Today, I welcome author Patricia K. McCarthy to my blog. Her latest vampire book, The Crimson Dream, was released yesterday.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was happily writing erotic poetry when I got bitten by the vampire short story bug that led to a full-fledged novel that became a series. In the last ten years I’ve discovered much about myself, most notably that it’s very thirsty work being a vampire novelist. My publicist and I speak regularly during and after a novel launch and he usually poses the same question: Why do we write? I answer the same: Because writers are masochists. Giving birth to a new novel is painful yet ultimately rewarding. By the time I start a new novel I’ve put so much emotional distance between myself and the last one that I’ve forgotten just how painful it’s going to be. I can’t seem to stop.
What or who inspired you to start writing?
Early on, I started telling wonderful lies to my kindergarten teacher. Soon after, I found a manual typewriter at my parents’ friend’s house and hid in the basement crafting stories. I believe I inherited the desire to create fantastic stories from my paternal grandmother, Gertrude McCarthy, who in her day wrote limericks and played piano for silent pictures; she had (8) children and was married to a Judge in Newfoundland. I can’t recall a period in my life when the need to write hasn’t be present.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Yes indeedie… I have already started novel seven with a working title (a secret for now); it’s a hybrid cross between High Fantasy and Urban Paranormal. There are tentacles in the new novel that connect to the characters in my Crimson Vampire Series. When one of my novels is in the process of its first edit (or hacking depending on your perspective), I begin the next novel. So when I finally release a novel and then return to writing the new one, I have already penned a few chapters to give myself an emotional uplift, sort of a springboard to confidence. After having written three poetry collections, and six novels, not to mention numerous short stories in between books, I know full well I have a long road of work ahead of me. Each new novel seems harder than the previous and having those initial chapters in the can is just the kind of booster needed to forge ahead.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work full-time as a mild-mannered assistant to the Office Managing Partner for a global financial services company (KPMG), which is incredibly demanding. During my lunch hour I utilize the time to review new material I wrote the night before (this allows me time to shape my work) and then in the evenings I sit down to write more, at least a page or at the very least several paragraphs. It’s important for writers to keep pushing, regardless if their emotional assessment of their work is less than flattering. Let’s face it, the first draft is what I call ‘primordial ooze’. Once it receives stage one of principal editing, it becomes what I call ‘a pile of excrement’. Then the shaping process continues, i.e. principal editing (minimum 3 passes), copy editing (minimum 2 passes), and finally with proof-reading (minimum two proof-readers).
Please tell us about your current release.
The Crimson Dream (a vampire escape) weaves the fine silk strands of the previous five installments into a tapestry of twists and turns. Samuel Crimson, the protagonist, is drugged, tortured and half-starved, left to languish in Ottawa’s old jail. He’s kept apart from the woman he loves, Magdalene and their boy, baby Finn, both of whom are hiding out with Auntie and her many mugs of dark rum. Then time takes a reverse turn, back to the days of Ottawa’s past in the 1900s. Sir William Simon Hennessy (the one and only vampire on earth) seduces the upper class ladies with the aplomb of a gentleman. He unleashes his vampire lust and orchestrates a life-altering night for his prized hybrid son, Samuel. In returning to present-day Ottawa, an ingenious escape is somehow carried out by David Three Rats and the Coffey boys. Spoiler Alert: the novel is a parallel prison escape; one set in Ottawa in the year 1900; it unfolds like poetry and the other escape occurs in present day Ottawa but its execution is anything but poetic.
What inspired you to write this book?
Novel five inspired me. I had left my characters hanging in the fifth installment and to not have finished off the story would have been cruel, otherwise Crimson fans would be chasing me down the street right now.
How did you come up with the title?
A dream inspired one element of my series wherein a praying mantis is the dream merchant for each character who test-drives a precious set of gem stones that allow time-travel to the past or future; hence I settled on the title The Crimson Dream (a vampire escape). Each preceding novel title begins with the prefix The Crimson.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Good heavens yes – I am a devil sponge and if you are a family member (or a dear friend) you just might end up being one of my characters. One friend was specific in her wish; she consented to be used providing I made her taller. I do formally apologize, however, if your character is killed off. Let me assure you it’s not personal; it’s just the business of fiction.
Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
Two black moments occur in The Crimson Dream; the first is Samuel being confined and tortured (although not as gruesome as many movies of today) and the second is the killing of innocent characters. I hate to mete out injustice to a character but sometimes in order to kill off a character you first have to demonize them.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I’m so glad you asked! My writing office is my bedroom. Where else would an author of vampire novels (with a dash of erotica) work? My drafts are pulled together in my bedroom, in an apartment in Sandy Hill, one of Ottawa’s oldest neighborhoods – a quaint place known not surprisingly for its hilliness and manicured curbs and pruned trees, embassies and serene streets. Its history links to the days of the lumber barons. My novels are set entirely in Ottawa with much of the action taking place in Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill. The computer monitor and keyboard sit atop an antique sewing table. When I write, one foot rests on the treadle and the other is raised with toes curled on its sturdy, wrought iron back bar. It’s an old table with a stressed wooden top, re-stained and damaged over the years with the claw marks of two cats who eagerly watched over me; both have since passed on. The table was given to me by my mother. I bugged her for years to get it, expressing umpteen times how much I loved it, never realizing what it would eventually come to mean to me, the perfect writing desk.
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
Rye crisp bread with cream cheese spread liberally across and topped off with raspberry jam (it really is delicious).
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
I’m a regular donor to the Canadian Blood Services in Ottawa. Whenever I’m lying on a stretcher, as the blood is being pumped from my vein, I cannot resist the chance to hand out my business cards for my Crimson Vampire Series. Doing this usually breaks up the attending nurses. I also love making new fans who have yet to read one of my novels (and who just don’t know it yet that they’re going to love my series for its quirkiness and inventive writing style).
Drugged, confined and half-starved, Samuel Crimson languishes in the old Ottawa jail, kept apart from the woman he loves. Magdalene and baby Finn are hiding out with Auntie and her many mugs of dark rum. When time takes a reverse turn, back to the days of Ottawa’s past in the 1900s, Sir William seduces the upper class ladies with the aplomb of a gentleman. He unleashes his vampire lust and then orchestrates a life-altering night for his prized hybrid son. And in returning to present-day Ottawa, an ingenious escape is somehow carried out by David Three Rats and the Coffey boys – if only they can remain focused they’ll do anything for their dearest friend. In the end the real truth will be learned – who lives and who dies, who dreams and who hides.
About the Author
Patricia K McCarthy is the Canadian author of the wildly imaginative Crimson vampire series, consisting of six novels: The Crimson Man, The Crimson Boy, The Crimson Woman, The Crimson Time, The Crimson Crimes and the sixth in her series, The Crimson Dream was released October 2, 2014. Each novel is set in the city of Ottawa and can be devoured as a standalone story, read in sequential order, or consumed in whatever order your heart desires. Patricia has also authored three collections of poetry, as well as short stories. Her work has appeared in publications in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. Her Crimson vampire series has been described as sensual, romantic thrillers with mature language. You have likely not encountered vampire novels as unpredictable as my Crimson series.
You can find out more about Patricia on her website.