Today’s author is making his BMR debut! I’ve been a vampire fan since I saw the original Fright Night, so his book immediately grabbed my attention. He names The Shining as the King novel that unsettled him most – but he poses an interesting theory that makes me look at the book and movie in a different light. Welcome Dan Klefstad!
Which Stephen King novel unsettled you the most?
The Shining. This is so much more than a ghost story. The theme of family disintegration is especially unsettling as the father, Jack Torrance, grows increasingly obsessive and violent, and Wendy and son Danny feel threatened by his behavior. I was also fascinated by how Danny’s presence at the Overlook Hotel seems to intensify the paranormal disturbances there. My own interpretation of this novel, and the 1980 film, is that Danny’s visions, or “shining,” hint that he may be consciously destroying his father.
What is the spookiest ghost story you’ve ever heard?
A former cop in Rockford, Illinois, told me the story of a haunted apartment she rented. Her Sicilian mother refused to step into it, declaring something evil lurked there. She crossed herself and walked away. The former cop described various phenomena like faucets turning on, cabinet doors opening, etc. One night she was depressed and sat on the floor in the dark next to her fish tank, which provided the only light in the room. Soon she noticed all the fish had gathered in one corner near the bottom, as if they felt threatened by something. Suddenly, the cop was doused with water. Drenched, she went to a bar and called a friend who took her home. She moved out soon after.
Would you rather go to a real haunted house or watch a horror movie marathon?
Oh definitely the former. I’d love to visit a haunted home — especially one with a well-documented history of hauntings. I’ve never experienced the paranormal first-hand.
How do you use social media as an author?
Mainly to co-brand with independent bookstores. I’ve been lucky enough to get my book stocked by 27 indie bookshops, so I mainly use Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to share pics of smiling booksellers holding my book. One shop (From My Shelf Books in Wellsboro, PA) sent a pic featuring their bookstore cats, which I’m attaching. I’m proud of my association with indie bookstores, and we both win because the pics they send usually get the most engagement. Of course, I also use social media to announce reading & signing events, or when a new book is coming out.
What is your kryptonite as a writer?
Noise. I can’t listen to music when I write. If I’m outside, birds are fine. But traffic and lawnmowers will drive me to a quiet place inside.
What are you working on now?
The sequel to my vampire novel, Fiona’s Guardians. In it, I introduce a species of vampire little known in the west called a penanggalan.
When a vampire seduces you, death is minutes away. When she hires you, you’ll soon wish you were dead.
It’s a truth known to every guardian who worked for Fiona, including Daniel. Aside from managing the day to day chores and keeping her protected, he manages an investment portfolio to buy stolen blood from hospital workers. The 250-year-old Fiona needs 10 pints of human blood every night. As a result of this, Daniel and Fiona are always on the lookout for police, but fail to notice their gradual encirclement by Mors Strigae, an ancient order of monks dedicated to the extermination of vampires. Gone for a century, the monks start a new war when they destroy Fiona’s sire. This time, her vampire family is pushed to the edge of extinction — and the humans who serve them are hunted and executed.
After 35 years, what keeps him loyal? And will he ever be allowed to leave?
Author Bio and Social Media
Dan Klefstad is a longtime radio host and newscaster at NPR station WNIJ. His latest novel, Fiona’s Guardians, is about humans who work for a beautiful manipulative vampire named Fiona. The book was adapted by Artists’ Ensemble Theater for their Mysterious Journey podcast. Dan is currently working on a sequel. He writes in DeKalb, Illinois.
@danklefstad on Twitter
@danklefstad on Instagram