Xan Marcelles and I've had many long conversations. We're lucky enough tonight that we've hatched up one to share specially with you peeps. Today is the official day we celebrate the release of Crooked Fang, which is available in print and electronic format.
ND: So, dude, your story's been out for a bit now and I hear you're a hit with the ladies. What have some of them said about you?
XM: They seem to have a thing for bass players for some reason. And I dunno, like they think that I'm hot? I'm just a dude with fangs so [shrug]. I mean it's flattering and everything, but I don't see what the big deal is. I just like talking to everybody.
In Crooked Fang, I'm not as popular as you might think. I get assaulted in different ways, not all bad but still. Hah. Keeps things interesting.
ND: Haha, a dude with fangs. Let's put you on the spot then. How do you reckon you measure up compared to other popular vamps? If you were to be in the same room as say, Lestat, Edward and the Count himself. What would you have to say to these dudes?
XM: Count Dracula would probably scare the shit out of me. Considering he's like a million years old, really creepy looking and has a castle. But he's got a ton of weaknesses to balance the odds. The whole sun-thing, has to carry around dirt from his homeland, sleep in a coffin, dead to the world when he sleeps...yeah. I don't think I would say much to him at all besides this:
X: "How's it going?"
X: "Well alright then..."
Lestat I have a lot of respect for, I gotta say. Except he's French and kind of...French and probably talks with a snippy French accent. Not that I got a thing against the French. I'm sure he'd be all arrogant with me, or maybe not. Maybe we can jam and he could shriek some vox and make Serv (my singer) look like a kitten in the vox department. Lestat is undeniably cool, but if I had to guess who'd I'd get along with better? Louis. But. BUT. If I was put in a situation with Lestat I think it'd go like this:
X: "How's it going?"
X: "I heard you like to sing and tried to expose the entire vampire race. Plus, damn. Akasha. What a rush huh?"
[Lestat punches me in the gut or bites me or something]
X: "It sucks you can't get laid to relieve those frustrations, man."
I get murdered on the spot. The end of Xan.
Edward Cullen. Do I really have to answer this one? I think I'd just sit there and hum the tune of "One of These is Not Like the Others"...
No, really. Considering he's like fatally deformed and useless as a vampire. And thanks to him, I get to hear the sparkly vampire jokes. Maybe I'd punch him in the teeth. Maybe.
ND: Haha, oh shit I think I can almost smell a fanfiction mash-up at this point, that's if Rice would allow her fans to play nicely with her vampires. So, speaking of fanfiction, how would you feel about that? Especially if folks were to take it to the Fifty Shades degree?
XM: Fanfiction will happen whether you like it or not. It's the slash that I'm kind of like O_O; at. Or any variation thereof, you know? Like Blood and Fire. Ash and I...just eww. Seriously. I can't even.
I like females. I'm sorry. I apologize to the whole world for being straight as a board in advance. If fanfiction comes along, it'll be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Because I think while it encourages people to be creative, it can border on plagiarism and that's not only uncool, it's illegal.
ND: Slash. Ugh. [scrubs eyeballs] So, if there were to be a merry mash-up (sans the slash), which characters would you be flattered to share space with?
XM: Damn. You really have me at a disadvantage because I don't know much about other characters in my genre. Give me a break, I'm fictional, right?
Ok. I have one. Shane McAllister in Jeri Smith-Ready's WVMP series. A musician, a quiet dude and a vampire. Well wait, we'd probably bore the readers by being stoic and musiciany. Although his maker Regina? I'd hit that. Goth chicks are hot.
Killer story with Shane and Regina right here.
Plus, c'mon. They love music. They DJ at a radio station. My kind of crowd.
ND: Getting back to the novel, Crooked Fang, did you expect to have your living past so tied up with the undead present? We're dealing with a lot of time disjunction, you holding onto your "for now", while the rest of the world moves along. How do you cope?
XM: Definitely not. A man thinks that he can just up and leave everything behind--not true at all. It will bite you in the ass if loose ends aren't tied. And it hurts like hell. Seeing people get old, especially like when I haven't been around to have it happen gradually...man, it's a shock. It separates me more and more from who I used to be. I mean the first who. Not the second. I'm on my third who now.
I think a lot. A damn lot. And the more I think, the worse I feel, so it's an endless circle of thinking and maybe drinking because drinking helps numb the mind to the point of dumb. Not like it's gonna hurt me anyway. I throw myself into my band, or stupid me, I try and help somebody else out. That rarely works out well but I can't just stand by and let people in front of me be in pain.
It sucks being stuck in a place where I'm standing still, yet time goes on. And the thought of losing the rest of what I know makes me sick.
You want to know how I deal? One night at a time.
ND: So, where do you see yourself headed out to in say ten or twenty years? Where is your "for now" then? Hard questions, I know, but you're a lot deeper than your facade.
XM: New place. New identity. One night here whenever, I'll decide it's time, pack my shit and leave Pale Rider. Sooner rather than later if questions start popping up. Or, the alternative is to tell them all. Would they accept me? Could I stay anonymous as the bass player in this or that band?
Maybe twenty years ago I could've. These days, people have real nice cameras in their phones. The internet is nosy. People are suspicious and way more open-minded, which is a double-standard. And then there's the others like me. If I divulged and stayed put, eventually they would come for me and drag me off anyways. That's just how shit is. It's how it's always been and always will be. Even I have to submit just a hair to the big dogs. And there are very big and very old dogs.
So, my twenty years from now? I'll be someplace else and anybody I knew before will probably either be dead or no longer know where I am. I'll end up someplace in Mexico, or Russia, or any other location. But not here. Not in Colorado.
ND: Why have vampires remained so secretive? Why don't you guys take over the world? Do you really have something to fear from the humans?
XM: Hmm. How to answer that without giving too much away...
In my world, a vampire has to be a certain age, which varies with type, to make a new one worth a shit. Else you end up with...you know what I'm talking about. So, there really aren't too many of us, except for the Nesferata which seem to be spawning like termites. But even then, not nearly enough to take over the world, like you're saying. Making enough hellspawn to do something that crazy would dilute the strength in vamps so much across the board we wouldn't be able to fend off an old lady armed with a handbag. And most vamps aren't the type to need to be out there. We take our drinks in private to avoid consequence because that draws attention and even people can't kill people without penalty.
There's the weakness to sun. Fire, etc. It benefits my kind to just stay in the shadows or operate from places so high nobody questions a damn thing. At least that's what I know, been told, or can say freely.
ND: And now, to ease up on all the hardcore shit. So, your writer tells me there's wiggle room for another story. If and when that happens, what do you think your fans can expect? What would you like to do now that you've had a couple of misadventures?
XM: Well no. The rabbit hole just goes deeper. In Crooked Fang, all you saw was me and my immediate issues with maybe a little glimpse into the supernatural world, or whatever the hell people call it now. Paranormal? Way to make me feel better about myself. Anyways.
The second book I still have to deal with problems from the first. I can't just ignore some problems and hope they go away. Without giving spoilers from either book, I'll just probably get in even more trouble and be forced to look at my vampire self again. Maybe show more from those missing years when I was living the vampire lifestyle. I'm sure it'll be gouged out of me someway or another. Readers wanna know, and what readers want, readers get. Within reason, you know?
ND: So, any parting shots for your readers?
XM: Besides a huge, humble show of gratitude and appreciation? That they even bother to look at my site or read my book?
Well there's that, and there's me seeing a lot of lonely people in pain and I just wanna say to them, they aren't alone. Everybody is somebody; fat, skinny, young, old--it don't matter. For the people that were there in the beginning and still there now, shit...wow. You know. There's no words to express how good that makes me feel.
For the new ones coming along, hey, nice to meet you. Come talk at me on Twitter @crookedfang. Tell me what you think. Let's talk music or whatever. Listen to me bitch about Auto-Tune. Come see my website at www.crookedfang.com. Lots of fun ways to dig into what Crooked Fang is, who I am, etc. Blogs, merch, books, other shit.
I love you all. Keep it real.