Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday and Interview with The Cowboy and the Vampire Authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Pick a page and a couple of teaser sentences from that page to share.

This is a special edition of Teaser Tuesday today.  The authors of The Cowboy and The Vampire, Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall, were kind enough to stop in for a visit today and answer a few questions.  First, a teaser from the book, and then continue reading for their interview!

Also, check out the review HERE for a chance to win a copy of The Cowboy and The Vampire.


“If I had to interview one more child of the darkness, complete with silly clothes and fake fangs, I’d happily drive a stake into my own heart…Yet, these people believed so earnestly that they were Vampires, swishing about the city in capes and combat boots, drinking their own blood, then scurrying off to their day jobs at espresso shops or hair salons.”

Page 20, Kindle Location 224

Description from Goodreads: 

Reporter Lizzie Vaughan doesn't realize it, but she has 2,000 years of royal Vampiric blood coursing through her veins. Neither she nor Tucker, her cowboy lover, has any idea that Julius, the leader of the undead, has a diabolical plan to reign over darkness for all eternity--with Lizzie at his side.

Lizzie battles for her life--and her soul--as she and Tucker find themselves caught up in a vampire war, pursued by hordes of Julius' maniacal, bloodthirsty followers.

Who will be left standing when the sun rises?




Note from Clark and Kathleen: We’re especially pleased to be interviewed on Books and Barks because our wonderful dog Rex was such a big part of lives together (picture included). Not only does he show up as a very important character in our book “The Cowboy and the Vampire,” we dedicated the book to Rex.


Basic one word answer "get to know you" type questions:

Vanilla or chocolate?

Kathleen: Dark chocolate

Clark: Vanilla if it’s frozen custard, otherwise chocolate (malted or egg cream)

Dogs or Cats?

Clark: Dogs (but cats are a close second)

Kathleen: Cats (but dogs are a close second)

Coke or Pepsi?

Kathleen: Pepsi (diet)

Clark: Not much of a soda drinker. I liked Coke when I was little, with peanuts dumped in it.

Coffee or Tea?

Clark: Coffee as a tool, tea (smoky Scottish Breakfast, preferably) to enjoy.

Kathleen: Coffee; a soy latte please.

Favorite vacation place?

Kathleen: The Oregon coast.

Clark: Iceland

Favorite color?

Clark: Grey

Kathleen: Green

What are you reading now?

Kathleen: Giraffe (J.M. Ledgard)

Clark: Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain (Taylor)

Favorite book of all time?

Clark: Les Miserables (Hugo)

Kathleen: Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

Now, onto the REAL questions:

Who influenced you the most as an author? What books were the most influential and why?

Clark: Louis L’Amour was an influential author in my early life. Growing up on a ranch in Montana, surrounded by the lore and daily experiences of western life, I read every single book he wrote — most of them twice. After that, I’d say the poet Rilke stands out. His Duino Elegies still strike me as some of the most powerful poetry ever written; I can still remember how it felt — and where I was — when I read them the first time. I’d like to think that my writing exists somewhere between those two: straightforward story-telling, grounded in a sense of place, mixed with — hopefully — elegant prose.

Kathleen: Susan Sontag was an influence. I admired her thoughtful and culturally influential essays, her towering intellect. But more important, her fiction — short stories and novels — embraced experimentation in writing, with different points of view and long run-on sentences that broke all the “rules.” But it’s a close tie with John LeCarre. I’ve read everything he has ever written and have never been disappointed, from his early Cold War spy books to more modern thrillers, he is a master storyteller, gets you hooked instantly.

2.) What was it like two write the Cowboy and the Vampire while living in two different cities, and also while continuing a long-distance romance?

We began writing The Cowboy and the Vampire as a “test” to see if we could make it as a couple. Several years before, we met working in a vegetarian restaurant and sparks flew but we were both married to different people at the time. When our paths crossed later, sparks flew again but we let the flames burn us out of control. We ended up taking a break for two years and then tried again, using the creative writing process to focus the energy for our “resurrected” love affair.

The idea for the novel came to us at a truck stop booth in Madras, half-way between Bend, Ore., where Clark lived and Portland, Ore., where Kathleen lived. We literally sketched the main plot line on the back of a paper placemat with a crayon.

In those days, not everyone had a computer, much less an email account so we actually wrote the first several chapters by hand and mailed them back and forth to edit. The process was pretty magical, giving us instant insight into each other’s thoughts and allowing us to quickly learn to give and take, and work together toward a common goal. In the space of three months, Clark moved to Portland. Within a year, The Cowboy and the Vampire was accepted by a publisher. Within 14 months, we were married. That was 13 years ago and we’re still working together. In fact, we forgot our last anniversary because we were so busy editing Blood and Whiskey, the sequel.

3.) The Cowboy and the Vampire was first released in the 90's and has now been re-released. Are you afraid of it getting lost in the crowd of other supernatural books? What makes yours stand out from the rest?

We are not worried about the competition — we’re thrilled by it. This opportunity for us to connect with new readers would not exist without the renewed interest in Vampires and paranormal fiction. So a big “thank you” to the Twilight fans and True Blood fans and all you other paranormalists for bringing Vampires back into the light, so to speak.

Beyond that, we think our book stands out well from the current offerings. First, we have an updated take on Vampires that brings together religious fervor with biological imperatives. Our Vampires don’t have fangs, but they are stronger than humans and harder to kill. At dawn, they die completely and are reborn when the sun goes down. That means they have near death experiences every morning.

There are two distinct Vampire lines: the Messianic line, a caste of nobles dating back to the early days of Christianity, and the less refined Reptilian line. The Messianic Vampire bloodline is genetically dormant — humans who carry it must be “turned” by Vampires with a unique power. The Messianic Vampires are guided by a biblical coda ostensibly requiring them to feed only on evil humans thus helping contain and eliminate evil in the world. The Reptilians, by contrast, reproduce the old fashioned way and have no biblical moral constraints. Dating back to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they feed on whomever they wish, whenever they wish, and live in a glorious world of immediately-satiated desires.

Another reason the book stands out is that it resonates with the power and passion of our own relationship. If writing TCATV together was a test for marriage, the finished product is a testament to the power of our relationship. All of the romance, mystery and heartaches of a new relationship are played out between Tucker and Lizzie.

It’s also funny, at times laugh-out-loud funny, despite some very serious, scary and Gothic horror. They are Vampires after all.

And then there’s Rex — an overly-sensitive cattle dog with the heart of a poet. He’s Tucker’s long-suffering sidekick. He’s fond of Lizzie — even though he suddenly has to start taking baths after she starts coming around — but the Vampires infuriate him. Especially Elita, who tries to eat him. More than once, Rex saves the day. Tucker is lucky to have such a great dog. Check out the photo of our “real” Rex that we based the character on. We rescued him from the pound and lived ten great years with him. As pointed in the dedication page of our book, he was a VERY good dog.

4.) Are the characters of Lizzie and Tucker based on anyone in particular? Yourselves perhaps?

Tucker and Lizzie were definitely based on the very best parts of our own lives together as we fell in love. Onto that framework, we added new characteristics — some we probably wish we had and others, the small and petty parts, we probably have in abundance. Then we drew from our unique and very different backgrounds to bring the characters to life. Clark was raised on a working ranch in Montana doing all the expected cowboy things — riding, roping, hunting and branding cattle — in the middle of a vast expanse of land. The nearest neighbor was five miles away, the nearest town – 2,500 people – was 30 miles away and he knows small time life well. Kathleen was born and raised in Washington, DC, and her experiences there, from protests and
riots to hanging out in the corridors of the Supreme Court and wandering around the Capitol filled her sense of place with history and granite. Our lives provided the perfect blueprint to capture the “worlds collide, opposites attract” romance of Tucker and Lizzie.

5.) Is there any news that you would like to tell your readers regarding the series or any other works that you are writing? Any idea of a release date for the second book in the trilogy?

We’re hard at work on Blood and Whiskey, the first of a trilogy that picks up where TCATV left off. It should be available after the first of the new year. Clark also just released an e-novella, Red Winter, available on Amazon and through Smashwords which widens the world we are creating for cowboys and vampires. Readers of The Cowboy and the Vampire know that LonePine will see its share of Vampires in another 120 years when Lizzie rolls into town. But in 1890, no one had yet imagined the kind of terror Jericho Whistler — the first Vampire to ever make it to the Old American West — brings with him to Wyoming when he hunkers down for a long winter of feasting on humans. Check it out too!

About the book:
The Cowboy and the Vampire brings together two of the most iconic characters — cowboys and vampires — and crashes them together in a story about love, culture clash and, of course, evil plans to take over the world. We’ve thrown in a healthy dose of laugh-out-loud humor, a rich portrayal of life in the modern West and fresh new take on the Vampire myth (religion meets evolutionary biology).

Learn more:

Follow us on Twitter: @cowboyvamp


Cowboy and the Vampire button

For more info on The Cowboy and the Vampire Book Tour, and to know what other sites are on the tour, click HERE.

Many thanks to Clark and Kathleen for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Hope everyone enjoyed the interview, and hope you check out their book.


  1. Glad to be here! Thanks for hosting us and asking such great interview questions!

  2. Thanks for the teaser and interview.
    Here is my Teaser

  3. Love the teaser! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Intrigued, may have to give this a shot! Thanks for stopping by!

    A Written Rhapsody

  5. Great teaser! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  6. Wow -- I have always loved vampire stories and recentlt got into cowboys..so I will have to check this out. Give the pups a hug!

  7. Great teaser and interview!

    Thanks for checking out my Teaser Tuesday. Happy Reading! Jen @ A Reader's Journey

  8. Cowboys AND vampires? Sounds intriguing :) Great teaser! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Cowboys, vampires and cute Rex? How can you go wrong? Loved the post! Great interview and teaser. They went well together.

  10. This sounds wonderful! Great teaser!

  11. Hey everybody, thanks for checking out our interview and letting us share in the fun (and talk about Rex!). Jennifer, thanks for hosting us and to everyone else, happy reading and happy trails!

  12. wow, that's a powerful description about vampires. i'd love to read that book. thanks for sharing the interview too... nice teaser :)

  13. Great teaser and interview! Have a great week. Thanks for stopping by earlier.

  14. I am really enjoying your interviews and learning more about the creation of The Cowboy and The Vampire; very interesting. Wicked teaser!

  15. Thanks again, everyone. Today is Clark's birthday and he said these great comments were the perfect gift!