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Michael Arnzen: Vampire Lover

Michael A. Arnzen is going to talk about vampires and wants to introduce himself. “I’m mostly known as a horror writer, but I don’t just write novels — I do anything I can in the genre I love so much.

I’ve been writing horror for almost thirty years now, and presently teach horror fiction in the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University. I’m fortunate enough to say that my work has won four Bram Stoker Awards over my career, and I love horror fiction more than anything…and have a special place in my heart for all things vampiric. I co-coordinated the academic programming at the International Vampire Film and Art Festival in Transylvania and am currently working on vampire fiction for several new projects coming soon…but I feel like there is so much more that I can discover and learn about the vampire. It’s one of the most potent, long-standing tropes of the genre and, well, just might be an immortal theme in literature!”

For Arnzen, Vampires have been an interest, if not an obsession, since childhood. He says the first book he remembers seeing his father read was Dracula. “When he described it to me it piqued my curiosity in reading,” Arnzen says. The draw of the vampire included movies and imaginary play, finding a young Arnzen running around the house, plastic teeth in mouth and makeshift cape flapping behind him. “I guess, vampires were like superheroes to me at the time,” he says. Later the bloodsuckers became the focus of his reading and eventually writing. Even now, he sees “the vampiric everywhere.” It comes in the way people “parasite” off each other from the “simple” and “positive” to the “negative” and “extreme.”

Since Arnzen has a long history with vampires and vampire literature, the conversation had to turn to recommendations for books. The first recommendation is the classic that began his lifelong love of the bloodsuckers—Dracula. He highly recommends reading the original novel and not leaving your knowledge of the classic character to the numerous “handed-down remakes” movies, or abridge versions found in comics and “children’s stories.” Beyond the other classics that everyone has heard of: Interview with the Vampire, ‘Salem’s Lot, and I Am Legend, he recommends a short story originally found in an anthology called 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories. It is called “Snip My Suckers” by Lois Gresh. Of the story, Arnzen says, “a vampiric plant stalks its caretaker and it’s a love story told from the plant’s point of view and it’s one of the most original and successful takes on vampires I’ve ever seen.” His enjoyment of Lois Gresh’s story brings him to mention that he wished more authors would look at creative ways of dealing with the well-worn monster. “I think there’s a lot more room for creative artists to explore the biology behind the vampire,” he says. Arnzen believes that this take on the monster is wide open. He continues, “I don’t see too many writers exploring or exploiting the science behind them, bending this research toward horrifying ends.”

He says that he is currently doing research into a lot of natural bloodsuckers: vampire bats, ticks, etc. with the intention of writing a book to bend the science behind vampires to horrific ends. Before this book comes out at some unknown point in the future, Arnzen had a creative take on vampires that also appeared in 100 Vicious Little Vampire Stories. It is called “The Blood Ran Out” and is about a world where the vampires best the humans and “a blood famine ensues.” Mentioning stories that Arnzen has written, he currently has a poem called “Vampires and Perfume” and a short story about a man falling in love with a wax doll in a charity anthology called Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts. “[It’s] an anthology of dark romantic fiction and poetry with all proceeds going straight to the Australian brushfire crisis. Those fires are threatening to radically devastate that continent and they need all the help they can get,” he says. Because this is for a good cause, he hopes that everyone will go out and buy it. Here’s the link:

There was too much Arnzen for a single entry, so to be continued.

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