Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Interview with author Pierre Roustan
Interview with Pierre Roustan
Hi, today I have author Pierre Roustan as my guest. Pierre is the author of The Revenants of Anarchy Series, published by Eirelander Publishing (http://eirelanderpublishing.com/) The first book of the series, The Cain Letters, will debut December, 2009. Pierre has been writing since the age of ten and studied creative writing and has a Bachelors in English.
1. Pierre, The Cain Letters, is about vampires, but your main character Alexandra discovers Cain of the Bible is the first vampire. How did you come up with this unique idea for a vampire novel?
I've always been a big fan of vampires: Bram Stoker's classic to the slick and sexy action-style vampires of "Blade" and "Underworld". I love 'em all. I'm spellbound by Anne Rice as well.
At the same time, religious theology and history fascinates me. The mystique behind it, the mystery, the complexity. I, myself, am a born-again Christian. So tying my work to God is essential. I love Dan Brown and his religious thrillers, so I did some research on mythology and theology. What actually helped me create the idea of Cain being the original vampire of the world was one of Wes Craven's horror films, a marvelous twist on the Dracula legend, the movie "Dracula 2000." The idea of Judas Iscariot being the real "Dracula" was so interesting to me that it fueled my research more to speculate and find pieces of Scripture that lent to the history of what might be what we call now "vampirism."
2. What drew you to the Bible as a basis for your story?
To my surprise, several verses in the Old Testament do hint at the possibility that many humans did practice what we call "vampirism," which shook my boots if you can imagine. Even vampire mythology hinges on a connection with Christianity, mentioning Cain as a figurehead. So I went from there. I formulated my own mythology behind it, using faith as my groundwork and research in the Bible. I wanted the story to be about forgiveness. Faith. And when I finished the work, I knew I had a series in my hands that I couldn't stop writing.
3. What was your process for researching the story?
I researched online and through intense Scripture reference. It helped that I already had a working knowledge of the Bible, though, or else I'd be much more lost. There were also other nuggets of truth I had researched years ago that I incorporated into the novel, such as the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc., etc. All those writings fascinate me on so many levels, and it helped round out and deepen the story for me.
4. Who served as "models" for your characters? Are any of them based on your own likes and dislikes, fears and goals?
It's funny that you ask that question, because my answer to your question before sort of segues into this answer:
The main character Alexandra Glade was created out of a model formed from some of my favorite heroes in films and even novels (although in literature, most of the characters I ended up admiring were male). There always seemed to be this appeal to me that the main draw of any story was a 'female' character who breaks the norm of what is considered 'female'. For instance: Ellen Ripley of "Alien" and Sarah Connor of "Terminator", or how about the "Resident Evil" films based on the video game? Who doesn't love a little Milla Jovovich?
There was always just something appealing about a beautiful woman taking names, kicking some tail, and gritting her teeth while she does it. Biologically, too, it's just a powerful statement, because in truth, based on survival, women have better instincts when it comes to staying alive. So to see it in action really makes it come full circle. To see the heroine survive makes it all worthwhile.
One other main character really does model me on many levels, and that is a young man in college named Marcus Brennan. In a way, he resembles me and has some of the same aspirations, wanting to find a purpose in life, struggles as a youth pastor (at one point in my life, I was a youth leader). Even his church in the novel is a reflection of a church I once attended. Even the college Marcus attends is the same college I had achieved my Bachelor's Degree! So there happens to be a lot of "me" in Marcus. He's one of my favorite characters.
5. What is your writing process?
I love that question, because sometimes I feel like the answer always changes: I generally do "shoot from the hip"; however, I always outline. It gives me a framework to fall back on. Character sketches are helpful for me, too, but sometimes not necessary for certain characters. By the time I finish the novel, though, the actual story and how it's formed is not quite similar to the original outline, which I always find amusing. My characters always seem to find a way of surprising me.
6. Do you have an agent? Do you believe they are necessary for first time authors?
Surprisingly, no, I don't have an agent. However, I do believe it's very necessary to hunt for one (I use the term "hunt" very strictly, as sometimes that's what it feels like!). Agents are crucial. For a year after completion of The Cain Letters, I queried to over 100 agents, receiving a few requests for the manuscript, some partial requests--but no takers. I obviously had some interest--
However, from a certain point of view, when in the mind of a literary agent, you have to understand just how insane their workload is. Compare it to an editor investing his/her time on work specifically for the publishing house. A literary agent works with not simply one publisher, but MANY publishers. It is HARD to grab the attention of an agent. HARD.
To land an agent is the customary path to breaking into the literary industry; however, it's not the only way. If you manage to cross the path of an editor who's willing to look at a manuscript without the endorsement of an agent, the stars can be aligned just right, and that editor wants a specific manuscript that you happen to have.
And that's exactly what happened to me.
7. How do you plan to market your book?
Facebook, Facebook, MySpace, MySpace, e-mails, contests, interviews, reviews, interviews, reviews, Facebook, Facebook, MySpace, MySpace. And lots of black coffee.
8. I see Eirelander Publishing is the publisher for your series. I understand you are an editor with Eirelander. Do you feel this gave you an "in" to have your series published? Why?
What I do happen to be proud of is simply that the publishing house and my editor contracted me BEFORE they decided to hire me in as a copy editor/junior editor. It was a gift in disguise that in numerous conversations, over time, my editor learned of my work history: several years working as a caption editor for TV networks and the B.A. in Creative Writing pretty much helped me land a position with Eirelander. But the truth was--my editor first liked my story enough to contract it.
9. What does Eirelander look for in books they accept for publication?
Currently, Eirelander is open to all fiction submissions--that includes all genres of fiction, as well as erotica and romance.
10. Tell us about your other writing projects.
I have a few in the works, along with the last two books of the Revenants of Anarchy series. I was fortunate enough to also have completed the sequel to The Cain Letters, entitled Chimera Falls, which Eirelander will be releasing as well. The series as a whole will be four books. I'm also currently working on a sci-fi urban thriller with a touch of fantasy elements, an historical fantasy thriller, a dramatic urban paranormal novel, and a psychological thriller. I'm taking projects one at a time, though, currently. But I would love to start tackling all these projects all at once. I also write poetry and would love to put out a collection for publication.
11. What are your future writing plans?
It's always been my biggest dream to make a living out of being an author. Not simply for financial reasons but practical reasons. I love to write. And I love the freedom it gives. To be able to make a living, provide for my family, by doing what I love--how can that not be anyone's dream in life?
12. Where can people learn more about Pierre Roustan?
Penny, it has literally been a tremendous pleasure, and I appreciate all the questions. You can find out more about the world of the Revenants at my official web site, http://pierreroustan.spaces.live.com, my Facebook at http://facebook.com/proustan (which also features my fan page). I also have a MySpace for my main character (yes, you heard me, my MAIN CHARACTER) at http://myspace.com/Alexandra_Glade. You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Starwise and http://twitter.com/Alexandra_Glade as well. Come check me out!
Now, here's a quick synopsis of The Cain Letters to whet your appetite for the book's release in December:
ALEXANDRA GLADE (POV), a vengeful and bloodthirsty vampire hunter, discovers a terrifying secret: the origin of vampirism, the biblical figure, CAIN. She’s faced with her deadliest mission, tracking two vampires, MASON and NIKOLAS, who uncover that true source of evil. They plot to kill Cain to gain his power. She deals with a terrible decision knowing that mankind’s existence actually hangs on Cain’s survival thanks to God’s covenant with Cain as written in the book of Genesis.
With the help of a young college student, MARCUS, Alexandra and her comrade KYAN discover a secret book revealing the truth about Cain and then realize the danger in keeping the book in their hands, knowing vampires stalk them for it. Mason and Nikolas apprehend Marcus along with the book, leaving Alexandra and her team of hunters alone to face the evil.
Mason and Nikolas find Cain and free him from an eternal sleep, leaving Alexandra with her horrible choice: save Cain, allowing a true child of Satan to possibly damn the world to agony; or allow Cain’s death, ending mankind. Alexandra slaughters Mason and Nikolas, saving Cain’s life, but at the greatest risk: the antichrist’s reign over the world. Deep within the ancient words of the book, Marcus realizes what he must do to save mankind from the likes of Cain.
He validates Cain, understanding him. According to the book of Genesis, Cain looked for God’s favor. He never received it. Marcus gives it. Marcus offers the earth to Cain in the same way Cain offered the work of the earth to God. That one act shatters all of Cain’s fury. That one selfless, trusting act—stops Cain from raging against the world.
As it stands, Cain lives. He vanishes without any knowledge of his whereabouts, but Alexandra knows he walks the earth. Whether or not Cain chooses to return to his eternal sleep—that itself is a mystery begging to be solved. She is faced with the decision to go on with her life as a vampire hunter. Holding onto the book that nearly ended all life on earth, naming it the “Cain Letters”, she lives on to face another set of fangs in her life as a hunter. Only this time not a hunter born of rage or blood. But of faith.
Pierre, thanks so much for stopping by and answering these questions and giving a synopsis of your book. It's always interesting to see how other writers tackle the job of creating a novel and getting it published.