Mike: My guest-blogger today is fellow Rocky Mountain writer, Mario Acevedo. He writes the Felix Gomez vampire-detective series for Eos HarperCollins. Mario’s debut novel, THE NYMPHOS OF ROCKY FLATS, was chosen by Barnes & Noble as one of the best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of the Decade. His vampire character has been spun off into a comic book/graphic novel series by IDW Publishing. Mario was voted as 2009 Writer of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. He is the chapter president of the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America. Mario lives and writes in Denver, Colorado.
Welcome to the Child Finder Trilogy! You have an interesting background that preceded your writing career. Tell us about that.
Mario: The prequel? It ain’t pretty. I went to college, got tossed in jail once, was commissioned in the army and got out, called from the reserves for Desert Storm, and was later mustered out for good. My civilian life zigzagged from career to career as I moved around chasing jobs only to get laid off. During that time I was churning through manuscripts, which now reside in my closet.
Mike: Sounds like an edgy beginning, but one that shaped up well. Your writing career has been marked by some great achievements. What brought you to write novels in the first place?
Mario: It started in the sixth grade when our semester project was to write a book. Actually, what the teacher had in mind was more of an illustrated booklet. I was paired with Stuart Williams. This was way back when the original Star Trek was on the tube. Stuart and I were crazy about the show and we decided to write a similar story. When the projects were due, Stuart and I didn’t have a book to turn in. Instead we had a three-ring binder thick with descriptions and diagrams, the crew roster, adventure scenarios, drawings of the uniforms and space ships, star maps. Basically the story got away from us. Still, our teacher realized we had done more work than anyone else and gave us an A. Since then, I’ve always got a running narrative of “what if’s” going through my head. Meanwhile Stuart went into the Air Force and flew Phantom jets.
Mike: Now, you’re dating yourself! I haven’t heard anyone talk about the F-4 in a long time J. But that’s an interesting beginning, and I can see the trappings of the fantasy realm you currently write. Tell us about your stories.
Mario: I write about Felix Gomez who went to Iraq as a soldier and came back a vampire. My stories are macho hard-boiled noir with a supernatural twist. In the latest adventure, WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN, Felix gets trapped between rival lycanthrope clans in Charleston, SC, and the impending rumble could doom the supernatural world.
Mike: Goodness! That’s an intriguing idea for a story. How did you come up with it?
Mario: The concept of the first story came to me in a flash–a vampire-detective investigates an outbreak of nymphomania at a nuclear weapons plant. After that I had to flesh out the protagonist, Felix Gomez. Where was he from? How did he become a vampire? These questions took many cocktails to answer.
Mike: I, too, have found inspiration in a cocktail from time to time. Did you imbue Felix with any special characteristics? Strengths? Failings?
Mario: Felix Gomez has undead powers: super speed and strength, night vision, tremendous powers of recuperation. He’s got the usual vampiric weaknesses, aversion to sunlight (unless he uses a special makeup), silver, and garlic. Something that is both a strength and weakness is his sense of honor and duty. This serves as his moral compass (still skewed nonetheless) but it also means his adversaries know what makes him tick.
Mike: I like the idea of an honorable and sense-of-duty vampire. You mentioned adversaries…who are they?
Mario: Alien gangsters appear in the first and third books. They were a lot of fun to write. A villainous vampire from the second book becomes the main antagonist in the latest. One recurring complication is the Araneum, the secret world-wide network of vampires, who give Felix tough assignments to crack.
Mike: I know you served in the Army, but I’m sure none of your real-life experiences factored into your plots, or did they?
Mario: I’ve tried but I have yet to develop superpowers or meet aliens, werewolves, and nymphos.
Mike: (chuckling) Okay, I asked for that. So what’s next?
Mario: I’m pitching new story ideas to my agent. I’ve also got a comic deal with IDW Publishing that spins off my vampire novels. The first issue will be out late April 2010.
Mike: Congratulations on the comic deal. What’s in Felix’s future?
Mario: Felix Gomez is the central character of the series. Soon you’ll see him in comic book form. I have characters that pop in and out of the series. The love interest from the first novel comes back in WEREWOLF SMACKDOWN but the romance doesn’t work out the way Felix thinks it should.
Drop by my website on March 23 for the special two-day promo of Werewolf Smackdown: http://www.marioacevedo.com
Mike: Mario, thanks so much for visiting with us today. Congratulations on all your past successes and upcoming comic series. Folks, check out Mario’s website and be sure to visit during his upcoming promo.