Monday, 13 June 2011

Immortal War Blog Tour: Justin Somper on Killing Off Vampirates!

I'm delighted to welcome Justin Somper to the blog today. Immortal War, the sixth and final book in his much loved Vampirates series has just been released, and here Justin talks about saying goodbye to the series a.k.a Killing Off Vampirates!




 I was a bit alarmed when I was asked to write a blog titled, “Killing Off Vampirates”! I hadn’t really thought of it like that before. Yes, the sixth main novel in the sequence, IMMORTAL WAR is the last VAMPIRATES novel – for now at least - but “killing off” sounds so brutal and final! Very Sidorio. Very Lola.


Writing IMMORTAL WAR was a very different experience for me to writing the five previous novels in the VAMPIRATES sequence. To be honest, each book has brought fresh challenges, not least as I’ve pushed myself to “raise the bar” each time. I’ve also worked hard to make the books feel different so that, as a reader, you don’t have the sense of reading the same book you read a year ago but with a different jacket! It’s important to me that the mood and characters evolve.

With the first five books, I had the luxury of knowing that there would be another book (at least) in which to continue the story and the characters’ evolution. With such a big cast of characters, it was reassuring to know that if one of them didn’t get enough “screen time” this time around, I could address that in the next book. But that all changed when I set out to write IMMORTAL WAR. This was going to be the “last hurrah” and if the characters were going to go through major crises, they had to happen – and be resolved – now. The pressure was on!

Not surprisingly then, IMMORTAL War is probably packed with more incident than any of the other VAMPIRATES books. It had to be, to get through all the changes I wanted to get through. But it suited this book – my “War book” – for that to be the case too. Initially, I was rather intimidated by the idea of writing a “War book”. It felt like potentially a challenge too far. But then I realised that for my characters, and readers too, the internal wars were going to be just as important as the big external conflict. That’s always been the case in Vampirates – the story is very much driven by the characters and their inner battles.

Beyond telling an engaging, page-turning story, I wanted to give all the key characters a chance to bid farewell to the readers, especially those readers who started out with DEMONS OF THE OCEAN and have made their way through each book in turn. I feel exceedingly proud and privileged to have made this journey with my readers. I also wanted to bring Grace and Connor Tempest’s voyage to an appropriate conclusion or, at least pause. Frankly, these kids deserve a rest!

As you’ll see, this doesn’t mean that every last plot thread is tied up. There are definite loose threads hanging at the end of the book and that is intentional – though the intent is to intrigue rather than frustrate the reader. I wanted the sense that the characters – at least, those that make it to the end of Book 6 - will go on with their business, whether or not they return again in book form.

I’m already being asked – “is this really the end?” Well, it’s certainly the last for now. After six years and six books (plus DEAD DEEP), I think it makes sense to take a break and try writing something completely fresh. When I came up with the idea for Vampirates, it was before the trend for pirates and for vampire fiction. Boy, have things changed! There are SO many vampire books out there now and it’s time for me to break away from that pack. My head is buzzing with ideas and I’m already researching something which I think might be my next big project. It’s fun being back in the beginnings of a project, with all the uncertainties and possibilities that brings.

In many ways, I have achieved more with the Vampirates books than I could ever have imagined. It’s not simply a question of book sales or the number of countries where the books are available (though this is incredibly gratifying). It’s more about my development as a writer and keeping the characters and story developing over six books, and keeping a good number of readers with me through that journey. That, in the end, is what I’m proudest of.

So one voyage comes to an end and another surely begins. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead but that makes it all the more exciting, don’t you think?




Many thanks to Justin for the great guest post!  The Immortal War blog tour continues tomorrow at Empire of Books.  In the meantime, you can find out more about Justin and the Vampirates series by visiting the following links:




6 comments :

  1. I think it would be hard to spend so much time with characters you have created and know that you are (possibly) never going to write about them again. But I also understand how exciting it would be to start a new journey with new characters too. Great guest post!

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  2. This sounds like a great series! Is it only available in the UK?

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  3. I haven't heard of these books before, I'm so glad you posted this Leanna! I can only imagine how hard it would be to write the final book in a series, that would definitely be a lot of pressure to make sure all the questions readers have had throughout the series are answered as much as possible and the characters are given a resolution. Adding this series to the list!

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  4. @Savy - I'm pretty sure these are published in the US. You can get them on The Book Depo too! :)

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  5. I love these books and can't wait to read the new one. Justin sounds like such a nice guy.

    Thanks for the great post.

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  6. I had not heard of the series before. Though it doesn't seem like anything I usually read, I am willing to try something new :)
    Great guest post!

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