To date, I’ve read Lilith’s Love twice and listened to it three times. Dan Shaurette’s cross-genre, vampire-romance is one of my favorite vampire novels. He has a fresh outlook on the vampire legend that I find especially appealing. Even though his outlook is new, he is sure to include all those yummy bits us old-school vampire lovers can really sink our teeth into.
Blending the story of vampires, witches, and mortals, he still manages to make his story believable and entertaining. The characters are so real, you wonder if he may know your friends. Or maybe that’s just me? I find it refreshing to read a love story from a man’s point of view that doesn’t involve demoralizing women and childish cat calls. No, this is real love… Lilith’s Love.
Dan Shaurette was nice enough to speak to me about his work, his love of horror, and his fanboy side.
EMZ: Where did you grow up?
DAN: I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. I’ve moved a few times, but never out of Arizona. I currently live in Tempe, which is not far from Phoenix. I’m totally a desert rat.
EMZ: I get visions of Mad Max! When you were a kid, what were you a fanboy of?
DAN: I’ve been reading since I was two years old so I was a voracious reader in my youth. I was a huge fan of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and the Choose Your Own Adventure series. My favorite movie was TRON (and TRON: Legacy made me feel old!) For TV series, I have a distinct memory of watching Doctor Who and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. As for comic books, though, I did not start reading them until I discovered that Anne Rice’s novels had been adapted to comics, and that was when I was in high school, I think.
EMZ: Oh my God, that is when I discovered comics too. Anne’s stories brought me into the culture, but once there, it allowed me to delve into Gaiman’s awesome Endless Series.
DAN: Same here, and I totally had a crush on Neil Gaiman’s DEATH.
EMZ: Hehhee, me too! I even dressed like her a couple Halloweens. So, Dan, what was the first real life experience that freaked you the hell out?
DAN: When I was very young, maybe seven years old, I was at school, and I was playing outside at recess with the other kids. I was shy and I would play in the jungle gym tubes by myself. Lost in my little world, I eventually heard someone calling for me. When I came out to see who it was, everyone was gone. When I tried to get back inside, all the doors were locked. I started panicking, but I never cried out. I kept trying the doors, looking in windows, and eventually I tried a door I know I tried before, and it was open. Once I got inside, there was nobody around. I ran to my classroom and no one was there. I checked other classrooms, and still there was no one. I eventually got to the office, and there was no one there either. I then made my way to the front door, but now I was really scared because I knew I should not leave. Just before I got to the door, it opened. It was my teacher, and she had this look of shock on her face. She told me then that everyone was leaving for a field trip, but she came back because she thought she forgot something. Not someone. Not me. She just thought she had to go back. No one missed me. No one called out for me. I just knew something was wrong and she eventually realized something was wrong, too.
EMZ: Wow. Terrifying for a child to be left behind and you remind me of the zombie movies that start where someone wakes up and everyone is gone. Perhaps we are all still a little scared of being left all alone, especially when we don’t know where the others went. Now, if you were to meet one person who would make you go all fanboy again, who would it be?
DAN: Joss Whedon, no question about it.
EMZ: Hehe. Yes, it would be hard to stay calm and cool in his presence. I think I might just bust out in song… “All the angels sing that you’re gonna die!” Let’s talk about Lilith’s Love. When you researched for the book, what kind of tools did you use?
DAN: I started writing the story in 1993, when I was a student at Arizona State University. I was a Computer Science major, so I had access to the computer commons quite often. The world wide web was in its infancy then. We had the Mosaic web browser but Gopher was the primary internet tool of the day. That only helped me find a few newsgroups mainly with folks interested in vampires. The real tool was that the Phoenix Public Library and the ASU libraries were just beginning to make their card catalogs available online. Most of my research was really done the old-fashioned way — reading books, both reference and fiction.
EMZ: And while you were reading, did you find anything out about vampires that shocked or interested you in particular?
DAN: The thing that shocked me the most, I think, was discovering that there was a real Count Dracula, aka Vlad Dracul Tepes, the Voivode of Wallachia.
EMZ: Oh yes, I remember when I found out Countess Bathroy was real. It’s hard to come to grips with these legends actually killing real people. You’ve podcast for a while and your book has been out long enough to have a following. What kind of reaction do you get from readers?
DAN: Most people who’ve read Lilith’s Love have given me extremely positive feedback. I usually hear that the story is the most believable vampire story they’ve read and that the characters are so real, like their best friends. Yes, there’s magic and yes there’s vampires, but it is a modern setting and nothing out-of-character happens. I think that is what most people identify with. In fact, the biggest complaint I get is that the book is too short and they want to know when the sequel will be coming out.
EMZ: Yeah, count me in that group. When is the sequel coming out?
DAN: Oh dear – well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that it will be a while yet. The good news is that’s because I am working on a series of prequels. Lilith’s Love was always meant to be part of a trilogy, but while I’ve been working on it (for nearly TWENTY YEARS), it has evolved. I know how the sequel ends and I know what happens in the third book, but the core of what happens in the sequel has been fluid and elusive. As I’ve plotted it all out, it kept prompting new questions, as well as nagging me about open threads in Lilith’s Love. So it became obvious that prequels are needed. The first prequel takes place in 1893 and involves not just vampires but demons as well.
EMZ: I’m excited to sink my teeth into that! What do you think the most difficult thing is about writing?
DAN: Editing. Writing tends to come easily. Research can be tedious but is always an adventure because I’m researching something I like. But editing is always difficult, because I can be pretty hard on myself.
EMZ: Is there any project that caused you more work than you expected? What would you do differently?
DAN: Hands down, the podcast for Lilith’s Love. I mean, I’ve wanted to do it forever, but I knew that once I started the project, I would obsess over every detail. I would have done a lot of things differently, but the most important would have been to record all of the audio and produce everything before releasing any episodes. I have heard folks give reasons pro and con for this, but after going through it all, I think I would have preferred at least to have had everything recorded first. Yet there’s that desire to get something out to people and I thought I could handle the schedule. Naturally, technical issues came up, illnesses, schedule conflicts, and everything else you can think of caused many delays that I regret.
EMZ: My greatest regret about your Lilith’s Love podcast is that I am not in it! How’d that one slide by me? I would have loved to play a part for you, so keep me in mind for the sequel.
DAN: Oh, I promise, Emz!
EMZ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DAN: Folks can find me on just about every social network. Look me up as either DanShaurette or DanS42. My wife, Michelle, and I host the Out Of The Coffin podcast all about vampires, which can be found at OutOfTheCoffin.com. If you would like to read or listen to a podcast of my novel, Lilith’s Love, you can find it at Liliths-Love.com. That site has links to Amazon for the paperback and eBooks. You can also find the podcast version at Podiobooks.com and iTunes. Finally, my homepage at DanShaurette.com has links to all of the above and more.
EMZ: Thank you for talking with me about your book, Lilith’s Love, and we will be looking forward to reading and hearing the prequel!