Over the years reviewing various books and comics, one of my favorite fictional characters is Anno Dracula created by author Kim Newman. Now for the first time, Mr. Newman steps into the comic book world with Anno Dracula 1895 – Seven Days in Mayhem #1 with artist Paul McCaffrey. I’m really excited about this vampire series. If it’s anything like the many Anno Dracula novels, this should be a fun ride.
Even after lasting 7 season’s and 144 episodes on air, Joss Whedon’s cult hit TV show Buffy, The Vampire Slayer remains popular with fans today. Do you also want to be like Buffy? Do you want to be a Vampire Slayer? Well, now’s your chance, as Buffy’s mentor Rupert Giles offers up his book: Demons of the Hellmouth – A Guide for Slayers, basically a Who’s Who’s list and character guides of the many vampires, demons, and other players they’ve meet along the way in the TV show.
No there’s not a reboot, nor do we pick-up twelve years after Sunnydale High, but the past time television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is going to air on ABC Family beginning June 22nd.
For those of you that never caught the series on television, it became a popular cult hit with teens, college students and anyone that simply craved a show with mystery, ancient rituals and myths, vampire fighting and slaying, to finding love, and on top of that – yes, dusting off an ancient relic of a book in order to research a spell cast, or find an antidote to a curse.
The trend in Hollywood, comics and print these days are stories with vampires. One popular series is by creator and award-winning author Kim Newman with his Anno Dracula character. Johnny Alucard is the fourth novel in this series and is set right after the third book, Anno Dracula: Dracula Cha Cha Cha.
The story kicks off in 1976 Romania countryside, where Franics Ford Coppola is shooting his epic Dracula film with Hollywood stars like Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Harvey Kitel and Harrison Ford. Our vampire vixen Kate Reed is on set as a consultant and from there, Kate and Coppola befriend a young vampire named Ion Popescu. After a couple of months, the trouble production is finished filming, Ion looks to America.
The fan favorite vampire series Anno Dracula returns! Author Kim Newman recently released his latest Anno Dracula novel – Johnny Alucard that takes place from 1976-1991. Retrenders interviews author Kim Newman about his new book – Johnny Alucard and what the future holds for this popular Dracula series.
RTNDR: The universe of Anno Dracula and the characters you’ve created is very popular and many fans enjoy this series, so with this new book Johnny Alcuard, did you set out thinking, “Well, the fans might enjoy it if this character or that character goes through this plotline or this journey” or did you already have your own ideas and had everything mapped out?
KIM: I plot books – and, in this case, series – by a method known as ‘feeling your way in the dark’. I usually know where I’m going with a story but not the exact route I’ll get there. I hope readers enjoy where I take the characters (and them) but tend to think of what the story needs rather than what people want – indeed, sometimes you have to go against expectations or wishes. In this case, the book was written piecemeal over decades – the first chunk of it was done before the third novel in the series – and I always knew the spine was where a particular character went, though the details were developed during the composition and I think I surprised myself.
Critically acclaimed novelist Kim Newman is well known, not only for writing great storylines, but also blending together a wonderfully imaginative cast of characters for his books. For Dracula Cha Cha Cha, the third book in his Anno Dracula series, you’ll see all of this in full view in a world intertwined with fictional characters and real people in history, such as Ernest Hemingway, Michael Corleone, Audrey Hepburn, and Tintin. Mix them into 1959 Rome where Count Dracula is set to marry the Princess of Moldavia and what you get is a fun read for fans of horror, fiction, and parallel worlds.
Today, we’re honored to have author Kim Newman to take the time out and answer questions on the reissue of the Anno Dracula books, who his primary influences, and what we can expect in Johnny Alucard, the fourth book of the series.
These days, blood suckers are everywhere in popular culture – you’ll see vampires, zombies, and werewolves on the tube, in films, and in comics. One of the most popular horror characters of all time is Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula and critically acclaimed novelist Kim Newman, takes the Count into an alternate universe where Van Helsing and friends failed to kill the famous vampire. As a result, Dracula eventually takes over England, where vampires become part of the society at large.
Dracula Cha Cha Cha is the third book in the Anno Dracula series (Anno Dracula & Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron) and the setting is 1959 Italy, where Count Dracula is to wed the Princess of Moldavia Asa Vajda in Fregene, Italy. Journalist Kate Reed intended to visit old “friends” Charles Beauregard and Genevieve Dieudonne in Rome, but gets wrap up in a murder mystery with secret agent Hamish Bond, where vampire elders are being murdered. And the like the Anno books before it, Kim Newman is known for using historical settings of the time to move the plot, and the characters meeting famous historical people and popular fictional characters from that era. The book has an added bonus short story – Aquarius with protagonist Kate Reed trying to solve 2 murders in London 1968. Journalist Kate plays detective and meets an enemy from the past. And I liked the fact that there is also a chapter of Annotations explaining various references in the story. If Twilight films are not your cup of tea, then you should definitely pick-up this bloody vampire book and may I also suggest reading Kim Newman’s first book Anno Dracula.
Paperback: Anno Dracula – Dracula Cha Cha Cha
Author: Kim Newman
Publisher: Titan Books
Available: October 26, 2012