Spellbound By Books would like to welcome Derek Clendening, author of The Vampire Way to the blog today!
To start, I first conceived the idea for The Vampire Way in the summer of 1999. I was 17 and would turn 18 that November. Part of the trouble is that I was an aspiring writer in the truest sense of the word. I hadn’t learned how to properly develop an idea, unfold a plot and characters etc. I don’t beat myself up over that though. It’s pretty forgivable.
Here’s how the original story went: Rick Thompson, an 18 year old high school senior, who is horror-obsessed and an aspiring writer, meets a pretty girl named Laura. Said pretty girl turns out to be a vampire and is behind a few killings. It’s okay to tell you about that. No spoilers there. The initial concept is nowhere close to the book it became. Laura was rewritten as a regular human girl in following drafts. Certain major characters and themes didn’t arrive until 2001 or later. The reason for that, I think, is because I had to make sense of some things that happened to me in the fall of 1999.
A friend I grew up with, whose father was best friends with my father growing up (it’s a small town guys, haha) succumbed to cancer on my 18th birthday. Another of our friends died in a car accident a few weeks later. I felt a type of survivor’s guilt because my friends were gone and I was lucky enough to be able to live my life. Those emotional aches and pains were incorporated into the book. My own quest to become a better person, in spite of the mistakes I may commit in the process, is thematically significant as Rick strives to become a better person.
In short, I needed the experiences that came later that fall, and the maturity that came in the following years to tell the story properly. I needed nearly a decade to make the story reach its full potential. Writing a sequel was easy because I knew the characters so well. Rick Thompson had become my best friend. I only hope that a reader can achieve the personal growth from the book as I did.
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E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.