Vampire novels are everywhere. You can find them in bookstores, at the library and on the electronic shelves of every eBook retailer. They’re populated with sexy vampires, conflicted vampires and murderous (as opposed to vegetarian?) vampires. The blood suckers can be found in space, alternate universes and historical fiction.
So why am I launching a vampire apocalypse novel now? I first thought of the idea of vampires having a communicable disease back in the eighties, but that theme is so ubiquitous now that it’s now far from an original concept. My novel is a unique approach, but so are a lot of novels in the genre, those that aren’t simply quick rip offs of Twilight. I could also point out that vampires are still hot, that the majority of the eBook reading public is under thirty years old and that there’s always room for one more vampire, but it’s not really why I wrote this novel.
It’s all about the 1000 Souls. I came up with this concept, this new religion, when I met a Russian in Bokhara, Uzbekistan. The man owned a small hotel. He was smart, professional and a master at supplying tourists with everything they could need at fair prices. He reminded me so much of a South African caterer in Canada that I was stunned. It was as if the two men had the same soul, even though their DNA had taken very different routes down through evolution. These men didn’t look at all alike, but they were the same guy in different bodies.
So as I wrote my vampire novel, the religion of Erics (yes, plural) and the 1000 Souls was born, the concept that there are only 1000 souls spread between 7 billion humans. Ever meet someone and swear you’ve met them before even though it’s not possible? Well maybe you have, but you were shaking hands with a different host body for the same soul.
So each living human’s body is playing host to 1/seven millionth of a soul, meaning you could meet quite a few people with the same soul. It also means that the souls are pretty thinly spread, which is where the vampire apocalypse comes in. Kill off billions of people, and the remaining host bodies now contain denser souls. This makes their human hosts more passionate and daring than our thinned-souled present day humans.
Confused? Like any religion, the devil is in the details. The Book of Bertrand is just the beginning, and religions evolve over time. A quick check of the first centuries of Judaism, Christianity and Islam alone prove that the formation of a new religion is a tumultuous time.
But why vampires? Why not a less dramatic plague like bird flu? Because every new religion at its beginning needs to confront pure evil.
But the biggest reason I’m adding another vampire apocalypse novel to the world, is because I enjoyed writing it. I believe it was J.R.R. Tolkien who stated that he wrote novels that he would enjoy reading himself. I enjoyed reading (and re-reading) the Book of Bertrand. I really like Bertrand and his friends, and I can’t wait to write what happens in the next novel.