Hey there everyone.
Welcome to yet another fun and thrilling installment of the Author Interview series.
I am very excited to be chatting to author, magician, mentalist and performer Paul Voodini today, as he discusses his books and inspired takes on classic Victorian characters, putting his own original spin on them, along with sharing with us his inspirations, passions and writing advice.
Enjoy the show and have a great time folks, I’m sure you will find this one to be simply magic 🙂
Hi there Paul, thank you for being our distinguished guest over her today to talk more about your engaging genre mash-up stories.
Let’s start with your book “Dolly Biters!: The Vampire Girls of Victorian London”. This is a collection of Short Stories and novellas set in Victorian London that melds the supernatural shenanigans of saucy vampires with the gothic Victorian past that we have previously encountered in literature. Please tell us more about the themes of these stories and which notable characters we will stumble across as you take us way back to the 1800’s.
“Dolly Biters: the Vampire Girls of Victorian London” is set in an alternative Victorian London in which vampires are real. The premise is that in the 19th Century humans and vampires co-existed, although not very peaceably! This conflict led to humans, who far outnumbered the vampires, wiping out the vampires, and by the early 20th Century vampires became all-but extinct. Since that time, the fact that vampires existed has been written out of our history books, so that now, in the 21st Century, they are regarded as fictional creatures.
But having said that, all of my stories take place in the mid-to-late 19th Century, when vampires were rampant in the East End of London. The vampires are all female (for medical reasons not fully understood, males could never make the ‘turn’ from human to vampire and all would die) and a side-effect of their vampire state is that they are also lesbians with quite extraordinary sexual appetites! They are also monsters who kill humans nightly and feast on their blood. Although the vampire girls are the ‘heroes’ of the book, it is made abundantly clear that they are very much ‘anti-heroes’. The reader will have sympathy for their plight, but will also understand why the humans found it necessary to eradicate them.
As a reader, I have always enjoyed reading alternate-history stories, and stories which ‘mash-up’ genres and characters from other works. This manifests itself in Dolly Biters as characters from the Sherlock Holmes universe make appearances (although in vastly different guises – for instance Sherlock Holmes himself and his brother Mycroft are very much the bad guys!), alongside characters and events from the Jack the Ripper murders. In the Dolly Biters’ universe, the Jack the Ripper killings were all part of an underground war between vampires and Vatican-endorsed hit men.
The actual book features three novellas and one short story, although they are all tied together. Characters from one story may turn up in another, and although I say that the book is a collection of novellas and short stories, the whole collection actually reads like a novel.
What is it about this particular era in particular that inspires you to write your stories? And will you spill the beans regarding your fascination with The Fox Sisters? 🙂
As a child and young teenager, I had two obsessions – American comics (Marvel mainly, and DC) and the Gothic melodramas and early science fiction of the Victorian era. So I would read Frankenstein alongside Spider-Man, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde alongside Batman, and the Time Machine alongside The Avengers! These joint obsessions placed in my psyche a love for all things supernatural and other-wordly, and also the belief that the Victorian era was a time when magic could really happen!
There is something about the Victorian era that draws me to it; perhaps it is the clichéd imagery of fog rolling in off the Thames, Big Ben lit up at night, cobble-stoned streets and horse-drawn cabs. As a very young child, I can remember that we had place mats on our kitchen table depicting scenes from Victorian London. I would spend hours poring over them, and even today when I see an image of, let’s say, Big Ben at night, I’m suddenly that little kid again, looking at those place mats in the kitchen!
If I believed in reincarnation, I would say that I’d experienced the Victorian era in a previous life, but that’s a huge discussion for another time!
The Fox Sisters reference comes from an short bio I wrote about myself for a website. For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the Victorian era was the rise of Spiritualism and the belief that it was possible to communicate with the dead. For the most part, these ‘mediums’ and psychics were charlatans and con-men, but for me that makes the whole matter even more interesting. The whole Spiritualism movement began with the Fox sisters, who were born in New York state and claimed to be able to communicate to the dead via knocks and bangings (what was referred to in the 1800’s as ‘rappings’ – although rapping has a very different meaning today!). They went on to great fame and fortune and led fascinating lives. I would love to be able to meet them, get them drunk, then tell me how they really pulled off their con!
If your stories were to be made into a film (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
When I’m working on a story, it comes to me like a movie in my mind. I see the set-scenes and characters as though they are in a film or a TV show, and I have some very definite ideas in my head as to who the characters should be played by! The witches from Penny Dreadful season 2 reminded me a lot of the Dolly Biter girls, and did Jessica Barden, who played Justine in season 3. I think she would make a really great Dolly Biter.
The character of Madame Moriarty would be a great role for Eva Green, and the female vampire Raffles would be perfect for Charlene McKenna, who was in Ripper Street.
I’d love to see my Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes characters being played by Jerome Flynn and Joseph Mawle. I think they could bring the right amount of menace to the characters.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
I’m a great procrastinator and can always find other things to do other than that which needs doing! Sometimes it’s a real battle to get me to sit down in front of my laptop and actually start working. However, having said that, the Dolly Biters stories came to me quite easily and I spent around 18 months being totally obsessed by them and their world. The real struggle was actually getting the words down onto the page quickly enough!
Who are some of the authors and historical figures that inspire you?
I’m inspired by the aforementioned Victorian authors such as HG Wells and Mary Shelley, as well as people like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who turned the super-hero comic into an art-form (though they didn’t realise it at the time). I was hugely inspired by Kim Newman’s ‘Anno Dracula’ universe, and also Kate Williams’ ‘The Pleasures of Men’, Michel Faber’s ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’, and many of Sarah Waters’ novels.
(The Fox Sisters – Source:- courtesy of Wikipedia)
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I have huge maps of Victorian London that I pore over, looking at the street names and imagining the characters living their lives along the various streets and roads. I have volumes of history books about Victorian London, Victorian crime, Jack the Ripper, etc., plus contemporary novels and publications such as Arthur Morrison’s ‘A Child of the Jago’ and Margaret Harkness’ ‘In Darkest London’.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I think I’m just naturally a story-teller. Reading those novels and comics in my youth, I always knew that I wanted to write ‘like that’ too. It was never up for debate. I always saw myself as a writer. My favourite lesson at school was always English, and being asked to produce a piece of creative writing was my idea of heaven.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I’ve never really struggled with writers block. It may sound harsh, but I think writers block happens because the writer isn’t excited or passionate about what he or she is working on. My advice would be to just keep writing, just keep tapping away on the keyboard, even if what you are writing is rubbish. You can always edit or delete later. Keep tapping away and the story will come and along with it the passion.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do better at school. Don’t waste so much time dreaming instead of doing. Believe in yourself more.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I have two children (aged 11 and 14) from a previous marriage,and they stay with me during most weekdays, so my life tends to involve making their food, helping with homework, ensuring they take a shower and brush their teeth and have everything they need for the school-day ahead! At weekends, I love watching movies and TV shows, so most weekends you’ll find me with a glass of wine in hand, scouring Netflix for my next TV obsession!
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m about to start working on a follow-up to Dolly Biters. It’s going to be set in the same Victorian vampire universe, although I think it will be a stand-alone piece so as not to alienate anyone who may not have read Dolly Biters. Unless, of course, Dolly Biters does a 50 Shades and becomes a huge hit! In that case, the next book will very definitely be called Dolly Biters 2!
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
I think it is Hemingway who is supposed to have said ‘write drunk, edit sober’, although I believe it is entirely apocryphal. I do like this saying though, although I’m not really endorsing getting drunk before sitting down and writing! What I think is perhaps the underlying message is, write with passion and keep writing while the passion has a hold of you. Don’t stop to edit or correct spelling mistakes and errors in grammar. Let the entire screen be full of little squiggly red lines, but just keep writing while you’re excited about your story. You can always go back and correct the spelling and the grammar later. The important thing is to get your story and your excitement down on paper (or the computer hard drive as it’s more likely to be these days!)
And that’s wrap! Thank you for conjuring up a great time Paul, look forward to delving more into your tales 🙂
Bio:- (in his own words)
“Ever since Paul discovered the works of HG Wells, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and all of those wonderful Victorian authors, he has been mildly obsessed with the darker recesses of Victorian life. ‘Dolly Biters: the Vampire Girls of Victorian London’ is the first of his books that creates a whole gothic Victorian universe in which vampires were real, and the worst (and best) of them lived in the East End of London.
Paul’s Victorian Vampire books are written in the first person and in the language of the day, giving the reader a joyous roller-coaster ride through the dark cobble-stoned streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields, where death is always just around the corner, and is just as likely to come from the bite of a vampire as it is from the bludgeon of a thug or the syphilis of a prostitute.
Paul is lucky enough to have two children, neither of which have been infected with the vampire virus as yet. Paul’s ambition is to one day invent (or steal) a time machine, travel back to the mid-1800’s and marry the Fox Sisters. All of them.”
You can connect with Paul on the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Paul Voodini – Author & Magic Consultant (FB)
Twitter:- @PaulVoodini (Twitter)
You can buy Paul’s books here:-
Buy Paul Voodini’s books in Canada
Buy Paul Voodini’s books in the UK/Europe
Buy Paul Voodini’s books in the US/Rest of the World
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, Paul’s stories are set in a very dark, mysterious, gothic and moody world. For more articles on the theme of ‘Moody’ then check out the links below:-
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2. Moods ‘n’ Pills: Truth or Dare… – Success Strategies
3. Untamed Desires – Sinner’s Prayer ~ Fallen Saint
4. The Girl with the Butterfly Tattoo – Tears of a Wolf
5. There Are More Poets than Stars in the Firmament – western New Year’s will be welcome
6. witchlike – Veni Veni Emmanuel
7. Copper Cranes – Petite Burr
8. It’s All in Finding the Right Words – Moody
9. Moody – La Petit Muse
10. Thank You for Being a Friend – Spectres & Stardust
11. Lucy’s Journal – In my feelings
12. Success Inspirers World – Moody people!
13. 200 One – LuPo_san
14. logicaldreams – Drabble: Horsing Around
15. The Devil is Dead – Anupam Dwivedi’s Blog
16. Moody: Daily Prompt – Bullyboy
17. JUST IN MY DREAMS – thepunkpenblog
18. Weathered Moods – The Inkwell
19. Japanese Wh1spers – King am I
20. Silence – Melolontha by the River
21. a mutual exchange – Love it Now
22. The Sky Today – Melinda J. Irvine
23. Just Damn Moody – Ladybug278
24. Moody – Wings Of Poetry
25. Tom of the North – Sauron Wasn’t a Morning Person
26. The weather in my city is moody – Jasperine
27. Him – Sanjeet Scribbles
28. Scribbling It Up – Single mothers: The real heroes
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31. sonja benskin mesher – . cutting grass .
32. Moody Bitch – GirlSoWoke
33. My Microbiology World – The real microbes
34. Copycat Cafe P12. Simon visits the cafe – Rexine Rawhead
35. Sasha’s Writings – Me&Myself!
36. Danielle’s Games and Tech – Extremely Bad Harry Potter Fan Fiction
37. Anger in the Wrong Places – The Chronicles of Nasheya
38. Eden of Knowledge – Don’t be moody
39. inspiration in progress – Moody
40. Moody Blues – Mac’s World
41. I sing toNight – Serendipitous Web Life
42. Daily prompt: Moody – We only have today
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45. Mindful Splatter – Milk In The Face
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50. Willow’s Corner – Checking in
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52. Moody Tunes – wormal
53. Jibber Jabber with Sue – Pen Pals
54. The Story of a Girl – April’s Perspective
55. Christine’s Collection – Wistful Reflections
56. Lost Property Repository – Moody
57. STELLA CAROUSEL – Moody Mercurial Me
58. Breastfeeding mamas – ALPHA BUTLER CHARLIE
59. Moody Sirius Black – thinkinkadia
60. Leanne Murphy – Ten words #42
61. 26 Letters Poetry Blog – Short Changed
62. 26 Letters Poetry Blog – Better Half
63. 26 Letters Poetry Blog – The Couple
64. A Journey Through Life – Moody. Moody?!
65. Netdancer’s Musings and Photography – Daily Prompt-Moody
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67. Writing Woes – The Process of Creating a Captivating Story – the bohemian bubble
68. moody – discovering the unknowns
69. Moody – Aweni
70. Fluffy Pool – Ants on a Log
71. Covert Novelist – Moody
72. Oh the weather outside is Moody… – Life’s Journey 365
73. Moody – thehouseofbailey
74. Moody little thing – Lyrallya
75. Melancholy is Futile – Heaven’s Sunshine
76. Week 48: A story set in a strange small town – writing blog
77. Happy Hour – Kurilane
78. Moody: Sometimes the things we don’t want to do, we need to do. – Writer2011
79. Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn/Sagittarius, Dec 19, 2016 – The Cosmic Salon
80. Daily Post Prompt: You Learn to Breathe Hope – Sumyanna Writes
81. A Mad Season – The Somewhere In Between
82. tylershepard1991 – Word of the day – moody
83. Travel Much? – Do you want to build a snowman?
84. Where She Was – Is being kind worth it?
85. Where She Was – Masungit
86. Poetry: A Christmas Question – Happymeerkatreviews
87. Moody – a haiku – Margaret writes about life and everything else
88. Giggles & Tales – The Daily Prompt – Moody!
89. Week 46: A story about anger. – writing blog
90. It starts with me – Emotional Regulation
91. GOAT MEAT – Insidious Temptation
92. A Thyroid Cancer Life – I Ran and I Ran. I’m Still Running Away.
93. Moody Sunday Feeling Turn Exciting – eddaz
94. Moody – @HumbleBirdLove
95. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – No Time for Moody
96. Little Pink Beauty! – My Life.. My Thoughts..!
97. YOU AREN’T FOR REAL – Rainbow
98. JOURNEY 1.1 – 1.3 – Rainbow
99. SERENDIPITY – GRUMPY, GRUMBLY. RAINING, TOO
100. Suddenly Single… Minded – Whoa! Bring back Small Talk, please
101. B_ up to date – That Unicum
102. Axis of Action – Arrival: This Is Why Aliens Won’t Talk To Us
103. From tuna to melodic tune. – Ananya, The Verbal Seduction.
104. An Upturned Soul – What a Trite Truism that is!
105. This is not Santa Claus’s magical sleigh – Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 YNN
106. The Quirky Life of P – Moody times
107. When Black was Black – A lot from Lydia
108. Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired! – Sunken Thought
109. It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas – Elaine’s Bloggers Paradise
110. A Toast to You – atrangizindagieksafar
111. Musings of a Random Mind – Holiday Mood Swings
112. Zombie Flamingos – And like magic…
113. Sure Scribbles – The Bride
114. One Line Sunday- Advent calendar Day 18 – In my world
115. It’s okay. – Elaine’s Bloggers Paradise
116. kStan(ly) kSays – the path of least resistance
117. MOODY WOOD – Rainbow
118. Lamont and Dude’s Microbial Nostalgia – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
119. Writing Woes – Creating a Captivating Story – the bohemian bubble
120. The barren land. – suzhalgal
121. Life’s Little Lessons…. – They Once Called Her Pumpkin…
122. Quill & Parchment – Me, Myself and Moods !
123. The Gad About Town – In a Christmas Mood …
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125. zombrian – Moody
126. Beoxius – Are You a Moody Person?
127. Jackie’s World Travel – A cold night in London
128. Of Night and Light and the Half-Light – My Second Act, Scene One
129. thelonerose – Christmas past
130. Moody Silence – emotionsoflife2016
131. Moody – anewme
132. Christmas Special – 4th Advent: Christmas tree and Advent wreath – A special time
133. s1ngal – Labelled Moody
134. The.Writing.Cafe – Moody Monday
135. The happy Quitter! – Santa’s Moody Little Helper!
136. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Moody Feline
137. deetravelssite.wordpress.com – Moody Me
138. the only moody I can stand is the blues ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
139. Moody #DailyPrompt – Of Glass & Paper
140. Seven Swans – a moment teller’s
141. Greg & Iggy – The Abject Muse, aka SusanWritesPrecise
142. confessions of an indian curry-eater – Chutney, Gleadless, Sheffield (59%)
143. mylocalweb – How can you be so moody?
144. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Me Moody?
145. I Am Beautiful – LiteYourSoul
146. BBMagz!! – At The Seashore
147. Killer With Kindness – Talk to my hand
148. A Vibrant Palette – Social service
149. MyWideAwake – Women on periods and mood disorders- DEDICATED TO ALL MEN OUT THERE!
150. Check if you’re too stressed and ways to work through it – art of being fabulous
151. And then there was one – The word moody puts me in a bad mood
152. The Icognito Writer – Like The Clouds
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154. H+2+0 = LIFE – Dee-Vita
155. Hot White Snow – An Odd Taste in Art for a Teen
156. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – Quiet
157. Moody – Inner Whispers
158. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: moody
159. Moody: Talking about me? – Nourishing my Soul
160. Icing on Our Home – Patches of Light, Pieces of Grace
161. I-read – TO THE ONE I ONCE LOVED
162. Jeff Cann – The Break Down
163. Devil Doll Musings – Crazy
164. Chill-out – november child
165. Red birds – A Glimpse of Darkness
166. I wrote a book. Now what? – Isn’t it romantic?
167. Moody… – Emotions that matter.
168. Madeline Scribes – Facebook naivete
169. Designer Sophisticate – Go now.
170. MidLife Moodiness Brings Out the Maleficent Witch In Me – MidLife Inspirations
171. Every Day – Pete Gardner Psalms
172. Frank Prem – un-swimming
173. the15thday – urgh
174. Lost Property Repository – The Black Saturday monument
175. Kobe Sannomiya at night – Don’t hold your breath
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177. Southern By Design – Not So Merry And Bright
178. Lantern Words – Why Moody?