Please give a warm welcome to Lizzie who is stopping by for an interview, Thank you Lizzie for taking the time to answer a few questions and thank you Clark and Kathleen for stopping by and taking over BLH today.
Today we welcome Elizabeth “Lizzie” Vaughn from the pages of The Cowboy and the Vampire. Lizzie is a journalist, born and raised in New York. A Sagittarius with model good looks and a keen intellect, she’s a big city girl currently in a relationship with Tucker, a down on his luck cowboy from LonePine, Wyoming.
So, Lizzie, what’s it like being a Vampire?
It was hard at first, but really only because of the switch. You spend your life thinking one thing, knowing one thing, and then it all changes overnight. It’s not like switching gyms or moving into a new apartment. Everything changed. There’s the bad stuff — I need blood to live, preferably human blood. That means, you know, murdering someone. I’ve made my peace with that. It took some time. At first, I wanted to just throw myself into the sun. Or, more accurately, have Tucker leave my corpse somewhere the sun would find it. But I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a Vampire. We exist to consume evil, literally. That at least gives me a sense of purpose. And we’re not products of the devil or anything like that. We’re predators. Wolves don’t feel guilty when they eat sheep do they? Seriously, I don’t know, do they?
Because I still feel horrible even thinking about it. I haven’t yet even killed my first person.
There’s a good side too. My senses are heightened. And my strength. I feel like Wonder Woman (she laughs).I can literally feel it when Tucker walks into the room. I can hear his heart beating and almost taste the pulse of blood through his veins. That’s pretty magical. And oh my goodness, the sex. When we make love, it’s beyond anything I EVER experienced as a human. I go places, to new heights that change me. Really change me. Do you understand? Some core place of my soul is changed every time we make love. It’s amazing. I’m afraid I’m going to break him at some point.
What’s it like to die?
Dying gets a little easier every time, but it’s never fun. The first time was the worst. When I was turned. Now some small part of my brain actually gets that it won’t really last more than the day. But the first time was different, I didn’t understand at that point. There was pain of course, and then this tremendous sense of regret and sadness that I’d never see Tucker again. And everything is intensified as you die. I can still feel the blade Julius used sliding across my throat, can almost taste the metal of it as it sliced through each layer of skin and then dug deep into my windpipe and across my jugular. The scars still hurt. A wash of darkness and Tucker’s face in my mind. And then Rex. Sweet little Rex. Then nothing.
The weird part is the undying. Struggling up from death to life is a very disorienting. It takes a while, a few seconds, for me to fill myself up again. All the memories and emotions- everything that makes me me — come trickling back until it’s a flood. There’s a moment though when I just feel hollow and completely lost.
What’s it like being with a cowboy?
Exasperating. Maddening. And wonderful. He’s not the person I thought I’d be with. I guess I always expected to be with a writer or an artist, maybe a diplomat or senator. Someone who wanted to discuss the latest bestseller, someone I could vacation in Europe with, someone who would surprise me with a night out at the ballet. Tucker is not that man. His idea of a surprise night out is a bunch of a wildflowers and a trip to the Watering Hole for a burger and maybe a slow dance or two. And I have to tell you, I’m pretty okay with that. Sometimes he can go for hours, days even, without talking, and when he does, it’s definitely not about performance art or politics. But there’s more poetry in what he doesn’t say than in all the cocktail chatter from every guy I’ve was ever with, you know, from before. Tucker is slow and sturdy. Deliberate. Unshakable. And for all that tough guy exterior, he’s surprisingly gentle and sweet. And slow. And did I mention the sex? It’s amazing now.
You have royal blood in your veins?
That’s a little bit of a stretch. It’s not like I’m really royalty. Apparently, I come from a long line of Vampires who have a special kind of blood in their veins. I was oblivious because my mother kept it pretty well hidden. There were plenty of clues, but I missed them. Anyway, a very few of the Vampires from the Messianic lie can turn humans who have the right genetic background into Vampires. It’s a gross and bloody process, and it’s how Julius turned me.
There’s another kind of Vampire though. The Reptilians. The legends say they are related to the serpent from the garden. All I know is that they have some definite snake-like qualities. They reproduce the old fashioned way and don’t have the same sort of belief systems. They will kill at anyone any time. There’s some bad blood simmering between the two clans.
It gets more complicated though. According to the ancient prophecies, I have some kind of special power to turn any human into a Vampire. I’m pretty sure it’s all a bunch of nonsense, but there are plenty of Vampires who believe it enough to kill everyone around me and hold me captive until they can find out for sure.
Do you still write?
Not as much as I’d like. Before everything happened, I was so locked in on writing. Maybe you saw my article, The Last Cowboy. That was nominated for a Pulitzer. That’s how Tucker and I met. My editor sent me to Wyoming to do a piece on the disappearing west and sparks sort of flew the first time we met. Well, the second time. Tucker was kind of a jerk the first time.
But no, I don’t write as much these days. Too much going on (she laughs) being pursued by an army of evil Vampires bent on world domination. But I have been doing a lot of research. I’ve recently come into the possession of some very old books about Vampire history. I’ve been digging through them and I’ve found some fascinating stuff. I’m thinking about writing a history of the Vampire. A true history of the Vampire. I would have to write it as fiction, of course, or else the world of humans would freak out.
What are your plans for the future?
Just like any other new couple we’re trying to work out some of the basics like how do we stay alive with ancient killers hunting us, can we keep the romance when one of us dies every morning, is it cheating
if I start having intimate, blood-draining moments with other humans on a semi-regular basis and is it fair to expect Tucker to go into the next room to floss? I swear he flosses so loudly, I can practically hear it when I’m dead. Beyond that, it’s a little disconcerting to think I could very well live for thousands of years and Tucker could be gone in a 40 or 50 years. So I guess I want to focus on spending as much quality time together as possible. When you have someone in your life that loves you so completely, so fully, you don’t need much else.
About the book:
The Cowboy and the Vampire brings together two iconic characters — cowboys and vampires — and crashes them together in a story about true love, culture clash and evil plans to take over the world. There’s also a healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor, a rich portrayal of life in the modern West, a fresh new take on the Vampire myth and plenty of morbid ruminations on death.
About our latest project
Check out the novella Red Winter, by Clark, edited by Kathleen, released exclusively as an e-book:
Sheriff Early Hardiman has seen a lot of bad things in his life, but nothing could have prepared him for the first Vampire to visit the Old West. It’s 1890 and winter is closing like a noose around tiny LonePine, Wyoming. Fans of The Cowboy and the Vampire know LonePine will see its share of Vampires 120 years later, but in 1890 the appearance of the fearsome Jericho Whistler — with an unquenchable thirst for blood and unwilling to die — created a new kind of terror.
About the Authors:
The authors wrote the book during a long-distance romance; Hays lived in Bend, Oregon and McFall lived in Portland, Oregon, and
they sent chapters via US postal mail back and forth to intentionally foster a romantic feel.
This is their story-
Everlasting true love insists on tragedy, but inevitably and always eventually diluted by the quotidian trio of negligence, jealousy and circumstance. Everything any of us want to believe about love we’ve lazily cribbed from tortured poets or car commercials. In those fantasies, there are no bills, snotty noses, bad bosses, rabid ex-spouses, illness or unrelentingly loss.
And yet, I still found myself on a summer day in 1998 in the parking lot of Grandma Hoffy’s on Route 26, near Madras, Oregon. The brutal beauty of columnar basalt and obsidian had been enveloped by sagebrush and dusky painted hills. But even my favorite landscapes could not calm my churning nerves that afternoon. Sixteen months had passed.
Did we eat? How long did we talk? Was there coffee? Pie? Surely, at a truck stop there must have been pie, yet I remember almost nothing. We smoked, I know that, furtively. For better or worse, I wrote the words down in the parking lot after we parted.
Here are a few of those words starting after the nervous hellos, coffee-ordering and what-not. We got to the point quickly.
Sooner or later, you’ll say yes and it will be forever.
Can we try something else first?
Like what? I don’t do things halfway.
Maybe we should write a book together. I want to write. You already do. A test of sorts.
A trial run?
If we can write a book together without killing each other, seems like we may have a chance.
A romantic novel.
I don’t know. Write what you know.
How to be a cowboy.
I can take that part easy. What do you know?
The Cowboy and the Politician?
The Cowboy and Eleanor Roosevelt?
Let’s step back, if it’s going to be about love…
Okay, our love, sure, well, how does a cowboy feel about love?
Being with you means giving up a way of life.
You think the city will suck you dry and toss you back lifeless.
Something like that.
Like a Vampire.
Yea, like a Vampire.
That night, he started writing. He mailed the first pages to me. I edited, and then added a few more. I mailed them back to him. The first two chapters were written that way.
We were married a year later in Washington DC with a finished novel. The Cowboy had moved to the city.
It’s been 11 years now. So much has happened.
Are we still writing? Yes.
Are we still in love? Most days.
Amazing what a bit of shared storytelling can do for one’s love life. It saved us.
It can save you too. Read about it on the Conjoined Writing Life page.
And check out the Ballad of the Cowboy and Vampire, read at our wedding.
Clark Hays Biography
It's a re-ride. "The Cowboy and the Vampire" is back from the dead. This cult classic was re-released in October 2010 from Midnight Ink.
My life and writing partner - Kathleen McFall - and I are very excited that our book has been resurrected. Writing it brought us together and creative writing continues to sustain us.
My story is pretty straightforward: I grew up on a ranch in Montana and spent my formative years branding cattle, riding horses, shooting guns and writing. A graduate of Montana State University (go Bobcats!), my poetry, creative fiction and nonfiction have appeared in journals,magazines and newspapers. I currently work in corporate communications, which is a far cry from riding the range.
To find out more about the book, friend us on Facebook: search for The Cowboy and the Vampire. And check out our website - www.cowboyandvampire.com - with an "Ask a Cowboy" advice column, a Vlog (a vampire blog) and much more.
Learn more about what it means to write together by reading the article "'The Cowboy and the Vampire' gets new blood" in The Oregonian, Nov. 5, 2010.
Kathleen McFall Biography
"The Cowboy and the Vampire" is my first novel. I had been writing for many years before that, but my focus was on journalism and science writing. I fell into the writing life without any real intent - my early years were spent working as a petroleum geologist (yes, you read that correctly) until I discovered that writing about science and energy was more fun than fieldwork and petrographic analysis.
The words came easily and people were willing to pay for my ability to translate scientific jargon and concepts into everyday language. I freelanced for over a decade, was a senior staff writer for McGraw-Hill and a regional stringer for Financial Times/Energy. Now I work for a major university where I still get to write about science along with health and policy.
Clark and I wrote this book together shortly after we fell in love and the book embodies that gravity-defying feeling of falling head over heels for someone, the wonder of it all, along with the growing realization that such love cannot be fought, denied or escaped. For two such independent people as we were before we met, that was unsettling.
We are often asked how we managed to write a book together without killing each other. Well, to be honest, we came close a few times. But that writing journey, in hindsight, I now see was very important to laying down the foundation of our still-strong partnership. We blog about the relationship effect of writing with someone you love, and how we actually did it (who wrote what chapters and what creative invective I used when he unnecessarily edited my work and how plotting the next chapter makes for great pillow talk) on our website:
wwww.cowboyandvampire.com, or facebook at www.facebook.com/cowboyandvampire.
But we also write independently. I'm working on a novel titled: "The Many Deaths of Emmy Failing" which tells the story of a young woman, Emmy, who has a classic near death experience nearly weekly - but without the catalyst of impending physical death. She contacts a famed neurologist for help who, in turn, sees in her dysfunctional brain a chance to attain breakthrough knowledge about consciousness and a shot at scientific
immortality. Always a science writer at heart.
Together, we are also working on a trilogy of cowboy and vampire books, chronicling the continuing adventures of Tucker, Lizzie, Rex, Elita and the full menagerie of characters. Stay tuned.
Now on to the giveaway, 1 signed first edition of the original publication from 1999
and 5 signed copies of the current paperback edition Open to US Shipping.
Winners will be chosen from all of those who enter via the form,
leave comments at tour stops for bonus entries
you can also enter at each tour stop
Just click HERE to enter the giveaway