Vampires never before appealed to David Patrick when he decided to write a whole series on the vampire mythology. Even after he finished his first book, he still had not seen a single movie, read a story, or played a video game on vampires. So what actually fascinated David in his childhood and adolescence, and why did he ever decide to publish a novel about vampires if he did not like them?
David struggled with reading at an early age but loved to draw—not doodles or scribbles but impressive sketches of his favorite cartoons, especially his favorite comedy Rocko’s Modern Life and his favorite drama Dragon Ball Z. Such a hobby only deterred him further from reading—a major source of inspiration for writers—but David quickly fell in love with the movie that would revolutionize his creativity.
After watching the original trilogy, David anxiously anticipated the forthcoming new episode that would commence the infamous prequel trilogy. He would later regard all six episodes as the greatest works of art and furthermore regard self-made billionaire George Lucas as a cinematic genius. Star Wars kindled a flame in David to tell stories. He could not afford a 35mm film camera, so he could not yet make a movie. But he could afford a No. 2 pencil and a college ruled notebook. David now found his new favorite hobby to occupy downtime during school hours.
David still had not been exposed to any vampire content. His parents raised him in a somewhat puritanical home and did not allow him to engage in any entertainment surrounding grotesque levels of violence, sexuality, or witchcraft.
But he loved space operas and science fiction, which largely influenced his writing. In fact, at the ripe old age of eight years he wrote his first rough draft—a whopping three pages with no title—about a tall, ominous figure inspired by Darth Vader and his brief travel to a barren planet where he built one of his military bases. Though Star Wars would remain his greatest inspiration, other movies would largely contribute to sculpting his style. Fast-forward four years, and David would find his next major influence in a classic science fiction masterpiece.
Hollywood regards James Cameron as another revolutionary director who in spite of less frequent movie releases always brings an incredible experience to the big screen. Though Titanic and Avatar sold the most tickets at the box office—well, unadjusted to inflation—David mostly drew elements for his writing from Cameron’s 1984 post-apocalyptic narrative about an evil cyborg from the future bent on murdering a young woman whose son leads mankind to victory in a war against sentient machines.
The concept of time travel in The Terminator shed light on quantum mechanics and the causal loop, or the ‘predestination paradox,’ which essentially suggests a marriage between the future and the past—a seamless timeline curved, not linear. The Terminator exemplified this as the leader of the human resistance John Connor sent his best friend Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother Sarah Connor with whom he falls in love and impregnates, therefore indicating that Kyle Reese is not only the best friend of John Connor but also his father. Needless to say, David spent a long time wrapping his mind around this fresh idea.
But exposure to the Terminator franchise almost immediately segued into another cinematic adventure with an equally influential movie that delved into the more obscure cyberpunk genre less common in the western world.
This amalgamation of philosophy, religion, and kung fu brought a whole new experience to movie junkies. Borrowing eclectic values from the major world religions, such as dualism and the spirit world, the Wachowskis put their own spin on these traditions with the notion of two realities—the real world in which machines have subdued the earth and taken most of humanity hostage within incubators to drain them of their body heat and electrical activity, and the simulated world, an enormous computer system in which the human hostages subconsciously live unaware that they are wired into a simulated reality otherwise known as ‘the Matrix.’
Philosophers of the modern day could write countless papers and deliver even more countless presentations on all the layers of truth that The Matrix offered on the human condition and our perception of the world and universe. Consider the ‘red pills’ that at one time trapped in the deception of the system now fight against the machines to free the rest of mankind—a fight to ‘free their minds.’ Politics and religion serve as two forces in a constant struggle between morality and corruption, either freeing the minds of those blindly bound to this allusive evil or manipulating the minds to further accept and even delight in this same bondage.
And that is only the tip of the iceberg, if hardly a scratch. Postmodernism, Messianism, and Fatalism are only three other theories tackled in the bowels of The Matrix anthology in addition to a plethora of other philosophical models. But sometimes the average fan of these classic films just wants to binge on the fluid martial arts choreography of these superhuman protagonists bending time and space against the corrupt programs.
Case in point, science fiction drove David at twelve years old to completing his first feature length novel that explored both time travel and human replication.
In all fairness, The Clone was a derivative plot of both the Terminator and Matrix franchises. David admits that had he ever published the work and garnered any success that people would likely see the obvious borrowed elements and that possibly some lawyers might call for their clients’ royalties lest a lawsuit transpire. Nevertheless, The Clone is still one of David’s most cherished stories, which he regards as the last “preliminary writing” before actually establishing any success with an original, or at least more innovated, plot—namely, the Nero Demare vampire series.
But with all these years of obsession over science fiction and space operas, why did David ever decide to write a book on vampires, and furthermore how did it evolve over the years into an even larger project and universe?
Here David did not find inspiration from a book, like the classic Bram Stoker’s Dracula or a modern pop culture TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a 90s baby, David resorted to a different medium of entertainment.
And which video game awakened a new idea?
David was a video game addict as a child, so much that his parents never punished him other than by restricting him from his video games. One day while perusing through an old Nintendo Power magazine, David stumbled upon a few pages previewing upcoming installments to the Castlevania series for the GameBoy Color—Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance.
The stellar graphics caught his eye, and the premise fascinated him. The long, silver-haired protagonist, dressed in some Victorian trench coat and armed with a knife and enchanted whip, trekked the whole castle of Count Dracula, overcoming all sorts of monsters, such as zombies and succubi, and facing a slew of bosses, typically demons like Baal or Beelzebub, or even death itself—the Grim Reaper—in a tattered cloak, wielding a scythe to harvest souls. And usually the final boss was Dracula, first in a humanoid form, followed by a monstrous transformation.
It was gorgeous; a perfect game to David, and he yearned for a movie adaption. However, just as David did not have the training or the funding to make a low budget Indy film, he also did not have the resources or coding knowledge to make a video game. So to resolve this challenge, David once again returned to his notepad—or laptop by then—and began the first draft of the Nero Demare vampire series.
What initially David wrote as a flash fiction of a battle between a warrior named Nero and the dark lord Count Dracula atop the highest tower of his castle evolved into a much bigger universe. David fell in love with his characters and storylines, fueled by images in his mind’s eye of the Castlevania video game series, and passionately wrote and finished his feature length vampire novel within a year and then published his esteemed work.
This achievement sparked a desire in David to write more vampire stories in the Nero Demare universe, but he knew he was ignorant of the vampire mythos, which drove him to research everything across multimedia during his college years. He became infatuated with the cross-cultural legends of the vampires so much that he begged his parents to let him drop out of college his senior year. But his parents compelled him to finish the program. One year later, David received his bachelor’s degree in English, refused to enter the workforce as a teacher, and instead returned to his studies of the vampire mythology to finish his next vampire story in the Nero Demare series.
While friends and former classmates taught high school English or enrolled in a Masters program, David worked odd jobs to pay the bills. One of these odd jobs was performing piano at a department store ten hours a week where he met a beautiful woman at the cosmetic counter who made a lot of requests, including her favorite late Romantic piece Clair de Lune. Ten months later, David married Miss Sarah Rose. With her theater background and obsession with Shakespeare, Sarah Rose helped David write more intricate and romantic subplots in his newer installments to the Nero Demare vampire series.
Now they both continue to binge on movies and TV shows together, including classic vampire flicks and Game of Thrones, which David regards as one of the most well written book series of all time. Castlevania has even become one of her favorite video games due to her fascination with the Victorian architecture and wardrobe—and weapons.
When David is not working on his next big story, he is composing music with his wife and jazz-fusion band S A L T on a Baldwin grand piano.