• Featured Novel: 'Nightlord: Sunset' by Garon Whited

    Garon Whited was sitting in a bookstore one afternoon and perusing the fantasy section. He picked up a vampire-themed novel and sat down to read it. About ten pages in, he was determined to continue reading--just to be fair. Around the hundred-page mark, he finally realized that "he could eat a pen and
    puke a better vampire novel". And so he wrote The Nightlord Trilogy, a series of fantasy novels about a part-time undead named Eric. His vampire protagonist relies on his trusty steed, his sense of humor, and his flaming sword and its sarcastic wit.

    You can check out his first book, Nightlord: Sunrise on Amazon.Here's a dark and intriguing trailer of his dark fantasy series.

    Interview with Garon Whited

    How are vampires portrayed in your novel?

    The protagonist, Eric, is the only vampire whose head we get to examine. His viewpoint evolves as the story progresses. Initially, after becoming a vampire, he thinks of himself as a man with strange powers. As time goes on, his viewpoint changes to accept that he isn’t really a human being anymore—unless “humanity” is a broader concept than mere biology. This worries him a bit; if he isn’t a human being, then what is he? It’s all fine and good to say, “Well, now I’m a vampire,” but he doesn’t understand what that means. Like so many of the rest of us, he has to muddle through without a clear definition of who and what he is. He functions fairly well with the idea of vampires having a purpose in the greater scheme of things—predators on humanity, seeking out the dying or the deserving in order to feed on them—but he doesn’t actually know for sure. He tries not to think about it too much.

    As for vampire biology, we see two broad classes of vampires, at least in the species presented in this, the first book. Technically the same type of vampire, their only difference is whether or not they were killed. A “living vampire,” that is, a person who has been infected with vampirism without a biological death, undergoes a transformation every sunrise and sunset, between the states of a somewhat-altered but living being and an undead. The other type has managed to get killed during the day; this type gets up at night as an undead, but becomes a corpse during the day.
    Other types of vampires are hinted at, but you don’t actually meet any in this book.

    Did you write about other mythological creatures like werewolves and faeries?

    There are some other mythological creatures to be found. There are one-and-a-fraction dragons, a dryad, and some sort of undersea civilization of fish-men. Cameos for orku, galgar, trolls, ogres, and some evil elves—one is actually a character we will see again…. A few demons put in appearances (generally by trying to eat Eric), and there are a variety of Perfectly Normal Animals, just ones we don’t have in the real (?) world.

    You said that there are science fiction elements in your series. What are they?

    Eric is an untenured professor, teaching freshman physics and some computer science at a community college. When he undergoes his transformation into a walking, talking corpse, he is naturally curious, and performs some experiments to see how he has changed. Alterations in bone structure and composition, physiological alterations, and so on. His ability to see in complete darkness continues to bother him, mainly because he never figures out how it works. But he’s always interested.

    Likewise, later, after he’s come to terms with a whole new world of magic, he begins to use magic in unconventional ways. Rather than relying on the power of his spells, like a typical caster of spells, he uses magic to alter some of the fundamental forces—gravity and light, for example—to do things unheard-of by either spellcasters or physicists.

    And, of course, there is that whole multiple-worlds theory and alternate planes of existence. If you have a physicist in a magical universe, he’s going to figure out how that universe’s laws work…

    Tell us about the world of your novel. How did you develop this setting?

    I play far too many role-playing games in various genres. Worlds just show up in my head. Someone will ask me "What's the name of the village?" in a game I'm running, and the whole village will spring into existence--Chief Elder Rath, his wife Bellina, sixteen families (two with adorable children, one with a potential wizard in the making), the recently-lamed ox, the layout of the houses along the dirt tracks, and even the date the traveling farrier/tinker will be arriving on his regular route. Except he's already two days late, and people are wondering why. When the players get to the village, they'll easily discover this fact. Will they go look for the missing tinker, or press on along the road on their own business...
    Wait. Sorry. Slight detour, there. Happens all the time, though.

    Which roleplaying games have influenced your lore?

    All of them. D&D, AD&D, GURPS, Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel Super Heroes, Mutants and Masterminds, Amber DRPG, ICE’s Rolemaster, World of Darkness, Legend of the Five Rings, Call of Cthulhu, Crazy Pajamas, Shadowrun…
    This is not a comprehensive list.

    In general, though, I’d say that the biggest influence has to be from playing and gamemastering as a whole. I play characters with considerable depth; I run games with even more. It’s good practice for creating worlds that everyone can enjoy—and, I hope, will.

    Bronze sounds like a fun character. How is she significant to the story?

    Bronze starts life—if I may use the word—as a fountain. Initially, she is a hollow, bronze statue. Eric, out of desperation, mixes magical principles with vampire powers to stuff life force and magic into the metal and make it move.
    He didn’t create life; he merely moved it around. But in doing so, he left an indelible imprint of himself on the spirit that moves the metal, making it a part of himself. And throughout the book, she’s the only person that we can say, without doubt, loves him.
    Bronze can’t talk, but she has ways of getting her message across. Eric also has a tendency to guess correctly about what she means; they are in no way telepathic with each other, but perhaps strongly empathic.

    What are the most prevalent themes in your novel?

    Who am I? Why am I here? What do I do next? What is going on? Why me?

    Fortunately, Eric is not the breast-beating, introspective, gloomy sort. He would much rather deal with his problems than moan about them. Initially, he has some issues with the more brutal aspects of his existence, but he adapts surprisingly well. It might have something to do with his diet…

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