Monday, May 12, 2014

A New Twist on the Urban Fantasy Genre of Vampires


Author David Vermont

About David Vermont 

Born and raised in New York City, David B. Vermont now lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and four kids.
An attorney and accomplished litigator at one of Washington D.C.’s top law firms, he began writing about religion when he was asked to author a series of articles explaining the Catholic faith on the popular blog 52 Prayers.  He now writes regularly about his faith as the leader of an online Bible study group.
The Last Confession of The Vampire Judas Iscariot is his first foray into fiction.  His website is: http://davidvermont.com/





Welcome to The Writer's Life, David.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:      I am a husband, father of four and an attorney.  I love hockey, golf, history, politics and religion (not necessarily in that order).  I’m a regular guy with strong opinions and big dreams but I also try hard to be humble and recognize how blessed I’ve been in my life. 

I’ve been doing legal writing for over fifteen years.  It’s taught be a lot about tone, structure, organization and the judicious use of words.  If I had never written a 150 page appellate brief I would never have been able to write a novel.  I started writing creatively (some would say that all legal writing is creative in how it stretches and bends the truth) about four years ago.  The Last Confession of The Vampire Judas Iscariot is the first time I have written fiction.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A:      The Last Confession of The Vampire Judas Iscariot is a novel that follows Judas the betrayer of Jesus.  After Judas commits suicide he is raised from the dead by the devil.  However, since the devil cannot do true miracles Judas is not truly alive but he’s not dead either, he is undead – a vampire.  Judas becomes the devils apostle and works for him down through history.  He leads many lives to help bring the devil’s plans to fruition.  You see Judas in ancient Rome, medieval Europe and Nazi Germany.  The man part of the novel takes place in modern day New York City when Judas meets and confronts a former Catholic priest.

I wrote the book because I wanted to make vampires evil again.  In today’s modern mythology only beautiful people become vampires and it’s not a punishment for embracing evil but a reward for being cool.  Freed from pain, suffering, disease, old age and death todays vampire characters live the best human lives – the lives we would all want to live.  They have plenty of time to get rich, learn music, art and history.  They have loving friends and families and life is an endless party.  In contrast, when today’s stories show evil vampires they lose all humanity.  They become grotesque animals that cannot control their thirst for blood.  They are little more than animals that are mowed down by the stories hero who, almost always, is seeking revenge for a great injustice done to him by the vampires.  I wanted to write a book about what a truly evil vampire would look like.  An evil but also broken figure who had a plan and used his supernatural ability to accomplish it.

What kind of research was involved in writing (please italicize book title here – no caps or quote marks)?

A:       A lot of the research was things that I had just done over the years due to my natural interests.  For example, I had read a book on one character, Father Vianney, and knew the basic outline of his story.  I had read books and documentaries on the true story of Vlad the Impaler, history’s Dracula.  He was truly ruthless individual and I did a lot of additional research on his early life and backstory.  The politics of his time and region were incredibly complex and I used several sources, mostly internet, to get the timeline and players straight.  I also knew the basic story of another character, Father Kolbe, but I spent some time researching the events of his death.  The story of his life is one of remarkable faith from a young age but all of that is left out as it really didn’t advance the narrative of the book.  Finally, I knew nothing of the story of Father Valentine.  However, I knew I wanted and needed to put Judas in Rome at a time long enough after the Apostles and people that may have known him would have died yet while Rome was still at the height of his power.  So I went looking for a famous priest in history from that era.  When I learned that Valentine was from that time period it was perfect.  It was the chance to get the real story of Valentine’s day back into modern discourse.  It also worked well because since his story is from so long ago, it wasn’t very detailed, more just traditions that was associated with him.  That allowed me a lot of flexibility in the narrative.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

A:      I was extremely lucky.  I started trying to shop my book around.  After an initial period of rejection, I decided to have an editor work on it to maximize my chances with publishers.  She loved it so much that she passed it on to a publisher she had worked with in the past.  The rest, as they say, is history.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

A:      It took just under a year.  The publisher put it in the first available catalog.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A:      I do not have an agent but I would not hesitate to get one if I get any bigger than a first time author.  As an attorney, I know the value a committed professional can bring.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A:      Absolutely!  I think there is a lot to be said about theology using fiction.  In The Last Confession of the Vampire Judas Iscariot, I try to present theology in an interesting way through the narrative.  Theology is the deepest of studies, especially if you challenge the reader with hard theology, not the wishy washy feel good theology of modernism. 

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A:  There is a saying, “a bad day golfing is better than a good day at the office”.  For me, it’s the same with writing.  Getting out 2 or 3 well written pages is joy.  I’ve written in airports, in hockey rinks and in my car.  Sometimes even on my cell phone.  My favorite place is my office at home but I’ll right anywhere if a few good ideas or turns of phrase occur to me. 

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A:      If money were no object I would give it away, probably mostly to churches, regardless of the denomination.  I love the discussion.  I love discussing good v. evil, faith v. works, and symbol v. sacrament, etc.  I think people should talk about God and the things that surround him.  If money were no object I would definitely give the book away, in the hope of starting more of these conversations and creating the buzz needed to sell more books.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

A:      Self-promotion is vitally important.  Your publisher will do some promotion but mostly to wholesalers, in catalogs, etc.  It today’s day and age you need to cut through the noise.  Thousands of books are published a year.  To get someone to try something new you need to get your book and its synopsis in front of them.  You need to have your social media straight.  You need to have a website (http://davidvermont.com/)and to be on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DavidBVermont) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/dvermont) at a minimum.

You need to post on them often enough to keep people interested but not so much that you drive them away.  Unless you know how to do this before you publish you’ll have a lot of catching up to do.  At the same time, you can’t neglect traditional media and their potential.  Just one good traditional review could launch your book into the stratosphere.  I’ve hired marketing support for traditional and new media.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

A:      I think most new writers give up either because finishing their book is too difficult given the constraints of their daily lives or because of the repeated rejection by publishers.  I never thought of giving up.  I was lucky enough to be very motivated; I had a clear vision of the story, and a very supportive wife.  Like most authors, plenty of publishers rejected me, but I anticipated a long process, so I hadn’t reached the end of my rope when my offer came through.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

A:      Stick it out.  Realize that for most authors writing and get published will be a processed measured in years, not months.  Write about what you know and interests you.  I was able to write my book because the themes and concepts interested me.  The characters do things to bring those themes to life.  Figure out what your trying to say and then the characters will speak with that voice.

Thank you for your interview, David.  I wish you much success!

A:      Thank you!


About The Last Confession of the Vampire Judas Iscariot

Of all the people who ever lived, surely Judas Iscariot, history’s most notorious betrayer, must be in hell. Or maybe not.

After watching the crucifixion of Jesus, Judas despairs over what he has done and fumes that the Messiah he put his trust in has turned out to be just another pretender like all the rest. The toxic mix of emotions is too much for him to bear and Judas commits suicide by hanging himself.

He is restored to life by the Devil and made into a vampire apostle. The Devil teaches Judas to manipulate men and history. He becomes a king, a general, a teacher and a blacksmith, whatever is needed to effect the outcome of history and move it towards the goal of his new master.

Each time he is ready to move on to his next incarnation he must drink the blood of an innocent victim to be restored to his youthful vigor. But despite his many powers and abilities Judas knows there is one thing he desires and cannot have. Finally Judas meets a laicized priest, Raymond Breviary, and tries to steal from him what he was denied two thousand years before.

Book Information

  Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Religious fiction,
  Print Length: 154 pages
  Publisher: Koehler Books (April 15, 2014)
  Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  Language: English
  ASIN: B00J4GISH8