Long Wait for The Vampire Family is Almost Over
By Leigh Wood
The genesis for The Vampire Family first came to author Kristin Battestella more than ten years ago. After dozens of edits and changes, rejections, and some time buried in a drawer, The Vampire Family will finally have its place in the spotlight with Mardi Gras Publishing. After an editing delay with the Alabama based publisher set The Vampire Family back from its original March 17th release date, the paranormal tale of good and evil will be release on July 21st. “The story has never changed,” shares New Jersey native Kristin. “Once it was established, its never been veered from, but the format and framework has been toyed with once or twice. We span the centuries with The Welshire clan, from the 12th Century to the 21st.”
Known more for her non fiction work online and in print, Battestella’s vampire short story Blood Type: V just concluded its serial run with the now defunct Gothic Revue ezine. Kristin’s reviews and commentaries on books and movies have been published by Fire Fox News, Creative Singularity, Neometropolis, Flames Rising, and several others. Kristin even co authored How to Write A Horror Review with Monica Valentinelli for Flames Rising, and Kristin’s review of the comic turned movie 300 crashed the Fire Fox News server and set the ezine’s record of most hits with over 11,000. Locally, Battestella is infamous for her newsbeat and opinion column, appearing weekly in the Cumber County Reminder. However online, its still vampires and horror galore. “The Vampire Family and Blood Type: V just happened to appear at the same time. They serve each other well in that they probably appeal to the same audience but the stories are totally unrelated.”
The seed for The Vampire Family began as a vampire couple and the unsuspecting victims they ensnare, but when Battestella began writing the story in high school, it grew into a story about a medieval family who become vampires. Antonio Welshire’s cruelty as a human being leads him to Mestiphles, a devilish type who turns Antonio and his family into vampires. Where some of the family members thrive through the centuries, several resist their vampiric ways. Battestella began the story as a teenager, and still thinks it holds that appeal for today’s late teens. “Not all Antonio’s children want to be involved in the family business,” Kristin recounts. “Kid’s today can relate to that. We live in a very confusing time. I don’t recommend The Vampire Family for anyone under 16, but there’s an entire subculture of college types who will dig the vampiric aspects of the novel. You can take it at face value for just a cool vampire fix, but there’s a moral undercurrent in The Vampire Family that I think is lacking in what little later teens are reading. Studies show young adults don’t read as much as they used to. Part of that is a lack of mature reading on their level.”
A former youth leader, Sunday School teacher, and one time pursuer of the Methodist ministry, Battestella insists The Vampire Family is not indulging in the darker side. “The Vampire Family is a cautionary tale. Sure for a time you think these vampires are so cool and have all the power and fortune one could want, but that’s just it. They aren’t happy with what they’ve become. Having superpowers doesn’t make things easy for them. It does in fact consume them and destroy the family’s core. Antonio’s daughter Samantha sees the path vampirism will take them on, and she resists. The Vampire Family is more about finding the light at the end of the tunnel or within yourself. “Blood Type: V was actually written after The Vampire Family began. I was a senior in high school taking an AP Biology class. The science of vampires intrigued me. How people react to the fantastic intrigues me. Are the Welshires no longer people because they become vampires? I pose a question to the readers. They make up their own minds.”
Duality is at the core of the questions raised in The Vampire Family. The rivals in the family develop alternate powers-morphing into cats or dogs. Some are turncoats, even the Welshire’s rival clan present an ambiguous front. Led by a curious friend of Mestiphles named Lilith, the Lilithan vampires dress in all white-even though their actions are always dark at heart. “I wanted rivalries and conflicts, but the darkness versus light aspects of The Vampire Family came about on their own, through the characters mostly. Everyone has a dark side to them. Being a vampire perhaps makes it easy to come forth, but does that mean you loose the good? Can you be one or the other or is toeing the balance between the two possible?”
Through several contests on her Yahoo Group, Battestella has given away unedited copies of The Vampire Family. First was the Bloody Valentine contest in February, and now just in time for the ebook release, Goth: The Anti Summer Vampire Family event has provided fans with a sneak peak. The contest has already awarded other prizes, and more is in store before its August 15th closing date. What do readers say? “They can’t wait, or so I’ve been told,” Kristin hopes its more than kind words. “Everyone keeps telling me the want more than just the real thing.” The Vampire Family was accepting in October of 2006 by Mardi Gras, but changes in year old company’s staff and the work needed on The Vampire Family delayed the book from its projected Spring release. “All the editors I’ve had have been great. The company has been very patient with me as I went through the editing process. There were a few concerns about flashbacks in the later third of the novel, but the Lilithan Wars are better together than separate. With a few formatting changes, we were able to better integrate the storylines, multiple viewpoints, and time and place.”
The cover art for The Vampire Family was done by Mardi Gras’ senior cover artist Skylar Sinclair this past winter. “I told Skylar what I was looking for, and she pull everything I was looking for together perfectly. For some reason fans think its me on the cover, but its not. I love the ambiguity. The fangs in the background, and the tore vampire in the front. Which is ecstasy? Which is pain? Even the type face, one traditional and one bloody allude to some good old fashioned conflict. It’s red, sharp, eye catching, and has something under the surface. Great job.” With publication on the horizon, Kristin’s virtual and real life schedules are filling up. In April, Battestella reminded readers about The Vampire Family at the First Annual Philadelphia Book Festival, and this October, Kristin will be having Halloween early at the Collingswood Book Festival. “The Philly festival was a lot of fun, even though I was worried I would loose a lot of readers from the book’s delay. Luckily, the Yahoo Group’s numbers actually doubled, and I hope that local readers will come out in October for a hard copy of The Vampire Family. Right now, I’m hosting the Goth contest. It’s been a lot of fun. We tease members with excerpts and such from The Vampire Family, but we’ve also mailed out keychains, nail polish, bookmarks. In February, one winner from Chicago received a rose picture frame, a journal, magnets, and potpourri.
“It would be easy to market The Vampire Family with good old fashioned Halloween vamps, bats, and scares. At the Collingswood fest in October we are really going all out, but earlier in the year, we went for a more old world gothic feeling. Roses and candles are a versatile way to tie in other holidays. I got the idea for the Anti Summer contest from places I’ve worked. I wear a lot of black. It’s been required at a few places I’ve worked, and its always classic and professional. Still, a few coworkers thought I looked spooky on the hottest day of the year.” The Vampire Family ebook will be available at mardigraspublishing.com as well as other online book sellers, and if sales are high, Mardi Gras could consider the 50,000 word plus novel for a print release. “I hope we go to print. I love electronic publishing. It’s a fascinating industry that taps into a whole generation of online readers. Still, there’s nothing like having your book on shelves in a real store. Some old school persons in the book industry don’t consider electronic publication as the real deal. That isn’t so, but print is vindication against those hold outs.”
Although this is her first full length publication, The Vampire Family is not Battestella’s first ebook release. The Adventures of Pave was released by Lilac Books in 2005. Members of the Kristin Battestella Yahoo Group can also read a free murder mystery by Kristin. Currently, Kristin is editing new works and working on another horror short entitled The Haberdasher. “The Haberdasher has taken a back seat for awhile. I wasn’t going to finish it at first, but some early feedback from my family encouraged me to see it through. I’ve got some sf and fantasy novellas to work on, but I’d love to polish my big sf epic The Centaurians. That’s waiting longer than The Vampire Family.” At least we won’t have to wait much longer.
The Vampire Family by Kristin Battestella will be released on July 21 by Mardi Gras Publishing. Visit Kristin’s official website http://jsnouff.com/kristin for ordering information, excerpts, giveaways, and photos.