ORIGINAL BLOOD by Stuart Land is the delicious, but tormenting tale of Zondra and Gailene as they turned into vampires against their will. Separated by two centuries but bound by familial blood that threatens to destroy the vampire nation, Zondra experiences a mind-bending skewed Cinderella story with hot motorcycles, limitless money, and ancient mansions teeming with the undead, while Gailene must rise from devastation, rage, and vengeance to become a powerful vampire leader in the New World. Both women have to overcome their circumstances, one of privilege, one of destitution, to gain the power that will save them and the man they both love from the retribution of their creator.
Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Q&A With Stuart Land
How did you come up with the idea for ORIGINAL BLOOD?
I always liked the way Anne Rice told stories, incorporating historical element into her supernatural plots. I wrote Original Blood several years ago just as the new wave of vampire books was taking off. I read a few of them, and read samples from many more. I wanted to create a story that was different from what I saw out there. More than blood and guts and mindless vampires entirely controlled by their lust for blood. I wanted to know what someone went through as they became a vampire. What did they think? How did their turning affect those around them. I also wanted to have woman as the heroines and dominating force of the story. My style of writing gives everything to the characters, so I don’t know what will happen until the characters do it. I didn’t know there would be two story lines running simultaneously. Or that there would be so many characters, each with their own story to tell.
Tell us about Zondra and Gailene.
Zondra is a present day 22-year-old college coed, and part-time sculptress. She’s sassy, contrary, and quick-witted. Though she’s pretty much a loner, she’s a normal girl. Her life changes entirely when she’s attacked while ice skating and falls through the ice. What makes her different in the world of vampires, is that she’s become one, but has never been bitten. Now she will go from being a flippant young free spirit to be the leader of a vampire empire.
Gailene lives in the late 17th century, is married, but has a lover who is desperately in love with her. She is constantly wracked with guilt over their relationship and finally ends it. Gailene’s character is formed by her guilt and the effort she makes to do right by her husband. She has a child and all is going well until her lover shows up several years later. He’s become a vampire, and in his delusion, believes Gailene would be better off with him. That mistake sets up the whole story that spans centuries and leads into the second and third books.
What aspects of the story do you think readers will enjoy most?
People have told me they love the parallel story lines, present day and historical, that are written in two different styles. They enjoy the main thrust of overpowering love that drives the story, and several other, unusual, but intimate character relationships. This story, and the sequels, are essentially mysteries revolving around, and evolving from, the triumphs and failings of human nature. Though my characters are mostly vampires, I think everyone can relate to them through their situations and emotions. Since I come from a screenwriting background, my prose is very visual, and action scenes are intensely visceral. Dialogue is refined, realistic, and true to the eras.
Is this a planned series? If so, what can we expect next?
When I started Original Blood, I didn’t think about a series, but as more characters came into the story, I realized they all could have their own novels. By the time I got to the end of this first book, I knew, though this story was complete, that I needed to tell the entire story of who these vampires were and where they came from. People began asking for a sequel. I’m now about 3/4 into the sequel called Original Blood: Szejna’s Revenge. The story picks up from the end of the first book, but is told by a side character from the first book.
Are there any distinct differences between the vampires or vampire lore of your book and those of other authors?
The main difference between my vampires and other writers vampires comes from what happens when one woman is turned against her will. From that point on, everything changes. Although I do adhere to many of the established myths of vampire lore, I, rather, my characters, have created their own lore and mythologies. I give reasons why they do what they do, and how they can do it. Everything about being a vampire is intrinsic to the story itself. Eventually, all the questions about what vampires are, will be answered.
My aim is for people to enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.