Posted by: Addison – Jul 05, 2012
James Wayland is a VA-based author who has been writing horror fiction for a very long time. He’s contributed to RVA Magazine in the past--everything from short stories to film and music reviews. But now he’s taken the plunge into the book world, releasing his first novel, Trailer Park Trash & Vampires, self-releasing both e-book and trade paperback formats this month. The book features a great cover by Chris Visions, and the expanded version scheduled to come out on Friday, July 13th, will feature a whole bunch of interior illustrations by Visions as well. To get you psyched for that upcoming release, we spoke to James about vampires, trailer parks, and zombies, plus a little bit about writing--just to keep him honest. Read on...
What project are you currently working on?
Right now I’m focused on the sequel to Trailer Park Trash & Vampires. The survivors have been hunting vampires for a few years now, and they’re pretty badass. I’m not going to say a whole lot in addition to that, but I will give you this much: the primary threat these badass vampire hunters are dealing with in the sequel is not a vampire. I’m crazy like that.
Where did the inspiration for Trailer Park Trash & Vampires come from?
So, I had been writing for years, avoiding vampires like the plague all the while because that particular sub-genre is always over-saturated. One day, I’m sitting in front of my computer, and I just asked myself what I would do with vampires if I were to take a stab at it. Amazingly, this was before Twilight hit, but Interview With the Vampire was on my mind, and I remember thinking that it would be nice if vampires weren’t such pussies. I was sick of the romance and all the pretty vampires strutting around castles wearing lace and shit. I mean, vampires are supposed to be scary, and I don’t know how Lestat or Edward Cullen could be deemed frightening. They’re romantic leads, for Prince Vlad’s sake. So, I wanted to do something bloodthirsty, something less refined, something American, and just ditch the pretty boys and the fancy clothes and all that jazz.
I think that’s another reason I changed up the game so much. One of the key principles of writing horror is you write about what scares you. By and large, vampires don’t scare me at all. Crazy people do. So I worked really hard to make my vampires far more human than the children of the night readers are accustomed to. I really wanted to bring some realism to the bloodshed taking place in Trailer Park Trash & Vampires. My vampires don’t turn into bats or mist, they don’t sleep in coffins, they don’t burst into flames if they stand in the sun, and crosses and garlic don’t bother them at all. Holy water is equally useless. Yeah, they live for ages if no one stops them, but in many ways my vampires aren’t so different from you and I. They don't even have fangs.
Why trailer parks as the setting?
Well, I wanted to do something American, but King had already brought Dracula to his turf in Salem’s Lot, and on the film front there were gems like Fright Night and The Lost Boys, terrific pictures that had also attempted to remove the vampire from Europe. So, I had to take things further. I decided to bring vampires to the dirty South. That’s when it hit me like a lightning bolt from the sky: Trailer Park Trash & Vampires. Just like that. As soon as I had that title, I knew I was writing about a battle, and I knew that both sides would have to be fairly equal in terms of strength. That was really intriguing. I wanted to inject some vampires into a trailer park and present them with lowlife adversaries who could put up a fight. Things happened pretty quickly from there. I've written a handful of novels, and I can honestly say that’s the only time a title and a plot just sort of fell into my lap.
What's your favorite vampire movie of all time?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Is it Fright Night or Coppola’s version of Dracula? They’re two very different pictures, but they’re both near and dear to my heart. I may favor Fright Night, simply because Roddy McDowall ensured that Peter Vincent will always be one of my favorite characters. Anthony Hopkins is great as Van Helsing and Gary slays it as Drac in Coppola’s wonderful adaption of Stoker’s masterpiece, but Roddy gave the performance of his life in Fright Night. Christopher Sarandon was pretty cool too. Yeah, I think I’m going with Fright Night here. I should probably point out that there’s a nice nod to Fright Night in my book, and there are several references to Dracula. Hell, Dracula is in my book. I even invited his brother to the party. Seriously, if anyone is able to identify all of the nods to various movies or books involving vampires that I managed to slip in, I should probably give them some sort of prize.
If you had to pick one movie vampire to make you into a vampire, which one would it be?
That’s a strange question. I’m really not sure how to answer. It definitely wouldn’t be Grace Jones from Vamp, I’m sure of that.
Vampires or zombies?
Well, The Walking Dead is amazing, and here I’m referring to both the show and the source material. Also, Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead are movies that I positively treasure. Having said that, I can never decide whether Dracula or Salem’s Lot is my favorite novel, and I enjoy both of those works more than anything zombie-related I have yet to encounter. And if we’re pitting the two against one another, I’m confident that Dracula can handle at least a hundred zombies without even breaking a sweat, so I’m definitely scoring this one in favor of the vampires.
James Wayland's Trailer Park Trash And Vampires is currently available from Amazon.com as a non-illustrated e-book, for the low introductory price of $3.99. The illustrated e-book and trade paperback editions will be released on Friday, July 13--keep an eye on James's Amazon author page for details on those formats.
by Tony Harris, intro by Andrew Necci