Monday, July 12, 2010

GRAFFITI WALL: Elizabeth Kolodziej, author of VAMPYRE KISSES

The GRAFFITI WALL has a treat with bite for you, today. We have Paranormal Splatter, Alleywalkers! Today's featured author is a woman with true fangs for vampires that claw the werewolf within us all. (You're curious. You know you are.) She specializes in literature, folklore, and the history of mythical creatures, and she's a believer in magic and the unexplainable.   

ELIZABETH KOLODZIEJ
Liz ^_^

You've compiled a massive database of information on vampires, werewolves, and mythical creatures in general. Tell us a little about that.

Well, I wouldn’t say that it is a database so much as a lot of books. I still have books that I read when I was ten or eleven. Truthfully it is really difficult to find books that give really good information on the history of vampires, werewolves, and witches. The most difficult being werewolves even though stories of werewolves date back further than those of vampires.

What really made it tricky was to find books that had more then just folklore stories. I loved knowing the stories but I wanted to know the, lets say, mechanics of the creature. For example I began looking into psychic vampires and a great book I found goes into things like the cycles, origins, levels of need, etc. With this type of information I find it a lot easier to get inspired and come up with characters I think are unique.

What motivated you to research?

I am not exactly sure if any one thing motivated me to do research. A big factor was that it fascinated me and when something fascinates me I want to know everything I can about the subject.

I began reading about the “super natural” when I was very little. I grew up with my mother, Linda Kolodziej, who was into vampire books, her favorite author being Anne Rice. I think it was because of this that I began my journey into reading about mythical animals and places.

It just began with reading fiction (fantasy) novels, one of my earliest selections being a series by Tamora Pierce. Soon I wanted to know the history of these beings in the world. Little by little I began reading books that would tell me where the stories of vampires, werewolves, and witches came from. It really interested me to know the difference in certain countries. Everyone seemed to have a different take on a vampire or werewolf and that really made me want to know more.

It was like studying a textbook for me. My test coming much later when I started my blog and I decided I wanted to share what information I found with whoever was interested in it.

How did you start writing?

My earliest recollection of writing was when I was I believe six or seven. I actually started by writing research papers on whales. I had a really big thing for whales when I was little. I’m not actually sure I can pin point when I started writing fantasy. I think it started from watching movies like “The Last Unicorn” or “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” (the original). I would put my self into the role of the hero and fantasize about how the story would go. From that came wanting to put it on paper to show to others.

One early recollection was when I first moved to Delaware from California. I was around 12 or 13 and it was our first house with a basement. I remember telling my mom that I had an idea for a story about a monster being hidden in the basement next door. Then I wrote it out and my mom just loved it. From there I began writing more short stories, poetry, and at when I was around 14 I began my first book. I never finished it though even though it was very close to having an ending.

You must be thrilled with the release of your debut novel, VAMPYRE KISSES. What makes this story different and unique?

In my opinion there are a lot of little things in the story that all come together to make it truly unique. However, I will name just a few since I don’t want to give away too much of the book.
What I think makes it a little different is the shift of perspective in each chapter. One chapter is from Faith’s view while the next is from Trent’s and I switch back and forth like that through the whole book. It really lets you see what the two main characters are really thinking.

Besides that, I have a real love for witches. I actually began writing more about girls with magical powers than I did about vampires. Because of this I studied lots of different types of witchcraft, shamanism being my favorite. From my love and knowledge of this I incorporated not only vampires and werewolves, but also witches into my story, witch is a little different from the typical vampire romance story.

Also, I think my main character, Faith, really makes it unique. Even though she shows signs of being self-conscious and a little naïve at times she is a really strong female. She doesn’t always need Trent to save the day and rescue her.

Finally, I think a lot of what makes this book unique is the mixture of true folklore with my own spin along with true facts. My imagination is pretty creative sometimes and I introduce a lot of new features to vampires, witches, and werewolves in my story along with letting the original stories have their place. For example, vampires cannot be out in the sun, but, for the first 10 years after being made a vampire they can walk under the sun, slowly the sunlight repelling them more and more as the years go by. Also, I have entangled true scientific facts to explain how vampires are alive but dead. Even though the mathematics of science is so confusing to me the actual scientific facts are so interesting. My favorite being astronomy.

Series? What do you have planned? Share, please....

Oh boy! Trust me when I say there is more to come! I have actually already started writing the sequel. I have decided to write the second book with a more werewolf story line in mind. There is going to be major developments with Zou Tai including an extensive back-story. But don’t worry Faith and Trent still plays the main roles. I am actually introducing a whole new type of vampire into the mix as well. There is also going to be a huge surprise ending. From that ending I already have an idea for the third book.

In VAMPYRE KISSES, you've drawn upon true folklore facts and mingled them with your fresh ideas. What folklores interested you most?

This is such a difficult question! I have studied so many different countries and types of creatures but for some reason I always go back to the Japanese culture. Folklore from Japan is so distinctive and appealing. They really have so many different kinds of demons and their love for their ancestors is so touching. It is really different from any other type of folklore I read.

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.

This is a fun question. I always say that I don’t make up the story so much as my characters tell me the story and I just write it down. Trent is not the typical brooding vampire that wishes he could be human again. Trent more misses certain aspects of being human like having strong feelings of love. He is a vampire that misses compassion and companionship. Though he has his maker, Colin, with him he wants to feel what love is again. What I think is so fun about Trent is that he has a good loving side to him but he is super protective of Faith. He even has his jealous moments in the book. Though he wants to protect Faith he realizes that he has to let her do things on her own too. This really strengthens their relationship.

When it comes to Faith I think through out the book she really comes into herself. You see her start out has a little weak minded and soon become a strong-minded decisive individual. I think Faith is also very relatable. She goes through the motions like most people do and when she is hurt she cries like a normal 23 years old woman does, but she’s not annoying about it.

So, are you a vampire girl or wolf girl?

LOL! I love this question. If I must be truthful, though, I am more of a witch girl but if I had to choose I would say I am a vampire girl. I think it is the way vampires are romanticized. I am a helpless romantic at heart.

I wanted to talk about the quiz on your blog. What a great idea and educational, too. What were your favorite questions?

I came up with this idea as a way to get people involved. I really loved all of the questions but my favorites were “who wrote the first vampire story?” and “what historical figure is the Dracula legend based on?” I think these were my favorites because of my whole love of knowing the history and origins of vampires. Sadly, the trivia contest ended a few days ago. BUT! There is another contest soon to come. I really love doing contests like these and getting people involved with the blog.

How has your life changed since the book was published?

Well I am no Stephanie Meyer yet but my life as become a little more exciting in its own way. I have people coming to me wanting to do reviews of my book, my first review being up on vampires.com right now. I began getting offers from book clubs to come and talk about my book and I even have an Internet radio station wanting to interview me. I am actually taken aback from the whole thing. Every time something comes up I get really excited and have to tell all my friends.

What is really different is people wanting my autograph and coming to me and telling me how much they love my book. I guess I knew I loved my book but I didn’t realize just how many other people would really get into the characters and the story. People contact me through my blog or on Facebook and talk to me about my writing style or how they loved this and that about the book. It is an extremely surreal experience.

If you're only allowed one, what would be the one piece of advice you'd like to pass on to your fellow writers?

The main reason I wanted to publish my book was because I wanted to inspire others. I have come across so many writers and musicians that have inspired me to write and I want to do that same thing for other writers. Because of this my main piece of advice I can give other writers is to grasp every opportunity you are given and keep going strong. If you think your story is good then keep going with it. There were so many times that I got writers block but because I surround myself with supportive friend I find that I have terrific cheerleaders in every one of them and they keep me going forward.

And just for fun, dear Alleywalkers, (Oh, how I love Thee) try this QUIZ I found online. Give me your results in the comments.

Elizabeth can be found on her site, VAMPYRE KISSES. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and purchase VAMPYRE KISSES at STRATEGIC Publishing Group, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

SPLAT ALERT!! Want to win a query critique from my agent, Gina Pannetieri!Enter to WIN over on Oasis for YA!!

11 comments:

  1. This is an awesome interview! And that sounds like a really great book! Put it on the list of "to reads". Sigh, I'll never get through them all. lol

    ~JD

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  2. Boy, I must be stalking Justine Dell this morning. I'm always right after her comments. ;)

    Great interview. I love research and myths. My last book (which was shelved) involved a infrequently used myth in fiction that I plan to use in a future book. The idea was put on hold while I work on my YA romantic suspense novels. But I'm sure I'll sit down before the year is out and start preplanning the book.

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  3. AWesome interview! I have heard a lot of recent buzz about this book, so now my interest in it is really piqued!

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  4. The books sounds great! I love the POV switching. It's great that Elizabeth has such a passion for the paranormal and is fortunate to write and pursue it further. Thanks for this post and thanks for kind words over at our blog today :)

    Marissa

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  5. Sweet interview. I tried to do the quiz but was interrupted by the child...

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  6. So much cool stuff here! I'm glad someone likes to do research. I avoid it at all costs. Well, almost all.

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  7. Very cool! I like how much research and real folklore went into the book.

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  8. The quiz freaked on me, so I couldn't finish it. But I love the library full of "research". :)

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  9. Super awesome interview! I think research is so hard. Way to go! Can't wait to read the book!

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  10. Great interview Sheri! I hadn't heard of 'Vampire Kisses' but I admire all the effort in REAL research Elizabeth put in. It's easy to just make up something new but I like it oldschool so thanks! i'll be looking into this!

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  11. Writing to inspire others is a worthy goal. Nice work with the Q & A.

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