Author Interview: Denver Batiste, author of The Vitandi

Publisher: LazyDay Publishing

Publication Date: March 31, 2014

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Nestled high atop a mountain range in his father's mansion, sexy, 'emo' vampire KELLAN DONNOLLY is living a life of carefree immortality. Born in 1003 in Ireland, to a peasant woman named Catherine, and the apostle SIMON, Kellan is bound by an ancient prophecy decreed by God, one that must be fulfilled or the entire vampire race will be destroyed. Simon, along with the other eleven apostles, were punished by Christ, forced to live as vampires by drinking Christ’s blood from the Holy Grail at the Last Supper for their roles of betrayal in his crucifixion. Now, Kellan must find a descendant of Christ, his niece in fact, and father a child with her to keep their species alive. 

In New York City, spunky NICOLE ERWIN, a country girl from Coalmont, VA., and her friend, MIA ROUNDTREE, a sassy, outspoken, Chicagoan, work part-time at Harbor Way Orphanage, and soon discover working part-time in a big city, doesn't pay the bills. When Mia sees an ad in the paper offering two hundred dollars for blood donations taken by The National Bloodmobile, she presents the idea to Nicole, who reluctantly agrees to go for the extra cash, unaware her donation will change her destiny. While at the bloodmobile, Mia gets a date, and commits Nicole into accompanying her by setting her up with her date’s friend. Born with an ugly, scar shaped birthmark on her left wrist and raised by a cold, uncaring father, Nicole has acquired a defensive nature but decides to go on the date and soon learns finding Mr. Right is a lot harder than she thought. 

After centuries of hiding for fear of detection, Kellan and the Apostles, lose track of The Daughter of Christ. In the twentieth century, the Apostles resurfaced and formed The National Blood Association, establishing blood banks all over the globe to live among humans undetected and to renew their search for The Daughter. 

When the time of the prophecy is at hand, The Daughter's identity is still unknown. The Apostles become concerned with Kellan's lack of interest in finding her, and Simon reveals to Kellan a secret he's kept hidden for over twenty years. In 1986, when a new form of technology DNA extraction, was unveiled The Apostles utilized its potential. They enlisted the aid of WINSTON DEFRIES, a smart, arrogant, biotechnology scientist who was the first man to extract and successfully match DNA to an individual. To keep Winston in the dark of their intentions JOHN THE APOSTLE, approached him and offered a job with The National Blood Association, under the ruse of finding a cure for HIV by testing blood donations taken from their blood banks and linking a genetic protein found in uninfected donors. Little does Winston know his quest will help an ancient sect of vampires locate the savior of their race. 

When The Apostles learn The Daughter of Christ's lineage is in New York City, it is up to Kellan to win her trust, while The Apostles try to keep Lucifer's demon scout, ARIUS, from destroying her. Kellan finds Nicole and reluctantly pursues her, expecting to fulfill the prophecy and return to his life of immortal luxury. To his amazement, he discovers Nicole means more to him than just the salvation of his people and together, they embark on an adventure full of suspense and drama, with an unexpected 'Savior' who will aid Kellan and The Apostles on their journey for survival.

Interview: Q. How did writing this book affect you? Actually, it helped me get in touch with my feelings as a writer and spiritually. I knew the subject matter would be taboo when I first began but the experience of writing this book opened up a whole new perspective for me about religion and my view of it. Although I don’t believe the 12 Apostles were actually the first vampires, the knowledge of creating the possibility and putting into a story was a life changing event for me.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you? The love scenes and dialogue. I’m from the South so it’s very hard for me to shed my Southern slang. Especially when writing my characters dialogue.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books? Yes. The sequel to The Vitandi is almost complete. It’s titled Anathema and it focuses on Gaius Cassius Longinus, the Roman commander who pierced Christ’s side with The Holy Lance. He too was punished and became a vampire for his role in Christ’s crucifixion and this book details his life, or rather unlife as I like to call it.

Q. What are you currently reading? Another Indie author’s book titled Cash Chronicles: The Book o’ Samson

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!). My book was recently requested for review by a media agent in LA for a possible offer to produce it into a film. I can’t disclose the name right now, we are still in negotiations.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I like to listen to music that I feel sets the scene I’m writing. For example, for the love scene I’ll listen to Al Green or Otis Redding. For the fight scenes I like to listen to Muse or Pantera. It totally depends on the scene I’m writing at the moment.

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself! At 42 years old I can still do a back hand spring. Not too shabby, eh?

Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future? Oh yes! I would LOVE to write about my grandparents. My grandmother and grandfather were from Mississippi and both were in their 20’s in the early 1940”s. My grandmother was Creole. Half-Haitian and half- Caucasian. My grandfather was Irish. Because of my grandmother’s race, it was against the law for her and my grandfather to marry. They had to go up North and get married in secret. They both returned to Mississippi and lived separately. If their marriage was discovered they both could have been arrested and put in jail for up to 5 years. Just for loving each other! It wasn’t until my grandparents moved to Tennessee 11 years later that they lived in the same house as man and wife. I would love to write a book about their ordeal. I cannot imagine how scared they must have been during that time. It would be a great story to tell. I’ve actually began a rough draft. I’ve titled it: Olivia. It’s not my grandmother’s name but I like it. It’s sounds…Southern.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? To play the piano.

Q. What gives you the most joy in life? Oh that’s easy! My husband and my 4 wonderful children. I love them all so very much and they bring such joy to my life. And writing of course.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why? I would love to be Simon the Apostle. Not only is he a vampire, but he also had the honor of being a part of the greatest events in human history. Even though the outcome was tragic. For both him and Christ.

Q. How do you like to spend your spare time? Writing, writing and writing.

Q. How did you come up with the title? My publisher suggested that I come up with a title that is not commonly used. So after searching my Catholic Bible, I found the vitandi. Which means “One who has been excommunicated from the church”. Since Christ entrusted the Apostles with excommunication and now THEY are the excommunicated ones, I thought the title fit the story.

Q. When did you know you would be a writer? In my early teens. My aunt, Mary Curtis Bowers, wrote a series of romance novels in the early-mid 80’s for Avalon. When I read them, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to do that one day.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Yes.  I want to thank every single one for their support throughout my writing endeavor. It’s always nice to hear such positive feedback. Most of it is “I almost didn’t buy this book because of the plot, but boy am I glad I did!” And that’s okay. I understand The Vitandi is different. But so is The Da Vinci Code.  Sometimes different is a good thing. It can open you to new things you never thought of or experienced before.

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