Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Post with Derek Clendening

Spellbound By Books would like to welcome Derek Clendening, author of The Vampire Way to the blog today!  

Ever hear writers tell stories about how it took them ten years to write a novel? Well, The Vampire Way took nine. The sequel, Blood Promise, took four months. Big difference, huh? So, if one took me so long, why should the sequel be so darn easy?

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.

To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment form below. 
You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. 
E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.


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