Landon Dunlevy

Passing the Baton

I have a stick.

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The lovely and talented Ruth Davis Hays gave me an assignment last Monday, and I feel very honoured to be in her company, and that of all the other writers involved in this round robin interview. The task is simple in theory, but not so much so, when I began it: answer four questions about your writing, then pass the baton to other writers. That said, here's what I eventually concocted. And away we go!

4 Questions before the baton can be passed on:

1) What am I working on?
What is currently only a stand-alone book documenting what transpires after the events in The Vampire Relics trilogy conclude.  The working title is the name of an actual thing in our world, a kind of musical instrument that is anything but, in the new story.  I’m also still immersed in character development of a Vampire that was only supposed to show up in a short story, wherein he would be murdered, but the little bastard had other ideas.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would like to think there are moments of humour dotting the landscape, especially with the second book of the trilogy, The Blood Crown, which I have often called the Hope & Crosby Road Pictures, if Hope & Crosby had been Vampires and the film was a book instead.  I’m hoping to bring that humour back in with the current book.  Also, I think the combination of Pagan and Christian myths, science fiction and theory (specifically the idea that our teachers came from another world – yeah, cue Giorgio A. Tsoukalos ha!), conspiracy theories, and playing fast and very loose with etymological notions might be a first.  I could be wrong about that, though.  You tell me.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I started out wanting to write a kind of fable, or long-form metaphor, for my soulmate’s and my story, based on a dream he and I both shared that indicated a shared past life, probably one of many.  This started in 1987.  But I could never capture a good stride for the tale, because I had no villain.  All that changed in 1990, and the story became less of an attempt to hold on to who we were and are, and more of a way to purge a demon.  Over the years, that demon, my Child of Night, just kept getting larger and grander until he overtook the story and made it his. 

4) How does your writing process work?
Almost always, it begins with music.  I’m a child of the 80s, so I think in music video.  Not music videos already made and out there, but ones I see.  The clearer the video, the more solid the writing prompt.  What became my main character was seen glancing at a person who defied instead of deified him, saying under his breath, “bleed.”  The unfortunate rebel died as if she instantly fell victim to a hemorrhagic fever.  I recreated that pivotal moment in the first book, The Chalice.  Each character is assigned or takes a theme song.  For instance, Cadmus Pariah’s theme song is ‘Clubbed to Death’ by Rob Dougan.  Also, I have the bad/honest habit of anchoring characters to people, or people to characters, then I inhabit the story and feel everything they feel in order to get a better idea of what they’re going through.  A friend and editor made the observation that I was a “method writer,” after the story of Faust almost drove me crazy.  I tend to have "conversations" with many of my more-developed characters, so my plots start out rather loosely, and they help fill in what I can't early on.  And, sometimes, it feels like I'm just taking dictation from Cadmus, which can be disturbing at times, but it seems to usually work.  As the cliché goes - "if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it."

Now, onward and upward to some rare talents whose mission, should they choose to accept it, is to answer these questions and pass the baton on to others with stories to share.  And, if they don’t accept the mission, you still get to hear about them.

First is the lovely and insightful Heidi Bowles Ellis, whose one of many online presences can be enjoyed here:  She is quite at home with both original and fan-fiction, and truly has her finger on the pulse of what makes us all dream, often darkly.

Then we have Jay Smith, our resident scriptwriter and producer of the podcast equivalent of The Walking Dead, except HG World predates the eponymous AMC series.  You can find all manner of goodies here:  Be prepared for brilliance!

And lastly, there’s the lethally wry Bruce McRae, who is a poet, songwriter, musician, videographer, and all-around Public Enemy #1.  If you’re unsure about him, you need only read just a little here:, to see how fabulicious you are.  After reading some of his body of work, if you’re still curious, you need only click this to see what you’re up against: Abandon All Hope.   

Hopefully we’ll be hearing from all three of them a week from today. Anyone can participate, though.  Don't be shy.  You need only answer the four questions and post them next Monday, with links to some writers you admire.  The rest will take care of itself.

  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: dorky dorky
  • Current Music: Rob Dougan - Clubbed to Death
always fun to learn how other authors write!
I'm so glad to read about your works and universe. Cannot wait for Blood Crown!
Re: always fun to learn how other authors write!
Do you know that your books are some of the very few I relocated to CA? Love them. :)
I wish there was a thumbs up button
Thanks for joining the hop and sharing your work and ideas with us. I can't wait to read more of your work!
Re: I wish there was a thumbs up button
Thanks for letting me in behind the Green Door. I love it when I get to play with the big kids.