The Darke Lyfe Trilogy, as my readers know, is a horror/mystery with vampyres as the central focus. I began writing the trilogy about six years ago. It started when my wife and I were having a conversation one evening about vampires. It was one of those drifting conversations that somehow led to that subject. We were talking about my dubious writing career: I was working full-time then, but had completed a non-fiction book and numerous scientific reports and publications.
As we discussed the mythology and history of vampires, I began to wonder if a biologist could write a story in which he could portray vampires as biologically credible beings. In other words, could a biologist make the reader believe that vampires actually exist because of a firm biological foundation of facts. Sometime after that conversation, I began a short story which evolved into the first three chapters of the first book, Ascent of Evil.
The Trilogy became my great white whale. If I were to create a literature cited at the end of the trilogy which showed my research and scientific references, it would probably be longer than any list that followed the scientific reports I wrote for the federal government.
I write to make the reader believe, really believe. Most writers do. But to make you believe that that man in the mall, with such a nice tan, wearing those dark sun glasses, is in fact a real vampire? The gauntlet was thrown down (by me) and I picked it up. I’ve been addressing the challenge – the reality of vampires – ever since.
And out of the mind of Michael Goldcraft (I’ll blame him; why else have a pen name) came not just any ordinary vampire, but Harrison Van Gilter, rogue vampyre of the Van Gilter family, a nut-case psychopath who endangers the entire global race of these ruthless predators. Harrison, nearly three hundred years old, is charming, cunning and cruel. But what a dashing, murderous scoundrel he is. He even has his own Facebook page: “Harrison Van Gilter.” He has thus become arrogant and evil beyond my wildest night mares.
I believe in extremely rich character development and Harrison has been fun. But… Now he actually believes he exists. And in an issue of the Brim Books Monthly News (a free, once-a-month email; see www.brimbooks.com) he claimed First Amendment rights because “was I not conceived within the United States?” Harrison has many capabilities, for example he can levitate, but he also destroys much of the mythology. He, a real vampyre predator, casts a clear reflection in any mirror. He is made of mass and energy.
With an extremely cruel and capable antagonist to wreak havoc where he went, I needed a protagonist to pit against him. Well, actually a team of protagonists. And thus arose from the fictional dust Dr. Steven Atticus (biochemist/anthropologist), Dr. Benkt Van Leeuwen (elderly and diminutive Dutch zoologist), Lieutenant John Willoughby (my near-retirement chief of homocide, Panama City Police Department) and FBI Special Agent Mark Pierce (young and enthusiastic). These and others formed the task force of Mayor Larry Hayes. The task force was commissioned, directed, ranted at, and threatened to bring Harrison to justice or…
So science is paired with law enforcement to unravel the biological mystery of vampyres. And Steven Atticus has just the tool to do so: the 1000-year-old corpse of a Viking Priest which he discovered in a cold Canadian lake. Novgor Borgund was “the first vampire,” the progenitor of the vampyre race.
By now you’ve noticed the exchange in spelling: vampyre and vampire. It’s the archaic way that the two types of predators were distinguished. A vampyre is a full-blood, conceived of vampyre/vampire parents. On the other hand, a vampire is a transitional predator: a human who became a vampire by exposure to the vampyre virus through an attack. Almost no vampyre victims are left alive. Vampires are rare and often survive to mate with a vampyre who has experienced a strong attraction to that indiviual. Helen Drake became a vampiress and the mate of Edward Van Gilter when he fell in love with her. But make no mistake, the great majority of predatory victims don’t live very long.
The first two tomes of the Darke Lyfe Trilogy (Ascent of Evil and Inherited Evil) are completed and published (see www.brimbooks.com). The third and final book, Arcanum of Evil, will be released by Brothersons Press on the Spring Equinox.
I welcome any thoughts or views horror fans might have. In the meantime, I’ll keep striving to be a better writer (a craftsman’s work is never done) and hope you’ll be a Facebook friend (see the real me at Facebook: “Michael Shannon Brim,” “Brim Books,” “Michael Goldcraft” and, of course, “Harrison Van Gilter”).
After all, it’s all about telling a good story. MG