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:Welcome Nancy!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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:
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
- They Thirst by Robert McCammon
- Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
- Any of Charlaine Harris’ vampire novels
SFG: If you could have lunch and conversation with any vampire fiction writer living or dead, who would it be and why?
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.
- Introduction by Nancy Kilpatrick
- Let the Night In by Sandra Kasturi
- Learning Curve by Kelley Armstrong
- Chrysalis by Ronald Hore
- Mother of Miscreants by Jennifer Greylyn
- Resonance by Mary E. Choo
- The New Forty by Rebecca Bradley
- Red Blues by Michael Skeet
- The Drinker by Victoria Fisher
- Sleepless in Calgary by Kevin Cockle
- Come to Me by Heather Clitheroe
- An Ember Amongst the Fallen by Colleen Anderson
- Mamma’s Boy by Sandra Wickham
- The Morning After by Claude Bolduc
- All You Can Eat, All the Time by Claude Lalumière
- Alia’s Angel by Rhea Rose
- When I’m Armouring My Belly by Gemma Files
- A Murder of Vampires by Bev Vincent
- The Greatest Trick by Steve Vernon
- Soulfinger by Rio Youers
- Bend to Beautiful by Bradley Somer
- Evolving by Natasha Beaulieu
- How Magnificent is the Universal Donor by Jerome Stueart
- The Sun Also Shines On the Wicked by Kevin Nunn
- Quid Pro Quo by Tanya Huff
- One copy of Evolve to giveaway.
- Leave a comment or question for Nancy
- Open to US and Canada.
- Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
- Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
- Giveaway open until Midnight, March 15, 2010 EST.