Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kristin Battestella in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Kristin Battestella. Kristin, will you please share a short bio with us?
Kristin: Hi Cate!  Married and writing, that’s it!  My first ebook was published in 2005, and I’ve been writing for my hometown newspaper for 7 years.  Fiction wise, I’ve been doing speculative horror and genre work for over 15 years, and there’s all the online articles and film criticism, too.  Nothing fancy!  I collect records, crosses and go on massive sewing streaks every few years.

Cate: Very cool. Tell us about FATE and FANGS: Tales from The Vampire Family and where it's available.
Kristin: The first book in the FATE and FANGS series, Love: Ann and the Viking comes out this August with Muse It Up Publishing, followed by Punishment: Lilith’s Trials and Struggle: Elizabeth in America in September and October.  Each of the 7 books focuses on a character or two from my 2008 novel The Vampire Family, which was re-released in ebook and paperback with Eternal Press in 2008. These Tales get down and dirty and personal with plenty of vampire romance, blood, gore, and torment through the ages.   

Cate: Excellent. Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Kristin: Sure!  This is Professor James’ introduction to the FATE and FANGS series.  He has restored and edited the diary accounts here, and his interpretation may or may not always be as reliable as he suggests!


Forward by Professor A. James

In 1975 I acquired a collection of antique, but damaged manuscripts, after a mysterious fire beguiled the dim British authorities for four years.  Somewhere along the frontier between England and Wales, in a crumbled vault beneath a burned mansion; dozens of leather bound journals, diaries, and books were rescued.  Their contents were fantastical: histories, ages of vampiric accounts, coven wars, and abstract chronicles. The police, of course, uneducated in such matters of the occult or the unexplained, found the material rubbish against their modern case in need of evidence and forensics.

Fortunately, in my subsequent studies and adventures, I have found that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. You must forgive me the cliché, but my analysis and preservation of these personal antiquities has brought me to new heights of bizarrity, both on the page and in the flesh.  I thought I was a wise, aware professor knowing beyond the day-to-day world before I came to read of this twisted Vampire Family.   My pride was in err.

After several lengthy years of study and a very slow restoration process on the oldest documents, I succumbed to an offer of assistance from a student named Theodore Plunkett.  A scholar of ancient languages, Theodore’s detailed list of degrees and credentials were too numerous for his youthful appearance.  His intelligence was vast; yet he was a personal master at comprehending and restoring the fantastic tales of Antonio Welshire and his mad family’s descent into the dark world of vampirism.  From patriarch Antonio’s brutal human days to the coven’s near destruction by the rival Lilithan vampires and the ambiguous Mestiphles’ meddling appearances and disappearances; this Vampire Family’s history is very well documented through some centuries and bare and bleak in others. Some journals are utterly disturbing in their tales of blood and mayhem while other diaries are strangely heartfelt, bittersweet, and uncomfortably endearing. 

The fire that brought these texts into my possession was education blessing enough—the lifetime epitome of Tut and Troy to most scholars.  Some library men would be content to sit behind their musky parchments and read the decades away.  I, however, have had the unique privilege of authenticating these documents as truth.  Of course, that wasn’t until many years later, when Theodore arrived at my office door looking as young as the day we first met.  On the plane to Philadelphia, I never suspected I would arrive at the doorstep of sisters Samantha and Victoria Welshire.  I had read over five hundred years of their tall tales; yet here the startling beauties were, living and breathing before me, fangs and all.  Only then did I begin to realize the full extent of this familial coven. 

The academic community may disagree with my claims; but this dark, sensational and unbelievable underground lifestyle has afforded me considerable gains.  Today I live a quiet life among the Welshires, and their vast knowledge of history and the world has blessed me intellectually as well as financially.  In this simple, ignorant time obsessed with youthfulness and beauty, I’ve seen immortal creatures age, know love, feel pain—even die and regain their humanity.  I myself have been able to change; embracing surgeries and procedures I would not have considered before acquainting myself with the Welshires.  With no evil or nefarious means, this vampire knowledge and power has made me a new man inside out.  It’s something I could never have fathomed before these burned books first came my way. 

Through the course of this manuscript, you will find my notes introducing the strange tales included in this volume.  There are several more stories left to be discovered; however, those are largely damaged chronicles, with significant portions unaccounted for or degraded beyond interpretation.  Those presented here are in the best condition possible and have been least corrupted through time and calamity. 

You should be familiar with most of the players, as the Welshire coven’s deeds have been thoroughly documented elsewhere.  These accounts from Ann, Victoria, and Stephanie, among others, are much more personal, individual, and largely first person accounts.  Some are sad, a few are very enchanting and lovely, and there are some that I personally find repulsive and frightening.  Living with and documenting the Vampire Family has not blinded me from their awesome powers and need for the very fringes of human society.  Read of the Vampire Family, delight in their written escapades even, but nevertheless learn from the error of their ways.  Not all of them are so charming and accepting of the human condition.  Remember what you’ve read and will read: most of them will do anything to protect their nocturnal inclinations.

From the past to the present, from near to far and wide, you may think these tales are all fiction, born of the imagination.  Unfortunately, they are indeed the truth and based in a frightening reality as firm as you or I. 


Cate: Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Kristin: Because I have so many to choose from?!  With FATE and FANGS, there is a hero for everyone.  Paranormal romance fans can relate to the lovelorn Ann or scorned Elizabeth in the first two books.  There’s tragedy with James and werewolves with Rain in Books 3 and 4. Gaston has some redemption, too. Hot men, bad girls! Victoria gets her comeuppance and Lilith takes her licks in the second tale.  In addition to having a disturbed vampire or two to love, we also have a few characters to hate, too. That’s just as important, isn’t it? Mestiphles is up to his old tricks!  I just love a good anti-hero, sometimes more so than a character to like and get behind.  Conflicted people doing bad things makes us examine our own readerships and ultimately, our lives.

Cate: Too true – they ultimately balance one another out, don’t they? And definitely make stories more interesting! Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Kristin: You know, when we were doing the editing for the second book Struggle: Elizabeth in America, I realized some of the bloody vampire hot house experience was kind of creepy, gory, and well, disturbing.  Nowadays, the trend has been to make things young, misunderstood, and pretty.  The Welshire vampires of The Vampire Family may be many things, but pretty is not one of them. Some of their actions and nature is downright ugly! FATE and FANGS takes us from early Viking escapades to contemporary disturbia, but each vampire brings along a lot of dark diaspora, a fracturing of what we expect in reading on good and evil.  I don’t enjoy reading or watching clichéd, spoon fed vampires, so I certainly don’t write them!

Cate: Exactly, I’d much rather read a realistic tale. What's next for you?
Kristin:  After the 7 releases for FATE and FANGS finishes next year, the next full length novel in The Vampire Family series, Requiem, wraps.  It’s getting big and will probably get split in two. I’m also editing a creepy fantasy called Horns of Myleness with fellow Eternal Press author Leigh Wood. She’s written a lot of dark, erotic medieval stuff with unicorns that one wouldn’t expect.  I wouldn’t normally read something so seemingly uber high fantasy with princesses and unicorns, but Leigh’s take has been a great, twisted read, and I’m enjoying helping shape and polish the manuscript to shine!

Cate: I love twisted fantasies too. What inspired you to draft your first story?
Kristin:  Some of the stories in FATE and FANGS are actually the earliest material I wrote for The Vampire Family, though they were excised from the first novel because their first person formatting didn’t fit within the overall third person book. I think that is why these are largely ‘making of’ or bizarre tales where we take the time to get to know the vampire psyches here. I began writing these vampires in 1999, way back when creatures of the night weren’t popular.  There wasn’t a lot of pure vampire material around then, and I wanted to write something that I myself would enjoy reading.  Otherwise, I begin with an idea, again something that intrigues me and bugs my brain until I have to write it down.  The very first story I ever wrote I think was way back in 1987, my goodness!

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Kristin: In theory, I do!  Naturally. it is tough to stick to things sometimes with dinner, laundry, errands, and whatnot.  Generally, I write late at night or overnight, between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. when it is quiet and spooky.  Sometimes I open my patio door and listen to the crickets or the wind chimes.  If it is storming, that’s even better! I prefer my laptop and my favorite recliner nowadays, but still do a lot of composition, notes, and support for my prose in longhand.  I love goofy pens and have been using the same loose leaf binder since high school.  I suppose I’m more habit or comfort than routine, but I do get incredibly streaking, going for days on end on one manuscript.

Cate: I envy you – wish I could stay awake to write in the wee hours! Where can readers find you on the web?
Kristin:   Where can’t you find me on the web? Actually, I refuse to twitter, otherwise, you can find The Vampire Family lurking all the darkest corners of the internet!

Review and Fandomwise, folks can often find me or my work on forums like The Mighty Bean, the TrekBBS, and Michael Fassbender Online.  My review blog archive is I Think, Therefore I Review. We just topped 50,000 hits! 

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Kristin:  Hmm, I’m always curious to current reading and literary trends; thoughts on ebooks versus traditional books; the state of booksellers or online mediums.  I’m all for information, inspiration, and entertainment!  What informs, inspires, and entertains you?

Cate: Great question. Looking forward to some great answers!

Thanks so much for being my guest Kristin!


Cate Masters said...

Welcome Kristin! Congrats on your upcoming releases. Those covers are just gorgeous.

Kristin Battestella said...

Thanks for having FATE and FANGS Cate!

Pat McDermott said...

Great blog, Cate. Kristin, you certainly are a prolific writer! I wish you luck with your pending releases and with all your wonderful stories. To answer your question, I enjoy "real" books. Have a Kindle but don't have the hang of it yet. I'm thinking that has to change, and soon!

Kristin Battestella said...

Hi Pat! Thanks for taking the time to comment with such kind words.

I'm a bit old fashioned myself and am waiting for a little more streamlining in ereaders before purchasing one. Don't want to end up with a betamax and HD DVDs, you know? ;0)

Again, thanks for taking the time to drop by!