|Blood Hunter e-edition|
Almost every writer with a slightly darker tone has probably read Stephen King's Danse Macabre. I did, even before I turned from a desire to mimic Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler.
It was certainly in the back of my mind when I settled down to write Blood Hunter. In DM, King categorizes monster archetypes, and shape shifters get a good deal of attention.
Blood Hunter is my werewolf novel, after a fashion. Or it's my shape shifter novel.
It incorporates European legends of the werewolf into its internal mythology. Though the monsters in the story aren't wolves, they do reflect the beast within.
|Blood Hunter then.|
I don't know that I set out to do that consciously as much as it reflected the kinds of things I liked as a young reader. Chandler, Ludlum, King, Koontz.
I wrote purely from intuition and instinctively in those days, driven by those books I'd read and enjoyed and fueled also by a feeling that the world was losing a sense of mercy and compassion. I tried to weave that notion into the tale.
I don't want to sound lofty, however. Blood Hunter was written as entertainment first, and I strived for action, twists and shocks.
Splatterpunk was on everyone's lips in those days, pushing things to extremes, so I wasn't given to restraint.
The New Version and Secret Origins
In the foreword to the new ebook version, I note the story started as a screenplay. When I was a young reporter--I wrote late at night, casting about for the stories I wanted to tell and the medium as well.
For a while I tried screenplays, and an early one was called Ghouls. This was before Edward Lee's Ghouls, which led me to submit to Pinnacle Books.
In my screenplay, a reporter and photographer had an automobile break down near a strange sugar plantation. They sought shelter at the plantation's main house where a grim father and his sheltered daughter resided. Awaiting help, the journalists got to know the daughter better and began to uncover the dark secrets her father concealed. People got eaten by monsters too.
I expanded the story a little after talking with my editor of the day, setting up an investigation and shifting genders and motivations a little for the main characters.
Re-editing the text for the new edition from Crossroad Press after almost 20 years afforded about as cold a reading as is possible. It was kind of fun to get reacquainted with the imagination of my youth.
Then and now
Is Blood Hunter the book I'd write today? Not quite, but when I received the electronic manuscript, I tweaked mostly the prose of a young man hunched feverishly over a Commodore 64, striving to tell a fast paced tale and meet a deadline.
Crossroad Press publisher David Niall Wilson and I talked about possibly giving the book a new title, returning to one of the suggestions the original publisher passed over or coming up with something new. Spirit of the Beast came to mind.
But I decided no. Let it stand. And let the characters run.
Monsters are in those woods on the wonderful and moody new cover by David Dodd.