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An HMS Q&A With Michael Wells Jr

Hey folks, thanks for stopping by The Gore Spotlight to check out this delightful interview with Michael Wells Jr, lawyer turned horror author from North Carolina. Keep reading to find out more about Michael and his debut novella Vampire Esquire’s War.

HMS: Michael, welcome to Horror Metal Sounds! Go ahead and tell our readers a bit about you and your recently published, debut novella, Vampire Esquire’s War.

MW: I live in North Carolina. I have been writing for a few years now and have published some short stories, political articles, and some poetry. I have a wife and daughter, and I am a lawyer. My wife is a lawyer too.

My novella is based on part of a novel I am querying to agents. It is different though, and I wanted to publish a series of novellas to coincide with the release of season 4 of “House of Cards,” the popular show on U.S. politics. My book is like House of Cards meets Dracula.

My protagonist, Pierre Leblanc, is a 2,000-year-old vampire from Rome. He is a lawyer and former Roman senator, thus the title, “Vampire Esquire.” A vampire from Paris (nom de plume of “Vladimir Lenin”) is trying to take over the U.S. through buying it politically in hopes that he can use it for a staging ground for a vampire take over in the U.S., and, ultimately, the world. He is using human trafficking to supply the necessary people to make a critical mass of vampires. The undisclosed locations are fake hotels developed by a Donald Trump-like developer named Ronald Drum. Three vampire hunters (a Van Helsing like character named William Magnum; a disgraced Iraqi war veteran named Roland Walker; and a beautiful and ruthless lesbian named Valkyrie) team up with a secret hunting society and the president, who is based on Barack Obama—if he were a vampire hunter. The novella covers up through the first few vampire hunts and there are two more planned.

HMS: Where did you get your ideas and inspirations for Vampire Esquire’s War?

MW: Stephen King’s Salem’s Lott, the Dark Tower Series, Gore Vidal’s works on Washington, and Dracula to name a few. Roland is based on the protagonist in Dark Tower; in fact, his mother named him for Roland because she loved the books so much. My time as a U.S. Senate intern in D.C. also influenced me; I interned for former Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John Edwards.

I love Paris and Rome, Roman history in particular, so I wanted to use those ideas too.

Ideas for some of the characters, Ronald Drum in particular, came from the most recent election season. He’s supposed to be an exaggerated, nightmarish version of Trump, though the real thing is pretty horrifying.

HMS: Well, between politics and the recent U.S. election season, sounds like you’ve got a fantastic recipe for horror! So, have you always been a fan of vampires? What are some of your favorite vampire films or books?

MW: I think vampires are interesting, but I prefer more toned down vampires that are brooding and somewhat Byronesque. I do enjoy the adventure aspects of vampire hunting. Stephen King is my favorite writer in general, and I love the books he wrote that deal with vampires. As far as movies go, I would say Interview with the Vampire is good.

HMS: How did you know that you wanted to be a writer, especially a horror writer?

MW: I have always made up stories. I used to make them up with my brother about situations both real and imagined. Then I started making up stories on my own. Eventually I decided to write them down. Now I’m trying to sell them—with varying levels of success. I enjoy horror because it is exciting, and being scared makes you feel alive. I also think you learn more about nature when you see its dark side. But horror usually redeems human nature too because you have to “kill the monster” at the end. If the monster lives, then it is fun too.

One of the great parts about writing is you can critique things and say what you think should happen. I tried to do that here with the classic “good v. evil” conflict. I see big money and self-possessed individuals as dangerous. Obviously the current system in the United States provides lots of fodder for this sort of thing. I do not have to change things much. I just give my characters fangs.

HMS: How do you think horror media has influenced you as a writer?

MW: I’m a lot less scared by gore than I am a well-crafted plot. I enjoy comic books, so that has made me think about scenes more and expanded my frame of reference. I love Saga, and it is a good mix of sci-fi and horror elements. It is spectacular. Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughn are two of my favorites. I should note I am a huge fan of the Twilight Zone. Those plots are pure genius.

Our media in general is horrific. It moves from what my UVA professor, Larry Sabato, referred to as “feeding frenzy” to feeding frenzy. That’s the only way to explain the rise of guys like Trump and Cruz, who are far outside of the mainstream. Bernie Sanders would not have been possible a few years ago, but we are manipulated by the media. Really good horror be it media (movies) or literature makes you think: this could really happen, and that’s the really scary part.


“Really good horror be it media (movies) or literature makes you think: this could really happen...”

HMS: What other horror projects have you been involved in?

MW: None to date.

HMS: What do you think is in store for your readers after Vampire Esquire’s War? Will you be sticking with horror or moving on to a new genre?

MW: I enjoy horror, and my new book is definitely horror. It is a YA novel though. It is a prequel to my first novel. It is about the William Magnum character. I will keep writing political articles. Last year I wrote a political article about voter suppression in North Carolina. I saw minorities being told the wait was two hours, and I, a white guy, was told it was thirty minutes. I wrote an article about it, and it really ticked off Michelle Malkin, a commentator, and made this website Hot Air. It was great fun, but it came from me calling foul when I saw injustice. I’m trying to do that with my books, articles, stories, and blogging. I blog daily at Vampire Esquire, and my professional blog, Southern Lawyer NC.

HMS: Any spoilers you can give us about any future projects that might be in the works?

MW: I will complete this story arc with two more novellas. Then I will go to my YA novel about William Magnum and how he became a vampire hunter; it involves witches, werewolves, teen romance, tobacco barons, and the brooding South. It is kind of a reverse Old Man Logan from the Wolverine comics.

HMS: And finally, if it all came down to it, would you rather be a vampire or take a stake through the heart?

MW: A vampire, but only if my wife and daughter could live forever with me.

HMS: Thanks again Michael, so much, for answering my questions!

Make sure you check out Michael’s blogs at Vampire Esquire and Southern Lawyer NC and be sure to follow him on Twitter @slnc01

You can also check out his Amazon Author Page here and purchase Vampire Esquire’s War on Amazon.

Stevie Kopas, HMS

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