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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Interview Nathan Squiers

*The lights focus on two people sitting on a stage. The audience cheers as a theme to Phantom of the Opera plays. There is a table decorated with a crystal ball, a pair of vampire fangs, and a stake. *

Hi, Nathan. Welcome to Trip the Eclipse.  First of all could you tell us a little about your novels?

*Looks around for a moment, digging on the scene and absently teasing one of his lip rings before smirking over at you* Dig the scene! *sits forward* My novels... my novels... *clucks tongue* Well, I suppose it all funnels from the Crimson Shadow series. I started the first book--though it was never planned to become what it did--about 12 years ago, and while that story was coming into being I began to create a world of supernatural creatures; featuring various species of vampires, a new approach on werewolves/shapeshifters (called "therions"), elves, and other such monsters all set in the here-and-now Earth. A lot of these were modified from pre-existing legends that I'd come across in my research, but I like to think that all the different species--called "mythos"--are unique in some way or another. Nearly nine years ago I started dating Megan J. Parker (a fellow author and my future wife), and we began to combine our efforts in creating and polishing the details of the mythos universe. Since then, everything--novels, short stories, and even comic book, television, and movie scripts we've written--have been set in this universe.

My first series, the Crimson Shadow series focuses on the young tortured vampire, Xander Stryker, and his journey into the world of mythos as a "bounty hunter" (for lack of a better word) while he tries to juggle the chaos of his new life and a growing romance with his childhood friend and powerful witch, Estella Esash.

*Pauses to listen to the music for a moment, smiling* My other series--the "Death Metal" books--centers on an up-and-coming heavy metal band whose lead-singer, Bekka, is possessed by a slew of auras/"demons" that have escaped persecution from the mythos universe equivalent of the afterlife. While these entities mean Bekka no harm--they're just looking for a safe place to stay, you see--the "other side" isn't happy about losing their own, and they begin sending their own over to Earth in an attempt to retrieve them. Fortunately for Bekka, her new "friends" make her very hard to catch and even harder to kill, and her bandmates aren't exactly useless either. With a therion lead-guitarist, a magic-using bassist, a vampire drummer, and an all-too-human-but-angry-as-hell rhythm guitarist, Bekka's far from being on her own.

Congratulations of your future marriage. I always enjoy hearing about two writers who collaborate on projects. so, tell me, have there been any differences in opinion on how you want mythos to work or how you want a story to go?

Many thanks for the congratulations ^_^

As for our collaborations and any conflicts of opinion therein, there haven't really been any, actually. The mythology element of our work is stemmed from mutual research, so if we're delving into the traits/abilities of various vampires from different cultures we tend to combine over choosing one element over the other.

For example, we were researching European vampire lore at one time (a great deal of focus was in Romanian mythology, but we were dabbling across the board) and we came across two different myths that we both felt quite partial to. When all was said and done, we had a series of combined traits that included a "powerhouse" vampire that killed for sheer pleasure, was strong enough to hurl grown men to the tops of the tallest trees to impale them on branches or break through the sides of buildings, being capable of shape-shifting on a near-limitless basis, having two hearts that BOTH needed to be destroyed to successfully kill it, and control of the weather and eclipses/lunar cycles. Rather than arguing over which of these legends sounded more appropriate, we began to look for where the traits overlapped and built a foundation on the similarities--strength, brutality, narcissism, etc--and chose what we felt would make this creature what we needed it to be. Because our mythology is set in the "real" world, taking into account the theories of physics and anatomy and whatnot that we're accustomed to, we tweaked certain elements to not contradict the boundaries that we'd set and, lo and behold, created one of the vampire sub-species: the varcol; a shapeshifting breed of "perfect" life-feeder (able to spontaneously sprout wings or modify either its whole body or certain sections--claws, feet, eyes, etc--to achieve a desired effect--that is incredibly difficult to kill (even by mythos standards) and has heightened speed, reflexes, and strength as well as 4-to-5 times the psychic/telekinetic impact of a standard auric (psychic) vampire.

In many ways all of our creatures have come about in some way or another. In other cases, one of us might turn to the other and say "You know what would be REALLY cool..." and then we move on to figure out how to make an idea work.

When it comes to our stories, however, there are certainly moments when our varying interests make us want to do our own thing, but, on those occasions, that's exactly what we do. Though they're all set in the same universe, Crimson Shadow and Death Metal are my own personal pieces, where the Scarlet Night series as well as some future titles that are in the works are totally Meg's. We DO have the upcoming "Shattered" trilogy, a YA series set in the mythos world, that will be a joint effort, but not all stories that exist in the mythos universe are a combined effort.

That's fascinating. I'm pretty interested in the mythology of creatures in different cultures as well. Vampires are one of my favorites. So how many sub species of vampires have you created? And how many have come into play in your novels so far?

In a lot of ways the vampires in the mythos universe can be viewed as "forked off" from a single source (sort of an evolutionary split). The concept being that, originally, there was one species of vampire--one that could feed on both blood and psychic energy--but, as tribes/packs split and migrated to different areas that forced a strict set of feeding habits (either densely populated civilizations that wouldn't allow for public assault/feeding and forced those vampires to rely solely on feeding off of psychic energy or nearly uninhabited areas that forced the vampires to rely on speed and reflexes to find a blood source. Because these conditions eliminated the need to use one or the other of their inherent abilities, future generations eventually lost the abilities and traits that had become unnecessary.

Those that didn't need their speed, reflexes, or fangs became stronger at siphoning psychic energy and became auric vampires (a species of vampire that has bonded with their aura and is able to use it as an invisible limb that can both manipulate their environment and enter/feed from the mind of prey). Those that didn't need their inherent magic/auric control became less in tune with both while their strength, speed, and fangs became better equipped to track, hunt, and feed off of blood and became known as sangsuigas ('sang-" being the Latin root word for "blood"), otherwise known within the mythos community as "sangs". So already we have two distinct species of vampire, but, within the sangsuiga species, there's three SUBspecies: pure bloods (those born as sangs; having fully-developed & hollow fangs that contain the neurotoxins and, more importantly, the mutagen that allows them to turn humans into vampires when they're bitten), the second generations ("mades") who were turned BY a pure-blood (their fangs are not hollow and the mutagen produced by their bodies isn't potent enough to change their prey properly), and the third-generation ("freaks")--the result of a not-too-bright second generation that DOESN'T destroy the body of their prey after feeding--which are insatiable, incoherent and unintelligible beasts with all the speed and strength of a sang and all the uncontrollable savagery that's recognized in mainstream zombie fiction.

There are also cases of "perfect" vampires: those who are, like the original sources, a hybrid of the two inherent types; able to feed on both blood AND psychic energy and having all the abilities and traits associated with them (Xander Stryker is one such example, but his origins are... unconventional).

On the other side of the spectrum are the varcol, which are basically the result of the original vampires evolving to favor ALL of their strengths and intensifying those abilities ten-fold.

In the books so far I've really only touched down upon the varying levels of sangs and aurics (varcols are, due to their immense strength and power, not exactly interested in being part of the mythos community and tend to do their own thing where/when they please ~ stay tuned to see how that turns out   lol).

So, as you can see, there are TECHNICALLY four direct "species"--sang, auric, perfect, & varcol--but there's so many cases of hybrids and sub-species (not to mention the capacity for inter-species breeding with OTHER mythos types--vamp/therion, vamp/anapriek, vamp/nejin, vamp/wachuke, etc--that there's no true set number of "types".

That sounds like a lot of vampires *laughs* So, are there any famous vampire hunters in your world?

*chuckles and nods* I guess you can say that. There's definitely hunters; both mythos warriors who uphold the laws of their people and hunt rogues who threaten their global safety and, of course, humans who have their various reasons for waging war on the mythos community. The level of their "fame" is disputable, though *shrugs* I mean, any human hunter(s) that try to gain any sort of recognition in their exploits would ascend to the top of the mythos Council's public enemy list fast enough that they wouldn't see their first interview (secrecy is one of the biggest platforms on which their laws are established upon), and a mythos hunter is either acting on behalf of The Council (and is about as famous as any police officer or soldier is to us) OR they're acting out AGAINST Council law, in which case they're INfamous and, like the human hunters, won't last too long.

Xander Stryker, because of his late father's efforts in establishing structure and laws within their community, is something of a "celebrity" in his own rights (imagine if a late and beloved president's son suddenly appeared on the grid after 18 years), but he's not exactly interested in fame. In this case, however, "fame" is a double-sided axe, as there's a great number of mythos rogues across the globe just as interested in slaughtering him as fawning over him.

Fame, it appears, is a jagged mistress in the mythos universe *laughs*

Your world sounds creepy and dangerous. I look forward to delving into it. Thanks for stopping by and talking to us.
Everyone, be sure to pick up Nathan's books.

*Says is a fake Romanian accent* I bid you all goodnight.

*The audience cheers and the lights fade away*

Be sure the check out Nathan’s work on Amazon HERE and on SmashWords HERE. Visit his webpage at to learn more about Nathan. You can follow Nathan on Twitter @LitDark_Emperor.

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