I'm interested to know how you intend to make this work unique from mainstream cross-genre-monster works such as the Underworld films...
Good question. Hard question. And I’ll say this: without major deletions and reconstructions, Roses
could never be a mainstream product. It’s too sexual and violent. Firstly, the vampires aren’t just breeding humans—they’re cutting off their arms and legs and hanging them in harnesses, a la Edward Lee’s “Mr. Torso.” Secondly, one of the main characters is nude the entire book. And thirdly, I’ve written several scenes of torture that, while not as brutal as those in Hostel
, would not sit well with a general audience. Author Z.A. Recht says it best: “[N]ever before, outside of film, have I gotten to experience that level of gore.”
Regarding the monsters themselves—well, now we get into murkier waters. The vampires could be compared to those in Underworld
, but they’re more wicked and predatory. I didn’t bring too much originality to the vampire genre. It would have been too much, considering what I’ve done with zombies: these living dead can heal and mutate; they possess strong, fast, Lovecraftian tentacles, and their bites can kill a vampire; in fact, by the end, they’re no longer zombies.
I figured it would be an interesting Darwinian competition: in a struggle for food (a.k.a humans), which monster would win? A zombie, or a vampire? That’s how I came up with the idea for my short story, “Limbless Bodies Swaying,” the precursor to Roses of Blood
. In Roses
, the competition is definitely present—it is a struggle for resources more than it is pitting a scorpion against a black widow to see which arachnid wins—but the zombies serve a different overall function: they put strain on preexisting conflicts between the vampires.
For example, Shade, the vampire monarch, wishes to stay and protect their barricaded apartment building because she promised her late father she would; but Frost, Shade’s general, is claustrophobic and wishes to migrate to an island. As the zombies begin to penetrate the building, he uses the infiltration as an excuse to relocate, and Shade is stuck with an interesting dilemma: move to save her people and their human livestock, or stay and fight for her father’s legacy?
I don’t know if that differentiates Roses
from most mainstream monster mashes, but I do know that the graphic quality of it does.
Also, is this the start of something you intend to contine or a one-shot?
While I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book and bringing new twists to a familiar sub genre, I don’t plan to revisit this story. However, I do plan to write a precursor to the zombie outbreak, but it will feature different characters and an entirely different idea.
Thanks for the great question. Hope this answers it.