Hello Derek and first of all I would like to express the pleasure I had in doing this interview. You write extremely engaging characters and I found myself mesmerized by the conflict you brought out between the pages. Congratulations on the diverse and interesting personalities and I certainly look forward to reading more from you.
Now that I have heard your writer’s voice, let’s do a little more discovery on Derek Clendening, the author.
What do you hope readers take with them, after reading The Vampire Way? What do you hope they feel, or learn?
I hope readers will understand that fiction needn’t be restricted to hard and fast categories. A book can be romance, dark fiction, horror or whatever, and it’s all okay. Really, I hope it helps to open minds and broaden horizons.
Has anyone ever told you that you couldn't write or that you just couldn't do it? If so, how did you handle that?
I can’t recall that I’ve been told that directly. The occasional negative review can come across that way sometimes. Really, you have to have a short memory about that stuff and push yourself to press on. Otherwise it’s a really downer for your self-confidence.
What was the last movie you saw? Liked it, loved it, hated it?
I saw Throw Momma From The Train for the first time about a week and a half ago. It stars Billy Crystal and Danny Devito. I liked it. It’s one of those good popcorn movies that can be enjoyed on many levels without having to overthink. And get this: Billy Crystal plays a disgruntled novelist/creative writing teacher!
What is more sexy to you in a person? The way they walk, the clothes they wear or the overall confidence they project?
In terms of physical sexiness, it can be just about anything. The way they dress could potentially contribute to it, but to be honest, it isn’t any one thing. One person might have something that another person doesn’t. I think sexiness is a very individual and unique thing and that what might work really well for one person won't necessarily work well for another.
But if we’re talking about the traits needed for someone I’d want to be with, it’s none of those things. Intelligence is enormous, but also a very genuine and kind personality. I can’t imagine my wanting to be around someone with an absence of any one of those things.
If you could sit down with any of your characters for lunch, which would it be and why?
Definitely Rick Thompson. He’s a character I’ve known for more years than I care to count. It’d be nice to meet that character in the flesh!
Why Vampire stories? What is the draw to them for you that compels you to write them?
Really, I write much more than just vampire stories. In this case, it’s young adult, but I write material for adults that falls under horror and dark literary.
I began writing The Vampire Way when I was 18 and I just wanted to write a vampire story with a teenage protagonist, someone who was a lot like me. Clearly I was young and inexperienced and really needed to learn, but fortunately I had a lot of raw material that I was able to do something with once I’d improved. It was originally supposed to be a novel for adults, but I realized it was better suited as a YA novel. And this was before there was a Twilight or My Blood Approves. I was just lucky that I had material that fell into what would become a lucrative market.
What genres and authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Stephen King, Peter Straub, Joe Hill, Rio Youers, John Irving etc.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Caring, loyal, passionate.
In The Vampire Way, is there a character that was the hardest to write? Which was easier, Damien or Rick? Have you ever patterned a character after someone you knew?
John and Tracy were the hardest to write because I worried that they would become a high school cliché. They probably still did to some degree. Rick was easier to write than Damien because Rick is based largely on the person I was as a teenager.
If we asked friends to name (3) personality traits about you, what do you think he/they would say?
Silly, obsessed, weird.
LOL…I love those traits. Thank you so much Derek for sacrificing what is obviously valuable writing time to stop by Coffee Time Romance and chatting with me. You have entertained me thoroughly through your storyline and writing style and I am sure your readers simply love you. Maybe one day we can do this again and you can show us just how silly, obsessed, and weird you can be.