I recently had an in depth conversation with author Tony-Paul de Vissage. I found him to be a rather charming character with an interesting background. Imagine being kidnapped by a band of vampires. Lucky for him they needed him to write about them. Otherwise I dread to think what might have happened to him. Without further ado, let me, let you into the mind of this amazing author.
Are you ready Mr. de Vissage, cameras, sound men, all ready on set? I'll take that as a yes, let her rip guys.
Mr. de Vissage, may I call you Tony? At least for the purposes of this interview.
Actually, it's Tony-Paul. We French love hyphenated names. I was partially named after my father Jacob-Paul de Vissage. (Both Jacob and Paul are old family names dating back to the 16th century when we were Hugenot in France and ran away to England to escape Catherine de Medici and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.) But you, Madame Mary, may call me "Tony."
Thank you. I find it so interesting that you know your family name dates back to the 16th century.
Let me introduce myself to you first, my name is Mary Ricksen, you can call me Mary. I am a fellow author who is very interested in your writing.
Enchante, Madame Mary. Heureux pour vous rencontrer. I am flattered.
I hope that you don’t find my questions too personal. Let me know if I step over the line.
Ah, this is like the dare, oui? I draw the line in the sand with the toe of my boot and you decide whether to walk across it?
I understand that you had a number of horrific experiences as a child. Does your inspiration only come from the vampires who paid for your education? I imagine that being kidnapped by a bunch of crazed vampires was a life changing experience. Now you know we all are wondering, did they bite you?
Perhaps more exciting than horrific, ne c'est pas? Bite me? Mais non! As for being crazed, I would say more lonely than anything else. They were most polite. Besides, one doesn't bite the hand that's going to write one's story. The experience was life-changing in that I got to see for the first time how people other than those from my own cultural background lived...uh, existed. They were quite willing to tell me of their adventures, were eager to speak, as a matter of fact. It seemed that no one had ever asked them before. Up until their leader had this brilliant idea of having a scribe for his nest, their only up close and personal association with humans had been on the receiving end of a stake. They were at the point where any group of more than two people together made them getting antsy and an antsy vampire is a sight pitoyable!
Ah, now I understand, you were more of a hostage to your words, than anything else.
Oui--to my words and to my word. I promised to help them so now I must. One's word is one's honneur.
Do you feel your divorce might have been precipitated by your obsession with vampires? I mean you do say it started when you were very young. One wonders what would have happened if you'd first got scared by say The Mummy?
If I'd been scared by Le Mummy, I'd have kept it under wraps! (Pardon, I do love the little pun.) Yes, I was a little garcon when I saw that dreadful movie, and the movie was already so very ancient--made in the 1930's, I believe--at the time. Perhaps that is why I suffer from the insomnie now, although I did manage to do away with the night light when I reached the age of eighteen. As for le divorce, that was unfortunate but was merely a case of two irreconcilable personnalites. My patrons did offer to accomplish a more permanent separation from my epouse for me, but I felt doing it legally would be less devastating to everyone concerned-- as well as drawing less attention.
Well, all relationships are not made in heaven. But at least you knew when to get out.
Oui. This particular relationship seemed to have been constructed for a much lower and much hotter region--I came away with first-degree burns!
Why the moving from coast to coast? Did you leave your children, if you have any, behind? What do they think of your books? Did they know you'd been captured by the vampires?
One goes where one must. I left my home in Georgia... (Ah, that sounds like the beginnings of a song, non? Sung by a fellow Georgian Otis Redding, if I'm not mistaken.) Well, I has already run away from home once, traveling to the Midwest before I ran out of money and gasoline and once I was able to leave there, I wanted to go somewhere warm...freezing the buns as a way of life did not appeal to me. So, I pointed my elegant French nose toward California and sunshine. (Also toward earthquakes, tsunamis, and forest fires, but I didn't know that at the time.)
When I left Georgia, I took le petit with me. Mon fils has never read one of my stories. He finds them too embarras. He would much prefer for me to be the schoolteacher or something more mundane and acceptable, and has told me several times he cannot understand me at all. (I was under the impression that I, as the parent, should be saying that to him.) Still, he is my son and I love him and am proud of all he has accomplished. He, by the way, is a schoolteacher de mathematique.
So you do have a son, and it’s so wonderful that you can actually say you are proud of him. You must have kept him away from all the vampire drama.
Oh non. I did not hide my patrons from him. In fact, he is well acquainted with all of them. (Ha! The boy says he cannot understand me yet he accepts les vampires without batting the eye!) They, in turn, have offered varied parenting skills learned over centuries, which I have--very diplomatically--not accepted.
What I want to know is why they didn't make you into a vampire? Wouldn't it have been easier to control you? Would you have wanted them to? Do you hide a desire to be a vampire behind your professional facade?
I didn't need to be controlled, Madame Mary. I very quickly saw the advantage in getting a college education gratuitement, so was totally agreeable to their terms. Besides, if they had done that, I would have been as they, and would have been unable to go about in daytime, would have had to attend night classes, and generally would have drawn attention to myself because of what I couldn't do. Camoflage is the byword of the vampire, and quite frankly, the only thing attractive I have found about their way of life is the ability to witness history as it happens. I mean--would you like to find yourself having a wardrobe of nothing but evening clothes, never ever to eat anything containing garlic, and having to subsist on a liquid protein diet? Double-ugh! Not the way I love pizza!
I did, however, ask their permission before mentioning our association, and was surprised when they agreed. Come, Tony-Paul! they said. Everyone knows vampires don't exist. Who will believe you? They'll think you make le plaisanterie!
I don’t know, I wonder if I would have rather had the immortality. I could give up the pizza.
Ah but immortality carried with it the curse of solitude. I already have that, so I don't need to be immortal. Can you imagine being by yourself for hundred and hundreds of years? It doesn't bear contemplating!
Tell me about your plans for the future, Tony. Any more vampire novels in the pot? I imagine that there were several vampires in the band of vampires, who was the boss, how did they manage to hold back their egos?
Mais oui, I have several vampire novels floating around out there. One, Dark God Descending, is being considered by sams dot publishing. I think it's a bit unusual because it's the story of a Mayan vampire, Cama-Zotz, who was a demon bat, the companion of Yum Cimil, the Mayan god of death.
Of my present, finished books, one is a series--Shadows, which Tyree Campbell of sams dot is also looking at. The vampires in that series are actually a second species of humans who suffer from XP, which is a congenital condition in which DNA can't repair the damage done to the body by ultraviolet rays. Because they've always been this way, humans evolved the vampire legend about them. There are five books in the series so far.
The other novel is Night Man, the story of a French vampire, Damien LaCroix, and his journey from the days of the Black Death to a fateful day when an asteroid strikes the Earth.
There are also several short stories. Blood will Freeze is set in 2012, the year the last Mayan calendar ends and "terrible things' are predicted to happen; Working Class Vampires is about a writer who writes an "expose" about vampires and what happens to her when they finds out.
"Sometimes Love Returns," one of the short stories in the Clan Andriescu series--oh, those Andriescus, what a hapless lot!--was recently published in Sounds of the Night magazine.
My vampiric patrons are a relatively easy-going group. I was surprised to discover that they are possessed of very dry but very witty senses of humor. Vampires are fairly territorial, allowing others not of their own "nest" only around temporarily. Although they do like to get together annually for one big bash on the longest night of the year, and during that time, filled with dark wine, they would get to reminiscing...and I was there to write it all down. I always left before they got too excessive, though. There's nothing worse than a maudlin vampire. They start to weep those messy red tears and then start singing "Auld Lang Syne.". They have a leader, of course--the oldest among them. The others leave from time-to-time, have their own adventures and peccadilloes but once they come "back home," like most children, they defer to "Papa," especially since they know that to be otherwise can cause banishment.
So it seems you had no fear of them.
I'm partially immune because I tell their story. There's always the chance I might meet one who has no knowledge of my status, however, so I don't venture out alone when I'm with them. Generally, Damien or Domingo or Armand is with me, either unseen or very visible. Domingo is a riot--he has the worst sense of humor. He's a rarity in the vampire world. A Spanish Jew. (I am allowed to say that, aren't I. It's politically-correct?)
Are you still in contact with the vampire band today? How can they justify taking the blood of innocents? And what do you mean by ex-patriate? You were in Transylvania.
Non, you misunderstand. They weren't in Transylvania, Romania. They were at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky! I think they chose it because of the name. At the time I met them, they were passing through Georgia, sightseeing. Just nocturnal tourists. They were particularly interested in the Battle of Bloody Marsh and very disappointed when they learned it was just a swamp. As for blood of innocents--jamais!--at least not any more. Have you never heard of True Blood? Available at any vampire Barre de Sang. Totally synthetic. Has less calories, too.
We are always in communication, naturellement. To keep them informed of their novels' progress. Fortunately for me, they understand how slow the publishing business is and how long it takes to get a book accepted.
Tell me how Mr. de Vissage feels now, about his life, his goals, his books? What books are you in the middle of.
Tony-Paul de Vissage is totally bored, Madame Mary! I am at present possessed of such an ennui that I am even unable to write. Merci le bon Dieu that I have several novels already written so that I can edit them for submission. Otherwise I would languish in boredom. If I can't shake myself from it, perhaps soon I will put myself into my automobile and seek aventure. And find material for a new novelle, perhaps, hein?
I will admit to being a little jaloux of Mademoiselles Icy Snow Blackstone and Toni V. Sweeney. After all, those two jeune filles have written many, many books and had them published. They do offer me encouragement and their good wishes, however. Gentilles dames, toutes les deux.
Well I thank you, Tony, for your time, your wit and your charm. Good luck with your stories. Don’t be jealous of the incomparable Icy Snow Blackstone, or the great writer Toni V. Sweeney, you are like visages of the same persona. All headed for the top, spiraling up to greatness. My best to you, sir.
Ah, you make the play on my name, non? Merci for inviting me for this entrevue, and mon meilleur à vous--my best to you, Madame Mary! Au voir.
Lets, give Tony a genuine round of applause for his interesting take on life, his suave persona, his sexy accent, his stores and his undeniable charm. Thank you Tony. That's a wrap guys. Shut her down.
Posted by Mary Ricksen | 11:42 PM | authors, books, Icy Snow Blackstone, novels, Paranormal, Toni V.Sweeney, Tony-Paul de Vissage, vampires | 10 comments »