Sunday, December 8, 2013

Welcome Author Shane KP O’Neill!!!

Author Shane KP O'Neill

Author bio: 
Shane KP O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with a later Chronicle to give his readers the vampire first. Chronicle #1, For Whom The Bell Tolls, will follow to take you back to the beginning. For Whom The Bell Tolls is due for release in November, 2013.

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee's portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject. He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors though his main interest lies in the horror genre. His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family. As an added note, he has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach.

Personal favs:
Drink – Coffee
Food – Anything Mexican or Italian
Vacation – New York City
TV show – Game Of Thrones
Movie – Legend Of The Falls

Book title:
The Dracula Chronicles: 
For Whom The Bell Tolls

Brief synopsis of your book:
The battle for souls has raged since the truce that followed the First Great War of the Angels. God has struck the ultimate blow and sacrifice to gain the advantage and defeat His fallen angel and estranged son, Lucifer. As Lucifer stands at the foot of the Cross that drains the last ounce of life from Christ and eradicates man's sins, he realises that his work must begin anew.

In time, he comes to understand that his only chance to win this battle will be to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church to turn man against God, once and for all. He searches for more than a millennium for the candidate to see his plan through to an end and finally discovers the one that can cast that final blow.

On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil.

He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers.

This is their story.

Current book or project you’re working on:
The Dracula Chronicles #2 The Path To Decay

What was the inspiration for your novel?
I have had a lifelong love affair with Dracula the vampire and from the age of twenty-one, an equal interest in Dracula the man. I have read countless novels and biographies that featured various versions of Dracula in both forms. Very few, if any, ever matched the image of him that existed within my own mind. It was my ambition then to create a new vision of Dracula. My series is built around a Dracula who is a combination of the two, but primarily my world is the world of the real historical Vlad Dracula.

Please share three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) I create in their entirety two great battles of which very little has been written, Varna in 1444 and Balteni in 1447.
2) The story also contains deep romance and a love scene more than ten pages long.
3) The book features a wealth of great historical characters from the 15th Century.

Do you have a favorite character from your current novel?
It would have to be the young Vlad Dracula himself. This book is the realisation of a lifelong dream for me, to be able to share my vision of who he was with all of you.

If you could pick any well known or famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
I would choose my favourite author, Conn Iggulden. He is a great writer of historical novels, with two great series about Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar. As my novels are historical texts as well, I’d love to gauge his thoughts on them.

What, or who, inspired you to write?
It is what I was always going to do and it has always been within me to do it. My inspirations are my children, whom I want to give the best possible start in life.

Did you do any research for your most recent book?
I have been working on this project for most of my adult life and years of research were invested in its creation. My novels are historical and my story is set within true historical events, so I had to be very meticulous in my preparation. Even though I use some folklore and legend and I have filled in a few gaps not covered by historical texts, I strive for authenticity and accuracy with my work so I took my time to grow very familiar with the periods in which I write, and the historical characters I have used.


What genre does your book fall into?
The briefest description I can give a prospective reader of my books is this…
The Dracula Chronicles are historical novels of Gothic horror, political intrigue, religious corruption, tragedy, war, and deep romance set in the world of the real Vlad Dracula with the premise of Lucifer trying to ascend again to Heaven through the destruction of the institution of the Catholic Church, to turn man against God in his bid to win the battle for souls and destroy all mankind.

Which genres do you enjoy reading?
Horror, historical, thrillers.

What is the first book you remember reading, that affected how you thought or felt about something?
Strumpet City by James Plunkett about the worker’s strike in Dublin in 1913 and the extreme poverty rife in the city.

Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Stephen King as the master of the horror genre.
2) Conn Iggulden who is a master storyteller.
3) Shaun Hutson for his vivid descriptions of the macabre.

Have you ever had a book you enjoy re-reading?
I rarely read a book more than once, other than my own. I would have to say The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon.

Do you read a book, while you are writing a book?
Yes, I am always reading. Sometimes a book a day and sometimes a book a week, depending on how much time I need to dedicate to my own project.

The process:

How many books have you written? Which book is your favourite and why?
I have written many of the books in the series, most of which will appear long into the future. The only problem was they were all between 250k and 400k words. In the modern age of the ebook there is little point in releasing a book longer than 100k words. It seems people don’t want to pick up long epics anymore, though I’m sure Ken Follett and George R.R. Martin aren’t struggling with sales. So, I’ve had to re-evaluate my project and split my books up. So far, I have released three of the books and written another five. My favourite by far is what was originally The Gates Of Babylon. That has now become For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Path To Decay, and The Gates Of Babylon. Collectively, that was my best work by a long shot.

Is there anything that helps get you in the mood to write?
My daughters telling me they want to go to University.

What were three challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) Splitting the books up into smaller volumes without detracting anything from the work.
2) Educating my reader of the historical background and setting of the story without it becoming boring or reading like a historical textbook.
3) Putting my reader into the thick of the action in the big battle scenes and making them see every thrust and cut and hear every scream.

What lessons have you learned as an aspiring writer?
That I am always learning and always improving. But it isn’t just the writing process, it is also the marketing process which is now an integral part of being a writer. There is so much to do and to learn, but it is best to take it one day at a time…and be patient.

Do you have any tricks, outlines, or methods that help you overcome writer’s block?
I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. I have had long periods of time where I’ve not written anything. It was not due to this, but more to the pressures of work and married life. I have found that in the more contented periods of my life I have written very little. In hard times, or times of heartache, I have written a lot.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned, either in the self-publishing or traditional publisher, route?
The most important one is to be professional at all times and for your work to be as good as it can be before submitting it. I once had a direct line through to the editorial director at Orbit, the sci-fi, fantasy and horror section of Time Warner… and he advised me of this. I submitted to him and never heard from again. A valuable lesson learned and a huge opportunity lost.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I would say two things. Firstly, to be able to share my vision with the world and to have a chance to draw people I have never met into my world.
Secondly, it is meeting an array of wonderful people from all corners of the globe and reading some of the wonderful things they say to me and about me in reviews, comments and emails.

When people know that you’re an author, what is your least favorite question that they ask you?
It should be the question I want them to ask, but I don’t like it when they ask me what I write about. The reason being, as soon as they hear the name Dracula, they have a pre-conceived notion of what that is. The biggest struggle for me has been to disassociate my vision of Dracula from the one that exists in most people’s minds.

How can people connect with you?

Where can readers find your book? 
Amazon US
Amazon UK


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