Garth Nix, author of “Infestation”

Tell us a bit about your story. What’s it about?

It’s about hunting vampires, when they aren’t supernatural creatures but something else that you’ll need to read the story to find out. Of course, it helps if the hunters aren’t necessarily what they seem either.

What was the genesis of the story–what was the inspiration for it, or what prompted you to write it?

I rarely have a clue what prompted a particularly story and this one is no exception. Except it may have had something to do with seeing an actual ‘limelight.’

Was this story a particularly challenging one to write? If so, how?

All stories are challenging in some parts and easy in others. This one mostly got done in one writing session though, which is always good. I think when you pour a lot of energy into writing a story in a concentrated time, it often helps the narrative energy of the piece. Mind you, I still had to revise it quite a bit, as always.

Most authors say all their stories are personal. If that’s true for you, in what way was this story personal to you?

It does draw heavily on my youth fighting vampires in an alternate universe. I’m just really pleased that after I got out they let me retire to this universe. It’s so much more pleasant. Apart from that, I do draw upon my own experience for many of the small details that help make up a story. Like the limelight I mention seeing above.

What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I didn’t do any active research, but I am always reading non-fiction and quite often some fact or piece of knowledge I have read/seen/heard about will prove useful for a story.

What is the appeal of vampire fiction? Why do so many writers–or you yourself–write about it? Why do readers and film viewers love it so much?

Vampires are scary like sharks or poisonous snakes, which are also fascinating, but they are even more fascinating because in essence they are usually people (except in some rare cases, ahem). Powerful, dangerous, mythical people with strong emotions and appetites are always fascinating, whether they be gods, superheroes, or vampires.

What are some of your favorite examples of vampire fiction, and what makes them your favorites?

I’m actually not an enormous fan of vampire fiction, but I would include Bram Stoker’s original Dracula, which established the basic tropes. I also like Fred Saberhagen’s novels about Dracula, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s St Germain stories. I am actually terrified of Stephen King’s vampires and in fact of King’s horror in general — I have a problem with contemporary supernatural horror because if it is effective it stays with me too long, but if it’s in an historical, fantasy or future setting I can cope. Every now and then I check if this is still true and then can’t sleep properly for days.