Petra, Hero of Ghost Dance by Rod Marsden

What is your story?

I was born in England and died in Germany. I have been around for over a hundred years. I like being in Australia.

Who are you?

I am Petra, a female vampire.

Where do you live?

I don’t live anywhere. I haven’t lived since a certain fateful night in Germany. I am undead. This means I am somewhere between life and death.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Yes, I am the hero of my own story. It has been a long time since I have killed anyone unless provoked into doing so.

What is your problem in the story?

My biggest headache is this warlock who is after my blood. He is also after the blood of this young werewolf. The fellow is a bit of a doofus but likable enough. He needs a firm hand. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. On the other hand, I don’t want anything bad to happen to me either.

Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?

I think everything about me is covered in the story except maybe the difficulties of leaving England for the first time to go abroard.

Do you embrace conflict?

I avoid conflict but, if someone wants to fight me, well, I will certainly give them their money’s worth.

Do you run from conflict?

I rarely run from conflict. I am no fool, however, when it comes to the odds. If I am outnumbered and sticking around will mean my second death of course I will bolt.

How do you see yourself?

I have a sense of honor. If you don’t attack me then I won’t go for your blood or the blood of the people your have sworn to protect.

How do your friends see you?

My friends see me as someone who sometimes causes trouble but also someone they can depend upon in a fight. I never let friends down. This is why I do have friends.

How do your enemies see you?

With any luck my enemies don’t see me until I have seen them first. I am a thorn in the warlock’s side. I also have the blood that he needs for his experiments. The young werewolf also has the blood this creep needs. It isn’t a good idea to get on my bad side.

How does the author see you?

I remind the author of a couple of no nonsense but decent women he has known for decades and has loved. They are as fiercely loyal to him as I am to my friends.

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Yes. the author did a good job on me. I know I have a temper. I also know my upbringing in England was based on his grandparents and on other information that came to hand. But it was mostly his grandparents.

What do you think of yourself?

I am the best vampire you are ever likely to meet since I don’t just drain anybody I meet of blood. I was an English Vamp in 1920s Germany who became a real vampire. I still like to dress in black. Vampires don’t have to, you know, but I think black suits me. I sometimes have fun with being undead. The biggest problem there, however, is that mirrors don’t work on me. The reflection from a dead person’s eye, which is really small, is often the best I can do.

Do you have a hero?

No, sorry. I don’t have a hero. Well, when I was young my dad was my hero but he died and he’s not likely to ever come back.

Do you have a goal?

My goals are to stay undead and to look after my friends. Also, to do terrible things to anyone daft enough to attack me.

What are your achievements?

Despite vampire hunters, have managed to stay undead for over a hundred years. I understand the 2nd World War better than the present day living because I was actually there.

Do you talk about your achievements?

No, I don’t talk about my achievements. That’s not my style.

Do you have any special strengths?

As a vampire I do have heightened human abilities and I can fly. I am stronger than humans and can hold my own against other vampires. Vampires who owe me their lives I also view as my strengths.

Do you have any special weaknesses?

I have the usual weaknesses for my kind. Sunlight bothers me to ash. A stake through the heart would also finish me. You can consider my temper a special weakness if you like.

Do you have any skills?

I understand how most humans think and also most vampires.

Do you have money troubles?

I don’t have money troubles. If I don’t have enough money I can always rip an ATM apart or take it from one of my victims.

What do you want?

I want to travel and for vampire hunters to leave me alone. Also I want that warlock to go to hell before I do.

What do you need?

I need to sleep during the day and get blood during the night. I need to look after my friends and keep an eye out for my enemies.

What do you want to be?

I want to be human again but that isn’t going to happen.

What do you believe?

I believe I am not the worst vampire who ever lived. I wish I could believe in redemption. I believe that there are times when you have to lighten up or go mad.

What makes you happy?

Being with undead I care about makes me happy. Dancing for no other reason than I feel like dancing makes me joyous. I also like good music. Jazz and Blues I like a lot. I don’t dig disco music at all. Mind you, the blood at discos is good quality even if the people it belongs to aren’t always so good.

What are you afraid of?

I am afraid of the second and final death. I am also afraid of letting my friends down.

What makes you angry?

Injustice makes me angry. Bullies make me livid. I dined on Nazis during the 2nd World War because the stood for injustice and bullying. I get angry when I am attacked just because I am a vampire. It I did something wrong fair enough but I can’t help being undead. It wasn’t a choice I made.

Where can we learn more about you?

Petra can be found in Ghost Dance. Ghost Dance by Rod Marsden can be found on Smashwords and USA. It is part of Night to Dawn publications.

Rod Marsden, Author of “Disco Evil” and “Ghost Dance”

What is your book about?

My latest book, Ghost Dance, is in the realm of Dark Fantasy. It is a quest saga. A young man has lycanthropy and the cure can possibly be found in Germany. His allies are vampires and vampire hunters. A modern day warlock wants his blood for sinister reasons. I have been developing my vampires and vampire hunters for over a decade. They first appeared in a series of short stories. Then came the novel Disco Evil and now Ghost Dance. Soon there will be Torch Song.

How long does it take you to write your books?

Each book takes between six months and a year to complete.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I was inspired to write Disco Evil because I believe everyone deserves a fair go and that people who go out of their way to be nasty to others really do build up bad karma for themselves. I happen to like quest/adventures stories so that’s how Ghost Dance came about. Two of the women in Ghost Dance are based on certain stand up and be counted sort of ladies I know and love in real life.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

There is quite a lot of myself hidden in everything I write. My writing, however, is more upbeat than downbeat.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite?

My favorite main character in Disco Evil is Paul Priestly. He isn’t the brightest of pennies and he has somewhat of a one track mind. My favorite main character in Ghost Dance is Petra, the female vampire. She tries to do the right thing most of the time but she is also hot tempered and she does have her moments of blood lust.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

With both Disco Evil and Ghost Dance I did some research in the library and on the internet. I also asked novelist and friend Lyn McConchie for help. Trust a first class novelist to tell you when you need to look into matters in more detail or when you need to cut back on description.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp?

There are messages in my writing for sure but I don’t really want to tell anyone about them. It is best if the readers figure such things out for themselves.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I have a rough plot in mind before I begin writing. My characters tend to keep me going in the right direction.

What are you working on right now?

I have Torch Song in the pipe line. It is set in Australian and in the USA. In it I poke my tongue out at ‘Reality’ television and comment on the subject of loneliness. There are a lot of fun moments. It is definitely not all doom and gloom. Right now I am tentatively looking at political correctness in Australia in the 1990s and how this affected office work for a great many people. No working title so far. Even so, Torch Song comes out next.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

The first draft is the easiest part of the writing process. You can really let yourself go. Very few writers expect the first draft to be the last. Mitchener went through a number of drafts before he was happy with Hawaii. I go through a number of drafts before I even approach an editor.

Does writing come easy for you?

Some writing does come easy to me. When the idea that kicks it off is red hot then it’s easy.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

When it comes to Disco Evil I want people to walk away thinking that they have had an experience worth savoring. With Ghost Dance it would be great if the reader feels that they have been on a journey that has come to a satisfying conclusion.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

When you deal with the supernatural killing off a characters doesn’t mean they won’t return. I have had characters return a number of times after death to either help or hinder the living.

How has your background influenced your writing?

One thing I loved doing with Ghost Dance was to bring back Ramsgate Baths as a place for the spirits. The Baths had been destroyed to make room for a car park. They do, however, live on in my memory and in the memories of quite a few people who lived south of Sydney when I was young. If people can exist as ghosts why not much cherished places that are no more in the world of flesh and blood? Why shouldn’t some ghost have a play where they can play and generally have fun?

What do you like to read?

I like to read adventure stories and dark fantasy. The Disc World novels of Terry Pratchett really crack me up – in a good way.

Where can people find your books?

My novels Disco Evil and Ghost Dance can be purchased through Smashwords as an e-book and also through Amazon USA.