11 April 2007

Author Answers with P.N. Elrod

This week's author is P.N. Elrod, author of the Vampire Files novels and several other series. She's got more than 20 books to her credit. To find out more about her, check out her website or her blog.

WN: Bram Stoker aside, you’re one of the earlier writers in this whole supernatural/vampire book trend. What do you think of the plethora of books now in the supernatural genre?
ELROD: The more the merrier. Readers can go through a book faster than we can write 'em, so there's plenty of room for new talent.

WN: Since there are a bunch of vampire books, what should readers know about Jack Fleming? How is he different from other vampires?
ELROD: He's a cross between Jimmy Stewart and Bogart--a nice guy, but don't push him too far. He's got a great sense of humor, but a smart lip that gets him into trouble. More often than not he's checking to see how people will react. If they get him, he's a good friend to have at your back.

WN: It sounds like you did a lot of rewrites on the first Jack Fleming book… what made you keep going until it got picked up by an agent?
ELROD: I knew I was good and getting better and had something different to offer. I did not have an agent; that first sale was right off the slush pile. My first three chapters caused the editor to miss her subway stop. She figured if my writing could do that, then the rest would be worth checking out!

About a year ago a soldier serving in Iraq sent me the best fan letter I will ever get. He said reading my books made him forget that any given pile of garbage along the road could blow up his ride. That was danged humbling to me!

WN: Did you always want to be a writer, or how did you end up being a novelist? Did you do anything else that helped you become a writer?
ELROD: I always wanted to be a writer. I read the library as a kid and that pretty much did the job.

WN: What’s the best part of being a writer to you?
ELROD: I'd be writing anyway, paid or not, but getting a check at the end of all that work is always nice. I also like hanging in the bar with other writers, talking shop. There's always something new to learn on the craft.

WN: What’s the most challenging part of writing for you?
ELROD: Sometimes people don't see it as being a real job. When I'm staring blank-eyed at a wall there truly is major work going on inside the ol' bone box.

WN: What’s next for you as a writer?
ELROD: More books, more editing, meeting the readers so I can thank them.

WN: What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you?
ELROD: There are too many, I couldn't pick just one, but I give props to writers like Alan Caillou, Ray Bradbury, Donald Westlake, Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Walter B. Gibson, (Maxwell Grant who wrote The Shadow novels) for inspiring the Vampire Files series. They all made me want to write.

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