Posted on March 26, 2010 by Flames
Derek Gunn lives in Dublin, Ireland with his wife and three children and is the author of the post-apocalyptic thriller series, Vampire Apocalypse, widely praised on both sides of the Atlantic. Indie US comic publisher, New Baby Productions have licensed Vampire Apocalypse for graphic novel adaptation. The first graphic novel is due out early 2011. Derek is also the author of THE ESTUARY, A 2009 release from Permuted Press.
Eric Pollarine had the chance to talk to Derek briefly about his novels, the upcoming comic and more…
First off let me say thank you for taking the time and agreeing to do the interview with me.
You’ve got a three chapbook set that’s coming out soon, from Ghostwriter Publications in the U.K. entitled: “Sentinels of the Sea” care to tell us what they are about?
The Sentinels of the Sea stories came about after a short story I wrote for ‘The Undead’ Anthology for Permuted Press. The story was set within the short period of unsettled peace just before the Napoleonic Wars and it received a lot of interest and good reviews. I have always loved historical fiction and I liked the idea of blending real history with a few supernatural tinged stories. I wrote a second story, called ‘The Island’ and it, like many of my short stories, grew into a novella. Novellas are difficult enough to find homes for but Ghostwriter Publications liked the idea of a themed series of stories so I wrote a linking piece and they put it together.
Is there a difference in writing a historically themed story, and if so what are some of the specific challenges of writing those stories?
Well, the obvious one is that it needs to be historically accurate. This means a lot of research. If I was just writing a story then I can suspend belief, somewhat, but I wanted these stories to be true to the age. While I was researching I found a number of really strange occurrences that don’t really have logical explanations in our world and I used a few of these elements to craft my own stories within a tight, realistic framework. I have since written a full novel set with the same characters and I hope it will see publication soon.
I know that “The Diabolical Plan” first appeared as a short story in the Permuted Press anthology “The Undead Zombie Anthology”, what made you want to revisit the world of the HMS Swift?
I have probably answered this one already with the answers above. I love historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell and Alexander Kent being two of my favourites. The characters I have created in these stories have a few more stories to tell I am sure and I have a nice twist now where there is a link further back in history which adds a new dimension to the framework.
Your first book, VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE: A World Torn Asunder is in development as a film, any new announcements on the movie that you can speak of?
I’m afraid there isn’t too much I can say about it at this point other than the option has been renewed and they really want to make the film. The script is written, the director and producers attached so, hopefully, we’ll announce something soon.
From reading past interviews I have come to find out you’re a fan of comics and VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE is scheduled to be released as a graphic novel in 2011 from New Baby Productions , how is the process or transition to the medium of comics different than your regular writing?
I am really excited about the Graphic Novel. I am a lifelong fan of comics so, seeing my own work in graphic form, is really cool. I am writing a few interludes for the Graphic Novel that dip into the history of the vampires and they are coming along really well. These will be totally new and unpublished in any other format so there will be something for everyone when it comes out next year.
Did you enjoy it?
Writing comics is very different from novels. I thought my stories were very visual but the material needed to produce a page of a Graphic Novel is far more detailed.
Are there plans for the other two books in the series?
Yes indeed. If the first one sells well the plan is to start on the next in the series. It’s all about sales really. It takes a long time to produce a Graphic Novel so, hopefully, there will be a huge demand for it.
Is there one character or group of characters in a Universe (Marvel/DC/Etc) that you would love to get your hands on?
Oh I would be delighted to take on any of them to be honest. If I was given a choice I suppose Green Lantern on the DC side and Daredevil on the marvel side would be my ultimate.
You’ve stated that your early inspirations in writing are Stephen King, Graham Masterson, James Herbert and Richard Matheson to name a few, are there any current horror or genre writers that have you inspired?
Jonathon Maberry is really delivering great horror fiction and is worth picking up if you haven’t at this point. Richard Laymon, of course. If you want to see a well crafted story, the Travelling Vampire Show is just brilliant.
“The Estuary” was your first full length outing from Permuted Press, and was a fantastic read, so are we going to see any more releases from you and Permuted Press?
I’d love to, yes. I have just finished a thriller recently which was a departure from my normal writing so I am now looking at what I will start on now. Permuted are a great publisher and I would love to work with them again.
Would you care to weigh in with any thoughts on the current influx of apocalypse/Survival/zombie horror themed stories into the publishing world, or are these things just cyclical?
They do seem to be cyclical in the quantities we are seeing now. There are always stories in these genres but there is a huge interest right now. Personally I think it’s great. There are a lot of really good stories out there if you can find them. When this current influx begins to wane we’ll see which ones remain in print and that will tell us something I suppose.
You’ve eluded that you are a musician and that you often listen to music when you write, what instruments do you play and what is currently on or in your play list?
I play guitar, although my son would question that. I started to teach him a year or so ago and he has well surpassed me at this point. I tell him it’s because I’m such a good teacher but I don’t think he believes me. I am currently listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd at this very moment, their new album Gods and Guns is fantastic. I listen to everything though.
Is there anything you would like to add here, shameless plugs or otherwise, not mentioned above?
The Estuary is now available all over America in Borders/Walden Books so you can rush out and pick up a copy, if you can avoid all those zombies. The Vampire Apocalypse books are available in book form through Black Death and on Kindle etc through Permuted Press. There are three of them now and, if you liked The Estuary, you’ll love them.
Derek I just wanted to say thank you again for sitting down and taking the time to do the interview, thanks and good luck to you. – Eric Pollarine