Shells Chats with author BellaDonna Drakul

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I have always given props to anybody who’s lived the life of an author but as far as inspiration goes, I’m a Bram Stoker girl. :D I have loved him and his work since I was a child and he never gave up on his dream of writing/getting published which I didn’t either. But I must say that I worship Edgar Allan Poe as well for his broody darkness that has also inspired me to love the art of death in literature. In my opinion, they are both part of my writing style as a reflection and I admire them for giving me the courage to write.

As authors, we tend to put our emotions into our writings, do you ever feel at times drained from writing one of your stories because of the emotional impact it may have?

I have actually and I live by a quote I once read: "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." I feel that if I don’t have strong feelings/emotions for my characters then I can’t expect my readers to either. I have even caught myself crying when I write because of a character’s death and since I write on a first person basis and about people I know personally, I feel as if that person actually died rather than my character. But then again most writers tend to be a bit emotional, right? ;)

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

There are so many accomplishments that I have had as an author but if I had to pinpoint one it would have to be Stephen King owning a copy of my first book. If you write horror then you know you’re somebody if the king of horror owns your book. I hope that one day he will own my second book so keep your fingers crossed on that one! :D

Why pick vampires out of every monster out there for the Horror genre?

I have been asked that numerous times and all I can say is that I know them better than anything else. I am a vampirologist and I have always loved the world of those that feed off of blood in their immortal lives. I can relate to them on so many levels and I feel that I have a stronger and deeper understanding of them in the sense that I feel their pain. Yes, they’ve become glamorous creatures over time but I have always felt their pain of being alone with a world of death at their feet. I guess that’s what makes me a lady of darkness...

How do you feel vampires are portrayed now in the mainstream compared to older times?

Frankly... I think the modern vampires of our time are jokes as compared to the nightmarish beings of the past. And while I give kudos to the original concept of a "sparkly vampire", I do not praise those who worship them in a romantic tween sense. Vampires are deadly beings that feast on blood and cause horror to those who love them and not a best friend who is a vampire vegetarian. Actually, I could go on all day about this topic but you might lose a few readers because of that. ;)

Can you tell us a bit about The League of Extraordinary Women of Paranormal?

Ah... my fellow paranormal/horror ladies and how I love them so! Basically, The League is a group of female horror and paranormal authors who teach others about their knowledge of their particular field. Hosted by the wonderful, Amy Williamson, we are united by what we’ve experienced in our fields and tell others of our lives as women in a "man’s world of paranormal/horror writing". And I would like to mention that there is also a blog called "League Of Extraordinary Paranormal-Horror Women" in which the authors blog about their fields on numerous levels and readers can see who we really are. I’m known as the dark one who is unreadable (as quoted by Amy Williamson) so my blogs tend to be crazy rants or gothic informational writings that many enjoy. You may check out the site for more information here.

Can you tell us a little bit about "The Vampire Collection and The Immortal Memoirs?"

Both of my books are first person based collections of vampire short stories and novellas unlike any the world has ever seen. My first book was written over the span of nearly thirteen years and tells the stories of vampires full of undying love, hate, and an innocence that not even time can alter. There are short stories about vampires made of ice, vampires fighting with humans and werewolves, female vampires with a thirst for blood and destruction, and many more tales of a youthful nature. My second book, on the other hand, is more of a male point of view telling and was written in only a month but is double the size of my first book. In that book there are novellas about an infamous mockery of a "vampire" killer, a freak show with diabolical beings, a vampire that feasts on fetal blood, and others that will scare the reader to death. And what is the difference between my books? My first was written more so as a teenager to adulthood so there’s a lot of love whereas my second book was written as an adult with lots of horror and blood. Basically, you can see how my views have changed throughout my books which I think readers will find interesting.

Where can we find " The Vampire Collection and The Immortal Memoirs "?

You can find my books anywhere online including my Facebook, MySpace, or at Publish America in the Online Bookstore in the Horror section. Or if you’re willing to travel to Oklahoma, you can pick up a signed copy of my book directly from me at one of my horror conventions (the next one is in March).

Who was responsible for the cover/book designs of your books?

My first book cover was my design editor’s idea which represented me with the beautiful but deadly amaryllis belladonna... I was not a fan of that one when I first saw it. My first book was more of a female perspective so the flowers made sense, but I’m not a fan of pink flowers as the designers would have thought. My second book cover, however, was all my idea because it was more of a male perspective so it had to be darker and deadlier hence the creepy cemetery layout. But when I look at both covers now, each one fits the interior of the book. My first book had a deadly sweetness to it represented by the dark flowers and my second was all about death and revenge so the cemetery fit it. All in all, I’m now happy with both designs and I can’t wait to see what my designers do for my third book. :)

Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?

Oh, I have so many stories including some I can’t list here! On radio interviews I’ve been over medicated from being sick which was my first interview that turned out surprisingly well, I’ve brought more laughter than horror to the conversation on others, and I’m becoming known as the disturbing yet hilarious guest that everybody wants to book which makes me happy. And on signings/horror conventions I have been groped by many a fan, been up to the level of celebrity status (that’s a big plus), met celebrities that have all adored me, and sold many books to make me grow as an author with love from all. I’m not bragging by any means, but it’s a pretty good life! :D

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I am currently working on my third book of first person based vampire novellas entitled "The Kindred Confessions" which I’m having a bit of writer’s block with at the moment. :( However, once I get over that I think it will be worth it in the long run and it will be triple the horror and blood which I hope my readers will love. I’m also doing a few anthologies here and there so I’m keeping pretty busy with that plus interviews and such.

Any events or book signings for the future?

Well... I’m thinking 2011 is going to be a great year for my career. I have a horror convention in March known as "Underground Horror Fest II" (full details on my websites), interviews beyond belief, several other conventions (one being in August), and I’m sure a few book signings at bookstores in between. I’m usually pretty busy, but I’m never too busy to sign books for my current and new fans. I’m excited for all my upcoming events and hopefully next year will be over booked with signings galore.

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

I know it sounds a bit cliche, but never give up no matter how many rejections you get! It is very hard to get published and it might be easier to sell your own soul but oh, it’s so worth it once it happens and your book is in your hands. In fact, I cried when I first received a copy of my first book because I was so moved and proud that I had accomplished something that I had dreamt of for so long. And me personally, I’m all about self promotion so if you have a bad publisher don’t let it get you down. You need to go out in the world and sell your book like your life depends on it! Otherwise, your book will sit on a shelf collecting dust...

Where can people know more about you?

My books and information about my books, interviews, and upcoming events can all be found anywhere online or at the vampire collection, my facebook page, or as I mentioned earlier Publish America in the Online Bookstore in the Horror section. Vampire kisses to you all and until then...

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