Monday, September 28, 2009

Guest: Eric Wilson

NY Times Bestselling author, Eric Wilson answers a few questions for us today about his Jerusalem's Undead trilogy.  You'll find Eric's books in the Christian section of your local bookstore, and he's written a couple different series.  His current adventurous release, HAUNT OF JACKALS, features the vampires we love.

Q:  The Inspirational/Christian section of a bookstore may be the last place a reader might look for a vampire story. What inspired you to combine religious elements with vampire mythology? Do you feel the paranormal meshes well with Jewish and/or Christian theology?

EW:  Vampires seek to find unnatural life through blood, while Christ told His followers to find eternal life through His blood. What could be more interesting than to contrast the two, right? I'll leave it to readers to judge whether the mesh works well, but the response so far has been great.

Q:  Concealed Ones, Collectors, Nazarene, Nistarim, Those Who Resist. Just a few terms from the story, Haunt of Jackals. Your worldbuilding is vast and intricate. What sort of research did you do before setting the story to the page? Did you visit the locations where your story is set? Did you use religious and mythological terms or create some of your own? [Thinking of which, do you have a term list somewhere? In any of the books? On your website?]

EW:  Unfortunately, I don't have a lexicon anywhere online, but, yes, the worldbuilding was vast while setting up this series. Most of it was derived from a few intriguing passages of Scripture and my travels overseas, both in Romania and Israel. I've been to nearly every place you read about. I tried to avoid religious terms because they come with their own baggage. I wanted to build my own mythology here, instead of going over old ground.

Q:  The blood is truly the life in your stories. Yet some would wonder how blood-drinking meshes with the religious overtones in your stories. Good, evil, or otherwise?

EW:  The entire Christian faith is based on the idea of life being in the Nazarene Blood (the blood of Christ shed for sins). Instead of running from the gruesome aspects of that, I wanted to explore it. Plus, I think there's some very interesting scientific ideas of memory being encoded in DNA, thus making it possible for a vampire to look into someone's memories.

Q:  Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy, of which Haunt of Jackals is #2, is an interconnected set of novels. Do you feel the reader should start with book #1, Field of Blood and read them in order? Or can the reader understand the story if they started with #2 and then picked up the first later?

EW:  I would highly recommend reading Field of Blood first, because it sets up the characters and mythology. Some have jumped in at book two, Haunt of Jackals, and it is a faster-paced book, but I think you miss a lot this way. The rewards of getting through book one are worth it!

Q:  You’ve written other titles not in this series. Are any tied in any way to the Undead Trilogy?

EW:  My books Dark to Mortal Eyes and Expiration Date have overlapping timeframes, characters, and themes with this trilogy. My mysteries, The Best of Evil and A Shred of Truth, also have important historical elements that get overlapped in the trilogy. It's not necessary to read any of these first, but if you enjoy the Undead Trilogy, by all means go back and explore some of the other aspects in my earlier books.

Q:  Is it important to weave common themes throughout your stories? And what are those themes?

EW:  I don't believe it's important to weave common themes, though for me it's become part of the fun of this trilogy and the loosely related books. I love exploring historical mysteries, the paranormal realm, as well as the negative aspects of religion versus true understanding of the love and freedom Jesus taught.

Q:  You wrote a novelization for the movie Fireproof. What was that experience like? Did you write the book from a script? Would you like to do another novelization if asked?

EW:  I did write the novel based on the original screenplay by the Kendrick Brothers. I've actually done two others with them as well, called Facing the Giants and Flywheel. Although they are much "preachier" than any of my own original stories, I really liked the heart behind them, the care for people and characters. It's been a fun experience, despite all the horror stories you hear of such collaborations.

Q: Vampires are hot right now. You can’t turn on the TV, open a magazine, or walk past a bookstore shelf without seeing them. Do you think the fascination with vampires will remain or crash and burn? Do you have an interest in writing more vampires after your trilogy?

EW: I think, like anything, the interest will dissipate after a while then come back. Zombies are the new trend, but even those can become passe quickly. Bottom line, I don't aim to jump onto a trend, I aim to create new settings and character conflicts in whatever genre I write so that I can explore the human condition without being cliche. There will always be those who want to add teen romance to a new genre (ala Twilight), but I want to go deeper into the things that define us as humans and heroes on a daily basis--sticking by your children, doing the right thing even when no one is watching, and standing for your convictions no matter the price.

Here’s the same five quickie questions we ask every author:

Dark or Light? Dark
Historical or Modern? Modern w/ historical twists
Fav TV or Movie vamp? Kate Beckinsale, on good looks alone
Bagged or from the Neck? From the neck, thigh, or... anywhere that bleeds
Dead or Undead? Undead, or preferably, Jerusalem's Undead

Thanks for the chance to chat. The Nazarene Blood will prevail!

Thank you, Eric!  Please visit his website at:  And Friend him on Facebook (where you can get a look at his brand new tattoo).


RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great interview and thanks to Eric Wilson for sharing.
The books sound great and the covers are terrific.
All the best,

Lou Gagliardi said...

The Nazarene would has been the reason for many of the vampire myths we have today. To give one example:

In some myths, it takes 3 bites to be turned and 3 days/nights to come out of the grave, representing the trinity and the time it took for The Nazarene to come out of the grave respectively.

Nicole_Hadaway said...

Thanks, Lou, for explaining that 3 bites/3 nights mythology -- I always wondered about that!

I personally like vampires mixed with a religious mythology. Thanks, Mr. Wilson, for the interview and I plan on checking out some of your books!

Lou Gagliardi said...

well the first one, I admit, I was guessing on. More then likely its because the body couldn't survive the blood loss after just one bite.

There's alot of religion connections to the vampire then people give credit for. The reason for blood? More then likely it was Christ's "This is my blood" at the last supper. Silver for vampires and werewolves? Judas' thirty pieces. The wood for a stake? In many locales it was the same type of wood the Nazarene's cross was made of.

Michele Hauf said...

I didn't put this in the interview, but I just finished Haunt of Jackals, and highly recommend it! I'm off to get the first book now. And did I see on Eric's website that he may be planning more books in this series? Fingers crossed!

wilsonwriter said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, the third book in the trilogy is called "Valley of Bones" and will be out next April.

I love all the mythology, history, and scriptural references to this subject. Thanks for sharing, Lou. Of course, I had to expand upon the mythos with some of my own explorations of past mysteries. Hope you enjoy!

Lou Gagliardi said...

Of course, Eric. Vampires have been my (un)life. I've studied them since I was 12 or so.

And just leaving the church has also given me more time to study them.

wilsonwriter said...

Lou, I've left organized religion, though I still consider myself part of those who love the Nazarene and try to follow His ways.

I've found the coolest things about vampires and their foes by studying history and scripture.

To be truly alive, we first must die.

WK said...

Hi Eric,
What a great interview! I hope to be getting this book/series soon! I've read your work previously and I can honestly say people should find your books and read them. I think they'd be surprised, pleasantly so.


Anna Dougherty said...

What a truly fascinating concept. I have always enjoyed vampire tales that included historical and religious ideals. They add to the lore and backstory of characters. However, I would have never thought to look in the Christian section of the bookstore to find them! I guess I shouldn't limit myself to certain sections. Next time I'm at the store I will check for these books. Great interview. Thanks.

Lou Gagliardi said...

Amen to that, Eric. I still consider myself a follower of him (after all that's what Christian's literal translation would be), just so hard to be in this world anymore.

But vampires have always fascinated me; and I'm starting on werewolves now too.

wilsonwriter said...

Lou, I have some werewolf stuff (not much, but some) in the second Undead novel, "Haunt of Jackals." There's also an explanation for the D.B. Cooper mystery, if you're familiar with that.

Have fun reading, researching, and exploring life's mysteries.

susan said...

Thanks for having Eric visit and what a review..he stated some facts I never considered and was very impressed in what he said concerning the bible and vampires. I never compared both together..awesome. susan L.

Daelith said...

Thank you for this interview. I will definitely be looking for the first book of the vampire series. Nice to see a Christian writer doing something paranormal.

Lou Gagliardi said...

Christianity, if you take it at face value, is full of the paranormal and preternatural (can't call it supernatural unless it deals directly with god now--according to the latest definition).

Angels, demons, satan, jesus walking on water, raising from the day, making bread and wine into his body and blood (if you believe it literally happened), Enoch and Elijah (Elisha?) being raised directly into heaven by a flying, flamed chariot (UFO maybe?) are all preternatural and paranormal activities.