TONI: Greeting lovers of Paranormal Romances. I’m Toni V. Sweeney interviewing a new resident to the South, recently arrived from Central Europe. He’s here visiting my friend, Tony-Paul de Vissage, and he’s also the hero, if you can call him that, of a new vampire novel. (picks up a trade paperback with a red cover, reading from the back blurb) As it says here…ahem... “Meet Vlad Chemare, a blast from the past who isn’t to be denied. He’s up-to-date, traveling by jet, and seeking revenge against the master who buried him alive for daring to lead a revolt back in the 15th century. Armed with a Chase Sapphire and a Kevlar vest, Vlad’s out for blood—specifically Baslo Rigla’s—and he isn’t about to let his feelings for mortal Meredith Swanson stand in his way. After all, a woman’s just a woman, but revenge is a dish best served cold, and six hundred years makes for some pretty chilly morsels.” Well, that’s a rather chauvinistic statement. So now, he-e-e-re’s Vlad! Come in, Mr. Chemare. Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a drink?
VLAD: (He drops gracefully into a chair. He’s tall, handsome, and very much aware of it) That’s a leading question, Nurliu. Do you happen to have any Bombay Blood ’29 around?
TONI: Uh, sorry, I don’t. Only some Merlot and a little charadonnay. And what was that you called me?
VLAD: You mean, Nurliu? In my native language, it means “sweetheart.” I know we’re not lovers, but I’ve been told it’s an acceptable term to use when speaking to a female acquaintance. If not, I apologize.
TONI: In that case, I’m flattered, but watch that “lovers” business, will you? People might get the wrong idea.
VLAD: (nods) I hope I’m dressed properly. TP said I could come casual but I’m afraid his idea of casual and mine don’t exactly jell. I mean…a sweatshirt and jeans? So I decided on my most conservative Dolce & Gabbana. He was after me to put my hair in a pony-tail but I prefer not to. Have you seen his hair? He wears it in a braid. That’s a bit much, to my way of thinking. Still, he’s a writer so I guess it’s all part of the pose.
TONI: I find absolutely nothing wrong with the way you’re dressed. You look as if you could pose for Vampire Gentleman’s Quarterly. Love your accent, by the way. Where are you from?
VLAD: Would you like the truth or that delightful but thoroughly false story Meredith cooked up to tell her parents? Although I don’t know why she bothered. They’ve got a vampire for a daughter, for cryin’ out loud, so why should we hide from them the fact that their other daughter is dating a vampire? There’s some logic there somewhere, but so far, it’s eluded me. So, the official story: (speaks as if reciting a lesson he’s memorized) I’m the grandson of Russian immigrants who came to Lincoln, Nebraska to work in the salt mines there. (laughs) Yes, there really are salt mines in Nebraska. That accounts for my accent. I’m going to night school in Savannah, while I work during the day, which keeps me from meeting the parents. (leans forward and whispers) Truth is, I’m from Transylvania, and I’ve never worked a day in my life—or Undeath. Independently wealthy, and all that.
TONI: So tell me a little about your background. Where were you born and when, etc.?
VLAD: It’s a common enough story. I was born of rich and noble parents in Transylvania in 1348, on All Saint’s Eve, which is October 31. That should’ve warned my parents right then that I was going to be trouble, but it didn’t or if it did, they ignored it. Actually, my father was so busy getting into his own trouble, he didn’t have time to worry about what his son and heir was doing. I had the usual profligate and aimless spoiled young noble’s life…ran riot through all the village girls, gambled and drank, and had all kinds of fun, and then…one night, when I was riding back to the castel, something swooped out of the sky, knocked me off my horse, and when I woke up, I was lying in state in the family tomb. Baslo Rigla was there to explain it all to me, how he’d seen me, decided I was a tasty morsel (his words, not mine!) and decided to take a bite.
TONI: And how did you feel about that? Being cut off so quickly in your youth? How old were you, anyway?
VLAD: I was twenty-four—and still am, I guess. At first I was angry. Because he’d dared lay hands on a noble’s son. Then, I remembered that my father was a mere baron, not much more than a glorified peasant, and now I was being given an offer I didn’t want to refuse, so I accepted it, with open arms.
TONI: Tell me, why did you come here?
VLAD: To America you mean? That answer’s simple. Four words: To kill Baslo Rigla. Domnitor Rigla, I suppose I should give him his title, let him use it a little longer, anyway.
TONI: Why? If he’s your…uh…sire, isn’t that a little ungrateful?
VLAD: No more ungrateful than when you Americans decided to give King George the boot. Baslo Rigla is a tyrant, plain and simple. He’s been ruling the vampires for a couple of millennia, now and as far as I, and they, are concerned, that’s 2000 years too many. He had all the nosferatu in Romania under his thumb, although those in Europe were so far away, he couldn’t do much with them, and then a good many emigrated to America just to be free of his stringent ways. But now, jet planes, television, and the Internet have enabled him to get them in his grasp again. He’s in America now, in Savannah, Georgia, as a matter of fact.
TONI: Why Savannah? Why not New Orleans?
VLAD: Because it has a lower supernatural profile than New Orleans. Everyone flocks to the Big Easy. One day, the vampire hunters are going to move in and wipe out everyone, so Rigla was smart. He went somewhere else. But he didn’t count on one thing…that American hatred of tyranny. Paranormals are ready to revolt. They just need someone to lead them.
TONI: And that’s you?
VLAD: You’d better believe it, sweetheart!
TONI: How do you expect to best Baslo Rigla?
VLAD: Better than I did last time, thank you very much! Back then, I was a mere fledgling, only turned for 50 years and still wet behind the wings. Now, I’ve got 650 years of experience behind me, as well as a whole lot of vengeance I’ve been stockpiling. I’ve recruited a group of eager, young Southern nosferatu—I’m sure you know how those lads from Down South like to fight—and with them behind me, and the local werewolf population making up my K-9 corps, I’ve complete confidence that this time I won’t fail. Well, 99% complete anyway. One must always expect the unexpected.
TONI: What about Meredith Swanson? Did you expect to fall for a mortal woman?
VLAD: That’s part of the unexpected I was speaking of. Actually, I first fell for her twin sister, Valerie. Now, there is one hot lady…although I don’t know if “lady’s” the correct word. I can think of some more descriptive Transylvanian ones. Especially since she threw me over for a Louisiana werewolf from some little bayou town called Bon Ton or Ben Times or some Creole name. Don’t get me started on Valerie or we’ll be here all night. That was the reason I went to Meredith, to get revenge for losing Valerie…and instead… (stops, takes a deep breath) I think I’d rather not speak of my feelings for Meredith. It might make me appear weak.
TONI: How does she feel about what you’re planning?
VLAD: I haven’t told her yet. Unlike her sister, Meredith appears to be perfectly happy to see me every night, attend her classes at the University of Georgia at Savannah during the day, and that’s all. (looks worried) You don’t suppose she’s just pretending, do you? That she’s really as curious as her sister and is going to start bugging me soon? What do you do after you leave me, Vlad? Where do you go? Who do you see? Oh, Name I can’t Say, I hope not.
TONI: I think you really love Meredith. Admit it.
VLAD: If you promise not to tell her. I want to do that myself. When it’s the right psychological moment. Although it seems to be getting closer and closer each night I’m with her. So…okay, I admit it. I love Meredith.
TONI: I understand Tony-Paul has written a book chronicling your time in Savannah, and with Meredith, and…
VLAD: That’s correct. He entitled it The Last Vampire Standing. Although I preferred a more sensational title, such as 50 Shades of Scarlet. He told me that title had been taken, or something close to it, so…
TONI: So do you think Tony-Paul did your story justice?
VLAD: I wouldn’t have anyone other than that chubby little Creole write my story. He also had a short movie made about the book…a…uh…trailer, I believe he called it. In fact, didn’t he commission you to create it?
TONI: I thought you’d never ask! So, with your permission, let’s present the trailer for The Last Vampire Standing, starring Vlad Chemare.
VLAD: And my beloved Meredith, don’t forget her.
TONI: And Meredith Swanson.
VLAD: (Laughs) You’re beginning to sound like me.
TONI: Thank you so much for coming to visit with me, Vlad.
VLAD: Anytime, Nurliu. I’ve enjoyed sitting here speaking of my favorite subject…myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me…I must fly. (laughs and lifts her hand and kisses it) Good night, my dear.
The Last Vampire Standing is available from Class Act Books: http://www.classactbooks.com/processxml.asp?tid=LASTVAMPIRESTANDING&StyleSheet=title.xsl