Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review of THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN, by SARAH JANE STRATFORD and Author interview!

I met Sarah-Jane on Twitter. I don’t remember who followed who first, but I do remember reading her profile and saying, “Wow, you write historical vampire novels, me too!” I looked up her novel, THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN, read the blurbs and raving reviews, and was intrigued. I ordered it immediately.

THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN is set during the beginning of World War II. Five Millennials (vampires 1000+ yrs old) are on a mission to take down the Nazi regime and ultimately stop a war that would diminish their food supply. Also, the Nazis have employed a special class of hunters trained to destroy their kind. Vampires vs. Nazis, who can resist! The story is told mostly in the point of view of the vampire, Brigit, who is a delightful bad-ass. She and her team of Millennials give a whole new meaning to the word “bloodthirsty.” The carnage is as breath-taking as the love-scenes are poignant and erotic. Speaking of love, the back-stories of Brigit and her love, Eamon (who is not a millennial yet, and tragically must stay home) give a depth of character that is rarely seen in vampire novels these days.

This novel was a complete treat to read. It was like INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE meets INGLORIOUS BASTERDS meets NATURAL BORN KILLERS. It kept me guessing the whole way through and the final result, though unexpected, left me wholly satisfied, and there were enough loose ends left over to give me hope for a sequel. I think I dreamed about it the night I finished it. The only issue I had with this novel was that the scenes were not in chronological order, like a Tarentino movie, and I had to check the dates at the beginning of each chapter to keep track of what was going on. But once I got used to the pattern, it was a great ride.

To my excitement: Ms. Stratford has volunteered to do an interview. (Thunderous Applause) Welcome, Sarah Jane!

So, my first question is: Vampires vs. Nazis…whatever provided the inspiration for such an awesome concept?

It was all Brigit. The character came to me – this vampire, during World War II, trying to escape Germany – and of course I had to follow her and find out where she had been and what was happening. So in many ways, the story just unfolded before me and I was beside myself with excitement. I was a big Buffy fan, so vampires were in the back of my brain. And World War II is a period I've always found fascinating – humanity at its most monstrous and yet we also see so many ordinary people rising up to be bigger and better than they might otherwise have been in order to fight the horror. So beyond the more intimate story, I was eager to explore the juxtaposition of the perceived evil of vampires vs. the true evil of the Nazis. It was this wonderful question: What does it mean to be "human"?

Your story is full of action and evocative description, and I think it would make a kick-ass movie. Any word on that being possible? Could Quentin Tarantino direct it?

Thank you! There has been a lot of interest from Hollywood, so we'll see what happens. I've written screenplays before and would love to turn Brigit's story into a script. Fingers crossed.

I’m sure you knew this one was coming: What made you decide to stray from a chronological formula?

(Grin) I knew there were going to be three emotionally intertwining stories, so it felt natural to weave them together in a pattern, rather than keep them separate. For me – and Brigit – it was all about history. The past informs the present, so it seemed right that Eamon would retrace the past as a way of keeping Brigit in his present, while also trying to assist her now, in his unique idiom. And by the same token, Brigit's most recent past is a tool for attempting to comprehend her utterly bizarre present. I know it's a bit tricky – it was tricky to write, too – but I'm hoping people find it ultimately rewarding.

There were a few loose ends that left me screaming for more. Is there a sequel in the works?

There is indeed. I don't want to say too much, but let's just say we find out a lot about a certain sexy bald vampire.

Mmmm…. Mors. Where was I? Oh, yeah. As I said before, I discovered you and THE MIDNIGHT GUARDIAN from Twitter. Have you bought books because of Twitter?

Bought books, gone to events, met amazing people in real life – Twitter is phenomenal. It's a wonderful community. My only regret is not having gotten on sooner, but I'm attempting to make up for that now.

Thanks so much for coming! The Midnight Guardian can be purchased here:

Sarah Jane will be around to answer questions, so ask away!

Update on my twitter/blog contest: I didn't forget about you guys. I'll be drawing winners in about 2 weeks, when I have money for postage. :)

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