Author Kim Newman on his new Anno Dracula novel, Johnny Alucard (plus excerpt)


I think that I first became aware of Kim’s writing in the short story anthology Shadows Over Innsmouth, where he had stories published under both his own name and the pseudonym Jack Yeovil. I enjoy his writing.

Regarding the line “I do not reject any version of the legend”, I can say you’re pretty much correct to do so. I took a course in the early '70’s at UT Austin called ‘Vampirism in Eastern Europe’ as an anthropology elective and an easy A. One of the many take-aways from the class was that even in Eastern Europe where the legend was prevalent, the different legends would vary wildly from one micro region to another. One was that you could kill a vampire with running water (which Hammer made use of in one Lee film). Another was that a vampire would only go after its own family (used in “The Family of the Vourdalak” by A.K. Tolstoy which was the basis of the ‘Wurdulak’ segment of Bava’s “Black Sabbath”). An interesting variation on this particular theme was that if the vampire succeeded in finishing off his family and was able to also get to the village church and ring the bell, the entire village would die. I think my favorite legend was that the vampire was actually invisible and the only way to find it and get rid of it was to hire a seventh son of a seventh son who himself could only spot the creature by looking through the sleeve of his coat.

The reason our Professor told us that he had gotten fascinated with the subject was that had been researching how various Old World myths had transferred to the New World. Specifically, he would go to various immigrant farms in Canada and ask them about their beliefs. Normally, the farmers would be very open, often asking him to dine with the family, but on one occasion the farmer he was talking to was very reluctant and would not invite the scholar to eat. After being somewhat pressed, the farmer eventually admitted that they feared Gramma was a vampire and so allowed no one else in.

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