Christopher Moore is kind of our dream author -- he's funny, he writes great women, and his tales of the supernatural have so much street cred that you don't feel the need to hide them in the dust jacket for "Anna Karenina" in public.
The third book in his vampire trilogy, "Bite Me: A Love Story
," is a prime example, and it's currently tearing up the New York Times bestseller list. It follows a goth chick named Abby Normal; a sexually liberated, undead gal named Jody; her reluctant love slave; some pothead Safeway workers; and the emperor of San Francisco.
Lemondrop recently sank our acrylic fangs into Moore via email and chatted about his work, his loyal following, and why his books are all really love stories, at heart.
Lemondrop: So you've written the third hilarious installment in the "Bloodsucking Fiends" series. As we all know, vampires are all sparkle and glamour these days. Were the often-unsexy vampire scenes in "Bite Me" a response to this? Or did you always intend to put out a more straightforward vampire tale?
Christopher Moore: I wrote "Bloodsucking Fiends" back in '94, before vampires were all the rage, but after Anne Rice had sort of de-sexified them. I read vampire tales when I was a kid, so I guess I had always planned to do a vampire book, but I had no idea they'd be such a big deal.Location always plays as big a part in your books as the metaphysical -- from "Fluke" being set in Hawaii to most of the other books taking place in exotic locales. How do you decide where to set your novels? Aren't you from Toledo?
Some books are dictated by setting, like "Fluke," where I was writing about humpback whales, and the research was done in Maui. The Pine Cove books are set in a town based on a California coastal village where I lived for 20 years. Obviously "Lamb," my Jesus book, had to be set in Israel, and I set some books in San Francisco, at first because I really like the city and now because I live there. More often than not, though, it's the story that dictates the setting, not the other way around.
Reading "Bite Me," I was constantly struck by what a great movie it would make. I checked out your Wikipedia page and saw, "Moore stated that all of his books have been optioned or sold for films, but that as yet 'none of them are in any danger of being made into a movie.'" Is this something you'd rather not see?
No. I'd love to see movies made. I don't really know what the problem is, and I've always felt the best thing I can do toward getting a movie made is stay out of the way of filmmakers. Meanwhile, I go on to write another book. Who knows what the hell they're doing? Some of the books have been very close to being made, others, like "Practical Demonkeeping," have been in development for 20 years and have never gotten past the script stage.
The book is, at its core, a love story. What compelled you to try your hand at romance?
I think all of my books are, at heart, love stories, despite the weird stuff that goes on in them. That's sort of what drives all fiction, even comic fiction -- love and death.
We always hear that Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling can't leave the house. What's it like to have a devoted, supernatural-loving "cult" following? Do scary people with adult acne ever come up in public?
The great thing about writing funny stuff is almost every fan I come in contact with is in a good mood and feels as if we have shared a laugh. My fan base is very diverse, from 12-year-olds to 75-year-old grandmothers. Some do quote my stuff back to me, but it only bothers me when I don't remember having written it. Often they know my books better than I do because the material may be fresh to them. You can't really be anything but flattered when that happens, though.
It's great to see women in these novels who aren't sitting around waiting to be rescued or dry humped by vampires. Did you make the conscious choice to have girls like Abby kicking ass?
One of the themes of the whole "Bloodsucking Fiends" series is a sort of "sisters doing it for themselves." One of the reasons that Jody actually likes being a vampire is that once she "owns the night," she realizes just how frightened she's been as a woman in the city up to that point. Abby is sort of the next generation -- someone who isn't going to take crap from anyone, anytime, and the fact that she weighs only 100 lbs. and wears complex eye makeup doesn't slow her down. She rolls right up into the grille of a 250-lb. cop or an ancient vampire, regardless (and even if she is flunking biology 102). I like writing strong, snarky female characters, and Abby and Jody from the vampire books are certainly different versions of that. So yes, that's planned.
Supernatural things seem to have a way of "trending" -- vampires, zombies, etc. What do you think is next? Are you ever worried that you're going to run out of mythological beings?
No, I've never really written to the trends, despite having written books with vampires, zombies, sea monsters and the like. I just sort of like writing supernatural stuff and have since I was a kid, back in the Civil War days. Sometimes it fits into a trend, sometimes not, but I'm not worried at all about running out of ideas.
Meghan McGill is a writer, culturephile and blogger for Popserious.