Monday, December 28, 2009

Guest: Michael Thomas Ford

Please welcome Michael Thomas Ford to VampChix today!  His latest, JANE BITES BACK, officially hits bookstore shelves tomorrow.  So rush out and grab a copy!  Michael has generously offered to give away a copy to one lucky commenter (winner announced on Wednesday).  So give him some love in the comments, and perhaps you can answer the question he brings up below: Would you want to be turned into a vampire?

Romantic Times BookClub give JANE BITES BACK 4 stars, and says this, "Ford gives us an authentic, sympathetic and witty Jane Austen as a modern-day vampire complete with angst and emotion as she faces the challenges of a rediscovered career and love.  An inventive mashup plot coupled with creative storytelling and amusing dialogue make this story a delightful read."

In 1972 my family was living in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), where my father worked for the U.S. State Department. I was four.

Every so often my father would bring home movies that the embassy received from the office in Washington. This was before the invention of DVD's, of course, or even videotapes. The movies came on big reels, which my father played on an old projector using the living room wall as a screen. Movie nights were always a thrill for my sisters and me, even if the choice of films was limited to whatever the government thought we would like.

I remember only one film in detail. It was The Return of Count Yorga. Count Yorga, played by Robert Quarry, was a kind of second-rate Dracula crossed with Hugh Hefner. He masqueraded as a psychic in Los Angeles, wore velvet smoking jackets, and seduced a lot of pretty girls.

The image I recall most clearly from the movie is of a hand breaking through the earth and grabbing at someone running through a yard. I had nightmares about that hand for years. Actually, I had a lot of vampire dreams in general because I watched a lot of classic vampire films growing up. Nosferatu, Dracula's Daughter, House of Dracula, The Brides of Dracula, Son of Dracula, Horror of Dracula, and of course Dracula. That was my favorite. Every Saturday, when one of the local television stations showed several hours of monster movies, I hoped one of them would be a vampire film. And often it was.

When I began writing fiction, my first book for young readers (Lights, Camera, Die! written for the Spinetinglers series under the name M.T. Coffin) drew on this love of monster movies, featuring some of the characters that had thrilled me so much, including of course vampires. Vamps would also have starring roles in some of my first fiction for adult readers, including the short story "Angel Baby" (included in Brothers of the Night, Cleis Press, 1997) and the novellas "Sting" (included in Masters of Midnight, Kensington Publishing, 2003) and "Carnival" (included in Midnight Thirsts, Kensington 2004).

Now that my novel Jane Bites Back is out, people inevitably want to know how I came up with the idea of turning Jane Austen into a vampire. The truth is that it was an accident. In the spring of 2008 I was talking to my agent about the sad state of publishing.

"The only things selling are vampires and Jane Austen," my agent said.

"I should do a novel about Austen as a vampire," I joked.

A week after we sent out the proposal I had a three book deal and was writing the first one. But that's when another problem presented itself: Just how vampire-y were the books going to be? I knew I wanted Jane's vampirism to also work as an allegory about her remaining "alive" through her work but unable to enjoy any of the profits being made from it. After all, the book is called Jane Bites Back. There had to be some revenge in it somewhere. But I didn't want it to be too bloody. That just wasn't very Austenish.

In the end the book leans much more to the comedic side, which I think works well. It suits Jane's personality, as well as mine. But there's an unmistakable air of the romantic vampire stories from those early films running through it as well, in the story of who turned Jane and why. After all these years I'm still in love with those stormy nights when the wind blows open the bedroom windows, letting in the Prince of Darkness.

Speaking of that, the other day someone asked me if I would want to be turned if I had the chance. The answer to that is absolutely. I would love to watch what happens to the world over the centuries. Yes, the whole blood thing would become tiresome, but would it really be any worse than wandering around the supermarket trying to decide what to munch on? As someone who dreads the "What should we have for dinner?" question, I think not.

I hope people like vampire Jane. I mean she's no Bella Swan-Cullen. She spends more time agonizing over being perpetually middle-aged than she does fretting about being undead. Also, there are no hunky werewolves to distract her. But she's feisty, and funny, and she has bad hair days.

Frankly, I think she could kick Bella's ass.

Michael Thomas Ford is the author of a whole bunch of books. Check them out at You might also want to visit him on Blogger, LiveJournal, Facebook, and Twitter.   Read the first two chapters of JANE BITES BACK here.


booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed the interview and the excerpt; I look forward in reading Jane Bites Back.

I would want to be turned into a vampire! Can you imagine living for centuries and seeing, first hand, all the changes in technology, medicine, arts, science, etc.? It would be amazing!

Tracey D

Linda Henderson said...

I enjoyed your interview and your book sounds very intriguing. However I would't want to be a vampire. I think it would be unbearably sad to live forever and watch all those you love die.

Lexie said...

1) Jane would totally kick Bella's ass and I would be in the front row holding the betting books the entire time.

2) I just finished Jane Bites Back and enjoyed it immensely. I read it all of Christmas Day in fact. XD anyhow I think you definitely reached a happy medium between 'vampire' novel and 'jane austen' novel while still making Jane part of the modern world. I especially liked what happened to Melodie. Just saying.

3) Would I want to be a vampire? Yes and no. I don't want to grow old and die--never one for the growing old with great-grandkids at my knee--but I'm not sure I would want to deal with the hassle of living through the centuries and having to relocate and not form attachments and such. Jane handles it far better than I ever could that's for certain.

I look forward to book 2 (and 3!)!!

Ida Brugler said...

Michael, Jane bites back sounds great!
I would love to be a Vampire minus the whole blood thing. So many things you could do and see if you had all the time in the world. Moving around sounds great to me. So many places i would love to visit and so many people whom you could help sign me up!

Thanks, Ida

Spav said...

It sounds like an interesting book.
I don't think I would like to be a vampire, I wouldn't like seeing all my family and friends die; also I don't think I could give up food and sunlight.

Mel Spenser said...

Dear Mr. Ford,

I am very much looking forward to JBB!

Tell me... do you ever plan on having clowns as vampires?

Gin Mummy said...

Dear Mr Ford,
What if a vampire bit someone with PMS.... would the PMS stay forever?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll Bite ;)

I've been looking forward to the book being released for a while now. I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a vampire, and would do it in a heartbeat. Not only would you be able to watch and be a part of history, but you'd have awesome teeth! Thanks for the look into the creation of Jane Bites Back.

P.S. If I were to be turned, I would like Jane to do it, so that I could kick the ass of that sparkly idiot Edward, as Jane deals with Bella!

Kathryn said...

Mike, I'm just tickled by the whole idea of this book, and can't wait to read it. I may have to trade in my "And then Buffy staked Edward" T-shirt for one with "Jane kicks Bella's ass." :-)


Derek Tatum said...

>> "The only things selling are vampires and Jane Austen," my agent said.

"I should do a novel about Austen as a vampire," I joked.<<

And that is how great ideas are born! This might have hit at the right time.

Heather D said...


Once again, I'll say I'm so jealous that I didn't think of this idea myself. However, I'm so glad that somebody did take this idea and ran with it. I hope it'll be another great success for you!

I cannot wait to finally get a copy tomorrow as I loved reading the advanced chapter that you posted awhile ago.

joder said...

Loved the interview and the book sounds so originally fantastic! And since Bella is a big, whiny, baby....Jane could totally crush her.

And since I'm a night owl I could definitely be a vamp. It would be nice not to have to worry about getting sick and I'd never have to color my hair again to hide the grey.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Michael Thomas Ford said...

Thanks everybody for the nice comments! Even Mel and Gin Mummy. You're such evil friends. Good thing I like you or I'd send vampire clowns after you.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Would I want to be turned into a vampire, seriously it would depend on the type of vampire...

If they were sparkling pouty fools then no (besides I would look too old).

Also, if they looked suspiciously like Max Schreck then no.

Burning in sunlight, probably not… severe lifestyle damper…

Incredibly powerful, hedonistic creature, virtually immortal and with no constraints by mortal law… yeah, I could go for that!

Daphne said...

Would I want to be a vampire? In a New York minute. Especially if I get the killer wardrobe and charisma. It'd also make my descendents' genealogies a lot easier since I would just stalk all of them and keep good notes. The sunlight thing wouldn't bother me since I'm a pale redhead so the sun burns me to a crisp already.

van_pham said...

Great interview, JBB sounds great and i can't wait to read it :)

Would i want to be a vampire? Probably not, I don't want to live forever and watch everyone i care about grow old and would very be lonesome.

Jeff said...

Middle aged vampires are the future. Jane sounds like the ultimate Vilf!

Ian Payne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Payne said...

I have read every book ever printed and Jane Bites Back is the 4th best after The Guinness Book of Records 1978, The Guinness Book of Records 1983 and The Guinness Book of Records 1991.
Keep up the good work

susan said...

Jane Bites Back sounds really good. I wish you the best on the book reaching the top of the charts. susan L. Thanks for sharing and giving this interview. susan L.

Jessica Capelle said...

Great interview! I'm really looking forward to reading Jane Bites Back. I like that you kept it lighter and fun. But yes, Jane could totally kick Bella's butt.

I would love to be a vampire and get to see the world and different times, although I would miss being able to go out in the sun sometimes. I am a night owl- wouldn't necessarily be a big shift for me! lol I would have to do the blood bank thing though. Not sure I'd be up for sucking blood out of humans or animals. Better to drink mine out of a cup!

Thanks for the giveaway! I'm headed to read the excerpt now.

jessicacapelle at gmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

NO WAY! I don't like the dark.. Great interview..

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Kirsten said...

Hi Mike, Your books sounds great. For quite some time(read: more years then I’m happy to admit) I only have two types of books that interest me. You guessed it Jane’s and Vampires. So this is a book I just have to read. And about being middle aged, why not have some older vamps. Not just teenagers like the Cullens should rule the world. I think I would like to be a vampire myself but only if there was an option to pull the plug should “life” become unbearable to me

Silvia said...

I would love to become a vampire, it seems awesome. Off course I would be the type that has: Good looks, no worries about money, Super strength, the ability of reading minds or manipulating others, a stunning black and red wardrobe with killer heels to boot. I would have tons of grace and someone to love, vampire too. And last but definitely not least a lyrical soul.