Vampires in Victorian England? Sign me up! Angie Gallow is with us discussing her debut novel The Coven.
After a gruesome betrayal, vampire Sebastien Vilmont is flung into a whirlwind cat and mouse game when his traveling party is ambushed by an opposing group of bloodthirsty vampires. Maurice, the leader of Sebastien’s coven, makes the decision to not only wage war against the opposing vampire clan, but a clerical organization known as The Diocese Club who wishes to exterminate all vampire-kind.
Trying desperately to protect the secrecy of their coven’s location below the streets of Whitechapel, London, Sebastien finds himself at odds with Maurice in his desire to not engage in all-out war with the renegade Catholic faction. At the same time, he must also battle the other vampire coven to guard their anonymity from humans. In doing so, Sebastien is forced into choices and alliances he might not otherwise have made.
Set in the tone of Victorian England, The Coven is a thrilling and horrific journey through the seedier workings of the vampire underworld, and pious ideology of The Diocese Club.
What research did you do while writing The Coven?
I did a lot of research for the dialogue. I wanted my characters to come alive on the page and the best way to do that was to use their voices, so I wanted their dialogue to sound as authentic on the page as it would’ve been in the Victorian Era.
What does setting the book in Victorian England contribute to this particular storyline?
It gives it a darker feel; remember that the Victorian era was known for the Industrial Revolution and huge scientific contributions but it was also known for its dark side of superstitions, death, and illnesses. It just seemed to fit the tone for the story knowing the dark side of this time period.
A lot of stories with vampires as protagonists seek to redeem them in some way (e.g. they drink animals, have souls, etc.). Is Sebastien a “good” vampire? If so, what redeems him?
Sebastien is the “tragic hero” in the sense that he accepts the role of saving his own kind. He’s still a vampire that partakes of human blood and knows this is his nature, but he doesn’t want to watch his kind die away at the hands of a turn-coat, rogue, self-hating vampire; he finds that an unacceptable way to go out. He’s not looking for redemption or anything like that; he just wants to continue his existence quietly without unnecessary attention. Granted, he does look after a young human boy but he only does that because he knows what it’s like to be alone (Calvin is orphaned after vampires kill his family) and as a means to protect the child. Otherwise, Sebastien was thrown into a situation and accepted the responsibility because he felt no one else would; if it were anything else, he probably wouldn’t have cared too much.
Are there splashes of other genres in this book?
Historical fiction is in there but otherwise, this is a horror novel, strictly.
Let’s imagine for a second that each book is a star in the universe. What other books would be in a constellation with yours? What image might they form?
This is a cool question and I would have to say it would be up there, floating in the galaxy with Anne Rice and Bram Stoker, and that’s a heavy weight to carry on this book’s shoulders, so to speak. But it doesn’t tie into another book (there is no romance or ‘hunting’, etc) so what is left? The image they could all form together would have to be a giant fang or blood drop, for sure.
If you could, which paranormal creature would you be for a day and why?
I think I would try my hand at being a witch. I’ve always wanted to have that type of supernatural power to manifest and destroy things in the lives of other people or even myself. It would be fascinating to know what that type of power felt like.
Whose ghost would you summon if you had the chance and why?
Probably my father’s just so I could have a trivial conversation with him; see what his soul has been up to and maybe hear his voice one more time, if I could. I don’t have any other reason other than missing the man.
What’s your best Halloween costume ever?
I wasn’t much of a costume kid, surprisingly. I was into Halloween for the scary movies and the candy. I was always a princess or something like that; nothing exciting or anything I had a choice in! Haha!
What are you reading right now?
I find myself reading a lot of philosophy; Albert Camus has my attention right now. I read The Stranger and his notebooks over the course of his career. Hopefully I can get my hands on more of his work this summer.
Who is your favorite pop culture vampire and why?
Louis DuPont du Lac from Interview with a Vampire. He was so torn between living and dying and was the only vampire I ever read who had real and believable human emotions and convictions. I haven’t seen another vampire character like him.
About the Author
Angie Gallow was born in Chicago and currently attends Columbia College Chicago. This is her first novel.
Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of The Coven by Angie Gallow to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!