Hi all! Today is a most special day here in Storytopia as we are honored once again by a visit from the amazing Ben Wolf! He’s here today to talk about his award-winning novel, Blood For Blood.
Without further ado, we head into our interview!
In one sentence, tell us about Blood for Blood
Blood for Blood is the story of what might happen if a vampire got saved and tried to start living his life for God.
What was the inspiration behind the story?
I’ve always been a fan of vampires and their lore, but the story idea is actually one I stole (with permission) from a fellow writing friend. He was talking with me about how ironic it would be for a vampire to get saved and then have to endure life as a Christian among other Christians and their religious symbols, practices, etc. I loved the idea so much that I hijacked it and wrote the novel in the course of only a few months’ time.
What demographic would you say it is best suited for?
The target audience is new adult. That’s a fancy way of saying the age group that grew up with Harry Potter when it first came out and is still reading great fiction because of it. I’d say that mature 12 or 13-year-olds would get it, but it’s really meant for the YA age range up to folks in their late 30s/early 40s who like vampire stuff.
You recently won an award for Blood for Blood – tell us about that!
I was honored to win the Oregon Christian Writers 2015 Cascade Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel. I was up against some stiff competition, and I was thrilled just to be nominated, but I’m even more thrilled that I won. I really think it’s a great book, and I’m happy to see it get some recognition. It’s also validation that I should keep writing.
What is your goal for this book? What do you want people to take away from it?
Great question. Aside from just being wildly entertaining, this book should impact two different audiences in two different ways. The first audience is folks who feel like they’re not good enough for God, or that they’ve done too many wrong things, or that they’re too sinful to be good enough for God. Blood for Blood‘s message to them is that God can meet you wherever you’re at and He’ll love you through it all.
The second audience is Christians. This book should serve as a reminder that Christians are always representing Christ with our actions. If we do something awesome, that represents Christ in an awesome way. If we do something stupid–well, let’s try not to represent Christ that way. How we treat people matters, whether they’re different from us or not. We need to be cognizant of our choices in this area now more than ever, and that’s a message that Christians everywhere need to hear more of. It’s something I need to be reminded of every day.
If you could give a copy of Blood for Blood to any one living person, who would it be?
If this means that they’re guaranteed to actually read the book, I’d probably send one to Oprah. Yeah, it’s shallow (hey, we all need book sales, right?), but she’s got a huge platform and I think she would be a good person to help me get the message–especially that second part I mentioned above–out to the public.
What do you put on your waffles?
Butter and maple syrup. I would consider adding bacon, because it’s bacon, but otherwise just the butter and the maple syrup is good enough for me.
The character of Raven is unique and complex. How do you think people can relate to him? How do YOU relate to him?
I’m glad you think he’s unique and complex. That’s a huge compliment to me. One of the areas where I struggle the most is in creating leading characters who aren’t flat and boring, actually, so I’m glad you thought he was cool.
I think people will relate to him in his uncertainty. I know I certainly do. Raven is uncertain about his new faith from the very beginning and throughout the entire book until almost the end. The moment he finally decides to really go for broke and surrender EVERYTHING to God is the key moment in his faith development.
I’m like that, only it’s a daily struggle. I am constantly fighting against surrendering to God, even though I should do it and need do it. I think a lot of American Christians are like that as well. We tend to think that we’ve got it under control, and we’ll just call on God when we get into a bind. But that’s not what God wants. He wants an ongoing relationship, not one of convenience. I struggle with this personally, and I definitely can learn from Raven’s story and character in this way.
If you could spend the day with one of the B4B characters, which would it be?
Oooh, tough one. I think I’d benefit the most from hanging out with Luco. My hope would be that he’d rub off on me in a good way. He could mentor me a bit in my faith.
Did the story take a lot of research? Tell us about that process.
It took a decent amount of research, yes. It’s set in the late 1800s, so i had to do a lot of reading to get a grasp on what life was like back then. Fortunately, I had just finished writing a historical western novel set in 1849, so I was already pretty familiar with the timeframe, although Blood for Blood occurred post-Civil War.
As for the vampire stuff, a lot of it was stuff I already knew. As I said above, I’ve been a vampire fan for awhile (I actually played Dracula in my high school production of Dracula, and that was awesome), so most of my research functioned more to confirm my vampiric knowledge rather than to learn stuff that was new.
What authors have influenced you the most?
Frank Peretti is responsible for me falling in love with reading and also for inspiring the desire within me to write. Robert Liparulo and Ted Dekker furthered that drive, and Randy Ingermanson and James Scott Bell both contributed a ton with their excellent work on teaching the craft of writing. More recently, Stephen King has become something of a favorite of mine.
What is your Halloween costume?
It’s highly likely that I’ll be going as Wolverine for Halloween this year. Gotta get some more mileage out of those claws.
So…. Are YOU a vampire?
Not that you know of. ;^[
Have you had a chance to read Blood for Blood yet? What do you think of it if you have? Have you read any other vampire novels?
Don’t forget to stop by Amazon to get your copy today – the 99 cent sale ends TONIGHT!
AND NOW, TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNER OF THE BLOOD FOR BLOOD GIVEAWAY!
My sister has done the honors, looked away, and pulled a folded piece of paper out of my cadet hat with The Princess Bride pin on it.
And the winner is….
Congratulations, Firiel! I’ll be contacting you shortly!
Thanks to everyone who entered, and for everyone who has stopped by!