MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: Today, I am pleased to be interviewing Gabrielle Faust, author of the acclaimed vampire series ETERNAL VIGILANCE, three collections of poetry entitled BEFORE ICARUS, AFTER ACHILLES, CROSSROADS and THE BEGINNING OF NIGHTS, the horror novella REGRET and the celebrated new dark fantasy adventure novel REVENGE. Her short stories, illustrations and editorial commentary have appeared in a variety of online and print publications such as SciFiWire, Blaster, Doorways Magazine, Girls & Corpses Magazine and Fear Zone. She was the Guest of Honor at the Queen of the Damned Vampire Ball in 2008. In 2009 she was crowned “New Orleans Vampire Royalty” by the Vampire Lestat Fan Club at the Tru Blood & Gold vampire ball and was a Special Guest and performer at the House of Blues for the 2011 Endless Night ball. In 2011 Faust was awarded the Texas Social Media Award by the Austin American Statesman. More information on Gabrielle can be found at www.gabriellefaust.com.
Your latest novel REVENGE comes out soon. What’s it about?
GABRIELLE FAUST: My co-author, Solomon Schneider, and I are absolutely thrilled to see this project finally finding its way into the hands of our readership. It was a project that was born of chaos, in chaos and has experienced a rather turbulent road to publication over the past year. That said, we feel strongly that it is some of the finest work we have produced. This will be my seventh book I have had published. However, it will be Solomon’s first foray into the world of novel writing as he has primarily been a poet, philosopher and musician up until this point. Or, as he likes to say, a “wandering wizard”.
As for the tale itself, here is a brief synopsis to give you a bit more of an insight into the epic dark fantasy tale, which I like to describe as “Lord of the Rings” meets “Dante’s Inferno” — “When Marcus Glenfield committed suicide, he took his place among the Legions of Hell as the Demon of Regret. When he learns that the Prince of Wickedness, Belial, is planning to take his former fiancé, Brenda, as his consort, Marcus’ newfound belief in a second chance is quickly shattered in a fit of all too human rage. Incensed by the new demon’s disrespectful hostility, Belial plunges Marcus into the deepest pits of Hell.
But Lucifer has other plans for Marcus. For in the tormented lands of Purgatory, a strange and powerful uprising has gathered to form a new plane of existence—one that would break the ancient caste system of Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo and Earth, thwarting both God and Satan’s permanency within the universe. Not only have these brash metaphysical pirates kidnapped the powerful child born of Brenda and Belial’s union, they have also guided Marcus out of the prisons of Hell to their new realm.
When they promise Marcus freedom in return for his help, he realizes that he will finally have to choose a side. But can he find one that he can truly believe in?”
VENTRELLA: This is your first collaboration. How did that work out? Did you share the writing equally or was there some other method?
FAUST: Yes, this is the first time I have collaborated with another author on a project for the novel itself. Prior to this, I teamed up with Michael Marano to complete a series of illustrations for his collection “Stories From the Plague Years” in 2010.
The collaboration with Solomon Schneider came about in 2010 when I came across an ancient cryptic blog post he had posted in 2005 which ended up inspiring me for the sequel to a novella I was working on. Solomon is a masterful storyteller and I saw it as an opportunity for us to mesh creative minds and really produce something otherworldly. The first 5 chapters of REVENGE are actually the original novella REGRET, which I combined with this manuscript to give it a true “first book in a series” beginning. After that, we divvyed up the chapters based on the characters we felt most passionate about. There were particular characters who were solely Sol’s invention and vice versa. After the creation of these separate chapters, however, it was up to me to take everything and make it mesh so that it sounds like one cohesive author’s voice throughout the book. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!
VENTRELLA: Your work has been distributed mostly through mid-sized publishers (like me!). What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
FAUST: The advantage to mid-size publishers is a personal connection with the publisher and an ability to, usually, contact them directly about issues. However, as all authors know, there are a lot of untrustworthy publishers out there in the mid-size world and, unfortunately, an author must keep their wits about them at all time. There is also the issue of a lack of marketing budget. Thus, the author must be prepared to pay for their own book tours, organize most of their own publicity, etc. I feel quite blessed to be with my current publisher, Barking Rain Press, as they have been a true breath of fresh air! I’m just thrilled to be working with them.
VENTRELLA: Aspiring authors often seem to think that writing a book is easy and your first one is sure to be a huge hit…
FAUST: HA! Writing a book is never an easy task. In fact, many an author have compared it to childbirth. However, if it is your passion, you will embrace the process, which may very well drive you insane by the words “THE END” are typed, and revel in all of its glory and madness. There is no guarantee your first book will be a “huge hit”. In fact, that is a very rare anomaly. As with all artistic processes, we learn about our strengths and weaknesses with each project. We learn what our audience gravitates towards with zeal and, at times, we cringe at the mistakes we made.
VENTRELLA: What was the biggest mistake you made when first starting out as a writer?
FAUST: I’d say I made two big mistakes when I first started out: as aforementioned in the above question, I truly believed my first book was going to make millions and I was going to galavant around the world riding trains and living the romantic dream of the author of old. It was a brutal awakening to realize that the world just doesn’t work that way and, no matter how many stellar reviews I received, it was still going to be a very hard road to true success. As I like to say, “You can’t eat critical acclaim.”
The other mistake I made was to trust blindly that your editor is going to catch every single typo. That’s just not the case. The editing process is a two-way street and each time an editor sends you a PDF to review you have to carve out a week and comb over each and every page with a magnifying glass. Editors, no matter how amazing and detail oriented they may be, are still human. That said, every book I have ever come across has had at least one typo in them and, so long as there are just one or two, it’s simply not the end of the world.
VENTRELLA: I admittedly don’t read much horror so I’m not sure where in ones inner self you would find these ideas… What’s your process in developing a story?
FAUST: Everyone has their inner demons. We wrestle with darkness on a daily basis. The human species is only one step away from their animal instincts at all time and it really and truly takes very little push someone to their breaking point. It’s terrifying but true. For me, that is the true “evil”. Not hell-spawned demons or other mischievious paranormal and supernatural entities, but our fellow human beings. One simply has to turn on the evening news to find inspiration for a horror novel.
VENTRELLA: Do you tend to outline heavily or just jump right in? What is your writing style?
FAUST: Lately I have begun outlining more and more for the initial stages of my novels. This is primarily because the plotlines are becoming more intense involving multiple levels and dozens of characters. It’s really the only way I can keep track of them all. However, I always like to leave at least a little organic process to my writing. I may know all of the key points that need to happen throughout the book to get from A to Z but what happens between A and B is still a mystery even to me.
VENTRELLA: Do you enjoy the labels people have put on your work or do you think it may limit your audience?
FAUST: I actually find it highly amusing when people try to label my work because they always do it with a slight degree of confused uncertainty. The fact is that my work can’t really be pigeonholed because there are multiple elements running throughout. However, people do adore their labels.
VENTRELLA: When I have discussed the current novel I am working on (BLOODSUCKERS, about a vampire who runs for President), many agents and editors roll their eyes and say “Oh, not another vampire book.” Yet vampire books continue to sell. Do you think the market is oversaturated or will people always be interested in this?
FAUST: Vampires will always sell because people identify with the vampire on a primal level. The vampire is also the penultimate escapism in the supernatural world. Right now, I do believe there is an oversaturation of the “paranormal romance” vampire story which has basically, in my opinion, defanged our beloved predators and turned them into GQ playboys. However, I will always remain true to my own vampire mythos and will never feel in the least bit threatened. When people tire of their frolicking, sparkly playthings, they know where to find vampires with real “bite”!
VENTRELLA: What’s your opinion on self-publishing? Do you think this is a good idea for first-time authors?
FAUST: Honestly, unless you already have an established, widespread fanbase before you even release the book, you should try to publish traditionally first. Self-publishing is very expensive, time consuming and most bookstores will still not carry your work if they know it’s self-published because of the reputation that industry has for low-quality work.
VENTRELLA: What does the future hold for you? What projects are in the pipeline?
FAUST: I am currently working on the fourth ETERNAL VIGILANCE book, which I hope to have completed by the end of 2012. I will also begin work on the sequel to REVENGE next month. I will be touring extensively throughout the year to promote REVENGE.