P.N. Elrod

Quincey Morris Vampire

P.N. Elrod is a female author the "P" stands for Pat. Pat has recently finished a sequel to KEEPER OF THE KING WITH NIGEL BENNETT in the Richard Dun series. HIS FATHER'S SON has just been released from Baen Books and is garnering rave reviews. You may read sample chapters at the Baen site. Nigel and Pat are now working on the 3rd novel in the series--SIEGE PERILOUS!

Pat is currently writing a comedy/fantasy called MYHR'S ADVENTURE IN HELL plus 4 other novels--including two new Jack Fleming mysteries.

Just released--also with sample chapters at Baen--is QUINCEY MORRIS, VAMPIRE, a sequel to DRACULA. It's about the tall Texan who "died" at the end of the original novel. She brings him back for even more adventures! Jamie Murray, did the covers for HFS & Quincey.

Pat lives in Texas with her two doggies(mini-Doberman terrier combos adopted from a Walmart parking lot one Christmas), books, tapes, and a full sized TARDIS that she built when she had too much time on my hands. She loves all kinds of Sci-Fi and going to conventions to talk shop and meet new people. Be warned, I'll only do autographs when conscious.

Welcome to our Author Spotlight of P.N. Elrod and her work.

Below is an interview Margaret L. Carter had with P.N. Elrod. You will be able to read about her and get to know a little about her through this interview. At the bottom of the page you will find a copy of the cover of one of her books and a list of all her books published and soon to be published.


How did you first start writing?

I picked up a pencil and used it on a piece of paper. It helps to know the alphabet.

I know you've told this story many times before, but please describe how the character of Jack Fleming originated.

Jack began as a one-dimensional vampire character in an Indiana Jones-style role-playing game. This was a solid 10 years before White Wolf invented their game. He became totally real to me when in the course of play he was standing in this messy cow pen and thinking "I have to bite a cow in the leg and drink its blood? Ewwwww!" I laughed so hard I fell off my chair.

Jack's inspiration came from the character of The Shadow, whom I've always had a thing for, and the wisecracking detectives from the golden age of the pulps. Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are his spiritual godfathers. Long after the game ended I thought Jack would work as the main character of a novel, so I finally started writing in earnest.

Eleven months later I had a first draft, the first novel I ever began, the first I ever finished. Of course it went through a lot of rewrites over the next two years as I began sending it out and getting the usual rejection slips, but I never gave up. I'd just get over the disappointment and go over it again to make it better.

How did you go about getting BLOODLIST published?

I put the first 50 pages and the outline in an envelope and mailed it to various publishers. Ace picked it up out of their slush pile. I had no agent then. I signed a 6-book contract with them a few months later. Gawd bless America.

When Jonathan Barrett first appeared in one of the Jack Fleming novels, did you already intend to give Jonathan his own series?

Not at first. He was going to be from the Civil War era, but the character that debuted in Bloodcircle was the kind of code duella fop who was obviously not a product of that period. The 18th century was much more suitable, so I pushed him back in time. None of this was developed in that novel much, so by the time I got another contract with Ace it was to sell them that concept and character in Red Death. I've gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback on the series, which I'm hoping to republish with another house along with a fifth novel.

He's quite different from Jack, and they don't get along with each other very well, do they?

They have a mutual grudging respect for each other, but like a few guys who have dated the same girl at different times, they have identical thought balloons saying, "What the hell did she see in THAT asshole?" I plan to bring Jonathan back in a future Jack Fleming novel. It should be fun.

So far, all of your novels are written in the first person. Is there any special reason for that choice?

It just worked best for me as a writer. Bloodlist started out in 3rd person, but it didn't flow. All those pronouns separated me from the character. I was better able to get into his skin and sweat in first person, and many of the books I'd read were from that viewpoint. It was only after I'd been published that someone mentioned first person was the most difficult to do. It never seemed so to me!

I've done lots of third-person viewpoint stuff since, a sci-fi novella, some stories, and the collaborations with Nigel and a number of scenes in MYHR'S ADVENTURE IN HELL. Once I'm inside the character's head I don't seem to have problems with the change. It's like an actor who has to play more than one character in the same show, it just takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it. If you write every day it gets easier, like learning the piano. You don't get good at it without practice.

How was working in the preexisting Ravenloft universe, with Lord Strahd, different from writing about your own characters (especially with the second novel, in which you had to coordinate the plot with a separate book by a different author)?

It was rather fun to have a plot provided and to solve the problem of sorting out all the conflicting origin stories that had for the Strahd character. I think I did a brilliant job of it, but I may be the only person who actually READ all the background data TSR provided for him, so few others notice. The general plot had been given to me, and the first person view was familiar, but Strahd is a bad guy, an aristocrat, yet surgically practical on some matters. I found I not only totally understood him, but the "voice" he used was very different from Jack's or Jonathan's. It was like an actor being asked to play a good guy in one role and the villain in the next. You do your research, find the motivation and just do it.

The coordination thing was a bit of fun Gene DeWeese and I cooked up together. We didn't have to do it, it was just our in-joke. I told him how I'd taken a scene from Christie Golden's Vampire of the Mists, used the same dialogue, but put Strahd's spin on it. Christie thought it a hoot and Gene wanted to do something along those lines. He was the one who swiped a body out from under Strahd's nose, so we had a good chuckle over that. I sent him all the info I had on Strahd (Gene was VERY kind to dedicate LORD OF THE NECROPOLIS to me!) and he sent me a timeline that was invaluable to me in getting the chronology right for my second Strahd novel.

How did your collaboration with Nigel Bennett come about?

A book packager--a guy who puts together book deals and sells them to a publisher for a percentage of the advance and royalties--speculated that Nigel might be a good prospect to tap for a new series of vampire novels. At that time he was starring in Forever Knight so a book would have a built-in audience. The packager mentioned this to a mutual friend, then added 'But what if Nigel can't write?" My friend, author Teresa Patterson, said, "Then team him with someone who can. Like Pat Elrod." (Gawd BLESS that woman!)

Unknown to me the packager contacted Nigel's agent with the writing proposal and had my name on a short list of possible collaborators. About then Nigel and I had guested at a couple of conventions, done vampire panels, and I'd interviewed him for my fan club newsletter, so we knew each other and had a mutual respect thing going. At our third convention Nigel told me that he was being asked to write a vampire novel and mentioned that my name had been put forward. Inside I was floored, outwardly I tried to play it cool and LISTEN to everything he had to say about the project. I realized he needed a "Publishing 101" course--which is different from "Writing 101," and after the con wrote him a 7-page letter on stuff he needed to know about the business before he made a commitment. I also told him that whoever he worked with HE would have to be totally comfortable with them as a writer. Aware that I could be shooting myself in the foot I told him to read the other writers' works, mine, then decide who would be best for him to work with. I was beyond elation when a few weeks later he phoned me to say the deal was on and when could I come up to Toronto for the outlining session?

The packager flew me up, we three met at a hotel and after lunch where we did a general get-acquainted thing, we went up to the room and spent the next 6 hours working out the characters and a skeletal outline. I call it a "story-storming" session. The only word you are NOT allowed to say is "no." That way people are less hesitant about throwing an idea out, they have a guarantee that it will not be arbitrarily shot down. Something I learned from Chuck Jones. Now you know why his cartoons are the best on the planet.

I went back to Texas with audio tapes of 2 six-hour sessions and the first few pages of chapter one, which Nigel wrote the very first night. He read them to us the second day. Read them VERY well, with his face all lit up and his blue eyes catching the light--he was really jazzed about the project. I remember thinking, "Gawd, I'm getting paid to do this!"

How did you divide up the work?

Once home I transcribed the essence of the tapes into a working outline, then sent a copy up to Nigel. We determined to write every other chapter. He'd finish one, send it to me for editing, then I'd post it back to him for final approval. Once we had to swap chapters. A horrible murder takes place in one, very violent, and Nigel just couldn't get into it. I was supposed to write the love scene, but as I was going through a divorce that year I just wasn't in the mood! So we swapped. Nigel discovered to his delight (and certainly that of his fans!) that he can really make a page smoke with his nookie scenes!

With the second book having just been released, where is the series going?

HIS FATHER'S SON had a lot of setup in it which we're drawing on for our third novel SIEGE PERILOUS. We're continuing the Arthurian thing, but adding our own twists and turns. Charon will be in it, which is cool, because I love how his dialogue writes itself. In our heads we cast John Kapelos (Schanke from Forever Knight) as that character, so it was a hoot to write. We mentioned to John that if it ever got made into a film he HAS to have that part!

Nigel is tops to work with, sharp, funny, extraordinarily creative, an absolute professional. This collaboration has been a wonderful experience, I learned a great deal and enjoyed the hell out of the whole process.

In your theory of vampirism, the vampire condition, although supernatural, is intrinsically neither good nor evil. Please elaborate on that concept, and explain how you use the idea of different "breeds" of vampires to reconcile your approach to vampirism with Bram Stoker's in QUINCEY MORRIS, VAMPIRE.

It was the logical thing to do. Quincey was an offshoot of the Barrett novels. Nora Jones, the vampire who made Jonathan, also had an affair with Quincey. That difference between my breed of vampires and those like Dracula became the core of the plot as Quincey was none too pleased to wake up dead. In his eyes, from what he'd learned from Van Helsing, he was this horrible demonic thing that had to be killed. Thankfully, he wised up, learning that the professor didn't know everything. What might be a problem for another writer became a fascinating story to me. How Quincey reacts to himself and his new abilities and how he tries to return to his friends was irresistible, not to mention fun, though the novel has its dark moments.

I went over Dracula several times, making notes of everything to do with character interaction and what sprang out at me was all the stuff NOT said. Stoker couldn't delve into certain areas as they were not the driver for his story, but I was able to fill in those spots. Quincey is the most silent of all the characters, not keeping a diary as they did. I think he had only some telegrams as the sum total of his written record. So I went by how the others reacted to him, their descriptions, and his own actions. They all had a huge respect for him, his intellect, shrewdness, personal charm, heart, honor, and physical bravery. What a hero. Now just give him fangs....

Will Quincey have a sequel?

No title yet, but I will write one with probably a London theater scene as background. I was once a drama major, so I'll draw on my stage experience, and read a lot of autobiographies of the period. I find those are of great help in researching historicals. To hear what someone had to say of themselves and their times in the language of the period is a great help to me in achieving the right voice of the times. But then I adore the whole Victorian London thing anyway, being a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a kid. Readers of QUINCEY will note that Lord Richard Dun makes a cameo appearance in the costume party scene. He also commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of his lady, Sabra. I love those in-jokes!

You write some of the best vampire love scenes I've ever read. Please tell us about your concept of vampire sexuality.

Sex is fun. Enjoy.

What future projects are you working on?

MYHR'S ADVENTURE IN HELL, which began as a short story in the anthology ASSASSIN'S FANTASTIC is now a novel. The character is based on this cat-guy a friend of mine impersonates at conventions when he isn't selling his art. Jamie Murray is a wonderful artist and has done the covers for HIS FATHER'S SON & QUINCEY. Jamie and I go back a couple years and I'd always threatened to do a story starring his furry alter-ego. He's quite delighted at the whole thing. I love the voice for this character, lots of jokes, puns, and very offbeat observations, and at times I totally quote stuff Jamie --or Myhr-- has said. He gets a BIG kick out of that. Please do a search for Jamie/Murray/Myrh/art and see the webpages of his artwork. He has some great Forever Knight pieces you don't want to miss and prints are for sale. You can also get a preview of what Myhr looks like. Jamie will also be doing the cover for that book.

I also have to mention that avatars of Nigel, Geraint Wyn Davies, and John Kapelos are in MYHR. If they made a movie, these guys need to play the parts of Overduke Anton, Debreban (a palace guard) and Shanke (another palace guard!). I can SO see them playing them in the movie I run in my head. I also "cast" Nigel as a gangster named Dalhauser in the Jack Fleming mystery, THE DARK SLEEP, and John Kapelos is the cocky radio star Archie Grant in the same novel. Jim Byrnes from Highlander, the Series is also in it as a blues player--I LOVE his music. Dalhauser has this great scene where he creeps out my vampire hero. That was great fun to write!

My next Jack Fleming will be COLD STREETS, and I have to start it real soon. Like the day I'm finished with MYHR! After that, Nigel and I get serious pages done for SIEGE PERILOUS, then I do either another Quincey book or a Myhr, then another Jack Fleming. By then I SHOULD be caught up on my contracts! Whew!

Coming out this November is DRACULA'S LONDON, an anthology about what ELSE Dracula was doing in England when he wasn't being chased by Van Helsing and company. It's in trade paperback from Ace. We have stories by Fred Saberhagan and Quinny Yarbro, and Nigel and I did a fun little piece called "Wolf and Hound," where Dracula is unlucky enough to get on the wrong side of Lady Sabra. That was a hoot to write!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

"Write something; send it in". Keep sending stuff until you make a sale, then keep sending more. "Write every day". If you write a page a day, in a year you'll have finished a novel. "Think about it".

Never, ever waste your reader's time.

P.N. Elrod titles:
Death and the Maiden

Jonathan Barrett, Gentleman Vampire:


Count Strahd (Ravenloft):

Richard Dun (with Nigel Bennett):


The Vampire Files:


Author Spotlight Hosted by Margaret L. Carter

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