THE REVIEW: “Bound by Blood is an amazingly clever novel with depth, drama, warmth, and one helluva bite.” —A.K. Kuykendall
AUTHOR BIO – SHANE KP O’NEILL
Shane KP O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a fresh dimension to the Dracula legend, which combines the real historical Vlad Dracula with a new and different version of Dracula the vampire. He has released the series in two arcs, one that follows Dracula the man and the other following Dracula the vampire.
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.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Shane O’Neill. I’m an Irishman living in Norway, where I have been now for the last five years. My great passion for over twenty years has been my project, The Dracula Chronicles. I devote the majority of my time to that, and to my family.
2. What led you to seek the endorsement of author A.K. Kuykendall and what did you think of the foreword he wrote on your behalf?
Mr Kuykendall wrote me a glowing review for the original editions of my two Bound By Blood books. At the end of his appraisal, he promised me a foreword should I ever want one. Once I had completed the new edition of the first Bound By Blood volume, I approached him about it.
3. At what point in your life, did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
All writers are born writers, I believe. It is a question that we all seem to answer the same way, i.e. “For as long as I can remember.” I think the passion, and flair, for writing is either in you or it isn’t.
4. What are your most memorable or proudest moments in your writing career?
I would probably say the first time I held one of my own paperbacks in my hand. It was a very satisfying feeling.
5. Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Sat beside David Benioff at the premier of HBO’s blockbuster production of Shane KP O’Neill’s The Dracula Chronicles.
6. What advice do you wish you’d been given before starting your career in writing?
I was given it by Tim Holman, the Editorial Director of Publishing at Orbit, all the way back in 2006. He told me to ensure my work was as good as it could possibly be before submitting it to him. Needless to say, it wasn’t, and I never heard from him again.
7. Tell us about the books you’ve written so far, and your plans for any future books?
My series is The Dracula Chronicles. It is a huge concept centred on the story of Creation and the first great divide in Heaven. I set my premise in the 15th Century Balkans around the life of the real historical Vlad Dracula. My focus, at the moment, is on the first ten books of the series, which I am releasing in two arcs. The first arc of five books involves the real historical Dracula and Lucifer’s manipulation of him. In it, I re-create his world in its entirety. The second arc of five books follows Dracula as a vampire, as created by Lucifer, and his journey through the 16th and 17th Centuries to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church.
More arcs will follow on from these ten volumes, moving through history and bringing us to the present day.
I also have a series of horror shorts entitled Tales Of The Black Sabbath. So far, I have only released one of these.
8. Is there any part of your career, you find particularly challenging?
As a writer, you face different challenges at different times. In the beginning, it is to put the story that exists in your mind, to paper. And then you must re-write and polish it over and over until it is of an acceptable standard. That wasn’t so much a problem for me, nor the thousands of hours of research to make my creation totally plausible and beyond reproach. My main hurdle back then was affording the professionals needed to bring my work to the standard of professionalism I require. Now my challenges are not so defined. The worst headache I have presently is breaking the volumes down into books of 100k-115k words.
9. Who do you feel, has supported you most, in your writing?
I have a great number of friends within the writing community who have helped me no end, and I’m eternally thankful to them and for them. I have my own team of people around me: editors, proof readers, book designers, book trailer designer etc who have made a major contribution to my project.
Of course, the many emails I have received from readers who share their experiences and feelings from reading my books, inspire me to continue on.
10. Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
I wish to thank them for all their kind mails, and reviews, over the last eighteen months. My greatest desire is to entertain them. Knowing how well my readers have received my work thus far, I can promise they have seen nothing yet. The first four books are just the tip of the iceberg with this concept.
11. Where can we find out more about you and your books?
The best place to go is my website:
12. Tell us a little about your book.
The new release is a revised edition of Bound By Blood. This is Book #6 in the series and the first from the Bound By Blood, or vampire, arc. Lucifer has searched for more than a millennium to find the one he can use to bring down the Catholic Church, and help him win the battle for souls. He identifies Vlad Dracula at the time of Dracula’s birth, as his chosen candidate. This book follows his creation of Dracula as a vampire, and Dracula’s subsequent journey through the 15th and early 16th Century to bring down God’s great icon.
13. What inspired you to write your book?
I have had a deep affection for Dracula the man for most of my life, and I had a fascination with Dracula the vampire. I long dreamed of creating a premise where I could successfully combine the two. No book I have read or movie I have seen has ever captured the true essence of the man, as I see him. Some sources are attempting this now, but still fall well short. Once you have read my series, you will understand fully what I mean by that.
14. Are the character profiles based on people you know or are they completely drawn from your imagination?
The majority of my characters are real people from history, so it was great to have an opportunity to have the chance to convey them to my audience the way I envisaged them. Of course, I do have fictional characters, too. For these, I often draw on people I have met. I also write in a very cinematic style, and visualize my story as such, so I occasionally build characters around famous actors I admire, even for the real historical characters.
15. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
You have to write about what you know and have experienced yourself, unless you’re writing science fiction. Even writing in a historical context, you have to draw on your own emotions and life experiences to be able to bring your characters to life and make your readers love them.
16. Which part of the book, in your opinion, was the most difficult to write?
I give a thoroughly accurate depiction of the age in which my books are set, so there is violence and brutality in the story. There is occasional violence against women, too. Being that this in no way reflects on the kind of person I am, and that I live these scenes in my mind, it’s not always so easy to write them.
17. What parts of the book do you love, in particular?
I love getting to scenes I have imagined, sometimes for years, and finally putting them to paper. I especially enjoy the epic battle scenes I write and the challenge of bringing those events to life. Most of the great battles I write about are not so well-known in the modern day, so it is satisfying to introduce readers to them and enable them to live through them, as I do. I like writing scenes of deep intimacy between my characters as this is one area of my persona I do draw on.
18. Tell us about the cover design of your book.
I originally had an old cover that had a very 90’s feel to it, so it was dated. Also, people mistook the White House for the Vatican, so I had to change it. For this new cover, I wanted something symbolic of Lucifer taking control of Dracula’s soul in a way that binds them together. Therefore, I opted for a clawed hand holding a beating heart.
19. Which ways have you chosen to market your book?
I generally use social media, the main site being Twitter.
20. If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you’d change?
Yes, I probably would have accepted one of the offers from big publishing houses I received historically.
21. Where can we find out more or buy the book?
The book is available on Amazon.
22. Who are you?
If I tell you, I’ll probably have to kill you.
23. What are the titles of your books?
The series is The Dracula Chronicles. The titles I have released so far are: The Lamb Of God; For Whom The Bell Tolls; The Path To Decay; Birth Of The Monster; and Bound By Blood.
The Gates Of Babylon and The Headless Cross are coming soon.
24. Who is your favourite author?
25. Worst book you have ever read?
I have read some awful ones, whose names I won’t mention. The book I least enjoyed by a famous writer is Last Night In Twisted River by John Irving. I just couldn’t get into it, no matter how hard I tried.
26. What book are you reading now?
I have just started Innocent Blood by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell.
27. Your favourite quote about writing/authors:
It would probably be something Stephen King said. "Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's. The important part isn't writing enough, but limiting how much you say. Visualize what you want your reader to experience, and then translate what you see in your mind into words on the page. You need to describe things in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition.”
28. Your biggest inspiration:
My children and the desire to give them a better future.
29. Something you can’t live without:
30. Your pet-hate:
Either leaving food open, or not stacking the dishwasher properly.
31. Your favourite place to be:
With the people I love.
32. Something you like/love about yourself?
My dedication to my craft.
33. Something you’d change about yourself?
The amount of time I allow it to take away from time spent with my loved ones.
34. Your ideal life would be:
Writing full-time, and not having an employer monopolising my time. Giving the world my books, one at a time, with the woman I love, and my children, close by. That would be perfect for me.
Pragmatic author A.K. Kuykendall has a passion for writing conspiracy, espionage, horror, and suspense literature that blend the concepts of fact and fiction. For more information on his projects, visit http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/list-of-works/ or, to email the author directly for Q&A on this post, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.