IS IT TRUE YOU ONLY MEANT TO WRITE ONE VAMPIRE BOOK – ‘THE VAMPIRE BLOG?’
Quite true. But not only did ‘The Vampire Blog,’ go on to win The Brilliant book Award and become a best-seller in other countries like Germany and Korea, I’ve also received more letters and emails about this book than anything else I’ve written. They practically all said the same thing – you’ve got to carry on, as we want to know what happens next to Marcus and Tallulah. To be honest, I didn’t need much persuading. I wanted to find out too.
I HAVEN’T READ ‘THE VAMPIRE TRILOGY,’ YET. WHAT ARE THEY ABOUT?
Marcus gets shock news on his thirteenth birthday – he’s about to transform into a half-vampire. He’s not happy about this, especially when he gets poisoned by a pizza (it had garlic in it) He has a blood craving at school and is attacked by a vampire. His life is saved by a gothic called Tallulah, who’s mad on vampires, but of course she has no idea about Marcus’s secret identity. The books are spooky and mysterious but I also hope extremely funny.
I READ SOMEWHERE THAT YOUR APPROACH TO THE THEME OF VAMPIRES WAS ‘VERY REFRESHING.’ WHAT’S THE REFRESHING BIT OF YOR BOOKS?
Good question – I suppose it’s that Marcus is a highly reluctant half-vampire. So in ‘The Vampire Hunters,’ he says, ‘I hate it when things happen to me which I can’t control or stop. It makes it seem as if I’m turning into someone who’s not me.’ I believe many people who aren’t half-vampires can identify with that. Also, the books’ humour sets them apart from other vampire stories.
IN ‘THE VAMPIRE HUNTERS’YOU BRING ON A GIRL HALF-VAMPIRE, GRACIE. WHY DID YOU DO THAT?
I just had the idea that a third key character was needed in the next book. So I started imagining Gracie, who as a girl half-vampire has one or two extra hassles. For instance, when her fang appears, her face becomes as hairy as a werewolf. Gracie makes a good contrast to Tallulah, I think. And she has become a really popular character. She returns in ‘The Vampire Fighters.’
WHAT IS ‘THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS’ ABOUT?
This is the most dramatic – and maybe the most exciting book of all. There’s a truly, terrifying monster – The Blood Ghost. But you will also discover far more about Marcus, Tallulah and Gracie. All three of their lives change forever at the end of the book.
WHICH OF THE THREE BOOKS IN ‘THE VAMPIRE TRILOGY’ DO YOU THINK IS BEST?
What a mean question. Of course they’re all marvellous! But I do think, as the series has gone on I’ve grown more confident and adventurous. So ‘The Vampire Fighters’ has scenes I don’t think I would have attempted in ‘The Vampire Blog.’While the blood craving on a blind date in ‘The Vampire Hunters’ is, I believe, one of the funniest I’ve ever written.
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT SO MANY BOOK GROUPS ARE READING YOUR VAMPIRE BOOKS?
Yes, it’s a fantastic surprise. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a few meetings and it was great. Everyone had such strong views about the characters. Oxford University Press, Rollercoasters series have also now bought out a special edition of ‘The Vampire Hunters’ with a reading guide for schools and book groups.
‘THE VAMPIRE FIGHTERS’ ISN’T THE LAST BOOK YOU’RE WRITING ABOUT VAMPIRES, IS IT?
It is for now. Well, I’ve spent three years with Marcus, Gracie and Tallulah. But will they ever come back – that is a very good question.
AND WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
You’ll just have to wait and see!
FINALLY, WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE LIKE MARCUS, GRACIE AND TALLULAH SO MUCH?
Well, Marcus and Tallulah certainly aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. They argue a lot. So they feel real. I think that’s a large part of it. Gracie is, perhaps, more obviously sympathetic but even she runs away in ‘The Vampire Fighters.’
I like them very much too. In fact, they are three of my favourite characters and I miss writing about them.
The Vampire Fighters (June 2012)
The final instalment of the Vampire trilogy – introduced to you by Marcus.
I’m back – remember me, Marcus. Or weirdo. I was totally normal until three months ago when I turned thirteen. That’s when my parents told me I was a half-vampire . . .
I just want an ordinary life – but I’ve got no chance. So far I’ve been poisoned by a pizza (it had garlic in it) and got a craving for blood when I was at the cinema on a blind date. It did not go well.
And now my village is being haunted by a seriously creepy figure with blood-soaked hands. Everyone is calling it the Blood Ghost. But I know the truth. It’s one of my distant relations – a vampire.
But this is no ordinary one. That’s why it’s known as a deadly vampire. The most evil I’ve ever faced . .
Yet somehow me and vampire-crazed Tallulah have been roped into tracking it down. We were told, ‘Nothing you do in the rest of your life will be as important as this. But nothing will be as dangerous either …’
Now read the opening of The Vampire Fighters – if you dare.
That’s what they’ve started calling it. It’s all over my local radio. I bet it will have its own Facebook page soon.
A woman glimpsed it first on New Year’s Day. It was a dusty-grey morning and she was rushing off to the local shop. She was walking quickly down the lane where she lived when she heard an urgent, high-pitched screech.
‘Like a really, angry parrot,’ was her description of it. She peered up into the sky half expecting to see a bird fluttering about. But instead, a figure came floating towards her.
Hard to make out much about him he was so shadowy and loomed dazzlingly high above her. All she could really see were his hands. They were just like the hands of a skeleton, very long and spindly and they seemed to be beckoning her forward. And dripping off them was something which made her whole body shudder with horror – blood.
Those skeletal blood-soaked hands writhed and twisted in front of her. She wanted to run away from them. But the hands seemed to be casting a terrible spell over her. And instead, she was frozen to the spot.
Then, as fast as a striking cobra, one of the hands swooped at her. There was a huge rush of air and just for a moment she caught a glimpse of its deathly, pale face. And it terrified her. Then it displayed all its teeth at her. It was the most horrific smile she’d ever seen, because its dark eyes were completely blank and lifeless.
She felt as if this awful, dead creature was trying to pull her towards it and carry her away. And all her strength seemed to have drained from her body. Then she felt her knees buckle. She couldn’t stop herself falling on to the ground, while it looked right over her.
She’d almost passed out when she heard quick, urgent footsteps tearing towards her. Afterwards she said how lucky it was that her husband had realised she’d forgotten her purse and come after her. ‘I say lucky,’ she said, ‘yet actually what could it have done – except scare me. It was only a very nasty ghost.’
But it wasn’t only a ghost. I knew exactly what it was too.