Interview With The Vampire Lover: Tara Moss

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It’s amazing to think that someone as intelligent, well spoken and enlightened as Tara Moss seem to always be initially acknowledged as “Oh yeah, the model”. Come on people! Not only has the lady been writing bestselling crime novels since she was 23, but has traded in teetering heels for private investigator credentials, a race car licence and an array of true-crime based hosting gigs. Relishing in the success that was the Mak Vanderwall series, Moss has taken it upon herself to give her two cents about the omnipresent mania that is vampirism, with the release of her new Pandora English series – ‘The Blood Countess’. Cream catches up with the crime guru to discuss the possibility of selling out, apparently non-fleeting obsessions, and being a ‘slashie’.

WITH THE OVERWHELMING AMOUNT OF HYPE AROUND THE VAMPIRIC GENRE, ARE YOU WORRIED YOUR FANS MAY THINK YOU’VE SOLD OUT BY CREATING THE NEW PANDORA ENGLISH SERIES?
The idea of selling out by writing a novel is a bit hilarious; anyone wishing to make big bucks would best enter into pretty much any other career. I hate to burst the bubble of any aspiring authors, even if they write about characters with fangs, or child wizards, or whatever someone else has found success with.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE PANDORA ENGLISH STORY IS DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHER SUPERNATURAL NOVELS OUT THERE?
No novel is the same, just as no two authors are alike. The Pandora English series is not a vampire series; it is a paranormal series with a lot of human, superhuman, supernatural and mythological characters.

WHY DO YOU THINK CONTEMPORARY CULTURE HAS THIS OBSESSION WITH THE SUPERNATURAL THAT JUST WON’T DISSIPATE?
Bloodthirsty or vampiric creatures are hardly new. Dracula was big in 1897; likewise, Anne Rice’s 1976 novel ‘Interview With The Vampire’ made waves. This monstrous archetype has deep roots in the collective human subconscious in fears of evil, disease, sexual immorality, mind manipulation, the question of immortality and what price might be paid for it. Interestingly, I’ve been asked this same question about the crime genre for the past 12 years -’Why the new obsession with crime novels, TV shows and movies?’ My answer is essentially the same. Murder is nothing new.

AS A SELF-CONFESSED APPRECIATOR OF OLD-SCHOOL VAMPIRISM, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MODERNISED VERSIONS?
I have to confess I’m not familiar with the vampires of ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but I do love the books the ‘True Blood’ TV series is based on. I love the show as well, particularly the portrayal of Pam and Eric Northman. If you haven’t read them, do try the Charlaine Harris novels, including her unrelated Harper Connelly mysteries.

THERE’S A MIXTURE OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN ‘TRUE BLOOD’. WILL WE SEE A BROAD SPECTRUM OF IT IN THE PANDORA NOVELS?
Absolutely. There is a host of creatures – both supernatural and mythological – introduced in ‘The Blood Countess’, and some of them will be ongoing characters. The next Pandora English novel, ‘The Spider Goddess’ comes out next year. I suspect it won’t be popular with arachnophobes.

IT’S A KNOWN FACT THAT YOU TAKE YOUR RESEARCH VERY SERIOUSLY WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING BOOKS, INCLUDING SETTING YOURSELF ON FIRE AND GETTING CHOKED OUT OF CONCSIOUSNESS. WHAT EXTREMES DID YOU GO THROUGH FOR RESEARCH INTO ‘THE BLOOD COUNTESS’?
Well this novel did not involve any bone-crunching stunts. Instead, I revisited a lot of my favourite gothic classics and read up on mythology, occultism and history. It was a lot of fun to let my imagination go wild, where normally I am constantly checking and rechecking my forensic detail, as I will be doing for my sixth Makedde Vanderwall crime thriller next year.

AS A ‘SLASHIE’ (MODEL/AUTHOR), DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY WHEN YOU BEGAN PUTTING PEN TO PAPER?
I’m flattered you would still consider me a model of any kind, but in reality I quit 12 years ago when my first novel was published. I started putting pen to page writing for my classmates at age 10, and had no concerns about seriousness back then and I don’t now that I’m a fulltime novelist.

FINALLY, ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
Read widely and write often. Write now. Stop reading this interview and pick up a pen or PC and get started. Don’t over analyse it, don’t wait until someone tells you it’s okay, just write what you have in you. The only reason to write a novel is because you simply must. It’s a compulsion. We writers are a strange bunch. If you aspire to be a writer, embrace the madness. It is a crazy career path. Go for it.

‘The Blood Countess’ is published through Pan Macmillan Australia and available at good book and online stores.