David Wellington is an author of horror, fantasy, and thriller novels. His zombie novels Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet(Thunder’s Mouth Press) form a complete trilogy. He has also written a series of vampire novels including Thirteen Bullets, Ninety-Nine Coffins, Vampire Zero, Twenty-Three Hours, and 32 Fangs. His werewolf series comprises Frostbite and Overwinter, known in the UK as Cursed and Ravaged. In 2004 he began serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached Mr. Wellington about publishing Monster Island as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times.
32 Fangs is the fifth and final installment in the Laura Caxton vampire hunter series. Laura Caxton has been fighting vampires for seven years. It’s cost her everything: her career, her relationship, the lives of her mentor and so many others. But it’s finally paying off. She’ll get one shot, just one, to take down the last surviving vampire, Justinia Malvern. But Malvern’s been around a lot longer, and has had plenty of time to learn some deadly tricks of her own. And she’s never been one to fight fair…
HELLNOTES: 32 Fangs wraps up your Laura Caxton vampire series (13 Bullets, 99 Coffins, Vampire Zero, and 23 Hours). Before we get into the final book, tell us about the origin of the series and if it unfolded the way you originally envisioned it.
WELLINGTON: The series really started as a reaction to what I was reading at the time. This was back in 2003, 2004, and I read all the horror I could get my hands on – including the burgeoning subgenre of Paranormal Romance, which was just a euphemism for Sexy Vampires. Back then it was still in its infancy but I could see what was coming – True Blood and Twilight were right around the corner. I was kind of upset with what one of my favorite monsters, the vampire, was being turned into, so I decided to write a short story about the nastiest, most evil, least romantic vampire I could imagine. The story turned out to be one of the most fun things I’d ever written. It was just a few thousand words about a vampire hunter named Jameson Arkeley who would go to any lengths to kill vampires. When it came time to turn it into a novel I knew I needed a foil for him, someone who thought he went too far. Laura Caxton was the result; a highway patrol trooper who had no business fighting vampires. I thought she was just going to be the “straight man” to Arkeley’s Van Helsing, but it quickly became apparent she was the real star. Her story, the story of a woman slowly losing her humanity because she’s too busy fighting monsters – became the whole point of the series. The other half of the equation was Justinia Malvern, the vampire who couldn’t be killed. I loved the idea of doing a sort of Silence of the Lambs where instead of being in jail, the helpful serial killer would be in a coffin. She had to be smarter than the vampire hunters, and she could make plans that spun out for years, even centuries – that was her big advantage. About a third of the way through 13 Bullets I knew that the series would be about the two of them squaring off, and I knew how it would end.
HELLNOTES: Knowing that 32 Fangs was the final book, was it difficult to write?
WELLINGTON: I had it all outlined in my head for years before I wrote the first sentence, so in some ways it was very easy. The hard part was letting go of these characters. I’ve lived with them for nearly a decade; they feel like old friends. Accepting that their story had an actual, definite ending was tough. But we’ve seen far too many series recently that just go on forever. Series that get so lost in their own subplots that the writers die before they can finish the story, and somebody else has to pick up where they left off – usually to graft on an unsatisfactory conclusion. I always knew I wanted the 13 Bullets series to have a complete arc, an ending that wrapped up everything and left the reader feeling like they’d had a compete experience.
HELLNOTES: What territory does 32 Fangs explore that was new to the series?
WELLINGTON: We get to see a lot of Justinia’s life and undeath, in flashback. We get to see what it was like to be a vampire two hundred years ago, back before the advent of effective firearms. We also get to see Laura at her absolute low point, the moment when she has accepted that she’s not a normal person anymore, that she can’t afford to be. She’s given up so much, and she knows there’s no way back, not without a massive sacrifice. We also get to spend a lot more time with the Witchbillies – before, in the series, we met Urie Polder and his family of witches and wise men living in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. Now we get to see how they actually live, and what they get up to far away from the civilized parts of the state. I really got a chance here to flesh out the 13 Bullets universe, and I think fans will love this aspect of the book.
HELLNOTES: What’s the next project on your plate?
WELLINGTON: Zombies! It’s been a long time away, but I need to get back to my roots. I’ve got a big epic zombie story in me, still, and I finally have a chance to tell it. But of course my fans know I can’t just write one book at a time. I’ve been branching out into other genres, as well. Last year I wrote a trilogy of fantasy novels (under the pen name David Chandler); this year I’m doing a thriller, one that thriller readers will love just as much as my horror fans. It’s going to be an exciting year!
Find out more about what Wellington is up by visiting his website.