Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest: Kathryn Leigh Scott

VampChix is thrilled to welcome Kathryn Leigh Scott to our little nook on the web today!  Scott played the bride of vampire Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, and has written a novel about a young actress in 1960s New York, who is a real vampire starring in DARK PASSAGES.  We're so glad she had time to write a bit about her book and what she's working on now (read on to find out if we'll see her in Burton's version of Dark Shadows).

Dark Passages is a very personal book. It’s a novel, and by no means a memoir, but I am writing about a place I remember well and a time that’s very meaningful to me. While none of the events in Dark Passages actually happened in my own life, I wanted to capture that period of great change and discovery that I did experience when I left my home town and went to the big city. The early 1960s was a time of great social change, anyway . . . and I chose to bookend my story with two significant events: the Cuban Missile Crisis and the assassination of President Kennedy, all of it occurring within a year and a month. And that space of time also marked my first year in New York.
True, I did grow up on a farm and move to New York with big dreams of becoming an actress. And I did work as a Bunny at the New York Playboy Club to support myself until I got my big break, a role on a new daytime soap, Dark Shadows. All of that is part of my setting, but it’s not my story.
The most important element in my story is Meg’s very secret life as a vampire living among mortals.  Everything that a young human girl would experience being away from home and family for the first time, exploring a strange, new city, living on her own, making new friends, finding romance and a first love in her life are all heightened by the very fact that Meg is a vampire, not a mortal. The dangers for her are far more profound. She has a powerful enemy she’s unaware of, who is bent on destroying her. And she’s entirely on her own. Who can she turn to? Does she have anyone she can trust and confide in?
When I joined the cast of Dark Shadows 45 years ago, I was a young ingénue. The story line was Gothic Romance. Soon the strange happenings in the remote seaside village of Collinsport involved vampire Barnabas Collins, played to perfection by actor Jonathan Frid. Barnabas saw in Maggie Evans, the young waitress I played, the reincarnation of his long-lost love, Josette DuPres. With a bit of time-travel, I soon began playing the vampire’s doomed fiancé in the 1790s. Josette DuPres was a delicious role, and I loved playing the romance and drama of their tragic, unrequited love.
I also steeped myself in vampire lore, this at a time when research meant trips to the library rather than a few minutes googling. But Jonathan, with the full support of creator Dan Curtis, bravely veered away from the standard movie depiction of a vampire. Jonathan gave Barnabas Collins dimension and human attributes. His Barnabas was a reluctant vampire, who despised his blood lust and the curse of immortal existence without his beloved Josette. After logging four years (and 1,225 episodes!) on Dark Shadows, how could I not be influenced by the story of a cursed vampire longing for mortal life?
Yet I, too, veered off in my own direction, creating quite a different world for vampire Meg Harrison. She’s young, still on a path of discovery, and eager to follow her dreams. She vanquishes one enemy, but another appears. She experiences a tragic loss, but there’s the promise of a new romance. I see much of Maggie Evans, the striving and resourceful young waitress I played in the first episode of Dark Shadows, in the yearning, ever-hopeful Meg Harrison.
This year, while we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Dark Shadows, Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas Collins in the new Warner Bros. film Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton. Thanks to the internet, it is now no secret that you may catch a glimpse of me in the film.  I could not be more delighted  that Dark Shadows is still a part of my life.
It is also true that the rights to my book, The Bunny Years, have been acquired by Imagine Television for potential use in future episodes of the NBC series, The Playboy Club. In September, Gallery/Simon & Schuster will be publishing a new edition of The Bunny Years, with a Foreword by Hugh Hefner.
What goes around, comes around, and this has been quite a year for me. In Dark Passages, I am writing about a world I know well, while also exploring a world I can only imagine.

Visit Katherine at her website
VampChix reviewed DARK PASSAGES here

If you're heading to Comic Con, Scott will be signing copies of DARK PASSAGES ($14.95 with free bookmark) at the Hermes Press booth (#1821-23) on Friday from 1-6 and Saturday from 1-4.  She will also appear on the Dark Shadows panel friday from 6-7 in Room 4.


the cautionary tale said...

OMG OMG OMG! I have this book preordered and can't wait to read it! LOVE me some old school Dark Shadows!

Cylver said...

Hi, I'm one of the kids who used to run home from school every afternoon to make sure I didn't miss a minute of seeing what Barnabas and Angelique were up to that day! So glad to see that Kathryn is keeping the Dark Shadows good and dark!I can't wait to read her book!