Friday, August 13, 2010

The Vampire Chronicles: A Conversation With The Passage Author Justin Cronin

A few weeks ago I got on the phone with The Passage author Justin Cronin to talk about his 766 page (first of three volumes!) contribution to the vampire cannon. Despite the current obsession with blood suckers, Cronin insists the draw of the genre is old as bones. The Passage is no Twilight or True Blood. Cronin's vampires (or virals, as he calls them) don't sparkle in the sun or fall in love; they hide in the dark and rip their victims in half. Makes for a lively conversation.
One of the most haunting aspects of the book is how plausible the doomsday scenario is, from the military's involvement in creating the virals, to the way the civilian world collapses after the creatures escape from the compound and take over. What kind of research did you do?
Every writer needs a lawyer and a doctor, and I don't mean just to write your will and give you drugs when you have a cold. But as research, people you can ask questions to who can steer you even further down the road to get more help. I did every kind of research for this book, and I also traveled every mile of the book. I made sure that I physically occupied all the spaces that my characters occupied. I really made sure that it was all very authentic American landscape because that's the kind of writer I am, and because the book was also very much about the North American continent in this depopulated state that's being experienced by people for the first time -- in some ways like the first settlers almost. One of the great subjects of American literature is the initial encounter with the wild openness of the continent. And my characters were going to have that experience so I wanted to be as authentic with it as I could.

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