GREG SISCO – JULY AUTHOR OF THE MONTH

Hi everyone. After a short hiatus my Author Of The Month feature is back.  For July I am delighted to welcome another writer from the vampire genre, the excellent Greg Sisco, who has created a series entitled Blood Brothers. Greg is here to talk about the first two releases from this series, Thicker Than Water and The Wages Of Sin. Greg also has a new title out separate from this genre entitled Gunslinger P.I.

Greg SiscoGreg Sisco – Bio

There are two personality traits I can recall possessing for just about as far back as my memory will serve. The first is a love of writing and the second is a malicious sense of humour.

Since childhood, I have been the person who roots for the bad guy in movies and laughs when Bambi’s mom gets shot. I take interest in the flaws of a character far more than the heroic characteristics, which have a tendency bore me. I find humour in places I’m told I really shouldn’t.

I started writing short stories and screenplays shortly after I learned to construct a sentence and haven’t stopped since. As a high school student I wrote and shot home movies in my spare time while performing stand up comedy weekly at a talent show. I also wrote short stories with titles like Teacher Slayers (for which I am still astounded that I was not expelled).

My writing is typically bleak and violent with a fun, satirical edge that should tickle the funny-bones of anyone who is as sick as I am.

1. Can you tell us who you are and why you’ve chosen this genre?

Greg: I’ve always been a fan of the mythology and the folklore behind vampires, but I had trouble coming across books or movies in the genre I could really get excited about. The ones that were fun weren’t dark and vicious enough and the ones that were dark and vicious weren’t fun enough. I started brainstorming the idea for Blood Brothers with a friend years ago and it was just supposed to be a ten-minute short film but it got really out of hand. Next it was going to be a screenplay, then it was going to be a giant tome of a novel, and recently I’ve decided on a series of four shorter novels.

2. Have you not seen Roman Polanski’s, The Fearless Vampire Killers? So what is it about vampires that you find so captivating?

Greg: I love the horror genre in general. I had a pretty bright and cheery childhood for the most part so the escapist fantasy for me, I guess, involves murder and torture and cruelty. I have fun in those darker aspects of human nature. As for vampires specifically, it’s that combination of immortality – which brings with it centuries of accumulated wisdom, both social and factual – and the need to kill to survive. To live that way, you would have to put up an emotional barrier to humanity and I think you’d do it with a god complex. If I have to kill you and eat you, I have to convince myself it’s acceptable because my life has more value than yours. And I think that aspect of humanity can make for some frightening and fun characters, and I think the ability to look at mankind from a distance, through the eyes of a higher species or at least a species that believes it’s higher, makes for some fun opportunities when it comes to looking at human behaviour as well.

3. I’m wondering, Greg, if you could have been Vlad Dracula in a past life.  I like your perspective on that.  So what are you hoping to bring to the genre that we haven’t seen before?

Greg: I wanted to come at it like mythology, like religion. The characters’ names come from Norse mythology, for a few reasons but mostly because I find it to have the same combination of brutality and fun to it. I’ve got a basic arch for the whole story, which of course includes the two books that are published and the two that aren’t yet written, which is drawn from a few Norse stories and a few of Shakespeare’s plays, but I’m hoping I can lay that all out in a way that’s very darkly funny and exciting.

Thicker Than Water4. That sounds really fascinating and a very interesting combination.  Do you like any other vampire/horror writers? Have any of them influenced you?

Greg: As horror writers ago I’m a big fan of John Ajvide Lindqvist, but I don’t think he’s particularly been an influence. I love Stephen King’s short stories, but I don’t read his novels very often. Movies are usually bigger influences on me. “Near Dark” and “The Lost Boys” both probably influenced me a bit. I don’t know. After so many years of figuring out these characters, I forget where everything came from.

5. I can tell you from living here in Norway that Lindqvist’s classic, Let The Right One In, is screened often on the TV.  I have never been able to make my mind up of its greatness, but it is revered by many.  Near Dark is a movie I own and love, and I have featured it here before on my blog.  So back to our interview.  Do you have a favourite vampire novel or movie?

The Wages Of SinGreg: I do, and the movie and the novel are the same. In both cases it’s “Let The Right One In”. The novel is phenomenal and the movie might be the only vampire masterpiece ever put to film, certainly one of very few. Trying to compare any other vampire movie to that one always ends up feeling like the vampire equivalent of comparing the “Walking Tall” remake with The Rock in it to “The Godfather” or something. But I don’t think Blood Brothers has anything in common with that story, unfortunately.

6. Okay now you’ve embarrassed me with that answer.  Moving swiftly along, tell us something about your books: Thicker Than Water and The Wages Of Sin, which are both part of the Blood Brothers series.

Greg: The Blood Brothers series is something that’s been developing in my head for about seven years now, and by my standards it’s pretty massive in scope. It has a timeline spanning about 1,000 years and a pretty large cast of characters. On top of that, there are so many rules in the vampire mythos that authors all pick and choose from, so working in the genre you have to establish exactly how your world functions. Since all that had to be set up in the first book, Thicker Than Water, I wanted to do kind of a small story for that book. So it’s a very character-driven story about a feud between these thousand-year-old siblings over a woman, and I hope by the end of it, the world of the novel has gotten you hooked.

The second novel, The Wages of Sin, is a lot more plot driven. It picks up immediately where the first leaves off, and it works with a much larger cast of characters, and it feels like a much more important few weeks in the characters’ lives. In the first book they’re painted as gods, more or less invincible, but in the second book we see how vulnerable they can be. That will continue into the last two books. The series is about taking these immensely confident, god-like characters and letting the world and their actions reduce them to nothing.

7. I’ll certainly be checking them out and hopefully reviewing them here.  If you were meeting someone for the very first time, what would you say to pique their interest in your work?

Greg: I think the humour in my work is a big selling point. I don’t usually write what I would consider to be comedy, but there’s always a thread of really dark humour that runs through it. I love when somebody’s telling me a story, whatever the medium, and they have me laughing at things I shouldn’t laugh at, particularly when they can do it without cheapening the story. It’s easy in a thriller to do something silly out of left field and get a laugh, but if it’s not done well the story risks losing its suspense. I try really hard to have big laughs in there as often as possible without ever diminishing the suspense.

8. Do you like to mix your vampires with erotica? If not, is that a road you’re looking to travel down at any time?

Greg: I guess you’d have to define “erotica”. That sort of “capital E” Erotica is something I don’t think I have much interest in playing with, the kinds of novels with naked vampires holding each other on the cover or whatnot, about the vampire queen who needs the sperm of a virgin so she can give birth to the Antichrist, but she keeps killing all of the guys she has sex with and meanwhile there’s this shy virgin kid in college and this cheerleader is trying to seduce him or something so the vampire has to get to him before… I don’t know. Can you tell I’ve never read vampire erotica? Anyway, I don’t have much interest in that, but I do think sexuality is a huge part of the allure of vampires and I definitely wanted to work with that in the Blood Brothers books. There’s a lot of sex in there, but it isn’t the main course. It’s important to the story and the characters, but there’s no reason it can’t still be sexy.

9. You actually gave me the kind of answer there, Greg, that I was looking for.  I think I may have to re-word that question better for my next interview.  Okay, now to the fun stuff.  If a movie was to be made from your books, who would you choose to play your main characters on-screen if you had the power to choose?

Greg: Hmm. When I’m writing I envision Edward Norton and Mickey Rourke, but that’s just to get the voices right in my head. Edward Norton probably would be a good choice for Tyr, but Mickey Rourke is too old to be Loki and he’s really not believable seducing women. I don’t know if there are any name actors who I can envision as Loki. Maybe Christian Bale could do it

10. Oh Mickey had that power once upon a time. I remember well 9 ½ Weeks and Wild Orchid.  As I was reading your answer, interestingly Christian Bale popped into my head too.  Thank you so much, Greg, for stopping by today.  Is there anything you would like to say to us or share before you go?

Greg: Well, if I can take a second to plug something else, I just released a new novel, “Gunslinger, P.I.” which is about a cowboy who’s travelled through time and become a notorious detective with a talking car for a girlfriend. It’s kind of a wild, ridiculous story that’s just packed with profanity and violence and sex, and I think it’s really funny. I’d appreciate people taking a look at that. Anyway, thanks for interviewing me.

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1 comment

  • Nick LeVar July 16, 2013

    I’m not a vampire fan, but I LOVE those book covers. Nicely done!

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