In Issue Four, we interviewed author Mark Evans about his new novel, No Shelter From Darkness. Here are more of his thoughts on vampires, making a novel, and of course, whether his protagonist would win in a fight against Buffy.
GEEKED: The making of the cover for the book was an interesting ordeal; you had one rule that you would not renounce to no matter what, that is you would not have an image of Beth represented in any way, shape or form. Why is it that you insist on not having an illustrated representation of the character?
Mark Evans: There could be a line-up of girls that match what little description there is of Beth in the book. None of them would be the Beth I have in mind, and none of them would be the Beth you, the reader, have in mind. There may be one or two who closely resemble Beth, but why would you want to have an impostor on your cover? Beth to me will look different than she looks to you. Having an image of a person on the cover takes away the development of that character in your mind. As I’ve said, there is actually very little description of Beth in the book. The picture of her you make up will be due to her actions, the way she moves, the way she talks and the way she thinks. An image is subconsciously created taking all of these elements into account. If you know what she looks like before even beginning the book, you have to force what you learn of the character upon that face, and certain traits may not go with the face you’ve been forced to think of.
The only thing I want a potential reader to judge by my cover is what kind of a book it is, not what kind of person the main character is. Finding out what kind of a person the main character is, is the whole point of the book.
G: Beth is a total bad-ass, is she inspired in someone in particular?
ME: If she is inspired by any one particular person, then it’s totally subconscious. Of course, she is composed of elements of real people. There’ll be parts of my personality in her (probably not the bad ass bits, though). As I’ve mentioned before, her personality was pretty much complete when I had the initial idea. I knew what kind of person she was, or rather she knew what kind of person she is. She has a journey to make, and she will change. In this first book there’s a certain timidness to her character. She has a rebellious side, but it’s very small and it usually gives way to ‘doing the right thing’. That’s actually very me, but she may very well change over the course of the series.
The interesting thing with the book is something that’s asked between the lines; is Beth’s bad ass-ery part of her natural human development, or is it the vampire? There’s a lot of purposeful ambiguity concerning that area in the book, and Beth is left very confused herself, not knowing if this part of her is something that would be there if she were actually human.
G: Finally would Buffy or Blade have a fair chance against your vampires?
ME: Ha! Yeah, totally. Buffy has almost superhuman fighting abilities and strength, as does Blade. My vampires are stronger than humans, but not supernaturally so. Further to that, my vampires don’t naturally possess supreme fighting skills. Just like a human has to practice for years to become a good fighter, so would one of my vampires (and there’s a great scene showcasing that in book two). Now, it’s never explicitly explained how strong either Buffy or Blade is. But their fighting skills alone are such that if you put them into the ring of a UFC fight, they’d win in two seconds flat. What with my book being set in the real, physical world, my vampires would stand a better chance than a UFC champion, but you’d still be pitting a realistic entity against a supernatural one.
I guess you could say that if Buffy or Blade came up against one of my ‘trained’ vampires, one who’s a black belt in several martial arts, then we might be looking at a good fight.
But here’s something depressing to think about: bearing in mind how utterly bad ass and superhuman Buffy and Blade are, together they wouldn’t stand a chance against the lanky, brooding, emo that is Edward Cullen – the guy can stop hurtling vans and snap a tree in half and is apparently (according to the films) made of solid metal.
But that’s not a good thing to end an interview on, so instead think about this: picture yourself on a deserted street at night. You look down one way and see Blade walking toward you with his shiny leather and sparkling chrome, wearing clothes that outside of a movie set you would, let’s face it, laugh at. You look the other way and see a guy walking toward you. He’s wearing the kind of clothes you would wear. His footwear consists of DCs, his jeans are scuffed at the bottom where they scrape the road, and his shirt is buttoned up, but hanging out and clearly unironed. He looks perfectly normal, except his dead eyes flash green in the streetlight and then you see the blood smeared across his face from his latest kill.
Who are you gonna fear more?
You can buy your copy of No Shelter From Darkness here.