as Morbidy Graham, experiences, that from a young age, heighten her feelings of alienation from her peers while inspiring her creativity. When she enters puberty and witnesses a relative’s battles against cancer, Alley’s fascination with vampires and other supernatural body-transcending creatures intensifies. Repulsed by her changing female body as well as the horrors of human mortality, Alley develops obsessive self-destructive behaviors while also channeling her rage by writing angry poetry and forming a punk rock band with her best friend, Nadia.
Once she reaches adulthood, Alley casts aside her former life, moving away from her Michigan hometown to pursue a new identity in New York City as a punk performer. In NYC, she experiences for the first time a world of transgressive creativity and forms a mutually toxic friendship with the addicted musician Spitz Nevus. Driven to a reckless mania, she takes the fatal plunge that leads to her vampiric transformation and the beginning of her new life, as described in the sequels Revenance and Toxicosis.”

Dark Visitations is available for purchase in ebook and paperback versions at

Deborah:  Redhead Town will be available for purchase, in ebook and print formats, upon publication in March 2024. Here’s the back-cover blurb.


In Australia, vampires are a protected class.

Twenty-two towns are picked to siphon vampires, aka ‘redheads’, out of capital and regional cities. When polled, most Australians agree with this strategy. But most Australians don’t live in a ‘designated area’. Don’t have to step over drowsing redheads during the day. Or live in terror of marauding redheads during the night.

Mark Murphy is a nightshift worker in the designated area of Oleg’s Creek. His house is now worth nothing, and he can’t afford to leave. He’s heard rumours of The Resistance. Desperate, will he risk a grab at freedom?

Written by award-winning author Deborah Sheldon, Redhead Town is a dark tale of government overreach, societal breakdown, and one man’s love for his wife and son.

Julie Lomoe:   From the back cover copy:


Jonah McQuarry is the new cop in town on the soap opera Sunlight and Shadow. Tall and slender, with dark good looks and blazing blue eyes, he has millions of fans thanks to his years on Hope Dawns Eternal, another long-running soap, so the showrunners bring him along when the QMA network cancels Hope and replaces it with Brand New You, a self-help reality show. When he meets the raven-haired beauty Abby Hastings, he suspects he knew her when the actor who plays him was a vampire on a long-defunct soap and she was his leading lady.

When the host of Brand New You turns up dead and drained of blood, Jonah becomes a prime suspect. Even worse, he begins to suspect himself. He’s been having black-outs, with long periods of time he can’t account for, and he’s developed a ravenous appetite for bloody red meat. Could Mark Westgate, the actor who plays him, be suffering from dissociative disorder, and could Jonah be just one of his several personas?

Hope Dawns Eternal is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions. To purchase personally autographed copies, contact Julie Lomoe at her website or contact her on Facebook or Instagram.

Information about the authors:

Brooklyn Ann:  Formerly an auto-mechanic, Brooklyn Ann thrives on writing romance, urban fantasy, and horror novels featuring unconventional heroines and heroes who adore them. Author of historical paranormal romance in her critically acclaimed “Scandals with Bite” series, urban fantasy in the cult favorite, “Brides of Prophecy” novels, rockstar romance in the award-winning, “Hearts of Metal” series, and horror in the “B Mine” series, horror romances riffing on the 1970s and 1980s B horror movies that feature a Final Couple instead of a Final Girl.

She lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with her gamer son, rockstar/IT Guy boyfriend, three cats, a few project cars, an extensive book collection, and miscellaneous horror memorabilia.

She can be found online at as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Mastodon, and Instagram.

For exclusive updates, sneak peeks, and giveaways, sign up for Brooklyn Ann’s Newsletter at

“Love For The Broken and Strange”

Author of regency vampire romance, urban fantasy, heavy metal romance, and horror romance. 

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Alison Armstrong: Alison Armstrong is the author of three literary horror novels (Revenance, Toxicosis) and Dark Visitations), a novella (Vigil and Other Writings), and a collection of writings addressing women and horror archetypes (Consorting with the Shadow: Phantasms and the Dark Side of Female Consciousness). Her work focuses on inner terror, stealthily lurking, solipsistic dread and nightmare flash epiphanies. Having obtained a Master of Arts in English, she has taught composition and literature at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI and Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. In addition to her novels and novella (available on Amazon), she has had writings published in The Sirens Call and two horror anthologies. Further information on her writings is available here:

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Deborah Sheldon: Deborah Sheldon is an award-winning author and editor from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum of horror, crime and noir. Her award-nominated titles include the novels Body Farm Z, Contrition and Devil Dragon; the novella Thylacines; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories and Liminal Spaces: Horror Stories. Her most recent works include the novel Cretaceous Canyon and the novella Redhead Town.

Deb’s collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Collected Work’ Award, was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, and longlisted for a Bram Stoker. Her short fiction has been widely published, shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows and Aurealis Awards, translated, and included in various ‘best of’ anthologies.

She has won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Edited Work’ Award twice: for Midnight Echo 14 and for the anthology she conceived and edited, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies. As a senior editor at IFWG Publishing, Deb specialises in horror anthologies. Upcoming in November 2024 is Deb’s Spawn 2: More Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies, sequel to the multi-award-winning and multi-award-nominated Spawn.

Deb’s other credits include TV scripts such as NEIGHBOURS, AUSTRALIA’S MOST WANTED and STATE CORONER; magazine feature articles; non-fiction books (Reed Books, Random House); stage plays; poetry; and award-winning medical writing. Visit Deb at

Julie Lomoe:  a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Barnard College, Julie received an MFA in painting from Columbia University in 1965. She lived in SoHo for many years, exhibiting at museums and galleries. She showed her paintings at the Woodstock Festival in 1969; the Museum at Bethel Woods recently purchased one of them for their permanent collection. In 1975 she married and had a daughter. Feeling the need for a more reliable income, she attended New York University and earned an M.A. in art therapy. In 1979 she moved with her family to upstate New York, where she became a creative arts therapist at the now-defunct Hudson River Psychiatric Center. Her experiences there inspired her to turn to fiction as a creative outlet.

Julie has published three novels of suspense, all available on Amazon: Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders; Eldercide; and Hope Dawns Eternal. Also a poet, she frequently performs at open mics throughout the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley. Her current project, Subdural, is a memoir focused on her mother’s death and her own near-death from a subdural hematoma. Both were occasioned by a fall, and alcohol was involved. The memoir explores the patterns of this familial heritage.

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Writings by Alison Armstrong