Monday, December 7, 2009

Guest: Joules Taylor

Please welcome Joules Taylor to the hotseat today at VampChix!  Her recent book, VAMPIRES, hit shelves in October it is beautiful and full of information on our favorite bloodsuckers.  One lucky commenter will win a copy of the book, so give Joules some love in the comments!  [Winner announced on Wednesday.]

Q:  Have you always been interested in vampires?  What about the vampire intrigues you?

JT:  I believe it all started when I first saw Dracula – the 1958 Christopher Lee film – on TV. I must have been nine or ten at the time (a bit too young to be watching such things, really) and remember being awestruck – though not frightened – by the very idea of an immortal, night-dwelling creature with such amazing powers. It sparked a life-long interest in the subject, and I can’t see that ever ending.

It’s primarily the immortality of the vampire that fascinates me, the thought of experiencing history, knowing what the future is going to be like, living it... It would be worth the attendant loneliness, I think – at least for a few thousand years!

Q:  In the book you cite quite a few movies.  Are you a vampire movie buff?  Can you give us a top 5 list of vampire movies?

JT:  I love the medium of film, and have collected a wide variety of vampire movies over the years. Every vampire fan will have their own top five, but the ones listed here are my personal favourites.

I particularly like TV series, as they allow more time to explore the characters than do films. Blood Ties is a firm favourite, both the books and the TV series. The tension between the three main characters makes for wonderful drama! Being Human comes a close second – how can anyone not empathise with dangerous, tortured Mitchell? True Blood is screening over here at the moment, and I’m thoroughly enjoying its many-layered take on life, tolerance and the effects of prejudice.

As for films, favourites are The Lost Boys, still enormously stylish today and one of the first to really appeal to the younger generation (it’s also been fun seeing the actors’ careers advance), and Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (a.k.a. Bloodsuckers). This is at best a very violent B-movie, but I love it, probably for all the wrong reasons! The initial idea, that humans explored space only to find the vampires got there first, is unusual. These vampires are really extremely nasty, akin to those in 30 Days of Night although easier to understand, and the idea of a specialist ‘Vampire Sanitation’ squad being set up to battle them is intriguing. The film as a whole, however, is completely daft – great fun as long as you leave your brain at the door…

 Q:  I like how you encompass the old vamps as well as the new silver-screen vamps.  Do you think the vampire is at its peak in the media right now?  Will we ever tire of reading about and watching vampires?

 JT:  To answer the last question first, I hope not! The idea of the vampire is endlessly fascinating, and the thought of how he will cope as life becomes increasingly more complicated certainly provides plenty of scope for creativity. I have no doubt that those with a long-standing passion for vampires will continue to enjoy new films and books. I do feel that the modern breed of vampires – Mick St John (Moonlight) and the Cullens (Twilight) – with their ability to endure sunlight have weakened the whole mythos, however. It makes them too powerful, and reduces any sympathy we might feel for them.

I wouldn’t like to predict whether the vampire phenomenon is at its peak just now. When it comes to the media the public can be very fickle, and success often depends on luck rather than intrinsic quality – being in the right place at the right time with the right product to tickle the reading/film-going population’s fancy, as happened with Harry Potter and Twilight. (Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that these two are comparable!)

Q:  The design of the book is simply gorgeous.  As the author do you have a hand in selecting the pictures and the actual page design? 

JT:  For this particular book, yes, and it was fantastic being so involved with the overall design. My opinion and suggestions were requested all the way through the project. For the pictures, I specified the sort of images I wanted and provided examples, and the graphics department then sourced them for me. I then wrote all the captions, which was quite a job in itself!  

As for the cover, the original design was much sexier: the publisher decided it was a little too much for the intended audience and changed it. (That being said, I find the current cover very attractive and am perfectly happy with it.)

 Q:  Why do you think the vampire is so appealing to us, despite its horrific beginnings (or maybe because of its horror factor)?

JT:  I think there are a number of factors, some of which I cover in the book. The one that most appeals to me, however, is the vampire as metaphor for the unconventional individualist, the original rebel. Everyone wants to feel special, unique – not easy in an overcrowded world that often treats people as a faceless mass – and the vampire has achieved that admirably.

Q:  Will we see future books about vampires from you?  If so, can you give us a hint to the content?

JT:  Non-fiction books are often commissioned by the publisher, which is how I ended up writing Vampires: I’d be very happy to write more on the subject. Or on associated subjects – my knowledge of demons is quite extensive too!

But I’m also in the process of writing the Haadri cycle… hm, how to summarise…

On Heart, a fertile world of two moons, the humanoid dominant species is unaware that it shares the world with a mutant offshoot, the vampiric, telepathic vourdaki, some of whom want to integrate with their mortal cousins, others of whom would much rather just feed from them. But Heart is dangerously close to the militaristic Othxero-Sarond Alliance, who are always on the hunt for new worlds to colonise or enslave. Opposing the Alliance is the Collective, a benign association of member worlds. The first book, Prime Contact, deals with how an agent of the Collective arrives on Heart and become personally involved, not just with the covert defence of the planet, but also with the vourdaki.

Here’s the same 5 questions we ask every guest:

Dark or Light?

Oh, dark, definitely. Darkness is seductive, much more fascinating than light.

Historical or Modern?

I like both, but on balance I’d say I have a slight preference for modern, if only because it opens up so many more possibilities.

Favorite Movie or TV vampire?

Henry Fitzroy, in my opinion the perfect vampire,

Bagged or from the Neck?

From the neck – so much more intimate than bagged or bottled.

Dead or Undead?

Undead. A lot more interesting than just plain dead…

Find the Haadri books at

For further information about Joules’ non-fiction books, see

Joules’ personal blog is here:

For information about Haadri itself, including short stories and a worlds gazetteer,


Shauna Leigh Atkinson said...

Wow, great post and interview. Very insightful on vampires and the author. I am in vampire mode lately and I look forward to reading Vampires! I also agree about Henry Fitzroy, he is my favorite vampire as well.

Amanda Makepeace said...

Great interview!! I'm happy see I wasn't the only 10 year old watching Dracula. After seeing that movie I use to search the tv guide for other vampire movies. I've been hooked ever since.

Kris said...

Love the interview...I really want this book...I think it'll be on the list of books I purchase myself for christmas.

Silvia said...

My first vampire movie was Dracula too! I was about 11 or 12 years old and saw it with my Dad. The 1931 version in black and white. Mom was out of town for otherwise I’d never got to see it. Vampires where totally unsuitable for young girls you know. But Dad didn’t care if I joined him “looking at some oldies” as he used to say. It made me laugh, I found their eyes funny. You know how they almost pop out of their skulls in fear. What was there to be afraid of? I wished I were visiting the count. He seemed like a cool guy. It was an experience I never forgot. Fun and magical that first encounter with a vamp. I was hungry for more.

bakayaro onna said...

Lovely interview, Joules! Vampires are a curious group of people, no doubt about it. I think I could live with the blood lust if I knew I would feel healthy all over again. But I also have to look glamourous!

My favorite vampires currently are Nick, Janette and LeCroix from the "Forever Knight" TV series that was filmed in Toronto. Chiller TV is showing it again and watching it makes me all happy inside.

Though Spike from "Buffy" runs a close second because he's both evil and amusing.

Rosie said...

I've always wanted to read the original Dracula, but never have gotten around to it. I love Henry Fitzroy as well (especially the character portrayed in the tv series). Pretty much all of my tbr pile consists of vamp books. :-)

Thanks for the great blog and interview!

Michele Hauf said...

I just want to repeat how gorgeous this book is. If you have a vampire fan on your Xmas list this would be an awesome gift!

And for those who haven't read the original Dracula, next October Bite Club is going to read it! It'll be our way of celebrating our first anniversary. So if you've got it on your to-read list, be sure to join us at Bite Club.

The Scarf Princess said...

Great interview and yes, that is a lovely book cover! And I love your list of favorite vamps, those are some of my faves too.

Kindred:The Embraced was a particular favorite of mine. Julian Luna was a hottie. And the Romeo and Juliet-like quality between Sasha and Cash was a tear-jerker.

Zahir Blue said...

A very interesting interview indeed, although I must point out that what makes TWILIGHT vampires so utterly powerful is not simple immunity to sunlight (which was the norm for vampires in folklore & fiction almost up until NOSFERATU) but the fact they *are* so very powerful. Really, they're like blood-drinking Kryptonians!

I like my vampires less powerful, less godlike, but not so Hollywood they burn in the sun. Henry Fitzroy is a great character, but my review BLOOD TIES points out some problems with the show.

Devon Noelle said...

The cover of this book kind of looks like Jonathan Rhys Meyers in his role as Henry VIII in Showtimes "The Tudors". I feel even more compelled to read this book now! ;)

Shauna Leigh Atkinson said...

I mentioned liking Henry Fitzroy, and I agree, the TV version of him was amazing! The show did have some flaws, but he made the TV series! The main problem, which I also posted about on my blog, I had with it was the 22nd episode and the fact that there were no more...

I also thought of the guy from Tudors when I saw this beautiful cover.

I hadn't mentioned Twilight or any other YA, but since someone brought it up... I also like some of the lighter side of vampires. Both have their pluses though. What is interesting and exciting to me is the many different types of vampires writers have in their books.

Aside from some of the mainstream vampire movies, I have come into the vampire world at 30 so I have LOTS of catching up to do in both books and movies. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Vampires is on my xmas list now, otherwise I'd go get it today!

Soni (VampirePhile) said...

Great Interview and looking forward to reading this win or not!

I was totally, wonderfully corrupted by reading Dracula (and then Anne Rice) at around the same age. Had to read them in secret from my mother, LoL!

@ Devon, so true the cover image does look lots like Rhys-Meyers. Thought so the 1st time I saw it back in Oct and esp more so after watching the Tudors for the 1st time last wkend.

Ah Henry, my heart (almost) stopped when I read that you consider him your "perfect vampire" (and of course we have Kyle Schmid's excellent performance for that), so naturally as an undying Blood Ties, Henry Fitzroy fan, I just had to come leave my comments!

@ Shauna, you know what they say, better late than never! ;)

Michele Hauf said...

First thing I thought when see the cover too! So nothing wrong with having a Jonathon Rhys Meyers lookalike on your book cover.

maggiemay said...

I love the interview. Have to say I love hearing an author say that Henry Fitzroy was/is the perfect vampire. He doesn't sparkle, he doesn't go out in the sun and he doesn't whine about being a vampire. He made us feel sympathy for him as we could see how he loved Vicki.

I've seen most of the old school vampires and the new ones and they just don't "do it" for me. Blood Ties and Henry are my first, last and always favorite for a show and a vampire, the others pale by comparison. I don't believe we would have ever have felt as strongly as we do about Henry Fitzroy had anyone but Kyle Schmid played him. The work he put into Henry made us believe he was a 450 year old vampire. He has the charm and the charisma to play the perfect vampire, which he was.

There were so many more stories Henry Fitzroy could have told us but unfortunately the show was staked by that pathetic excuse for a network whose specialty is women in peril movies of the week. Am I bitter, nahhhh, not much, lol.

Shauna Leigh Atkinson said...

@ Soni - Thank you. :) I'm finding the vampire community very welcoming!

@ Michele - there is everything right with having a Jonathon Rhys Meyers lookalike on the cover! :) And, I'm not sure where else to post it, but I continue to love the VampChix blog more and more, great job.

@ maggiemay - I agree, Kyle Schmid made the part! And, he didn't even have to sparkle. :) He's what I was most upset about the show ending. I also agree that Henry could have shared so many more stories. *sigh*

Seren Haf said...

Why on earth did " Blood Ties" get pulled? Kyle Schmids performance as Henry Fitzroy was nothing short of brilliant!
I only hope that Mister Schmid , re vists this role in the future. I for one would love to see it.

Soni (VampirePhile) said...

@ Seren - forgive my sarcasm, but you have to ask the brilliant minds at LifeTime tv why they cancelled BT... We (fans) are all asking ourselves the same thing!
Oh yes, so true, do hope to see Kyle get to play Henry again (or a character like him)... Speculations are for Lestat (given the rumours of the potential for a "Vampire Lestat" movie)!

Kristy Jamison said...

I actually designed the cover for this book. I was contacted by Spruce Publishing about using a picture that I had photoshopped as the cover. The guy is actually my cousin's boyfriend, Nick... and yes, he does look A LOT like Jonathan Rhys Meyers in that picture :)