Today our author Q&A is with Terence Jackson who is based in North Dakota. He discusses below his series of vampire related novels (and others) and his love for the UK.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. My father was in the U.S. Air Force, being stationed in South Carolina. My parents were both from North Carolina which is where we settled after my father’s military career. I give credit where credit it due to my mother who was an avid reader and taught me to read nearly before I could walk. My first novel, Thirty Days and Counting gives some insight into my upbringing. Although a work of fiction, it does have some truths sprinkled throughout it. I was inspired by a class I was taking at university in Fargo, North Dakota, where I currently live. The class was Sociology through Literature, and one story we read really touched me as it was about familial relationships. My next two publications where inspired by a student who worked for me and if you read them you’ll see where the inspiration was. Those were the start of my vampire novels, Von Dred and The Book of Jacob.
Can you give us a brief description of your most recent work?
After the first two vampire novels were published, I went to London to visit my long time friend who works for the Underground there. He suggested I take the tour of the “forgotten Underground” that features disused tunnels and platforms and was incredibly interesting. While I was on the tour, I came up with the idea that it would be an interesting place for vampires to inhabit. Thus the Blood Underground series was born. Books one, two, and three are out and I’ve been polishing up the fourth and final book in the series. I hope to have it out soon. There is one main character who has been a constant throughout the series, Liam Thackeray. He’s sort of the leader of the underground-dwelling vampires. I’ve given several talks to book clubs both in the U.S. and the U.K. about this series. It seems to be well-received, at least among certain groups. So look for Blood Underground IV: Final Blood.
What books or book have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I read so much growing up and at university. I’ve read the classics and the not-so classics, as well. A lot of what I read was science fiction, Asimov and such. I honestly try to stay away from anything in the genres that I write so not to unconsciously steal someone else’s ideas or words. I do come across somethings now and then from very well-known writers that use some of the same plot devices or points that I’ve used and I used them first. I guess great minds do think alike.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I usually have music or the television playing in the background when I’m writing. Most of the music I listen to might even be considered specific to my writing. I listen to a lot of Kate Bush, Amy Lee, Meatloaf, Disturbed, and variations thereof.
Does writing give you energy or drain you?
This is something I’ve never really thought of. I guess it’s a bit of both if I’m honest. Sometimes I feel invigorated after I’ve written some exciting scene, a big fight, a particularly action-packed bit. But, then again, if I’ve just written a very emotional part, it can leave me drained.
How many unpublished or half-finished books do you have?
This is an EXCELLENT question. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this either. I get ideas at the oddest times and I write them down for use at a later time. Sometimes it’s relevant to what I’m working on, other times it’s completely different. Blood Underground IV will most likely be my last vampire novel for a while. I have in the works a novel on the personification of Death; the working title is Passing on Death. I love musical theatre so I also have been working on a sort of love story that centers around the West End of London; that one is called The Big Song.
I’ve been working on that one for some time, especially when I get writer’s block on the vampire books. And not to stray too far from the horror genre, I’ve just started work on a book about grief and how we deal with it. It is a fiction piece, and it takes off in what I think is a new direction. It deals with parallel worlds. I’ve been told it’s very Dickensian.
How /where do you research you books?
If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m a huge anglophile – another thing I credit to my mother. My heritage is Irish-Scottish-English so I’m a triple threat. Every year she took us to the family reunion that had bagpipers and such. About a dozen or so years ago I started going to the UK for vacation. I have more friends there than I do in the states, so I get over about twice a year and visit. My best friend became a father (again) this past October and I am the godfather to his son. While I’m in the UK I do research. Most of my stories are centered in the UK and Europe, with some smattering of the US in there, too. I observe everything and anything about the culture, the landscape, the people. I use specific streets, pubs, and other locations in the plots. I’ve been told that the detail in my books is spot on. As example, I was invited to discuss the first book of the Blood Underground series a few years back for a vampire society book club. There were about 30 people there. We talked for about an hour about the novel and the upcoming books in the series. Side note here, there is a plot device I use that involves a specific painting in a London museum. After I had finished and was chatting with a few of the attendees, a woman came up to me and said, “I’ve lived in London all my life. I had never been to the National Gallery. I went recently, and just like in your book, in Room #17, there at the end of the room was that huge painting. I walked down to it and there was Henry, right out of your story, staring back at me. It made a shiver run down my spine!” I hugged her and thanked her and told her that was why I write, to touch people in some way. I love it when people “get” my writing and what it’s about.
Thank you for reading you can find Terence Jackson and his books at the links below: