Today's guest for Saturday Stories is Ellen C. Maze, Christian Vampire author extraordinaire. This interview was a lot of fun and I found myself laughing out loud as I read her answers--that's always promising!
I met Ellen through her publisher TreasureLine Books is also the home of Elizabeth Mueller and Silvina (S.B.) Niccum.
After you've finished reading this interview you can check out Ellen's self titled website here or, if you feel so inclined, drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q–Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Little ol’ me? Oh, my! I would rather discuss my babies…my books, but if I must, I’ll see what can be said about Ellen C. Maze. I am a left-handed person, who bats right-handed. My favorite pastime is writing fiction. My second favorite pastime is reading fiction. My favorite fiction is my own (heehee), but I have many, many favorite authors, including Frank Peretti, Stephen King, Ted Dekker, Elizabeth E. Little, Angela Dolbear, Krisi Keley, Teric Darken, Pete Turner, and Kerry Nietz, just to name a few. I am a fine artist and supplement my income by selling my artwork all over the world. I don’t think of myself as anything special, yet I long to share the work of my hands with anyone who appreciates its beauty. Today I hope to share my novels with your readers!
Q–You’ve written a few books. Would you please tell us about them? (Make sure to let us know which one is your favorite.)
RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER (2009) is the tale of a lovely young novelist who finds herself being hunted down by vampiric killers. Whoever thought writing a bestseller could be so dangerous? Click here to read more about Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider.
LOOSE RABBITS OF THE RABBIT TRILOGY (2010) 20 short tales featuring the characters of RCBR, giving titillating backstory and delicious detail that was left out of the novels. Click here to read more about Loose Rabbits of the Rabbit Trilogy.
RABBIT LEGACY (2010) is Book Two in the Rabbit Trilogy. Beth Rider and friends are on the run from a maniacal and bloodthirsty miscreant determined to bring the Rakum race back to their former glory. Click here to read more about Rabbit Legacy.
FECKLESS TALES OF SUPERNATURAL, PARANORMAL, AND DOWNRIGHT PRESUMPTUOUS ILK (2010) is an anthology that I edited, featuring 20 short stories from 9 excellent authors. I contributed 11 of these stories (why not? I’m the boss, right?) Click here to read more about Feckless.
THE JUDGING (2010) is Book One of The Corescu Chronicles; a creepy tale of a priest-turned-vampire who justifies his bloodlust in the name of God. What happens when you want to do the will of God, but are cursed for all eternity? Click here to read more about The Judging.
DAMASCUS ROAD is Book Two of The Corescu Chronicles and it just came out May 2011. How far would you go to protect the innocent? The Judging star, Tony Agricola, will sacrifice everything—even his soul if necessary—to prevent an impish vampire from turning his attentions to the world around him. Click here to read more about Damascus Road.
You asked which is my favorite and that’s easy… my favorite is the one that just came out! All of my novels (so far) have 5-star ratings, which I hope means that folks are picking up what I’m putting down. I love Damascus Road because I find it provocative as well as humorous in parts. The banter between the protag and antag makes me chuckle, and the police detectives on the case offer plenty of chuckles in between the horror. I love a book that can balance these elements—like real life. We have both!
Q–You call yourself a recovering vampire/horror fanatic. Would you please tell us how you reached this diagnosis and what steps you have gone through to recover? Is there a 12 step, say goodbye to blood suckers, program out there? I’m sure at least one of our readers is in denial about their vampire addiction and could use some intervention.
I may have misspoken; I was only kidding myself. If I were truly recovered, then I wouldn’t write about vampires so much. I have six novels out and three in the works and all of them deal with some type of vampiric behavior. I’ll tell you what I might have been delivered of: unoriginal vampire plotlines. Every single one of my series’ will introduce vampires in a fresh, new way. Never boring, and always titillating, my vampire tales not only drag the reader through the dark recesses of the monster’s mind, but also lift them out of the muck with an expertly woven message of hope.
Q–I see that you have a BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. I can only imagine how helpful such a degree must be in writing. How has this education come in to play in your stories?
I only want to get inside your head. My psych training makes me weird and spooky and always digging around in the reader’s subconscious. I want to manipulate the reader into disappearing into my stories. When I mail out signed copies of my books to readers I write inside: “Welcome to my imagination.” Cheeky, I know, but I was always a HUGE Willy Wonka fan.
Q–Which do you prefer....plain or peanut M&Ms? (Or are you like me, a rogue who prefers the peanut butter ones?)
PLAIN M&Ms only, please! Send immediately to c/o Maze, PO Box 67, Holly Pond, AL 35083!!
Q–Please tell us about this hamster called “Nacho” who resides on your head as you write. Is he your muse? What role does he play in your creative process?
Nacho has been with me since the beginning. Wayyyyy before I ever wrote a line on my first novel, Nacho was hitting the road with me to art shows. When I began to write, he stayed by my side and in his own way helped me along the publishing road. When he is balanced on my head, all of the universe is in order, and my creative process moves forward with glee. Recently, I acquired Wally (a koala bear), and he and Nacho do NOT get along. There’s some jealousy there. It’s sad.
Q–What role does your Christian influence have in your writing? Why do you choose to include Christian themes in your work?
“Write what you know.” Have you heard that old adage? Well, I know the Lord and I know vampires… why not work them out together? The reason I do this is two-fold. One, I’m compelled to write my fiction. It’s like breathing to me. And since I dwell in the secret place of the Most High—that means God is behind it. The second reason is that people are encouraged in their faith when they read my fiction. Yes, it’s bloody, and gory, and provocative—but isn’t the Bible? God’s ways of teaching us about Him are not limited. I am not one to shorten His arm, so when He leads me to write a fiction work that glorifies Him and leaves His children pondering…I do it!
Q–If you could be any character in any book that you have read who would it be and why?
I am going to assume you mean “fictional character” and say Van Helsing. I would have enjoyed discovering Dracula, becoming familiar with him over dinner, and then destroying him for the good of all mankind. That doesn’t mean I kill all the vampires in my novels. No, I love them too much. I have to leave some alive. It’s only fair…
Q–Pretend you have just been told that owning cats is illegal. What would you do?
Oh, that’s a no-brainer. I’d get more cats! Then I’d build elaborate hiding places for them in my walls and under the floor boards and I’d painstakingly train them to be quiet whenever they heard me say, “Oh no!”
Q–How did you get started writing?
I have been writing since I was a wee little child. My mom has saved stories that I wrote in elementary school. One short story written when I was 9 was entitled: Mrs. Frog, about a lady frog and her troubles. At 12, I wrote Skelo and the Big House, about a roach who escapes the Raid Can only to be poisoned by his parents who bring a new toxin back to the nest on their backs!
Q–Of all the books you’ve read, which ones have influenced your writing the most?
Again, I will assume you refer to fiction (as for non-fiction, I always resort to answering The Holy Bible), and I say Dracula by Bram Stoker. After that, I’d list They Thirst by Robert McCammon. These two books led me to writing about vampires and I love to still read these today. I’ve read each at least 20 times, maybe more…
Q–Who is Beth Rider and what do the Rakum want with her?
Poor Beth Rider. She is flying high on new-found fame with her Christian vampire novels, when out of the blue at a late-night book-signing session, she is attacked by a Rakum. This vampiric race lives alongside ours with a demonic origin that only their leader is aware of. They are not the living dead, but another race altogether—and they have no knowledge of God. When some of their people read Beth’s novels and begin to ponder their creator and their leader’s true motives, the Rakum in charge decide to destroy the young author. Thankfully, she is aided by a disaffected member of their people and the race is on!
Q–Finish this sentence: “The scariest thing I ever....”
…saw in the theatre was The Exorcist. The devil is real, and movies about him give me the heebie-jeebies!”
Thank you for allowing me to visit you today. I have truly enjoyed myself! I want to offer an open invitation to any of your readers to contact me via email (email@example.com) or my website. I’d love to hear from you!
I would also love to give a heads-up on my next novel, coming out, God-willing, in the Fall of this year. Here is a little blurb about it:
The Indwelling of Tory Blessing: A Novel
What if you discover your father was an Old Testament god?
What if he had arranged for you to marry his successor on your 18th birthday?
What if, in order to comply, you had to volunteer to be possessed by eight evil spirits?
Tory Blessing wants to fulfill her father’s last wishes, but the more she learns about to what she is agreeing, the less inclined she is to obey her destiny.
Teric Fornisi, the last of the fleshed Baals, is destined to marry Tory to propagate the reestablishment of his people. As the child of Teric’s predecessor, she must comply, or else. No other woman on the planet will do.
Gokhan At, Tory’s assigned guardian, did his best to raise his ward in the ways of the Baalim, but when she meets her fiancé for the first time, the two do not hit it off at all and his plans soon go to rot.
Does Tory have a choice? Or is she doomed into a matrimonial union with a demon? Finding and then reading her deceased mother’s diary, helps Tory learn of the love her father had for her mom. Why isn’t Teric more like her father, and if she decides the marriage is not in her best interest, will she be allowed to leave?
Hang on for a wild ride through my imagination as I weave Old Testament theology with modern Contemporary Speculative Fiction into a vampire tale that will leave you gasping for air and longing for more. I am Ellen C. Maze; welcome to my world.
Thanks for stopping by Ellen! I had a great time with this interview.
If you're interested in purchasing any of Ellen's books, check out the links below.....