Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest Author/Editor - Nancy Kilpatrick (Interview & Giveaway for the Evolve Anthology)

The anthology Evolve:Vampire Stories of the New Undead has just been released by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing and I have editor and author Nancy Kilpatrick here to tell us about this new exciting all-Canadian vampire anthology. Among the 23 original stories (and a poem) is a Women of the Otherworld story by Kelley Armstrong and a new Vicki Nelson/Blood Ties story by Tanya Huff.

Nancy Kilpatrick will be dropping by to answer questions about the anthology. She is also extremely well-versed in all things vampire so if you have an undead question go right ahead. Edge is also giving away a copy of the anthology to one lucky commenter (the usual Guidelines are listed at the end of the post).
About the Editor:
Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published eighteen novels, over one hundred and ninety short stories, five collections of stories, and has edited nine other anthologies. Much of her body of work involves vampires. Nancy writes dark fantasy, horror, mysteries and erotic horror, under her own name, her nom de plume Amarantha Knight, and her newest pen name Desirée Knight (Amarantha’s younger sister!) Besides writing novels and short stories, and editing anthologies, she has scripted four issues of VampErotic comics. As well, she’s penned radio scripts, a stage-play, and the non-fiction book The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined (St. Martin’s Press — October 2004).

Nancy won the Arthur Ellis Award for best mystery story, is a three times Bram Stoker finalist and a five times finalist for the Aurora Award.
Welcome Nancy!

SFG: In the Introduction to Evolve you say that the Evolve grew from seven stories originally submitted for the Tesseracts 13 anthology. Can you explain the role of editor and how you assembled the great collection of tales (and authors) for Evolve?

David Morrell and I co-edited Tesseracts Thirteen.  If you’re familiar with the Tesseracts series, you know it is always science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction.  For #13, the publisher decided that 13 being an auspicious number in terms of darkness, this should be a horror/dark fantasy edition. 

As David and I were compiling stories we both agreed on, we realized fairly quickly that conventional supernatural--as in monsters--wasn’t fitting easily into the whole that was evolving.  David doesn’t lean towards supernatural anyway, and although I felt there were some amazing vampire tales, he wasn’t so interested in those.  Consequently, we decided early on to not include supernatural creatures for the most part, or at least the commonly envisioned ones.

This left seven terrific vampire stories that I felt thoroughly awful about rejecting.   I told David I wanted to do a vampire antho using these stories as a base.  He wasn’t available to co-edit but gave me his blessing so I asked the publisher Edge SF&F and they agreed to let me edit Evolve.

Evolve was my concept and horror in general was new to Edge.  The publisher, bless his heart, gave me a lot of space to do the type of book I wanted to do.  Edge does have a mandate to include stories from across Canada so I found writers all over the place whose work I more or less knew already so I asked them for stories.  We wanted to launch Evolve at the March 2010 WHC in Brighton which meant I had to hustle to get the anthology compiled, edited, and in the hands of the publisher in short order.

SFG: Evolve has the tagline “Vampire stories of the New Undead” and you also refer to them as the New Vampire. Tell us more about the theme of “Evolve”.

I wanted the writers to explore the vampire we see today and take that undead being into the near future.  My idea was that the vampire has evolved since the first published stories and over the two plus centuries of literature (plus the mythology prior to that); the vampire has changed considerably.  What we see today in the Twilight books and films, the Sookie Stackhouse books and True Blood tv series, in The Vampire Diaries on television and the books they are based on, etc. etc., this is not only not the vampire Bram Stoker wrote about, but this is not even the vampire Anne Rice penned.

Something brings about a change in the vampire pretty well every generation and I wanted to see if we could figure out where bloodsuckers would go tomorrow.   What type of vampire will Generation Y see?

Not all of the contributors to Evolve had written vampire stories or novels before.  I did some work to get people up to speed on the history of the undead, and clued them into what is happening now.  I think the writers did an amazing job of stepping up to the plate on this one.

SFG: Evolve is an all-Canadian anthology of vampire fiction. From your broad experience of vampire literature is there something uniquely Canadian about these stories, other than the geography of the authors?

What strikes me as unique about these stories is that they are strong on plot and characterization.  Many of the stories have almost a literary quality.  This, you might think, would not be exceptional, but it is.  A lot of vampire fiction has been written.  I know.  I’ve collected vampire books for about 30 years and have close to 2000 titles in my library, mostly fiction.  Only a handful present exquisite writing, tight plots, vivid characters.

In Evolve, the stories are set all over the world.  Japan, the Middle East, the US south...  You’ll find a real assortment of vampires as well.  But the one thing they all have in common is that the vampire is moved along, and that’s what I wanted, what I knew Canadian writers were capable of achieving.

SFG: Evolve is also available in a very special edition. Can you give us some details?

When I first pitched Evolve, I suggested a limited edition trade paperback, signed by all the authors.  The publisher liked that idea and they began to like it even more and soon grew quite excited about Evolve.  He decided to do both a signed and an unsigned trade paperback edition.  The signed-by-all contributors is limited to 300 copies and only available on the website.  The unsigned is in stores.  Somewhere along the way he asked me what I thought of the idea of a special edition packaged in a coffin.  I thought that would be fun.  He has a friend who does woodwork who made 50 coffins to package what became hardcover editions.  There are 50 signed, wrapped in silk, coffined hardcover books.  There are another 50 unsigned hardcover books.  These, too, are only available on the website, which is:

SFG: You wear both a metaphoric editors and author hat. Tell us about Nancy Kilpatrick the editor and Nancy Kilpatrick the author.

Can your spell check detect bi-polar?  In truth, though, I don’t find these two jobs at odds, although they do require different parts of the brain and different work habits.  I like doing both.  Editing is fun because I get a chance to relax and read and assess work with an overview theme in mind.  Writing is also fun because I get to play and be creative and see where I end up.

I’m someone who likes doing a lot of different things anyway.  I’ve always been like this, and I will get bored quickly if I have to do the same think over and over again, or for too long.  I write both short stories and novels and also non-fiction.  I’ve co-written a stage play.  And radio scripts. I’ve written comic books.  I’ve edited books and a CD-ROM.   I teach writing courses and have edited novels and non-fiction books privately.  I’ve ghost-written four non-fiction books.  I even used to write ad copy years ago.  Essentially, I’ll try anything because I’m curious and I like to be challenged.  That’s why I wrote those two Jason X novels, to see if I could do science fiction mixed with horror well.   I’m the perfect person to approach with an innovative project because that’s what I like, what hasn’t been done before.

SFG: You are a connoisseur of vampire fiction. What novel or story would you most like to see developed into a movie that has never been done before?

My own books!  Actually, Near Death has been optioned twice.  And gee, the rights are available again!  Anybody out there?

One of my favourite stories is by Tanith Lee, “Fleur de Feu or Bite Me Not”.  There’s a real metaphoric quality to this mythological tale of a vampire species that treats humans as prey, until one of them takes a human as a pet and develops feelings for that human.  It’s a delicate and sweet story and so visual that I’m surprised someone hasn’t snagged it as the basis for a film.

SFG: The cover art for Evolve is fantastic and has an interesting history and connection. Please tell us about that.

It is amazing artwork.  It came about in this way.  The publisher, not having done vampires or horror before, came up with some images that were not right for this book as I envisioned it, and I told him that.  He asked what images I thought would work and I scoured the net for covers that seemed interesting to me and presented them as the types of covers we should be thinking about for Evolve  One of the images came from the website of Tanith Lee.  I assumed it was a book cover.  Both the publisher and I liked this image so I emailed Tanith--who I’d met through Outsiders, an anthology co-edited by Nancy Holder and myself--to find out who the artist was to see what else he/she had.  The artist turned out to be John Kaiine, Tanith’s partner, and that image was not a book cover but one he’d created that was inspired by Tanith, which he put on her site.  John was great.  He sent a whole pile of images for us to consider and ultimately we settled on that one.   I think it’s a delightful reflection of vampirism that works with the stories in Evolve.

SFG: Will there be an Evolve 2 or similar project, perhaps a Canadian Urban Fantasy anthology?

I’m in discussion with the publisher about another vampire anthology.  I don’t want to say too much about it right now.

SFG: You have worked on a number of projects with Edge Publishing. Can you tell us more about the experience and about this unique Canadian Publisher?

I’ve edited two anthologies for Edge SF & F, Tesseracts Thirteen and Evolve.  I’ve found both a delightful experience.    One of my short stories “Our Lady of the Snows” was published in Tesseracts Nine, so I knew about the publisher.   But I rarely write fantasy and even more rarely science fiction so it never occurred to me that I’d be working with Edge in any other capacity but for the odd Tesseracts story.

Every year at Con*Cept, which is Montreal’s genre convention, I would see this cheerful and friendly woman in the dealers’ room selling SF and F books published by Edge.  Her name is Anita and we would chat every year.  I liked her quite a bit and didn’t realize for a long while that she was married to Brian, the publisher at Edge.   Each year, I lamented that Edge didn’t publish horror and even suggested a kind of supernatural series to her and she said she’d pass the idea on, but I heard nothing.

One day, out of the blue, Brian Hades contacted me about Tesseracts Thirteen.  He really felt that he wanted to do something different for #13 and that the number lent itself to horror and he said I was the perfect person to edit such a book and that he’d been waiting for something to come up which he felt I was right for.  Most Tesseracts have two editors because these are open anthologies and the submissions are usually in the range of 200, which is a lot of reading for one person.  He asked me if I had a co-editor in mind.  I thought about it quite a bit, who had already edited a Tesseracts anthology, who was well-known enough to help this aberrant edition in the series sell, and who I would enjoy working with. 

I’d had some contact with David Morrell over the years and heard him say at one convention that he was born in Canada.  I emailed him to ask if he’d be interested in editing the book with me and he thought it was a smashing idea.

Fortunately, our tastes are similar, but for the supernatural element.  We shortlisted stories and met in person, talked on the phone and emailed quite a bit, finally narrowing it down to stories we both agreed on.  Then we negotiated for stories one of us loved and the other just liked.  Finally, we settled on 23 stories.  We also decided to not include any poetry, which Tesseracts anthologies usually do.  The reason was that we couldn’t see anything that fit with the stories and, after agonizing a while, we came to the brilliant conclusion to not put any in, much to our mutual relief.

Ultimately, as I said above, the seven vampire stories found their way into another anthology.  It’s been my real pleasure working with Brian and for Edge.  I’ve rarely had a publisher that has been so supportive and amiable and ready to take risks like Brian Hades.  Edge has also done some amazing publicity through their PR genius Janice.   And all this came about through Brian’s lovely wife, Anita.  Anyone fortunate enough to work with Edge will have a wonderful experience, that’s for sure.

SFG: I can’t think of anyone better to ask for recommendations for vampire fiction. What would you consider to be the top 5 essential vampire books?

You’d do better to ask me the top 100 vampire books! If you want to get a good overview of vampires in general:
  1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  2. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  3. They Thirst by Robert McCammon
  4. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  5. Any of Charlaine Harris’ vampire novels
These five will give you varying perspectives on the vampire, old and newer, and a range of styles.  Of course there are tons of other worthy books.  One recent favourite, made into movies on two continents, is Let Me In (aka Let the Right One In). 

SFG: If you could have lunch and conversation with any vampire fiction writer living or dead, who would it be and why?

Probably Lord Byron.  He wrote the fragment that “The Vampyre” is based on.  That is the first short story in English.  The fragment was taken up by his physician John Polidore, turned into a full story and published.  Why Byron and not Polidore?  And why “The Vampyre”, which isn’t an amazing story, just the first?  Because that story of the callous and cruel vampire  Lord Ruthven is based on Byron.

SFG: What are your thoughts on the rising popularity of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction over the past decade?

It’s what’s happening, to be sure.  It’s selling and I think the reason is, much of this is horror lite.  People can read paranormal fiction, which is often detective paranormal or romance paranormal and frequently fine a vampire, or they can read urban fantasy which is reality based but takes off from Life As We Know It.  These are easy reads and fun reads and they are trendy at the moment.  Like all trends, they will wane.  As will the Twilight series.  And something else will come along to take the place of what’s popular today.  But I think vampires, for example, have a bit of life left in them, so to speak.  They show no sign of dying the true death so we can expect more.  And with Evolve as a kind of roadmap of what’s possible, the vampire can move into realms he/she has not previously inhabited.   Personally, I believe the vampire is eternal.

Follow the links below for contributing writers and their bios.


  1. One copy of Evolve to giveaway.
  2. Leave a comment or question for Nancy
  3. Open to US and Canada.
  4. Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
  5. Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
  6. Giveaway open until Midnight, March 15, 2010 EST.


  1. Wow..just wanted to say those coffin hard cover edition cases are so cool.

    vision.nguyen AT gmail DOT com

  2. Which do you like the best, the traditional monstrous killer vamp, or the newer, almost politically correct, (kind of watered down) vampire?

    Do you prefer your vampire fiction with humor or dark and gloomy?

  3. Nancy KilpatrickMarch 5, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    Thuy, thanks. I'm sure the publisher is ecstatic to hear that comment!

    Mardel, I honestly don't have much of a preference because I'm not really sliding the available undead into slots. Twilight, etc. is what it is and it has a place in the vast amount of vampire lit. As long as the vampire remains a predator of humans in some form, I'm good with that.

    Again, I like humorous vampires (see my story in Blood Lite "Bitches of the Night". But I'd say most of what I've written is gloomy. I've got a new vamp story in the anthology The Bitten Word, out this month, called "Traditions in Future Perfect" that probably defines a lot of the 'feel' of my short and long fiction. That book should be available on amazon any minute. There's also "The Vechi Barbat" in By Blood We Live, which you should be able to find just about everywhere, another of my grim tales. I tend towards gloom, I think, but am not above humor!

  4. Nancy KilpatrickMarch 5, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    Mardel, I forgot to mention another vamp story out now, "Vampire Anonymous" which is the traditional predator in a modern environment. That's in Vampires: Dracula and the Undead Legions.

    PLEASE NOTE, FOLKS: I WILL be back to answer questions but I'm out at appointments all day and may or may not have internet until this evening. I will certainly log on then.


  5. Great interview. I enjoy reading anthologies and getting to find new authors. And this one is all Canadian authors,which is great.

  6. elaing8, I'm so glad you like anthologies. Publishers ALWAYS say that 'anthologies don't sell' but I know that readers just love reading short fiction. And this book is special. It's the FIRST all-Canadian, all-vampire anthology. I'll be you'll discover quite a few authors you want to follow. For any stories you especially like, you can contact the author directly and let them know. Writers are isolated from readers and it's always appreciated when someone goes out of their way to say they like a story.

  7. speculative vampires, that's a very novel idea! I'm very interested in what the canadian authors come up with =)

    +1 tweet
    +1 sidebar


  8. This looks awesome, especially the the coffin shaped cases! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.


  9. The cover looks awesome and there are a lot of authors in here I've never read. This is definitely going on my wishlist.

    sgiden AT verizon DOT net

  10. I would love to win.
    Please enter me.

  11. Thanks for the interview, and the anthology! Sounds terrific -- i was especially excited to hear that there will be a new Tany Huff/Vicki tale. I've been reading the Blood series since it first came out in the early 90s -- probably marks the start of my interest in vampire fiction, now that I think about it!

    arhcadia AT yahoo DOT ca

  12. Hi Folks,

    Just a quick response until my return tonight.

    Tanya's Vicky story rocks!

    Yes, the cover is lovely, and the coffin unusual for an edition.

    Thanks for your kind comments and your enthusiasm.


  13. Have you always been intrigue by Vampires & how long have you been interested I know I got pulled in by Bela Lagosi & Christopher Lee many moons ago LOL Denise Vega

  14. Hi Nancy!
    I just wanted to say great interview. It is interesting to hear the perspective of an editor for a change. My question is, however, how do you feel about shifters (werewolves or any other animal)? Would you ever consider editing a shifter anthology?


    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  15. Hi Denise,

    Like you, I was a big Bela Lugosi fan and I ADORED Christopher Lee. I met him in 1998 (I think that was the year) when he had a reprint of his book Tall, Dark and Gruesome. He's an incredibly cultured man.

    One of the most horrific experiences of my life is when I went to one of those film retrospectives they have in most cities from time to time. This one on vampires. The room was packed. It was in the early 1990s. They showed Horror of Dracula, which effected me deeply, being in that pubescent stage of life. Would you believe people laughed! They thought it was funny! Made me feel ancient and shocked that my icon was diminished.

  16. Hi jmspettoli,

    I do love werewolves, always have. And shape shifters of a different ilk. I haven't written much in that realm at all but I'm intrigued enough and have read enough and seen plenty of movies that I would be up for the challenge of it. Sadly, werewolves don't get their due.

    There's a great BBC tv series called Being Human. A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment. It' terrific British humor. It had 4 episodes in season 1 and I think they are now up to #7 in season 2. Well worth searching out.

  17. Nancy,
    Near Death is my favorite vampire novel and has been for a very long time. Since you mentioned that the film rights have been optioned twice and are available again.. do you ever have idea's of who would be ideal in your mind to play your key characters? And if so, do you have any that would be ideal for this book that you wouldn't mind mentioning? I always find it interesting who authors envision for representing their work.


  18. Hi Sarah,

    I'm absolutely thrilled that Near Death is your favorite novel. Thank you for saying that. Do you like the other books in the series as well?

    When Near Death came out, I saw it as a movie. It's a visual book, for sure. At that time, 1993 when I sold it to Pocket Books, I envisioned Julian Sands. He was young, sexy and was, to me, the perfect David. As I said, the book has been optioned twice, Sands has aged and wouldn't work now, and I'm not sure who would be good for that role now. Any suggestions?

    As it turns out, Sands made a Japanese/UK vampire movie that I like quite a bit, Tale of a Vampire.

    I also love the movie Gothic; Sands is terrific as the poet Shelly.

  19. I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

  20. Hi, Nancy,

    I enjoyed the interview & the EVOLVE anthology sounds awesome!

    karenwitkowski At aol(dot)com

  21. Nancy KilpatrickMarch 5, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    Thanks tetewa and Karen. There are some great stories in Evolve. I don't think either of you will be disappointed in the book.

  22. I wanted to thank all of you for dropping by, asking questions, making comments and generally being so positive about Evolve. You can always check out the Evolve website for my information on the book, or my website for info on me.

    I'll check back in the morning to see if there are any late-night questions floating by.

    Thanks to Doug for having me. What a great host he is!

    And finally, good luck to everyone with the contest!

    Keep reading!

    Nancy Kilpatrick

  23. Thanks Nancy it has been a thrill having you as a guest and I hope you'll have an opportunity to visit again in some future event.

    Stay tuned for my review of Evolve which goes up Monday.

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. I enjoyed the interview very much. I just brought home Blood Lite, so I'll get a chance to check out Nancy's writing. I love anthologies because they give me stories by authors I love, plus new authors. I usually find several I love and then seek out more of their work.

  26. This looks like a very interesting book. Looking forward to reading it.

  27. Okay... so.. I took a Vampire Mythology class in college (that wasn't it's official title, of course, but that's what we learned). And can I just say that this book sounds very, very, very wonderful? I want to know what these authors predict the new vampires will be like. : )

    Thanks for the contest.

  28. And Tweeted:

  29. I just love the coffin, hard cover case.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  30. I love the Outsiders anthology that you edited, it was fabulous.

    The idea of the new vampire intrigues me. What criteria did you use to choose the stories? Did you have a vision of what a new vampire should be?

    I'm absolute ecstatic that this is an all Canadian book! I'm Canadian and love to see stories that are close to home.

    I have posted this to my livejournal and on my facebook.

    sleepingaurora at hotmail dot com


    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    How did you originally get interested in vampires? What was your inspiration for how you portray them?

  32. Nanci,
    Many thanks for editing such a fine anthology of vampire stories. Bev Vincent was adamant about his fans taking a look at it, and the book is indeed very special.

    I agree with you on how vampires should be viewed. My roommate and her daughter argue with me all the time about the Twilight series. They love the books. I tell them the books are unrealistic because vampires, if they actually existed, would be vicious creatures and us their food source.

    I'm also glad you mentioned Rick's book, They Thirst, as one of the best novels to read on changes in the vampire mythology. He often doesn't get the recognition he so richly deserves in the horror genre.

    Wayne C. Rogers

  33. Amazing interview. I would love to read this book.


  34. I enjoyed the interview; it was great. I love vampires and I'm sure I'll enjoy this anthology.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  35. Wow...looks like lots of great vamp stories, and I just can't get enough vamps. I love the coffin special edition book.


    +1 tweet -

  36. Hi Nancy,

    I really enjoyed the interview. I look forward to reading the EVOLVE anthology!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  37. Tweeted:

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  38. Wow, I always appreciate a new Tanya Huff story. And a kelley Armstrong to boot is not to shabby either :)

  39. Great interview! Thanks for sharing.

    Be sure to check out my new book as well!


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