Interview with Author Karen Ullo

October is Vampire Month and I just so happen to have a vampire author join me for episode 50 of Working Title podcast. I chat with Karen Ullo about her novel, Jennifer the Damned, and the stakes of a great vampire story.

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Vampire Haiku: A Quick Bite of Dracula

Inspired by my recent Working Title podcast with poet Hope Whitby and in honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I’d challenge myself to write some haikus this month.

But I need focus. What can I base these brief poems on? Vampires, certainly. Hmm. Guess I should start with Dracula. Warmer. Ah-ha! How about a haiku summarizing each chapter of the eponymous novel?

So that’s what I will be posted below. Each day I will add a haiku for the next chapter. Let’s see how it goes.

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Bram Stoker Was Inspired by Anthropoligists?

A Slate article by Douglas Starr proposes that perhaps Dracula author Bram Stoker may have been inspired by the writings of Italian psychologist Cesare Lombroso. In his research, Lombroso sought the underlying causes of primitive and criminal behavior and concluded that it was due to biology, particularly bad brains (Abby Normal ones?). Starr writes:

The inspiration struck him like lightning: Criminal behavior was not something people learned but a malformation they were born with. Lombroso dissected hundreds more brains and claimed to find the defect in most of them. Lombroso’s observations and statistics were notoriously sloppy, but to his mind his theory fit perfectly with the most advanced science of the day.

Starr writes on to show similarities between passages written by Lombroso and Stoker, which hint at the pseudoscience, physiogomy – that physical, especially facial, characteristics reflect the person’s character.

I do not believe that behavior, human or vampire, is entirely determined by biology. My own approach in writing vampires is to first consider their human lives and how their transformation affected them. Since my vampires have chosen their new existence, I’m especially interested in writing about what they believed was worth their humanity and if  they got what they sought.