Interview with Marcus Pelegrimas, author of Blood Blade

If you have not yet read it, I suggest you read my review of Blood Blade, the first book in the Skinners trilogy.  We were fortunate enough to get an interview with the author, Marcus Pelegrimas.  For those not familiar with him, Mr. Pelegrimas has written a good number of westerns and short stories in various other genres, primarily under the pseudonym of Marcus Galloway. This his first entry into dark fantasy/horror genre of the romantic persuasion.  If you want to learn more about him, you can look him up on his website at www.marcuspelegrimas.com.

And now, without further ado, here are the words of Mr. Pelegrimas himself regarding his latest novel.

marcus-pelegrimas

You’ve written works in a variety of genres. Which do you enjoy the most?

I really enjoy writing westerns, but horror and fantasy has always been my first love. The labels may change (horror / dark fantasy / urban fantasy / high fantasy / whatever), but anything with monsters has always had a special place in my heart. The very first stories I used to write when I was a little kid were about monsters and now that I get to write in this genre on a professional level, I’m truly excited!

Were there any challenges you encountered in writing Skinners that you may not have encountered in your previous works?

With most other genres, you have stricter parameters. Westerns are roped into (pun intended…sorry about that) a historical and geographical context. Mysteries have certain guidelines. These are also set, more or less, in the “real” world. Urban fantasy in general is set in our world, but there’s a lot more room to play. For Skinners specifically, my biggest challenge was writing a new take on vampires and werewolves. If you can’t do something new in such a popular genre, why bother? Then again, you can’t make things too different because then they’re not vampires or werewolves any longer. The Skinners were also a challenge because they’re completely my creation. Sure, they’re not the first monster hunters to be written, but they’ve got their own tools, weapons, fighting styles and history. They also have a unique way of existing in a world where technology makes keeping any secret pretty difficult. This was a challenging task as a writer, but was very fun. All of it is.

There are several video game references throughout the book. Are there any games in particular that may have inspired you when you created this story? If there are any, how did these games influence your writing?

I don’t think any games in particular inspired the story, but playing games has helped me think about things in a particular way. For example, when I play Gears of War, I think about the weapons they use, the pacing of the action and the gritty setting. I play God of War and think about creating fight sequences on an epic scale where one person takes on these brutal creatures hand-to-hand. Story driven games like Bioshock or Mass Effect show a relatively weak character evolve into a major hero (or villain). A direct influence on the story is how the main character (Cole) approaches the bizarre and overwhelming creatures that Skinners face. Cole is a gamer and he’s a video game designer, so when he’s faced with a mind-controlling vampire or a hulking shape shifter, he tries to think what he would do in a game. He looks for weaknesses, ways to exploit a chink in something’s armor, or solutions to problems as if he was solving a puzzle. The only way he can wrap his mind around confronting a werewolf is by thinking of that creature as a boss battle.

What would you say separates your series from other works in this genre?

First of all, I’ve tried to create vampires and werewolves in my own distinct style. I’ve been reading about these things for years and (like any other reader) have come up with certain gripes about popular myths. I’ve also come up with ways I’ve always wanted to do these things differently. Now, I get to do them any way I want. For example, I’ve made several different kinds of shape shifters that borrow from worldwide folklore as well as my own ideas. I created vampires and werewolves with a focus on why they are the way they are. What actually happens to a werewolf’s body when they change? Why would a stake through the heart kill a vampire when they can take so much other damage? Why, specifically, do they need to drink blood? A lot of these things are taken for granted because they just “are”. Werewolves are supposed to be this way. Vampires are supposed to be this other way. I get to create my own rules, but also come up with reasons why some of the old rules are wrong. Maybe some legends have been misinterpreted. Perhaps other popular beliefs are some sort of propaganda put out there by a few particular monsters.

Secondly, the Skinners themselves will separate this series from others. They’re a new kind of hunter that don’t rely on any powers, prophecies, or “chosen ones” to lead their fight. They’re humans who have trained to fight the supernatural. I like to think of this as the “Batman vs. Superman” factor. What makes Skinners truly special is that they have been doing this for centuries and have passed their lessons on down through the generations. They have learned ways to use a monster’s power or abilities for the hunters’ benefit. Like trappers from the 1800’s, they use the skin, teeth, claws, even blood of their prey. When you’re dealing with werewolves instead of buffalo, this poses a lot of unique possibilities. What would happen if a hunter could find a way to boil a vampire’s blood down to the essence that allows them to heal? If some creatures can become invisible, Skinners will find out WHY that happens and eventually find a way to use it themselves. It can get messy, but hunting monsters wasn’t supposed to be easy.

Do you see the Skinners saga extending beyond the initial trilogy?

I sure hope so! Coming up with a world, the unique rules of that world and the characters inhabiting it are the hard parts. After that, it’s a matter of letting my imagination run wild to come up with new ways of expanding that world. Here’s another part where video games have helped me. After you put a game down, you start to think of new things you wish you could have seen. What if this guy fought this other enemy? What if there was some other kind of threat? What was happening in this part of the story while the other stuff was going on? I’ve been thinking about that sort of thing for Skinners and have gotten really excited about all the different directions the story can go.

Can you give us a small hint of what us readers can expect in the next two books?

A small hint. These are always tricky. Let’s see. . .I’d say the second book is about escalation. At the end of the first book, there are hints as to what this could mean and which characters will be looking to make an impact on the world of humans. The third book is more about consequences. There are consequences for what the Skinners have done, how they’ve conducted themselves through their history and even how they’ve fought the antagonists in the first two books. It’s pretty general, I know, but you did ask for a small hint.


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