by Jay Wilburn
Do we just write things to get attention or to stir up trouble? Maybe. Controversy sells. Bad press is press which is generally better than no press and sometimes even better than good press. So maybe …
If I write a story called “Vampire Christ: Blood of the Lamb,” I might be looking for a little trouble. I might be taking the gloves off and going a few rounds bare knuckle. The fact that the story is conceived as a serial with many installments is a sign that I’m looking to get bloodied up for a few rounds. We’ll see.
I like to think that I’m writing to say something. I’m never really looking to preach the message of the story, but I trust the audience to travel with the characters and the action and then draw their own conclusions from what they bring and what they take. Some of the most controversial figures I’ve been in contact with in show business have told me that one of their rules is to not over explain things to the audience. Trust the audience to get the jokes and the story being told. It was not writing advice the way it was presented by these performers, but I think it applies for fiction writers just the same.
So, what is “Vampire Christ?” Allow me to over explain. The story is set in the modern American South in the midst of a controversial Presidential Election. A little too on the nose so far? Probably. A pastor that is also politically active in the grass roots of his party of choice has stumbled onto a couple secrets. One is that vampires are real. They are dangerous, ancient, and active, but they also have weaknesses he can exploit. He also begins to uncover that key Biblical figures were likely vampires as well which explains a few of the more miraculous details in the Bible such as resurrection, blood resulting in eternal life, miraculous healing, the spread of Christianity through the world, and the connection of Christian symbology in vampire legends. He begins to track down and find some of these famous religious figures to try to seek out the truth through these violent supernatural encounters.
The mixing of religion and politics is always a dicey affair. This is seen clearly in social media conflicts and in real life interactions. I think it is quite problematic as a notion of the purpose of Christianity as articulated in the Bible and the interweaving of religious faith in modern politics. I think it creates an odd chemistry which is as damaging to the faith as it is to the political process. No one cares about my opinion obviously, but this is where I see the monster being created in the image of things that we hold sacredly dear and the genesis for this story.
I’m actually fairly conservative in my own personal religious beliefs. I do tend to be pretty libertarian in my political outlook, so I don’t typically trust the mixing of religion with politics even with those that believe the same or similar as I do. To push it a bit further, I’m not particularly threatened on points of religion by ideas that disagree or fly into the face of my own beliefs. If we believe that God is real as I do, He would have to be tough enough to be able to handle attacks by His own creation. I can’t imagine such things would derail His plans. He certainly does not need me to attack others in His name to defend His feelings at any rate. If I believe in God and therefore believe his divine point of view has the strongest argument, then I trust His well articulated ideas to win out in the arena of ideas. The problem is that very often His ideas are poorly articulated by poor agents of His point of view. Worse still, people have a tendency to take their own poorly conceived and poorly supported ideas and attribute those to God. Many people claim to hear God’s voice or claim to speak for Him in one form or another. The fact that so many of them contradict each other and themselves is strong argument that many if not most of them may be speaking for someone, but probably not all for God. We have a bad habit of finding exactly the message we seek and assume it is the message of Truth because it is the message we want to hear.
I’m well aware that others would strongly disagree with me on this particular point, but I suppose that is a round about way of explaining how I can honestly believe in God, but feel comfortable delivering a story like Vampire Christ without pulling any punches on where that type of fiction would have to go. Consider yourself and the story over explained!!!
Vampire Christ is being made available through my Patreon page which I have recently revamped (re – vamped) for a relaunch. For the 1$ pledge, I’m offering the full text of the out of print zombie novel Loose Ends, a complete fairy tale zombie novella which is also out of print called White Pebbles, music from the companion album by Luke Spooner inspired by The Great Interruption, and video readings of original stories. The first installments of Vampire Christ are up as well and new parts of the serial will be added each month along with new readings. I’m hoping to include real value for a low price. How else do you get a story called Vampire Christ out there?!
In addition, Luke Spooner, the artist for the novel The Great Interruption, composed and recorded an entire album of 13 songs inspired by the novel. There is one song available for download to 1$ patrons, but for a 5$ pledge, the entire album is available for digital download from the Patreon page. That includes all 13 songs and copies of the printed lyrics. A great bargain from a great artist and musician.
You can also sign up for my newsletter which will include previews to stories and other sneak peaks and giveaways.
My hope is to connect to readers and test the boundaries of story. I believe a lot can be told through horror. Genre story telling has to potential to make important statements about religion, politics, our lives, and our culture. I think it has greater potential for expression of ideas and entertainment than most other media on the same subject.
Check out the Patreon site and see if you are interested in following along with the ongoing story.
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels The Great Interruption and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. He has a Patreon site with many perks for as little as a dollar. You can sign up for a newsletter for key updates and giveaways. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com