Horror writer and romance writer team up on vampire novel

July 13, 2008 (Chicago Sun-Times / Dana Kaye) -- At first glance, romance novelist Patricia Rosemoor and horror writer Marc Paoletti seem like unlikely writing partners. Rosemoor is working on her 82nd book, while Paoletti recently published his first; Rosemoor is a writing teacher at Columbia College, and Paoletti is a former student; Rosemoor's writing centers on love and relationships, while Paoletti's work is driven by action. But it seems their different experiences and backgrounds have worked in their favor.

Their novel The Last Vampire tells the story of a 500-year-old corpse, unearthed by the U.S. military for its unique DNA to create super-human soldiers. But what they dug up wasn't a corpse at all, it was a vampire, and now he's loose in New Orleans.

Rosemoor and Paoletti create an intriguing world where it appears anything can happen, but because they stay true to that world, the story conveys believability. Both authors did extensive research on magic, voodoo and science to create a scenario that is clearly fiction but told with the authority to make the story seem plausible.

It all started at Fernando's on Lincoln, brainstorming over a pitcher of margaritas. They met once a week to discuss story ideas, create characters and give each other assignments. A month later, they had a solid story idea and a cast of characters, but timing was crucial.

"I had a month before I had to start my next book for Intrigue," Rosemoor recalls, "So I said, 'We have to do this in a month,' and of course Marc just about collapsed."

While Rosemoor can crank out a couple of books a year, it took Paoletti almost two years to complete his debut novel. Paoletti was no stranger to tight deadlines after working in advertising, but he wasn't used to writing volumes in such a short amount of time.

"After we got the deal," says Paoletti, "I distinctly remember sitting at Starbucks, sort of staring at the half-and-half seeping into my coffee and thinking, 'What the hell did I just do?' I was happy but absolutely freaked out. But fear is a good motivator."

When it came to actually writing the novel, the duo did things a little differently than most co-authors. Instead of writing the book together -- dividing the book in half or splitting up the chapters -- Rosemoor wrote the two female characters, anthropologist Leah Maguire and voodoo witch Rebecca Dumas, and Marc wrote the male points of view, Special Forces Capt. Scott Boulder and Andre, the vampire.

"The positive part of having the guy write the guy and the woman write the woman is that [readers] are actually in a woman's head and actually in a man's head," Rosemoor says. "One of the things we joke about in my other career as a romance writer is that we always write men the way we want them to be, not the way they really are. But if Marc is writing the guy, that's the way a guy thinks. That was what appealed to me [about this project]."

Though it would seem a book by two writers would be jarring and uneven, their similar styles allowed for seamless prose without a hint it was written by two authors. In fact, it was their different perspectives that brought texture and richness to the novel.

"What really pleased me about the book is there is a passion in every character that's a result of decades of struggle, triumphs, love and emotional wreckage that each of us has experienced," Paoletti says. "I think underneath that sort of surface sheen -- he's Special Forces, she's a witch, he's a vampire, she's a voodoo priestess -- readers will look beyond and see those passions running through it."


Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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