Thursday, July 30, 2020

Return Interview featuring Fantasy & Horror Author C. Dean Andersson

Dean Andersson's novels and stories have been published by Harper Collins, Warner Books, Kensington, White Wolf, Crossroad Press, and Alpha-Kniga. He received a Bram Stoker finalist award from the Horror Writers Association for his Cemetery Dance story about a close encounter on a lonely highway with the Death Goddess Hel, "The Death Wagon Rolls On By."

Welcome back to Up Around the Corner!
(For those who are interested, here’s the link to Dean’s first interview: First Interview with C. Dean Andersson)

It has been almost seven years since you last spoke with us. Since then, has your writing career progressed as anticipated?

Yes. I am happy with how it has progressed.

Through what book or series would readers most likely know you? For those who may not be familiar with it, could you share a little about the book (or series)?

I Am Dracula is my best known novel in the horror genre. It is Dracula’s Secret History told by Dracula himself. Crossroad Press recently published a new print edition and a first edition ebook.

Warrior Witch of Hel, Book 1 in the Hel Trilogy, is my best known novel in the fantasy genre. It is the sword and sorcery saga of a barbarian warrior woman named Bloodsong. Warrior Witch of Hel follows Bloodsong’s fight against a sadistic sorcerer to rescue her daughter. “Warrior Witch of Hel” is now also a song on the band Smoulder’s new album, Dream Quest Ends. The song does Bloodsong proud.

Here’s a little challenge: What five words might best describe I Am Dracula?

Lies, Love, Satan, Resurrection, Revenge.

Okay, beyond those five words, why do you think readers would be interested in I Am Dracula?

I read Bram Stokers novel, Dracula, for the first time when I was twelve. It fascinated and frightened me, but it left me wanting to know how and why Dracula became a Vampire. Years later, when I was writing, these words came to me: “I became a vampire for lies and for love. I remain one for revenge.” Those words spawned I Am Dracula, the story of a mortal man, a national hero, who becomes a Vampire King.

I know readers who re-read the novel each year. The intense relationship between Dracula and Tzigane, a Witch who falls in love with him, is a love story some treasure. Others tell me the book’s portrayal of evil made them question their beliefs. A reader from the historical Dracula’s homeland thanked me for showing the mortal Prince Vlad Dracula, as a warrior who protected his country and defeated invading hordes. All in all, bottom line, for many readers, I Am Dracula has a strong effect.

Your Hel Trilogy had a foreign translation. How did that happen, and what did you find interesting about the experience?

A Russian publisher, Alpha-Kniga, asked to publish the books. I had nothing to do with the translations. They did everything, and that is the most interesting thing, that it just happened. But unexpected things often happen with the Bloodsong books. For example, the song by Smoulder that I already mentioned. The Russian editions are hardbacks with wraparound cover art by Russian artist Ilya Voronin, and they are beautiful. I heard from Russian readers who enjoyed the books.     

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing? And what is a place that you would like to visit?

I enjoy astronomy. One night when I was rather young, I asked my dad to show me the Big Dipper in the night sky. An article on navigating by the stars in the back of a comic book claimed the Big Dipper pointed to the North Star, and that you could navigate by the North Star because unlike other stars, it never moved. So, dad showed me where to look, and sure enough, extending a line connecting the two stars at the dipper’s end pointed to the North Star. Eventually, I took classes in astronomy in college, and I now read Sky and Telescope magazine each month to keep up with the latest discoveries. Then too, now and then, just for fun, I use a small telescope of my own.

As for a place to visit, Scandinavia is first on my list. My Hel Trilogy takes place there, and I would like to see the land of the Vikings. 

You have been involved in this author gig for a number of years. What are three changes that you have observed over the years? Would you identify them as positive, neutral, or negative changes?

Changes in the methods available for writing, changes in the methods of research, and changes in the way books are published. If writers do not want to go the traditional route of finding a publisher, there are now resources such as Amazon available for self-publishing. And for me, computers, word processing software, and doing research online, at least as a starting point, are far superior to the typewriter on which I used to work and hours in libraries looking for the right research book. So I feel these changes are weighted heavily on the positive side of the scale.

But the most basic thing has not changed. A writer must still invest time and energy creating a story, and to the person doing the writing, the other things should matter as little as possible during the creative process. The story, setting, plot, and characters should be all important when creating a tale. Life goes on outside that creative bubble, but that bubble should be, as much as possible, like a force field repelling everything else, psychologically at least if not physically. Easier said than done, of course, but it is a goal.

What might readers expect from you next?

Nine of my novels are now available as ebooks because I spent over a year editing them, revising and rewriting as I felt was needed, then expanding some sections and writing new ones here and there to make them better books. Experience made me a better writer, and Crossroad Press provided the opportunity to revisit and improve my novels. I recommend the ebooks as ‘author’s cuts.’ The new printed edition of I Am Dracula is taken from its ebook edition, by the way. A reader recently told me she liked the new edition of I Am Dracula better than the original, which said to me that my work on the ebooks had been the right thing to do.  

But now I am concentrating on my works in progress again. There is a new Bloodsong novel I am anxious to finish, Valkyries of Hel, in which Bloodsong is transported by sorcery to a world similar to our modern one and must fight her way through strange dangers to get back to her own world. In the process, she befriends a group of endangered young women in a Korean Pop band and discovers unexpected connections between them and friends in her own world.

And I also want to finish I Am Dracula II: Dracula’s Witch. It is told from the Witch Tzigane’s viewpoint. She has been quite literally to Hell and back, and her account has revealed surprises I had never guessed. It’s fun when a good character takes over and surprises the writer.

Plus, I have a new novel of Horror in the works, something more akin to my Texas Horror Trilogy, which is contemporary horror, the trilogy being Torture Tomb, Raw Pain Max, and Fiend. Torture Tomb tells of a kidnapped young woman and a group of modern Witches who fight physical and supernatural evil to rescue her. Raw Pain Max is a tale of the infamous mass murderess, the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory in the modern world. And Fiend follows events at a comic book convention when an ancient Witch, Medea from Greek Myths, attends the convention to stop a serial killer of children. The myths say Medea killed her own children, but it turns out she was framed and has been searching down through the centuries for the real killer. In the process, Medea has become a protector and avenger of abused or murdered children.

As we’re closing in on the end of this interview, is there anything you want to add or share with the readers?

I have been told by readers that my novels are fun to read, which is one of the reasons I write, to entertain myself and my readers. I can’t help it. Thanks to my stage Mom, I grew up from age three performing before audiences, following the old showbiz rule, give the people what they want. Readers are my audience now. But I never know how what I write will affect them.

When film director Amy Hesketh placed a copy of I Am Dracula on the Vampire’s dressing table in her vampire film, Olalla, she told me it was because she read the book when a young girl, and its effect stayed with her.

Another innovative film director, Jac Avila, made Maleficarum, the scariest, most realistic and relentless horror film about the Inquisition I have seen. Jac has become a friend and once told me that my novel, Torture Tomb, was a favorite.

Other readers struggling against odds that seem overwhelming in their lives have taken heart from my warrior woman Bloodsong’s fight to save her daughter and protect her people. With Bloodsong, surrender is never an option. She keeps fighting, no matter how hard or long it takes, until she finds a way to win.

So the time I spend writing has produced positive effects, and reactions from readers encourages me to keep writing. To readers I therefore say thank you. I will continue to tell stories. And the show will go on.  

Once again, Dean, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

You’re very welcome. It was a pleasure.

Below are Links were you can find C. Dean Andersson online and learn more about his novels:


Friday, July 24, 2020

Visual of Music Brought to Life: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Theme Music

I think this is pretty neat, seeing the musicians, instruments and other elements combined to bring this classic theme music to our ears.

Take a watch and listen!