The Vampire's Curse: Life Eternal by J.G. Gatewood Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
There's no other way to say it; cancer is a bitch. When I was fifteen, Doctor's diagnosed me with a rare brain tumor and gave me five years to live. With my death imminent, I made a deal with the Devil. Well, not the real Devil, but one of his minions for sure. Out of options, I accepted an offer for eternal life. I agreed to become a vampire. And all I had to offer in exchange was one year of service to a Duke named Aldric. What is one year in the grand scheme of things? Especially, when I'd live forever.
Now, two years later, I have a different view of vampires. I live in the shadows and have no contact with any of my friends or family. I hate what I've become and If I could go back and do it all over again, I would. To make matters worse, Aldric is summoning me for my one year of service. When I refuse, they hunt me like an animal. I'm run over by a car and witness my mother's death at the hands of Aldric's minions. No one stands up to-let alone refuses-Aldric, but enough is enough. I can't live like this. I'm always watching over my shoulder, and fear each new person I meet is on a mission to kill me. This is not a second lease on life; its torture and the only way it will end is if I kill Aldric. It's time for him to die.
My outward appearance is ordinary. When I was human, girls ignored me, and most wouldn’t give me the time of day. Now, they can’t help themselves. My body emits a pheromone, drawing them in and driving them crazy. All because of what I am. And I hate myself every day for it.
Whatever. People think they know or understand me. They don’t have a clue.
Part of the problem, Hollywood has ravaged our image. My skin doesn’t sparkle like the world’s largest diamond when I step into the sun. I’m much faster than a human, but I’m not the Flash, flying around in a blur. I won’t explode into a ridiculous fountain of flesh and goo when I’m killed. I’m not afraid of the sun and I don’t sleep in a coffin. That’s right; I eat, drink, sleep, and piss just like each and every one of you. Well, maybe not you…. Hell, I could be next to you right now and you wouldn’t know. Just another average person flitting from point A to point B during my usual, mundane life.
Why do I hate it? Because you see me as a monster, that’s why. My family, being the good Catholics that they are, will never accept me for what I am, nor will they appreciate what I’ve done. That’s why I faked my death and spared them the truth. It wasn’t too difficult, considering my diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. You don’t understand how hard it is letting everyone you love, believe you’re dead. It’s painful and lonely.
J.G. Gatewood is the author of the Keepers of the Orbs Fantasy Series and other writing projects. The first three books in the series (The Unknown Man, The Rising Past, A Shadow Within) are available on Amazon, as are his YA Fantasy novel, The Final Offering, and his Sci-Fi short story, Redemption.
When J.G. Gatewood is not writing, he is a full-time Subject Matter Expert and an avid reader.
He lives in Parker, Colorado with his wife of 16 years, and two sons. In what little free time he has remaining, he is usually busy brewing his own beer, crafting his own wine or enjoying a fine cigar.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I primarily write Fantasy and Sci-FI. Within these stories, I’ve always kept the language clean. I know I started reading fantasy books when I was 12, so that is always in the back of my mind. I want to reach any audience be it a twelve-year-old kid, or a seventy-year-old grandmother. With The Vampire’s Curse, I scrapped all of that. From the start, I wanted a dirty vampire story with foul language and adult situations. This was very freeing. I’m a very reserved individual. I keep my opinions to myself and rarely will I speak my mind (unless you are attacking my wife, my kids, or my family that is). Needless to say, much circulates in my brain on any given day, in almost any situation and I keep that content to myself. This book gave me the opportunity to remove that filter. It was so refreshing to respond to my fictional situations in such a sarcastic manner. I loved every moment of it and I plan on writing more books not only in this series but also in this style. It was also the first time I shifted to a first-person POV. I think this is what allowed me to communicate in this manner. You’re intimately associated with all of Chris’ inner thoughts and I think it’s what makes the book work.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
It was completely by mistake. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I never thought about writing a story. I had a family and always had other priorities. Since I was a child, if there was ever a night I had a problem falling asleep (and this dates back as a far as I can remember) I would start telling myself a story. This continued for almost thirty-years, well into my adulthood. In 2009, I was laid off of my IT job. I worked for an IBM reseller and built POS devices, laptops, computers, servers, and storage devices. We would pre-load the machines with an image that I worked on closely with our customers to fine-tune. When they needed a machine, we would load the image and do a basic configuration (IP Addresses if they were static, Computer Name, install all updates, and basically have the machine ready to just plugin and it would be up and operational). Anyway, back to being laid off. I spent 2 years applying to IT support jobs, but most of my experience was not support. We were also trying to come out of a recession. So there were thousands of IT professionals looking for work. I would need training to perform the functions of the job. Others would not and I was continuously overlooked. During this time I was depressed and playing a lot of World of Warcraft. It was difficult to sleep and I found myself telling the same story night in and out to help me fall asleep. I decided to take it to the next level. I stopped playing WoW and started writing instead. I self-published my first story in 2012. It should not have been published. It was nowhere near ready, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. I am not writing as a profession yet and spend my days working as a subject matter expert (don’t ask what that means, it’s easier to say I am in a pre-sales support role doing product configurations, demos, and I spend a lot of time visiting our customers). However, my goal is to one day make it my profession and I am currently enrolled at DU (University of Denver) working on my MFA in Professional Fiction Writing.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I’m dating myself now, but at the start of my senior year of high school, I was hiking with some friends. I live in a southern suburb of Denver and the Rocky Mountains are literally a forty-five-minute drive away. One day a week into the school year, I was working my job at McDonald’s. Two friends—Nick and Fabian—and I all worked the opening shift which meant we started at 5 AM, but we were done at 1 PM. After our shift, we decided to hang out and all jumped into my best friends car. We started driving west with no destination in mind. An hour later, we were well into the mountains just north of Deckers. We parked in a parking lot near a river and climbed to the top of an outcropping. Just getting to the top, we all almost fell, but we didn’t and made it to the top. We chatted and smoked cigarettes for a time before we realized we needed to head back. Nick, who was an Eagle Scout, gazed over the edge where we made our initial climb and said it was too dangerous to go back that way. He wanted to look for another way. Being the ridiculous seventeen-year-old I was, I thought I was invincible and sent them on their way while I checked it out for myself. The edge was loose granite and I unfortunately slipped. I fell close to forty feet and rolled another hundred (or more feet) before stopping on the side of the hill thanks to a large boulder. Nick and Fabian found me. Flight for Life had to get me and I was the passenger on my first ever helicopter ride. At the end of the day, I broke both arms, broke three ribs, collapsed a lung, lacerated my liver, and crushed 4 vertebrae in my neck (they were almost the same vertebrae that Christopher Reeves broke). I was lucky. I spent twelve weeks in a halo, but have no lasting repercussions. I can walk just fine. I firmly believe Nick’s Eagle Scout training saved my life that day. I don’t remember anything, but Nick told me I wanted to get up, claiming I was fine. He knew I wasn't and held me on the ground while also splinting my arms until help arrived. He was back then and continues to be my best friend to this day. I’m forever thankful.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
That is an easy question. While there are many authors I look up to, there is one I would love to emulate one day. And that is Stephen King. Although we primarily write in different genres, I read everything he releases. His mind is very intriguing to me, and I would love to get even 10 minutes with him to glean anything I could. His characters just come to life for me. And I still say The Dark Tower Series is one of the greatest collections I have ever read. What he built in this series over thirty years blows my mind.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Most of my characters are completely fictional. I usually get an idea for a story and then build the character from there. I do pull characteristics from people I know, but I usually just grab pieces from many and combine them to create the character. With that being said, I have had four people specifically ask me to make a character based on them. In those situations, I do my best to capture their personality on paper, and so far, they’ve all been happy.
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