My guest today is author Gerald A. Simpkins. Gerry and I became friends several years ago when we met online. I can’t recall the exact circumstances, but suffice it to say he was able to help me with a problem I was having with a Word document or something along those lines. Since then, we have spoken on the phone, and remain in constant contact, each promising to meet the other in person. I have no doubt that it will happen in the near future. As our friendship progressed, I was able to return the favor when Gerry needed some help with the cover of his first vampire novel Forever (the Beginning).
To date, Gerry has written four books. His first was a non-fiction work entitled Secrets of the Bible, which has to do with imbedded words at equally spaced intervals in the Hebrew text of the Bible. The latest three are full-length novels: Forever Young (the Beginning), Forever Young (Birth of a Nation), and Forever Young (Irina), all with a vampire theme.
Joe—And now for that interview. Welcome to my blog, Gerry.
Gerry—”Thanks for inviting me, Joe.”
Joe—Exactly how long have you been writing, Gerry?
Gerry—”I guess I started around 1998.”
Joe—I know you have many interests, but when you’re not writing, what is your favorite genre to read?
Gerry—”Without question it’s either an action-adventure or a thriller.”
Joe—Do you draw upon your own real life experiences for your writing?
Gerry—”In many ways, yes. (Of course, I’m not a vampire).”
Joe—Well, I can’t personally vouch for that, but let’s continue. Are there any authors who have influenced your writing?
Gerry—”None that I can think of. I honestly don’t recall ‘picking up’ any technique from any particular author.”
Joe—What is a typical writing day like for you?
Gerry—”Quite long when I’m on my game. It can run up to twelve hours or more. I can’t seem to write it down fast enough.”
Joe—Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, what do you do to break it?
Gerry—”Yes, I usually get stumped once or twice in each novel. If nothing occurs shortly, and by that I mean within minutes, I jump ahead to where I’ve already mapped out the story. But I won’t go too far lest I have to change all of that later. If it persists beyond an hour or so, I quit and take a legal pad and sit down to watch a movie or something I’ve recorded. I make a stick diagram of where I am and all of the possible paths I could take. I put all options down no matter if I reject them shortly after thinking of them. Any one of those could lead to an idea that will break the log jam.”
Joe—(I think I’m jealous.) What makes your treatment of vampires any different than that of most writers of that genre?
Gerry—”I’m glad you asked me about this. The vampires in my stories have a three-week period of adjustment to go through after they are first bitten, and then given the blood of another vampire so as not to die. It is very painful and what they do during those three weeks will determine several important traits which they will have forever. These are how much daylight they can tolerate and for how long. What varieties of human food they can eat. Whether or not they will be ambidextrous. How to adjust their sensitive hearing so as to be able to live in noisy human cities. How to control the bright glow that their eyes can take on due to emotions. How to do without blood for several days, and thus not be subject to cravings for it. And for male vampires, they must engage in lovemaking or lose their libido forever. This makes ‘crossing over’ even more critical for males. Properly mentored vampires are considered to be “Adepts”. They can mingle freely with humans both in business and commerce as well as socially. And in fact they can have intimate relations with humans without their human partners detecting any difference except for their stamina. The Adepts I focus on are quite involved in exterminating rogue vampires so as to keep the knowledge of their existence secret. Some of them are astoundingly wealthy, which would only be natural could one live for thousands of years. However they go to great lengths to change their appearance and names every twenty years or so. The whole concept of coexisting peacefully with humans while themselves being only thought of as legendary creatures makes for very interesting dilemmas. Some of them exist as families and are quite close and supportive of each other. I think that this is a fresh concept in this genre.”
Joe— I know you’ve written a number of books with a vampire theme. Is there another subject that you’ve thought of writing about, but haven’t? And if so, why not?
Gerry—”Yes. I almost wrote an action adventure novel which starts in the west in the Civil War era and leads to the main character being shanghaid and finding himself at sea. In fact, this one was going to be my first ever novel back in 2012. But then I happened upon what I considered [sic] to be a bad vampire movie and I thought why does that genre always have to be so depressing and with the same time-worn characteristics of the vampires? What if the skilled, well-mentored ones could pass for human and owned businesses and freely mingled with humans every day in major cities? It was that very thought that propelled me towards writing Forever Young (the Beginning). That in turn led to my making it a series, much to my wife’s regret!”
Joe—Obviously, vampires are not popular with everyone. What is your target audience?
Gerry—”Hopefully late teen to advanced old age.”
Joe—(Hmmm . . . I guess I was wrong on that one.) Gerry, part of the description of your first vampire novel says that the reader “has never experienced the subject of vampires” as they will in reading your novels. What is different about your stories?
Gerry—In my novels, there are many vampires who live secretly yet openly among humans who are all unaware of their condition. This is because they were well mentored during the three weeks of their conditioning period after they were brought over. During this first three weeks, the new vampire’s body is changing from human to what it will be forever. And during this time period, exposure to daylight, eating human food, control of their superhuman strength, and other things are taught to those who are properly mentored. These vampires are called ‘Adept’ being as they have had the best mentoring and conditioning given to them by a vampire or vampires who themselves are ‘Adepts’. They undergo a blood fast near the end of their conditioning period so as to give them superior control over their hunger so to speak. True ‘Adepts’ can go for several days without feeding and not die. The vampires in my novels are like humanity in general, being good and bad. The good ones are not out-of-control raging beasts who come out at night. They own business, are active in society, attend societal events, are quite wealthy in most cases and regularly consort with humans but do not reveal what they are. They dwell together as families and have numbers of unknowing human friends. They live and love and laugh and mourn and experience the same emotions as humans do. And in my novels, they do influence the direction of history to a limited degree although they officially don’t direct the destinies of the nations in which they live. However, for example one group of them comes to America and takes the side of the Americans fighting for their independence from England, and yet they take no lives. Vampires who kill humans are considered vermin and these rogues are routinely hunted down and killed in grisly and action-packed encounters throughout my stories. Some of the adepts even have intimate relations with humans, and in fact the males will lose their libido if they do not experience sexual relations while they are conditioning. That loss of libido is permanent and this makes for some interesting conditioning experiences!
Joe—Tell us a little about your hobbies?
Gerry—”I finally gave up flying hang gliders and ultralights, much to my wife’s great relief. Really, it was unfair to her being as the sport scares her to death. I mostly occupy my time writing and keeping up maintenance on our vehicles and on all of the equipment, mowers, chain saws, etc that we own for maintaining this property we now own. If not writing or doing that, I am likely as not repairing something in the house itself it seems.”
Joe—So tell us, what are some of your likes?
Gerry—”A good hot cup of coffee on our front porch swing on a rainy day, and conceptualizing that next scene in whatever current novel I am writing.”
Joe—Any particular dislikes?
Gerry—”TV News. National news seems to be so depressing, choreographed, and propagandized as to have become unbearable to watch excepting for checking out extreme weather or perhaps natural disasters that might occur wherever.”
Joe—Our thanks to you, Gerry, for this delightful interview.
Gerry—”It was my pleasure.”
NOTE: You can follow Gerry on Twitter at @GeraldSimpkins and on Facebook (Gerry Simpkins).
Website: Authors Den
Attention Authors: If you’d like to be interviewed on my blog page, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
NOTE – Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day (a 2012 Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. All four are available in paperback and E-book from Amazon.com. As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also in audiobook from Audible.com, with Twice Bitten and Broken Promises currently in production. If humor is your cup of tea, consider Joe’s rip-roaring, coming-of-age novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, set in the tumultuous Sixties, or A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce (First, you bend over and . . . ). Both are available in print, E-book, and audio book editions.
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