I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Blood of the Revenant, and N.R. Allen was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. I hope you enjoy! You can see the full review here.
N.R. Allen grew up in Dooms, Virginia. Currently, N.R. is working on several poetry collections, short stories, and novels.
Q. What inspired you to write Blood of the Revenant?
I approach novels a little differently than most authors. I was sitting with my young son and he was playing with a sentimental necklace of mine. From that, I created a scene that occurs in the middle of the book. I just started creating and creating until I branched backward to the beginning and then went forward to the end. Also, I’ve always loved different vampire legends. Many different cultures have different lore involving vampires or spirits that return from the grave seeking the blood of the living.
Q. Can you describe Blood of the Revenant in a sentence?
Sometimes, nothing is more deadly than family.
Q. What character did you enjoy developing the most?
I loved the main character Gabriel, because through him, I was delving into and dealing with feelings of betrayal. However, I think a main character needs excellent supporting characters as well. I’d say I have two favorites–Ryvall and Graemercy. With Ryvall, I liked her conflicting emotions. I also liked how she needs to rely on the violent part of her nature to survive, but wants to hang on to the softer part, the part she likes to hide. Graemercy, on the other hand, I enjoyed because he is so detached from things and bizarre. Emotionally and physically, he’s extremely different from the other characters in the novel.
Q. What is one of your favorite things about being a writer? Are there any cons?
I love being my own boss and exploring different worlds. I LOVE losing myself in characters and following them as they face trials and terrors. In a way, the story writes itself. Writers are mediums of sorts where they somewhat channel stories and sometimes you just have to let the story go where it will. One of the biggest cons is that it is so subjective. What some readers absolutely love, others positively hate.
Q. I notice that you’ve written a collection of short stories. Is there a difference in how you approach writing shorter fiction as opposed to a novel?
Writing short stories is very different from writing novels, or at least it is for me. To me, short stories aren’t just “mini-novels” or fragments of a larger story. To me, they’re glimpses. You only have a few pages to engage the reader, develop characters, and tell the story. The thing I prefer about novels is that in a novel I can go more in-depth and show a lot of character growth. When I settle down into a book, I like expanding things. In short stories, you have to say what you need to with less words. It’s easier to keep a reader engaged, but can be harder to accomplish anything.
Q. I couldn’t help but notice all of the great vampire lore you wove into the story. Do you enjoy “classic” vampires more than the modern versions?
I grew up with reruns of Christopher Lee’s Dracula. I love the vampire as the dark forbidding stranger that, while charming, has a dark, animalistic nature. I definitely prefer the classics. Also, you can tell a lot about history and different cultures by the monsters they create. One of the things I enjoyed about this novel was researching the different representations of vampires from different countries. I chose to refer to them as “revenants”. In history, some revenant legends refer to beings with vampiric natures that rise from the grave. They don’t strike at strangers. They strike at the their loved ones and relatives. I found this concept really intriguing.
Q. What are some of your favorite books?
I’m a sucker for the classics like Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, and Lord of the Flies. I also love an older book that most have never heard of called Night of the Hunter. In regard to modern writers, I love Dean R. Koontz (Watchers is my favorite), Stephen King’s Stand and ‘Salem’s Lot.
Q. If you could sit down with any author (living or dead) and chat, who would you pick?
That’s a hard question. Edgar Allan Poe will always be a favorite of mine as is Lord Byron. Poe would probably win out, however. He wrote fiction and poetry. His use of dark imagery always captivated me as a child and still does. He was an author who lost himself in his work and sometimes never found his way out again. In that vein, I think of H.P. Lovecraft as well. I think if I spoke to Poe, he would dominate the conversation. Lovecraft would be the listening and watching everything that I did. Lovecraft was a master of being consumed in his work and created some lasting, haunting images.
Q. Besides writing what else do you enjoy doing?
I’m also an archer and medieval re-enactor.
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing and reading. Things take time. Write as much as you can. Everything you write–poems, short stories, novels–helps you improve. Not everyone will like everything that you write. Learn how to use the criticism to get better, instead of getting discouraged.
I want to thank N.R. Allen for providing me with a copy of her book as well as participating in this interview. For more information about NR Allen and her books stop by her website, NR Allen.