Now that my new vampire novel is out—Insatiable, released by Unzipped Books/Lethe Press on October 22, 2017—I thought it might be helpful to write up a little history of its protagonist, Derek Maclaine, for those who enjoy Insatiable and would like to read more of Derek’s previously published exploits.
In the spring of 2002, I attended the Appalachian Studies Association Conference at Unicoi State Park in northern Georgia, and my writer friend Andrew Beierle, who lived in Atlanta at that time, drove up to spend an afternoon with my partner John and me. Andrew mentioned that Kensington Books had offered him the opportunity to write a vampire novella for an upcoming anthology but that he was deep into the writing of his first novel and didn’t have time.
“Would you be interested?” Andrew asked, knowing that I’d published an essay about my enthusiasm for Dark Shadows, the supernatural soap opera I enjoyed in my childhood. “I don’t write fiction,” I explained, flustered. “I write poetry and creative nonfiction.” Without even looking up from his laptop, John muttered, “You can do it.”
One thing led to another, and in the summer of 2002, inspired by two classes I’d recently taught—Introduction to Appalachian Folk Culture and a freshman composition class focusing on the vampire in literature and film—I composed “Devoured,” which was published in 2003 in Masters of Midnight: Erotic Tales of the Vampire. In this novella, Derek falls in love with a mountain man, Matthew Taylor, and encounters virulent homophobes in Charleston, West Virginia. He also befriends a much older vampire, Cynthia, who helps him in his fight against a particularly nasty evangelical preacher.
Derek is great fun to write—he serves as a convenient form of catharsis for my often overwhelming lust and rage—so I continued his adventures in a series of short stories I wrote for anthology submissions.
“Hemlock Lake” appeared in Blood Lust: Erotic Vampire Tales, edited by M. Christian and Todd Gregory. It was inspired by Mountain Lake, a resort near Virginia Tech, where I teach, and a mandolin player I admired at a wedding there.
“Wolf Moon/Hunter Moon” appeared in Erotica Exotica: Tales of Sex, Magic, and the Supernatural, edited by Richard Labonté. This tale introduces Donnie, a sexy lycanthrope who’s featured in Insatiable.
“Saving Tobias” appeared in Icarus: The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction and was reprinted in Best Gay Erotica 2011, edited by Richard Labonté, and Tales from the Den: Wild and Weird Stories for Bears, edited by R. Jackson. Let’s just say that the obnoxious politics of a sexy country music star inspired this tale of revenge.
Several fans, in particular the wonderful ‘Nathan Burgoine, a talented Canadian writer, encouraged me to collect the above stories in one volume, which seemed to me to be a fine idea. I wrote two new pieces for that collection. “Derek and Angus,” set in Scotland in the early 1700’s, is Derek’s origin story, in which he’s turned into a vampire by Sigurd, a great Viking from the Orkneys. “The Last Crumbs of Sacher Torte” is set in Vienna in the late 1800’s and involves an Austrian anthropologist Derek’s been trifling with. Thanks to Steve Berman, the wonderful editor of Lethe Press, that collection, Desire and Devour: Tales of Blood and Sweat, was published in 2012.
Since then, I’ve published two more Derek stories. “Snow on Scrabble Creek” appeared in The Bears of Winter: Hot and Hairy Fiction, edited by Jerry L. Wheeler, and “Spring on Scrabble Creek” appeared in Threesome: Him, Him and Me, edited by Matthew Bright. Both stories involve Timmy Kincaid, a former coal miner who also appears in Insatiable, and both are set on Gauley Mountain in southern West Virginia. The latter tale involves ghostly activity connected to the Hawk’s Nest Tunnel Disaster, which occurred in the 1930’s.
My new novel Insatiable features the characters mentioned above—Derek, Matt, Cynthia, Marcus, Donnie, Timmy, and Sigurd—as well as a ferocious and fabulous drag queen, Miss Ilene Over, and a few sexy new otters and cubs who slake Derek’s thirst for affection, power, blood, and sex.