Michael Marshall Smith, Author of “This is Now”

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

Its about a small group of friends, playing pool; about them recalling a formative event in their lives; and about how big a gap there is between then and now, and all the things that can fall through that gap.

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

To be honest, the genesis of the story was being asked to write it! That’s often what galvanizes me to come up with something new—I like the challenge of being asked to come up with a story based around a particular theme—especially if it gives me the chance to look for a sideways of approaching the subject.

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

The challenge in this story was trying to evoke both the things that come from old friendship, and past deeds, without being too explicit about it.

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

I think only that there was a particular strand of melancholy I was feeling at the time, and wanting to capture.

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?

There’s just something *about* vampires. I mean, yes, they self-evidently link the themes of sex and death—which are are the core of most people’s minds—but there’s something majestic about them, too.

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

I think it’s actually hard to beat the original DRACULA, in fact—but in addition I’d cite Kim Newman’s ANNO DRACULA and his novella ANDY WARHOL’S DRACULA, as well as some of the stories toward the end of Brett Easton Ellis’s THE INFORMERS: both provide smart, interesting takes on a well-worn theme, and are beautiful prose writers.