Galericulate Interview – Talk to the Hat: Shane O’Neill

I feature here on the very excellent blog, GALERICULATE, where I am interviewed by my good buddy and fellow writer, John Dolan. Here is what we had to say to each other.

Today I’ll be abusing (well, maybe not so much) Shane O’Neill, author of strong, adult vampire books with lashings of historical research. I first got to know Shane last year and I’ve finally been worn down by all his begging and agreed to give him an interview. So here it is.

JD  Hi Shane, glad you could make the long trip out to Thailand as part of your launch tour. Feeling jet-lagged?

Dracula Author Shane KP O'NeillSO  Hi John, I’ve been looking forward to this a long time. I’m feeling okay, thanks. My first ever journey in 
the air was from London to Wellington and I was okay then so I should be okay after a beer. I’ve always wanted to come here and couldn’t resist your invitation.

JD  OK, now before we talk about your writing, tell everyone a little about yourself. And don’t mention books yet or I’ll have to kill you.

SO  You will, huh? You forget I have some very powerful friends on the dark side. If I was to divulge too much about myself, then I might have to kill you too. Okay well, I’m Irish originally, but now living in Norway where I followed my heart and the woman I loved. I’m a twice-failed husband and father of seven daughters and one son. I have many interests. I love sport, literature and a deep interest in history, which forms the basis of all I write.

JD  So what got you into writing? And who have been your influences?

SO  I have always been a writer and always wanted to be a writer. There are a select group of writers whose books I love to read, but I would never say I was influenced by any of them. I may have tried to emulate their achievements, but my influences would be the characters I write about: Vlad Dracula; the Borgias; the Tudors; Machiavelli; John Hunyadi; Napoleon Bonaparte; Oliver Cromwell; and many more.

JD  Your Dracula series is a mighty epic. I read Bound by Blood, Part I last year and posted a review and
recommended it on Goodreads. I’m ashamed to say Part 2 is still on my reading list – but it’s almost at the top! It’s a very, very dark take on the legend. And these are not your namby-pamby ‘Twilight’ vampires, these are vicious types. Why did you decide to go down these routes?

SO  Yes, and it was a very kind review too. Thank you. I love how you describe my work as visceral. You were the first, but not the last, to do so. Bound By Blood – Volume 1 & 2 were originally one book, so by not continuing to Volume 2, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

JD  I usually do. Go on, give us the pitch.

SO  My books are not a part of, nor do they conform to the Dracula legend. The only similarity between my work and Stoker’s is the name of our main character, and of course the vampire connection. My character is the real Vlad Dracula, or Tepes, as he is known to many. Stoker’s Dracula merely used the name and location of the famous historical figure. But yes, my novels are very dark. I intentionally tried to give them a Gothic feel, even though the early books are all 15th Century. I chose the darker route, and my vampires are darker than many might appreciate, because in my eyes they are monsters and in my books, their life, power and immortality comes directly from Lucifer. I have always been a member of the anti-Twilight brigade and could never conform to the current trends, even if that’s where the money is. I feel there is a huge audience out there waiting and hoping for something in the adult horror/vampire genre to come along and restore it to its rightful place. I’m trying to contribute to that.

JD  The two volumes which are being released now focus on Dracula’s pre-vampire days. Why did you 
decide to write the books in this order?

SO  A friend of mine whose opinion I trust, advised me to give the vampire first. Dracula appears as a vampire for the first time at the very end of Book 5 and the beginning of Book 6 in the series. But as I have said previously, my series is based on the real Vlad Dracula who lived from 1431 to 1476. I have built my concept and premise around the world in which he lived, the premise being that Lucifer is trying to ascend again to Heaven through the destruction of the Catholic Church so that he can finally destroy the human race. It is the story of how Lucifer manipulates Dracula to achieve this end, and the story of his brother, Andrei, who is the balance to him.

JD  So what else is cooking in Shane O’Neill’s brain? I read ‘Orchid: Tales of the Black Sabbath’ – will you be expanding that franchise?

SO  Book 2, The Path To Decay, will be following in a month’s time and then next year I will release Book 3, The Gates Of Babylon. When I can find the time I will release more of my horror shorts, Tales Of The Black Sabbath. I won’t be rushing these however as I like my shorts to pack a punch.

JD  I’m the same. Except I have something IN my shorts that packs a punch. I hope none of my family is reading this.

Learn more about Shane and buy his books (but don’t read after dark) by clicking on the buttons below:

 Thanks to John at Galericulate for this Interview

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