Shane O’Neill – Featured Author

Posted: December 29, 2012 in Featured Authors
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The Author - Shane O'NeillMeet Shane O’Neill who is on my blog today!

About Shane

Shane O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with Chronicle 3 to give his readers the vampire first. Chronicle 1 will follow to take you back to the beginning.

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid historian, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest.

Read our interview below and be sure to check out the excerpt too! I’d like to thank Shane for being on my blog!

What is your book about and what genre are you writing in?

On retail sites I have labelled it a Gothic horror novel, but it is so much more than that.  The book is an historical adventure it is a romantic tragedy, a paranormal fantasy with a lot of serious erotica.

The Dracula Chronicles are an epic journey through the ages where the forces of Light and Darkness struggle for supremacy until the Second Great War, as foretold in the Book of Revelations. This bitter feud began after the creation of mankind. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.

On a cold night in December 1431 in Sighisoara an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil. He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers. These chronicles are their story.

That is the overview essentially, but people who read the books will see there is so much more to the series.

Vol-1---Bound-by-Blood Kindle CoverHow did you come up with the title?

I needed a title that was relevant to a vampire novel.  And because it is Lucifer that makes Dracula immortal, binding them together through the act, I thought Bound By Blood would be perfect.

What motivates you to write?

Writing is what I have always wanted to do. I have not always dedicated myself fully to it, but I know now it is my vocation in life. With The Dracula Chronicles I have created this amazing world, and am desperate to share it with everyone, so they can see the same things that exist in my mind. But it does not end there. I have multitudes of stories and ideas to share and get out to a wider audience. This is what inspires me. But I want to convey it all in a way that people can feel inside, and be either shocked or moved by it. That is essential to me in all that I do as a writer.

Do you have a specific writing style or approach to writing your books? 

Yes, definitely.  In my younger days, and even in my earlier drafts of my books, I used to write sprawling prose and very long sentences.  Whereas I felt some people would like and appreciate that, I thought that the majority would not.  I wanted to write in a way that would hold appeal for everyone, knowing different people have different levels of literacy and different levels of interest. I wanted to reach people who speak English as a second language and maybe even people who read very little or even not at all.  Therefore, I completely changed my style. I focused on making my work much more concise and trimmed it down considerably.  I took out longer words and substituted words that are easier to understand, I shortened my sentences noticeably and concentrated on fluidity and readability.  I made it my goal to have something on every page to keep my reader interested so that when I delivered a shock, they would feel it.

What were the challenges (research, psychological and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Well, as a lover of history my biggest fear was to make an error with my historical content and be pulled up on it by an expert in the field.  Therefore, I have had to be meticulous with my preparation to ensure I got it right.  And then to maintain historical accuracy around my premise threw a few obstacles my way that I had to negotiate.  I also wanted to create a fresh Dracula legend that lovers of vampire lore would like and admire and that was uppermost in my mind as I put this project together.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure, I would love to.  This is from Chapter 14 – November, 1494. Dracula’s oldest living enemy, Vintila Florescu, sits alone at home awaiting death. His son and heir, Victor, have been murdered and his head sent to him in a box.

The men paused to reflect on their conversation.  Florescu had heard enough.  He stepped away from the window and sat down in his chair.  It was the most plausible explanation for what had happened.  But to murder his son and then send him his head?  That was personal and indicated a real grudge.  Could his nephew dislike him that much?  It gave him plenty to ponder.

He gazed at Victor’s head where it had spent the last four days on the table in front of him.  His tears had long dried up now.  They would do Victor no good.  He was a broken man.  If Death were to call, he would be welcomed.  He sighed hard and then, drinking the last of the wine in his cup, he drifted off to sleep.

His dreams took him back to another time.  He was much younger then.  Dead bodies littered the streets from the fighting.  Smoke hung over the city from the buildings that burned in the aftermath.

A woman stood naked at the gallows.  A rope hung around her neck.  He grinned at her, though she did not seem afraid.  Even then as her moment of death was upon her she showed only strength.  She stared at him, her eyes full of hate.  He hated her as much, but secretly admired her resolve.

Her face remained engrained there in his mind.  He pushed her down naked on her bed.  The bed she had only ever shared with her husband.  He forced her to watch in the mirror, as he took her from behind.  Holding her by the hair their eyes met in the glass.  The first silent exchange of hatred passed between them.

He then sat in a chair.  One after another his men took turns with her while he watched.  He loved every one of her cries though she fought hard to stifle them.  Pound the Draculesti whore his men encouraged each other.  One at a time they did.

Her face remained there.  Purple and swollen it turned as the rope tightened around her neck.  Her legs dangled free, kicking aimlessly against the cold night breeze.  A tongue black and swollen protruded from her mouth.  Her eyes bulged as the noose slowly choked the life out of her.  Yet still they burned into his.

He turned his focus on a man much younger than he.  A son crushed by the image of his mother dangling from a rope.  One who had already brought himself much honour on the battlefield.  Battered and bruised, he looked up defiantly.  On his knees he cursed them, each and every one.

Florescu looked down at the hot coals nearby.  He picked out an iron, its metal red and glowing.  A thousand sparks flew against the darkness when he blew on its tip.  The young man eyed it with fear.  He struggled against those who held him down.  It did him no good.

He pressed the hot iron against soft flesh.  A loud hiss followed by the most horrible scream.  Then silence as the molten iron ate through all in its wake.  Flesh and bone melted into one.  He saw a blinded convulsing body thrown down into an open grave.  It was an image he could not escape.

What are your current projects?

Following the release of Bound By Blood there will be a series of horror shorts and then an anthology called Tales Of The Black Sabbath, which will have variant endings from the originals.

The next volume from The Dracula Chronicles – The Gates Of Babylon – will surface in 2013.

When do you like to write, morning or night?

Definitely at night.  In a perfect world I would sit down to write around midnight and work through until dawn, as I have done so many times in the past.  The night is so quiet and there are rarely any distractions, which makes a perfect atmosphere for writing.

What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from your books?

Yes, the beginning of Chapter 21.  It is quite a touching passage and many people have commented so to me.  I’ll share it with you here.

A location near Cluj in Transylvania. March 1502. Dracula’s twin soul, Andrei, is waking with his wife in their tent.

Antonia awoke at the crack of dawn.  The morning was cold.  She thought about getting up, but did not feel too good.  It was warm beneath the blanket.  She decided to remain there and snuggled into her husband.

Andrei groaned in his sleep.  She smiled at the familiar sound.  They had not spent much time apart in their fifty-four years of marriage.  One night a month he sloped off.  At sunset on the thirteenth day the Dark Ones could see him.  It meant he had to go well away from his loved ones.  He would find a quiet spot to hide and build up his defences.  Then and only then were they ever away from each other.

She groaned too.  Her bones felt stiff and ached when she moved.  For a while she had not felt too well.  Andrei sensed it, but she never let on.  When he did ask she assured him she was fine.  They had known each other from birth and wed at seventeen.  He trusted her word even though he sensed otherwise.

He felt warm as always.  She moved her knees in behind his and moulded into him until they were one.  The padding beneath them was a comfort.  She was glad of it.  They needed it at their age sleeping against the hard ground.

That was one of the many things she loved about him.  He did everything he could to ensure her comfort.  She deserved it he said.  Everything he had she had given to him.  Six sons in their first ten years together.

After the split with the tribe many years ago they raised and nurtured their sons alone.  She watched her boys grow into fine young men.  Each one was the image of their father in one way or another.  He proved the perfect role model.

In time her boys all fell in love and married.  Their wives joined them so as not to break the family unit.  The unions produced another twenty children.  Eight of those had married to produce a half a dozen more.  It capped a perfect life for her.  She lay there thinking if her time came now she could have no complaints.

Andrei stirred when she moved against him.  He reached back with a hand and rubbed her thigh.  She wrapped an arm around him and snuggled up closer.  “Good morning, my love,” she whispered.

He shifted slowly around to face her.  His body ached too.  “You are awake?”

“I always wake before you,” she smiled.

“That is what you keep telling me.”

She reached her head up a touch to kiss him.  “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

He pulled her in closer.  They locked in a tight embrace and kissed again, slowly.

“You are such a beautiful man,” she said, barely above a whisper.

“I am what you have made me.”

“No, my love.  This has always been you.”

“It is as well for me then that I am.  Or you may not have loved me.”

“I have always loved you.  How could I not?”

“It helps me know how lucky I have been when you say such things.”

“I am the lucky one,” she said, kissing his neck gently.  “I have been blessed.  I and our children.  What more could a woman ever want from a man than you have given me?”

He held her tight in his arms.  The same rush of love that had passed through him almost every day of his life did so again.  “You still take my breath away.”

She nuzzled into his neck.  “Thank you,” she said.  “You have given me a wonderful life.”

He pulled away a touch.  “You say that as though it is about to come to an end?”

“We are old, Andrei.  It cannot be that far away.  For either of us.”

“Well not quite yet.  I am not ready for you to go.”

“Do we have a say in such things?”

“I do.  You know I have stopped people from crossing over.”

“Yes I know.  But promise me one thing.”

“What, my love?”

“When it is my time, let me go.”

“It is not your time.”

“Promise me.”

He sighed.  “I promise.”

“My body is tired.  I do not know how much more it can give me.”

“You need to rest.  That is all.  We will not travel for a time.”

“A rest will be nice.”

“Until you feel better.  I am not ready to carry on without you yet.”

“We can never be ready for such things.”

“Not I anyway.  My earliest memories are all of you.”

“Mine too.”

“I love you, Antonia.”

“And I love you, Andrei.”

He heard her gasp quietly.  “Antonia?”

Her body fell limp at his side.

“Antonia?” he said again.  He moved back and sat up.

He looked down at his wife.  She lay with her eyes closed and her lips slightly apart.  Tears welled in his eyes.  He knew she had gone.  A terrible feeling crawled through him from the pit of his stomach.  A feeling of dread and loss.

He raised her up in his arms and cradled her head into his chest.  Her hair still smelt so good.  He stroked it softly, as he rocked her gently back and forth.

The tears flowed freely down his face.  “How can I go on without you?” he cried quietly.  “I do not want to.”

He felt so tempted to lay her down and breathe life back into her.  Many times in his life he had done such a thing.  But he knew he could not do that for her.  He promised her that he would not.  She knew it was her time.  That is why she said it.

Andrei looked up.  Her soul rose from her body.  It stood only a foot away, looking somewhere far off.  He reached out to touch it, but his hand passed through.

“Please do not take her from me yet,” he begged.  “Give me a little more time.”

He hummed a soft tune.  It was the one she loved most of all of the few he kept in his head.  He used to do it over her swollen belly during each of her pregnancies.  She always said it was the reason their sons were all at peace with the world when they were born.  How he wished he could relive one of those times.

Her soul turned to look at him and smiled.  He looked up through teary eyes and smiled back.  “Do not go yet.”

A light shone through the tent.  It touched against Antonia’s soul.  They were coming for her.

He cried harder.  What is there without her?  He had not known a world that did not have her in it.  Yet now he was going to discover just that.  His heart felt heavy.  After saying goodbye to her he knew he had only one thing left to do in his life.  Then there was nothing more for him.

The light grew brighter and her soul turned to face it.  He could see the excitement on the face of all that was left of his wife.  It should have made him happy.  Instead it devastated him.  Very soon they would take her.  That would be his last moment with her in the mortal sphere.

Then he saw them.  He laid her body down gently and jumped to his feet.  Her soul reached out with both arms.  The White Ones walked up to her and took it by the hands.  He fell to his knees in despair.  They did not even look at him.

He dived full length to try and come between them.  His efforts proved in vain.  He passed straight through them and hit the ground.

They stopped.  Antonia turned to look at him.  “I have to go, Andrei,” she smiled.  “Do not be sad.”

He fell back on his haunches.  His heart ached.  He needed her so badly.

“Do what you must do,” she said.  “And then come to me.  I will be waiting.”

She smiled and blew him a kiss.  “I love you.”  Then she turned towards the light.

With that it disappeared and they were gone.  He dragged himself back over to where her body lay alone on the blanket.  Lying down beside her he pulled it over them both.  He wrapped his arms around her and held her close and cried.

Shane O’Neill is the writer of The Dracula Chronicles, a new and exciting series adding a new dimension to the Dracula myth. He has begun the series with Chronicle 3 to give his readers the vampire first. Chronicle 1 will follow to take you back to the beginning.

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there. An avid historian, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels he likes to search out locations with an historical interest.

Contact Shane

Website www.draculachronicles.co.uk

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Shane-KP-ONeill/e/B00A75SM4O/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

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Comments
  1. Hola! I’ve been reading your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!

  2. C. L. Pardington says:

    Hi Ally & Shane,

    Great interview! I loved the excerpt. I will definitely be buying these books. 🙂

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