MOVE ASIDE STEPHENIE Meyers, there’s a new vampire novelist in town. Patricia McCarthy, an Ottawa-based writer, has penned her fifth novel in the Crimson vampire series. The romance-esque novel is about blood-sucking monsters living in the nation’s capital and it’s due out later this year. The Fulcrum recently sat down and spoke to the local author about using vampires as her main subject and being a writer here in Ottawa.

The Fulcrum: Tell us about your latest novel.
McCarthy: The Crimson Crimes resumes the saga of Samuel and Magdalene Crimson. He is a hybrid human vampire and she is the [the last standing full vampire on earth]. Their idyllic life runs screamingly out of control when they attempt to hide the bones of the dead bodies drained by Magdalene’s predecessor, Sir William Simon Hennessy, a 900-plus-year-old vampire who transferred his vampire powers to Magdalene before expiring.
Suffice it to say, readers will enjoy the steamy sex scenes (one takes place on the Rideau Canal in the dead of February) and the often time rude, black humour.

Why did you choose to write about vampires?
Vampires chose me. I was happily minding my own business writing poetry and short stories, both of which were being published in the United Kingdom. The turning point came when my poetry was published by a vampire pulp fiction magazine … [and the] editor asked me to submit some short vampire stories.
After having a handful purchased and published, I realized how much fun it was to write fang fiction. I knew then that I had my first vampire novel in me, and once my first vampire novel came into existence, I loved the premise and characters so much that I believed there was potential for an on going series.

Do you think that the vampire genre is overplayed in pop culture?
Not at all—love-sick, hot young boys with cliff-hanger cheek bones are played up to death in popular culture and young girls never seem to be able to get enough of them. Vampires have been the darling of the literary world for over a century. The only other literary character to receive as much attention as the vampire is Sherlock Holmes, but he doesn’t make young [women] quiver. Lust, power, and immortality are highly compelling elements to entice a reader of any age. Writers are drawn to the potential for drama, which seems limitless with vampires.

You write about vampire erotica. Would you consider yourself a romance novelist?
I consider myself a practitioner of fang fiction. If I was a romance novelist, I might have hurled myself out of a window by now—even if one of my novel covers bared a rippled, male torso clutching a nubile waif. Perhaps one day I will be inspired to switch from genre fiction to speculative fiction.

As a local author, do you have any advice for young, burgeoning novelists?
Read a lot, especially poetry. Poetry teaches you the economy of words and rhythm—two essential ingredients in writing. Be selective in terms of the organizations to which you wish to devote your spare time. Writers by nature are lonely creatures—you never write a novel by committee—so get used to the idea of spending a lot of time by yourself. Make a point of getting out to listen to other writers read their material live and take advantage of opportunities to read your own material live as well.

Sofia Hashi