Guest Post: Willie Meikle
Note: today’s guest post is from a good friend of mine and an amazing writer, Willie Meikle. He’s got some fantastic fiction available for ebook readers. Read on and find out where he draws his inspiration from. – Jon
What inspires me.
There were two main points of inspiration for my vampire series, vamps themselves, and Hadrian’s wall on the Scotland/England border.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to vamps – mine are evil, bloodsucking bas*ards. They don’t have souls, they don’t have good dress sense and they don’t get to snog Sarah Michelle Geller. Oh, and they’ll bite anything, not just ladies with big, exposed, bosoms.
I’ve walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall several times, and I’ve been to Culloden Moor where the final battle takes place. I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as “weird sh*t”. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.
Which brings me to The Watchers trilogy, my retelling of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion in Britain. Bonnie Prince Charlie, and all his highland army, are Vampires and are heading south to claim the British throne. The “Watchers” of the title are the guards of the old Roman wall built by Hadrian, now reinforced to keep the vamps out. It is constantly patrolled by officers of the Watch, two of whom become the main protagonists of the series. I got the idea on a walk along what is left of the wall, and by the time I’d had finished my walk and had a few beers the first part of the trilogy was fully formed in my head. Think “ZULU” or “Last of the Mohicans” with vamps and you’ll get a feel of what I was trying to do.
I was dealing with a retelling of the Bonnie Prince Charlie story, where romantic myths have subsumed the harsh reality of a coup gone badly wrong. I needed to strip all the romance out of the Highlanders and build them up from the bottom. Making them a shambling army of vamps and mindless drones seemed an obvious place to start. The Watchers series is a swashbuckler, but there is little lace and finery.
What I do have is blood and thunder, death and glory in big scale battles and small scale heartbreak. I love it.