Today we are joined by writer Rich Davis to talk about his new book The Cult of Dracula out now from Source Point Press! Him and Melissa chatted about Cult of Dracula, vampire mythology and some of his former jobs: he owned a comic book shop, a theater, and he worked on presidential campaigns!
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Rich Davis – Interview
[00:00:00] Melissa: This is spoiler country and I’m Alyssa surgeo today on the show. I’m excited to welcome comic book writer, rich Davis. Welcome to the
Rich Davis: show. Hey, thanks so much for having me, Melissa. Glad to be here.
Melissa: Awesome. Thank you. How are you doing this evening?
Rich Davis: I am doing fantastically well, considering we’re actually getting cold weather here in the South where it’s not supposed to
Melissa: get cold.
Yeah, that’s very, that’s a rare where in the South are you? Whereabouts
Rich Davis: I’m in Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Melissa: Okay. All right. I’m in California. We’ve had lots of rain lately,
Rich Davis: right. And you’re not supposed to get rain out there. So
Melissa: exactly. Especially in central California. And we have weird weather here anyways.
It’s it’s like not hot when it’s supposed to be. And you know, lots of fog. So I want to get right into it. You have a new comic book coming out called the cult of Dracula, which is right up my alley, by the way. I’m a huge, huge [00:01:00] vampire lover as, so I’m excited to to learn more about this. Tell me what is the book about and what inspired you to, to write this?
Rich Davis: Sure. The basic premise of Colton Dracula. Is to take the original Brahms Stoker mythology, and re-imagine it within a Charles Manson, Jim Jones inspired cult. And that’s, that’s kind of the seed that we began with. And from there I began toying with different vampire mythologies from around the world.
And I wanted to do something that made cultural Dracula a little bit different from just your standard. Dracula remake. And so I decided after researching a lot of different mythologies, I kept coming across these, this very common story that seems to exist in just about every culture that you can imagine [00:02:00] throughout all of human history.
There’s always a dark. Outcast ostracized woman who stalks the darkness and feeds off of the blood of children. And so I decided that would be a really interesting take for cult the Dracula. So rather than making Dracula a kind of stuffy Victorian gentlemen in a tuxedo. We may Dracula a woman. And so we began tying all of these different apologies, these scary stories together, and we’re able to kind of create this new mythos that ties all the way back to Lilith and the beginning of of scary stories.
Melissa: That’s really cool. I did not know that I read some blurbs and I know the book’s not out yet. So I wanted to get your take on, on what it was about and that I was not expecting that. So that’s really interesting. I’m very intrigued. [00:03:00] So, so it is supernatural though. It’s not like a modern day. I don’t want to say modern day.
I mean, it’s not like you’re trying to humanize the characters. They’re still, she’s still gonna have that. The blood drinking aspect and the supernatural life.
Rich Davis: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s very much in keeping with Gothic literature. Which you know, that that was a huge inspiration you know, things you know, going back Dracula, of course, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Northanger, Abbey you know, there’s just those classic Gothic tales.
And of course they all involve the supernatural Features. So yeah, supernatural definitely features very heavily in cultive Dracula. These are, these are definitely vampires. They definitely drink blood. They have a lot of other powers and things that you’ll associate with different vampire mythologies, and we probably pull some things in there that You know that some readers may not be directly familiar with as part of vampire mythology, because we did, we did look at different legends from [00:04:00] around the world, even things like the native American when they go we tie aspects of that into the story.
So definitely you’ll get a lot of what you’re looking for as far as traditional vampires, but you’re going to be surprised. I hope with some of the the, the new directions we decided
Melissa: to go. Okay. Cool. And are your vampires gold glamorized or romanticized in a sense, or are they more like, are they vampire diaries or are they 30 days of night?
Rich Davis: They’re closer to 30 days of night. You know, they’re definitely not definitely not the Anne rice style vampires. Although I love Anne rice. I’ve read. I think every one of her books at least twice. And she was a huge influence on me growing up and how I write. But the vampires and cult Dracula have two forms.
They have a human form and they also have a monstrous form and the monstrous form. Comes out more and more the deeper into the book we go they become less and less [00:05:00] human and more and more monstrous. But yeah, we’re definitely not going down the, the vampire diaries or the Twilight route, although I have a great deal of respect for both of those.
They’re just a different kind of story than what I wanted to tell. Yeah. You’re
Melissa: more going down that horror route, essentially.
Rich Davis: Absolutely. Culture Dracula is a pure. Horror story. I am a huge fan of horror films or books, and I really wanted to create a story that I would be proud of as a horror fan.
And I hope that, you know, horror fans and fanatics all over the world are Engaged and impressed by what we’ve got going on here.
Melissa: Okay. Now, without giving too much away. And if he can’t talk about it, I, I understand cause you don’t want to spoil too much, but do you introduce any other types of supernatural creatures, like werewolves or witches or anything like
Rich Davis: that there?
There aren’t any other supernatural beings per se Well, you know what, I’m going to take that back [00:06:00] because we do explore the origins of Lillis. And so that does involve angels and demons and things like that. So we do try to tie them together. And then a lot of the mythologies that we drew from.
From around the world involve other creatures that we may not always associate with vampires, but in other cultures they have been considered to have vampire like traits, things like Lamea and mermaids sirens, the Windigo things like that. They have commonality with. Our modern interpretation of vampires in the Hindu culture, the natala things like that.
We do tie that into the mythology, but you know, there’s no there’s no ghosts or werewolves or which is. W or anything like that, it definitely sticks to tying these different vampiric creatures into themselves.
Melissa: Okay. So it sounds like you did a lot of research, [00:07:00] which is, which is awesome.
Rich Davis: Yes, I absolutely did.
Probably more than I needed to, but it was, it was fun research. I mean, enjoy reading these stories and things and uncovering all these, you know, you just little legends that people have told around campfires for, you know, for generations. I mean, it’s really cool to discover those things and you know, it’s like you start pulling one thread and it leads you over here and then that leads you over to there.
So yeah, it was, it was quite a bit of fun.
Melissa: Yeah, no. And one of my favorite mythologies of vampires is, is the labia, you know, story. And I actually, I based an entire book around that mythology as well. Yeah, I know she’s it was just, there’s so much darkness there. And it’s so like you were saying more of the horror vein rather than like the romanticized vein.
What I also found interesting when I was reading about you was that you kind of. Delve into the the brides of, of Dracula. And it [00:08:00] kind of reminded me somewhat of the casket girls from new Orleans. What made you, you know, what inspired you to kind of delve into that? Because as as we all know, they don’t really in the original Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
You don’t get to know much about the brides. They’re just sort of there, you know, as, you know, accompany. Minions, whatever you want to call them. So what, what inspired you to kind of delve into that?
Rich Davis: Yeah, I’ve always found the brides to be very fascinating creatures and you know, you’re right in Stoker’s original work there.
They’re barely referenced maybe three times throughout the entire novel, but they make such an impact on the overall story. Or at least they made an impact on me. Growing up, reading it, and then later watching the Francis Ford Coppola adaptation with the film and, you know, Stoker used them to symbolize everything that a Victorian man was afraid of, you know, a woman, you know, [00:09:00] she’s independent and sexually voracious.
And so they served a purpose in his book, which, you know, Dracula is often viewed as a commentary on Victorian hypocrisy towards sexuality. So in that context, they serve a very symbolic role, but I wanted soon. Explore them more and give them their own individual individuality, they’re their own unique backstories.
And because in, in cult Dracula, the brides serve kind of as Dracula as Harold’s like, they arrive first before we ever meet. Dracula. And they, you know, we, we, we toy around with them and we, you know, we kind of get the idea that they’ve been with Dracula for a very, very long time. They they’re kind of high priestesses in any way.
And so I felt like they needed, especially in our modern era. You know, when we actually [00:10:00] do get to read awesome stories about amazing female characters you know, it’s, it’s not good enough anymore just to give a simple black and white. Oh yeah. Here’s the sexy brides. You know, I wanted to explore them a little bit more and give them their own.
Identities, they still function as, and have a hive mind, if you want to think of like star Trek’s board, you know, they, they, they can speak in unison and they often act in unison, but they have also their own individual qualities. You know, one of them Akasha is I, they each have names. So Akasha is a new beginning, a priestess.
So she was turned. You know, a couple thousand years ago and Cigna was a Viking skulled and is a Japanese sorceress. And so again, tying all of these different cultures and different. Mythologies into our vampire legend. Not only gives them depth and individuality, but I think it also gives the story some depth and hopefully it’ll make people want [00:11:00] to Think a little bit more and maybe explore a little bit more with these characters.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s a really interesting way to do it actually is by using like how to utilize those mythologies by giving, assigning one, essentially to each, you know bride. I think that’s really it’s really clever.
Rich Davis: Yeah. And it was fun. I mean, researching the way that. Like, for example, the way the Vikings viewed their stalls and women who the seers, you know, Skylar is really more of a, a beret or a Siri teller, but, you know, see, or is kind of a generic word to use.
And blended those together. But you know, it was deans, they were very important to the to the North culture and they had a very prominent and respected role in society and the, and they genuinely believed that they had mystical powers. So, you know, it, it fed right into what we were trying to do with Dracula.
And of course, you know, the Nubian religion there [00:12:00] were priestesses who could interpret mystical things and also see across the veil talk to the dead. So all of these things just made sense. Once we, I started tying them together and it was, it was really, really fun to to develop these characters that way.
Melissa: really cool. Were you influenced at all by like the Greeks you know, like the fates and the theories?
Rich Davis: Yes, absolutely. That, that Greek mythology, I loved studying that when I was younger. So definitely. Tying in a lot of Greek mythologies to the story of Medusa. I have Medusa on my list as a descendant of Dracula, just given her story about how tragic it was.
I thought she fit well. Within the mythology and then also the the Viking NORNS you know, they’re the, they’re the three, the weird sisters who sit at the the foot of the tree of life and they weaned people’s fates together. And so the variety, it’s a function. [00:13:00] Quite a bit like that.
And they represent, like, you’ll see some of the, like some of the tattoos and the runic markings that they’ll have people who were into that sort of thing might recognize some of that symbology from from those different cultures and religions.
Melissa: Sounds like you could even do can’t hurry. I’m just deciding for you.
Now you could even do like a spinoff series just on them. You know, I mean, it just like there, I mean, I know they’re tied to Dracula, but it would be an interesting thing to explore. I dunno, like maybe before they became with the Dracula, you know, like that backstory prequel type of stuff. I think it’d be really interesting.
Cause you’ve, you’ve really done your research and really flesh these characters out.
Rich Davis: Yeah, I would love to do that. I’ve actually kind of bounced the idea around with source point to maybe do some, one shots on the brides. You know, I knew they were going to be probably the biggest breakout characters.
Like, you know, if, you know, getting way, way ahead of myself, but if any characters from cult of Dracula really broke out [00:14:00] and became popular that I, I thought it would be the brides. Because they’re just so unique and mysterious. And so I’ve been bouncing around the idea of maybe doing you know, some, one shots featuring each one of them and kind of their origin stories and how they became a brides of Dracula.
And so that, that’s definitely a possibility that we’re going to explore.
Melissa: Oh, cool. And you mentioned the, that Dracula’s ability to, to have a human form and a monster farm. Do you also touch on any of the you know, the Bram Stoker’s like shape shifting, you know, into the wool for the, or the bad or anything like that?
Rich Davis: Yeah, we do. We don’t go full on animal shape-shifting, but When they shift into their monstrous forms Dracula, especially has the ability to appear like a different person can kind of change their, her visage so that she can project things that you, that [00:15:00] someone looking at her might want to see.
And then of course the monstrous form you know, she has kind of. She can manifest giant wings like a bat and scaly skin. I tied a lot of serpent mythology into into Dracula. So from the waist down she developed kind of a serpent’s tail. So not directly the Wolf or the bat or the mist.
But we do heavily imply those things. Just as kind of nods. To Stoker’s original intent. Especially the mist, the fog fog plays a pretty prominent role later on in the book. So we play with that quite a bit.
Melissa: And can we expect any traditional not traditional, I should say original characters like Lucy or
Rich Davis: Meena.
There all of your familiar, all of your characters that you’re familiar with from Rob surfers, Dracula are going to be present in cultive Dracula. They’re just re-imagined and more in a more [00:16:00] modern setting. For example Lucy. Is a she’s kind of our fairy, like ingenue who has she’s a cult member.
She’s been a member of the cult pretty much her entire life grown up in it. And her her relationship with Arthur Homewood plays a pretty prominent role. He is a modern investment banker who was disgraced. He got involved in kind of a Bernie Madoff. Style scheme. And so he ended up at the cult kind of CP redemption Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker.
And they are graduate students working on a documentary about the cult of Dracula. And so their professor is Abraham van Helsing. We created. Created him as a defrocked priest who something happened to him to where he was, he was stripped of his priesthood. So he became a college professor.
And now he’s part of this crew. That’s brought them to you know, to this cult and and of [00:17:00] course Renfield Renfield is very heavily modeled after Charles Manson and Jim Jones, David Koresh. He is. He’s the public face of the cult of Dracula. He is the guru, the mystic you know, the, the leader that people look to.
So all of your characters that you’re familiar with are going to be there just in slightly different forms,
Melissa: reimagined. Yeah,
Rich Davis: that’s really cool.
Melissa: That’s really cool. What’s C what’s the timeline as far as it is modern day, right? Or is it okay? It is. So it’s not the Victorian Victorian era.
Rich Davis: No. It’s a, the story is a broken timeline.
I grew up obsessed with Quentin Tarantino’s films, especially things like pulp fiction and reservoir dogs and kill bill. So I really, really, really resonate with the the broken timeline style of storytelling. So The book opens in present day. We meet a character. Actually the only original character in the the book is agent Malcolm [00:18:00] Brahm.
And he is a, he’s an FBI agent. Who’s here to investigate. What’s called the cult of Dracula mass suicide event. And so when we’re following him, we’re in present day. When we shift over our point of view to follow Nina we’re jumping back three days prior to agent Braum, arriving to investigate.
And then as we go deeper into the book the timelines start to kind of blur and shift and we jumped back to we jumped back to the 1940s. We jumped back in time. You know, w we shift timelines several, several times and the deeper you go into the book the more and more difficult it becomes to determine not only where you are, but when you are, and that’s on purpose, because I want the reader as they go into the book, I want them to feel disoriented and confused and almost [00:19:00] overwhelmed by the Colts in the same way that Mina and.
Know, our, our main characters. I want them to experience a little bit of that as they read. So it’s a, it’s a rapidly increasing spiral down down a deep, deep rabbit hole.
Melissa: I love it. And how many issues do you have planned?
Rich Davis: Okay, so for cultive Dracula, there will be six issues. It’s and then source point has exercised its option to publish.
The next two volumes which we’re calling rise of Dracula and rain of Dracula, and those will, so B six issues are and so total of 18 issues. But the first of the first arc is a, is six issues. Oh,
Melissa: that’s great. That’s awesome that you have more planned and you get to do more research and get to that plotting and stuff.
Rich Davis: Looking, looking forward to it quite a bit, actually. Oh
Melissa: yeah, no, that’s exciting. And where does second sight come into all of this?
Rich Davis: So second site was my original publisher. We kind of took a long, strange. Trip to get where we [00:20:00] are today. And we started with second sight last last.
August was when I I connected with them and we we published the first issue and released it it to comic book stores. We sold about 10,000 copies of that first that first issue and. I, it was a little bit of a support. Well, okay. It should be Frank. It was a lot of, a bit of a surprise that it kind of caught fire the way it did.
And I think it kind of overwhelmed second sight just a little bit. I mean, they’re, they’re great people over there. They did so much to help me get started. But eventually it got to a point where. They realistically couldn’t distribute the book on the scale that it, that it needed. So they were kind enough to recognize that and to support me enough.
They, you know, they really wanted the best for me and the best for the book. So they were very much in favor. Of me taking the book to source point, press a source point [00:21:00] as a significantly larger publisher than second site. They have more of an infrastructure and a distribution network, and they were able to help me get the book out and really start to penetrate into the comic book markets.
So. I’m very, very grateful to all the opportunities that second site gave me. And but I’m also extremely happy to be at source point
Melissa: crest. Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. It all worked out for the best, you know, it happens in publishing, you know and I think that’s cool that you guys, you know, split amicably and you know, that’s always nice when you hear of people going that route rather than, you know, the horror stories you hear about other people.
Rich Davis: Absolutely. And you know, it, ultimately it worked out best for everyone because it freed second site up to be able to focus on the other artists and the other titles that they were bringing into the fold. And then it, it freed me up to get a larger distribution network. So I think everyone in the end was much better off You know, we were, we were both very, we [00:22:00] benefited greatly from the relationship in the beginning, but we also were better off once we decided to split in the end, then, you know, it really was a win-win for everybody.
And I wish them the best and I know they wished me the best as well, so very, very happy that it was an amicable. Arrangement.
Melissa: That’s cool. That’s awesome. And you have you know, incredible artwork as well in, in the culture of Dracula. Yeah. And I I’d mentioned to you before we went on about the poster that’s that’s behind you is absolutely gorgeous.
Tell me about the artists and the very uncovers and what was that like collaborating?
Rich Davis: It was insane, honestly, you know, I, at this time, A year ago or two years ago, if you told me that that Shannon Mayer would be doing a cover for cultural Dracula, more that I would be sending Luciano Kareo, a terrible stick figure drawing.
To to show him kind of what I wanted to [00:23:00] see in a cover. You know, or if you told me I was going to even be having the conversations with some of the artists that that are working on this book, I would have laughed at you because, you know, I’m, I’m a, nobody in the comic book world. I mean, I’m just a kid from Tennessee.
And I shouldn’t be able to have even. Talk to these people yet here they are working on my book. You know, people in Perla, Colin and Ryan Kincaid and and Alex, Ryan, and Marissa Pope. I mean, just so brilliantly talented artists. I know. And say who who’s a Korean. I mean, he’s really, and I can’t wait to be able to show his artwork to the world, but yeah, it’s really awesome and really humbling.
And sometimes I just can’t believe it, that I’m actually working with these people and that, you know, I’m, I’m actually, I’m on Facebook messenger and I’m having a conversation with these people that I’ve just seen. I’ve admired their art for so long. And you know, here they are. You know, just thrilled as can be, to be working on my little [00:24:00] book.
And it is so crazy, man. It really, really is. I, you know, I keep joking halfway joking. I don’t know when my 15 minutes of fame is up, but I am totally enjoying every single second of it that I can.
Melissa: Yeah, no, and I don’t think it, I don’t think it will be up. I mean, I think that if you, you know, you keep writing and producing, you know, great material.
I mean, you already have the in, so now it’s just, you know, keeping up with the work and it’s, it’s a lot of course, but I mean, I think you should definitely, don’t worry about it. I think you’re on the right path, you know?
Rich Davis: Yeah, I’m going to do my best. You know, I’m just, I’m enjoying this while I can. I’m really enjoying a writing goal to Dracula.
I love telling the story and you know, second side has been very kind to offer asked me to pitch some other things to them. So I plan on doing that. I’m working on a couple of other original IPS for myself. And of course I’d love for source point to publish those, but yeah, I’m just going to keep doing this until they tell me I can’t do it anymore.
[00:25:00] And then I’ll probably keep doing it anyway. You just won’t hear about it.
Melissa: Well, how did you, so you, how long have you been actually writing comics? I mean, I know this is your debut but like when did you. You know, cause we all work in the shadows before we actually publish. So how long have you been at this?
Rich Davis: You know, I’ve been working on culta Dracula as a comic now for almost almost five years. And prior to that it was an original stage play that I wrote back in 2013. It was produced at the Brown coat theater in Wilmington, North Carolina. And from there I started adapting it into a screenplay.
And so I worked on that for a long while. And of course I was doing this in between you know, there for a long while I owned a, I owned a theater. That’s my primary background in the theater world theater and film, and Then once I got out of the theater business sold that I opened up a comic book store and you know, and so just between, yeah, between my [00:26:00] normal everyday life and putting this together, working on the comic, you know, late nights and weekends and any spare moment that I had, you know, it’s, it’s taken me longer than probably most comic book writers take.
But you know, I hope to have more time to kind of do this, you know, maybe as my primary focus you know, in the future, I don’t know if I’ll ever be on, you know, like like a Brian, Michael Bendis or a, of mine. And you’re going to sit there and write 10 different books at a time. I
Melissa: don’t know how people do that.
Rich Davis: I don’t know, I don’t, I couldn’t keep the voices straight in my head. I mean, I could barely keep them straight in my head just working on one book. I can’t imagine writing as many as they do. You know,
th they’re they’re insane. Insanely talented. I, I. That level of ability is just so inspiring. And you know, I, I hope to be able to work on maybe one book at a time, maybe two. But yeah, I could never do do that many at once.
Melissa: Yeah. That’s a [00:27:00] lot of pressure and yeah. Keeping it all straight, you know, is I can’t yeah.
I can’t even imagine that my hats off to them because yeah, that’s incredibly impressive for the ones that can
Rich Davis: absolutely. Well,
Melissa: yeah, I was, it’s funny. Cause you, you mentioned the comic book store that you owned and everything, and I was reading your bio and you’ve got quite the interesting bio. Like you’ve literally done so many different things.
You know, writer, producer, voiceover actor, stunt, man. I just saw on there. The one that really was the, and then like in the middle of it, it’s presidential campaign staffer. And what campaign did you work on?
Rich Davis: I’ve actually worked on super residential and Three, actually, I didn’t have an official role with the Gore campaign as campus coordinator.
But I worked on worked on Hillary Clinton’s Oh eight campaign and also work on Baraka mama’s campaign as a volunteer coordinator for both of those. And I worked on Senator Kay Hagan’s senatorial campaign in North Carolina and also a volunteer coordinator capacity. So yeah, I was [00:28:00] always that kid.
I just liked to dabble in a lot of different things. You know when I went to college, I didn’t really have a major, I just kind of went through the catalog and picked out the the classes that I thought were interesting to me. So I didn’t really have a set focus. And then my, you know, my career path has kind of been the same thing I like to I like to try different things.
I like to explore new opportunities and, you know, I’ve, I’ve worked in, I’ve worked in radio, I’ve worked in film, I’ve worked in theater, I’ve worked for newspapers. You know, I I’ve, I’ve just done a little bit of everything and, you know, luckily I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to make. You know, wise decisions and be able to support myself and you know, end up where I am.
But yeah, my wife has definitely not been a, a straight path. It’s been kind of all over the place. Well,
Melissa: sounds like you’re like a Jack of all trades kind of a person, right. Trying to get the, I totally got that. You know, I, I had an interest in political science [00:29:00] for a long time and took some classes and that must have been a really cool experience actually, to be kind of in the thick of a campaign, you know, especially, you know, like the Obama campaign that must’ve been really exciting to be a part of.
You know, and you could probably take a lot of your experiences in a, in a weird way, even though it’s not, you write in horror. But you can take those and, you know, kind of input them into your writing.
Rich Davis: Absolutely. I mean, you know as a writer, you’re, you’re going to have to create lots of unique characters with unique backstories.
And in order to do that, you’ve got to have kind of a broad understanding of different people from different walks of life. And so, yeah, I, you know, having such a, kind of a, you know, a diverse Career history. You know, I I’ve met a lot of different people. I’ve done a lot of different things, so you can definitely incorporate that into into what you’re writing.
You know, so I hope that helps when readers, you know, get to meet my characters and Colton Dracula, I hope that yeah, [00:30:00] more real and more rounded because every character in the book has. A long backstory. You know, I probably focus more on the backstory than I need to because 90, 90% of the information is never going to reach the reader because the reader is only going to meet them in this context, in this world, in this story.
But in order for me to be able to write write them believably. I need to know those things or at least I feel like I need to know those things about them. And so yeah, I hope that helps to create you know, living, breathing characters on the page.
Melissa: Yeah, no, that’s, that’s really cool. I actually read something similar to that a long time ago.
It was like a piece of writing advice that was like, you know, you know, the backstory is really. You know, it may never see the page, but it’s, it’s more for you so that when you’re writing the character, you put in these like, nuances that that you wouldn’t think of, if you didn’t have the character fleshed out.
And so then it comes [00:31:00] across to the reader, you know, as being a fully fleshed out character.
Rich Davis: Exactly. Yeah. You want them to have motivations that are grounded in reality, because if you don’t. If your characters don’t have a history and again, I’m no expert. So if you’re listening out there and you having a completely different philosophy, that’s totally cool for me.
What works, you know, if, if they don’t have that backstory, if you don’t have that history, then it’s too easy for the character to become a cliche or to become a trope. And I wanted to avoid that as much as possible, especially when I’m dealing with. You know, adapting a story that so many people know. So very, very well.
You know, I didn’t want to fall into the trap of just being cliche, cliche, cliche, trope, trope, trope, blood, and guts. Okay. Happy, you know, there’s the, and you know I wanted it to be a unique tape unique characters who had, you know, [00:32:00] real, just living, breathing. Wives and, and motivations for what they were doing.
Melissa: Yeah. And what is your actual like writing process? Like, are you a I guess it would have to be in this particular genre and story type, but are you typically a detailed outliner or do you Kind of have a general idea of where you’re going and then, or you just go the opposite and just kind of pants it the whole way.
Rich Davis: I am. So I was introduced that there were basically two different types of, of writers. There’s there are architects and gardeners and, you know, the architect super detailed outline step-by-step this is what happens, this many pages, this many paragraphs, et cetera, et cetera. And then the gardener just kind of.
Goes, wherever the story goes and I kind of fall somewhere we’re in the middle of that. I’d probably lean a little more heavily toward the gardener. Archetype in that my characters, tell me where the story’s going to [00:33:00] go. My outline is, you know, very detailed as far as the milestones. Like I know I need to get.
You know, from a, to B to C, to D et cetera, but my characters when, when they start talking to me as I’m writing, you know, they may take a, you know, a very long around about way to get from a to B. And that can be a, that can be a little frustrating for editors, but again, I think it adds believability and a sense of.
Realness to the characters because, you know, it’s, I’m not forcing them to hurry along just to get to a milestone and I’m letting them take their time to get there. And, you know, some of the side stories that You know that that I’ve ended up telling and call to Dracula. When I sat down to write my first outline, I never, never once imagined that I would jump back in time to, you know, to a little hillbilly moonshining [00:34:00] settlement in in Southern Appalachia.
In the, in the 1940s, I never thought I would do that. But that’s where this story you wanted to go. And so I ended up writing this really, really cool exchange. And you get introduced to a really kind of seminal events in the development of of one of the characters. You know, it turned out to be a milestone for them, even though it’s not necessarily a milestone for the story itself.
Melissa: Yeah, no, I think that’s really the fun part too, though. I mean, you, when you get on a tangent or you go off in a different direction and then you’re, you know, all of a sudden you’re researching something, like you said, like some moonshining town or prohibition or whatever. And I feel like, and I don’t know if you agree with me with me on this or not, but I almost feel like writers could be like excellent jeopardy players.
Rich Davis: probably. Yeah. We know a lot of trivia.
Melissa: Yeah. I mean, like when you, when you look at like your [00:35:00] browser and you’re like, wow you know, seven types of poison or you know, how to hack into a computer or how to I’m like, first of all, the FBI is probably like, wait, what?
Rich Davis: Oh, I know I am on an FBI. Watch this somewhere.
For all the stuff that I had to research for this. I mean, I I have listened to interviews with Charles Manson that you know, I don’t know, I don’t know how many people have actually listened to some of these interviews. Yeah, you, you want to feel horrible about yourself. Spend three weeks.
Every night locked in your in your office doing nothing but listening to Charles Manson interviews. And I did that because, you know, Renfield is very, very, very heavily as hired by Manson because Manson has fascinated and terrified me my entire life. And just the, the. The grip of fear that he was able to establish over an entire country in the [00:36:00] sixties.
It’s amazing. As it’s fascinating to me so just to get. Ren field’s voice. Exactly. Right. I listened to so much so, so much content from, from Charles Manson. And when Manson starts to make sense to you, that’s when it’s time to step away and go watch the mask or something, you got to break yourself out of that.
Melissa: you’ll get nightmares.
Rich Davis: Oh, yeah, so many nightmares, so many nightmares. But but yeah, I am absolutely convinced that I am, I am on the FBI watch list because of the research I do for this. So they’re probably listening to this podcast right now.
Melissa: Well, I think they probably have files on like every author, you know, like you say, they’re writing books. Maybe we’ll just keep an eye on them, just in case,
Rich Davis: just, just in case he’s actually really that psycho, right?
[00:37:00] Melissa: Like author library wing and the, in the CIA I’m sure.
Rich Davis: You know, that’d be kind of a fun job to have to read all the pool stuff and
Melissa: get a good idea for a book.
Rich Davis: Actually, it really, really would.
Melissa: All right. Well, you just created something, copyright it quick. So the future, you know, the spinoffs that you were talking about, is there anything else that you can talk about that’s bring around in your head. Anything else that you are planning on working on and creating.
Rich Davis: Yeah. I’ve got a couple of projects that I can’t talk about right now that source point has asked me to pitch for but they’re going to be fun. But as far as new IPS I have been really, really obsessed with with the Frankenstein story lately. And I’ve got an idea in my head that sets.
Mary Shelley’s story inside of the sets it in the atomic age. So with the [00:38:00] development of the atomic mom and and also playing with with the Prometheus’s legend, exploring that a little bit more with so with the creature being More of Victor’s obsession and stealing fire from the gods, which is, you know, conquering conquering death, essentially.
So it’s kind of developing kind of a loose outline of that story right now. But Yeah, I know that’s probably the next thing I’m going to write because I’ve gotten that obsession with it. And I’ve started, you know, started doing the research and listening to all the scholarly, podcasts and analysts and analyses of of Mary Shelley’s work.
And it’s just such a fascinating story. And again, I love that Gothic style of storytelling it’s it was very influential on me for my whole life. So I really liked playing in that world. And then I’ve also outlined another story that I’m loosely calling shooter. And it’s it’s kind of a, kind of a modern day science [00:39:00] fiction story that deals with deals with bullying and school shootings.
And so it turns into kind of a red Dawn meets the last star fighter type style without giving too much away. It’s going to be it’s all gone. Red Dawn is one of those awesome movies that I can watch anytime it’s on. Such a cool film
Melissa: play the collection.
Rich Davis: Yes, man. The cast that that movie had was just awesome saying,
Melissa: yeah, yeah, yeah.
I got it. Remember back in the day when we had blockbuster and I ended up getting it in one of those, like the use, you know, tables and it was in a. Like a box sets. And so it was, it was good, John, and it was Roadhouse together. Nice.
Rich Davis: Roadhouse is a sadly underrated movie. I mean, it’s total eighties chains, but it’s actually entertaining.
Melissa: Oh, it’s fantastic. I [00:40:00] could watch both of those movies, like you said, over and over again, but anyway, getting back to your, your scifi going off
Rich Davis: on a tangent, we can totally, we can totally talk about Patrick’s lazy. Cause he was awesome. But so yeah, I don’t know if a source point is going to let me do this one.
Right. I don’t know if any publisher would actually let me do this story the way I want to do it, because it’s got a really, really big gut punch at the end. So we’re talking, I’ve been talking to Travis at source point about it and Jacob as well. And there. They’re tentatively on board, but you know, we, we definitely want to develop this one the right way.
The shooter shooter has the has the opportunity to be a very. Hard-hitting poignant analysis or it could come off as exploitative and definitely don’t want to do that. You know?
Melissa: So it’s, yeah. It’s a sad obviously. Yeah. It’s a sensitive [00:41:00] topic. Very,
Rich Davis: yeah, very sensitive topic. And we want to make sure that we’re treating it with the respect that it deserves, but also.
Kind of hitting the issue directly and honestly and you know, looking at it from a real perspective with no With no embellishment or, you know, and not pulling any punches with it. I mean, it, you know, so for some reason I just can’t write bright cheery
Melissa: stories. I’m right there with ya. It’s just more fun to dive into our dark sides.
Rich Davis: It really is it’s there. There’s so much more to explore there, I think. Yeah,
Melissa: exactly. Have you ever done that or I know you haven’t done one, but have you ever thought about doing a Kickstarter.
Rich Davis: Yeah, we actually, you’re very, very close to taking cult of Dracula out with a Kickstarter. You know, we went kind of down a really crazy road.
You know, we went from having, you know, four or five publishers that were expressing serious interest in it. To COVID hitting and [00:42:00] all of a sudden, no one was interested because they didn’t know if they were even going to be publishing comic books anymore. And at that point, Henry Martinez, who’s my artists.
We were thinking, well, maybe, maybe we just take it to Kickstarter. And I was like, yeah, you know, we’ll put it out there. I’ll sell five copies. You know, I, my mom’s gonna buy two. So if we get three more people to buy it and we’re doing well, and that was when we got involved with second sight. And ultimately went with them.
And then of course, you know, here we are, and now we’re at source point press. Because we, we were able to really develop kind of an underground following, you know I was I was calling stores. Like I, I literally called over a thousand stores this year to tell them about goals and Dracula.
And I ended up hiring three people out of my own pocket. This is, you know, I hired them to make the cause we’re, you know, we’re calling of the stores. So I had them do the initial cold calls and then they would the people, they would tell me which stores were really interested and then I [00:43:00] would call those stores back.
So it made it a lot more efficient that way. And then we’ve continued that since we shifted over to source point press you know, I think the success of goal to Dracula is do you know, in, in no small part it’s due to the support from our retail partners, because retailers out there we’ve developed great relationships with them.
They’ve been involved with us from the very beginning and they’re, they’re really supporting the book and big numbers. And so hopefully. They will be able to get the book into the hands of their customers and their readers, and it’ll continue to grow from there. But but yeah, it, it, it’s really developed a really strong, underground vibe to it, which has been impressive.
But yeah, that’s a roundabout way of, of getting back to your Kickstarter question of yesterday considerate. And ultimately, you know, we, we were very fortunate to be able to ended up at source point press and get it with wide distribution through diamonds. That’s
Melissa: cool. And you know, in the science, especially since the times we’re in right now, you know, you’re supporting [00:44:00] local comic book shops as well, you know, especially by calling on them, trying to get your work in there.
That’s just giving them more content to offer.
Rich Davis: And, you know, they are retailers, the local comic books it is, has been, and always will be the backbone of the comic book industry. It, you just, you cannot reach readers with so many diverse comics without support from your local comic book shops. I mean, if you’re Batman or Spiderman, Sure you can throw those up on the shelves in Walmart and you’re going to sell them because they’re Batman and they’re Spiderman.
But if you are an entity comics, creator, if you’re a genre writer you know, you need support from the local comic book shops. And that means you’ve also got to support the local comic book shops in return. You know, so, you know, I have been, you know, doing everything I can to reach out to as many of [00:45:00] those local comic book retailers as possible.
And you know, when they do Exclusive variant covers for cult of Dracula. I’m making sure to help support them and to promote them through my social media and through you know, any way that I possibly can. And you know, once COVID lets up more than willing to come out and do store signing events, if they, if they want me to do that you know, because they.
Put a lot of trust in me and a lot of trust in my book by choosing to support it because there are hundreds of comics that come out every week and they certainly don’t have to give shelf space to culpa Dracula. So I’m eternally grateful that they have, and I am willing to return that trust in any way that I possibly can to support them.
Melissa: Yeah. And then hopefully you can get to do comic cons, you know, in the future and, you know, just do the whole book tour experience.
Rich Davis: I hope so. That would be awesome. Yeah. One of my goals when I started writing was like, I just want to be famous enough to be a guest at dragon con. [00:46:00] And I was like, if I get that level.
I’m good. I’m done. So hopefully, hopefully I’m going to get there and hopefully there will be a dragon con this year so that I can actually go as a guest.
Melissa: That would be awesome. And so, yeah. And, and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.
Rich Davis: Yes, I hope so. Where are your masks? People get the vaccine?
Melissa: yes. Yes. I want to get back to normal,
Rich Davis: right? I mean if for no other reason, just for the selfish reason of, we want to go to cons again. Yeah,
Melissa: exactly what that whole experience and that comradery
Rich Davis: again. Yeah. I miss my crazy cosplay family, man, those, those people. Yeah. They are
Melissa: the bus. I know, you know, I don’t, I don’t dress that, but I, part of the fun for me is watching other people dress up and seeing and people watching and, and just really seeing how much care and craft goes into.
You know what they do because it’s a lifestyle for them, you know?
Rich Davis: Yes it is. And [00:47:00] I mean, those, some of those costs players, I mean they put months and months and months of work into these beautiful, beautiful costumes. And some of them are moving quality. I mean, there, there are some talented artists out there in the cosplay community and I admire the hell out of them.
And I, you know, I feel bad for them that they’re not able to go to cons and share their their work with the world. So definitely looking forward to. Well, I feel
Melissa: it will be bigger and better, you know, they’re, they’re all everyone’s at home. So, you know, hopefully all the cause players are just hard at work on, you know, making all their concerts.
Rich Davis: They probably got closets and closets and closets full of new costumes, ranger, rocket out
Melissa: a new one every day for the con.
Rich Davis: Yup. Yup. That would be fantastic.
Melissa: That would be amazing. Well thank you so much for coming on tonight. This has been really fun. I’m glad we got to know each other and I’m really looking forward to cult of Dracula, [00:48:00] which is available for pre-order right now, correct?
Rich Davis: That’s correct. Yeah. You can ask your local comic book shop to order it from diamond. We’ve got a cover by EULA nemesis and the B cover by Shannon Mayer. B covers right behind me here. So, you know, go ask your local comic book shop to please order it from diamond. We are expecting a sellout.
So I don’t know if we’re gonna do a second printing or not. But you know, we’re, we’re expecting this to be a big release in 2021, and I hope you guys dig it. I hope you support it. And I can’t wait to share the rest
Melissa: of it with you. That’s so exciting. Rich Davis, thank you so much for being on tonight.
Rich Davis: Thank you for having me had a great time.
Melissa: Awesome. Take care.
Rich Davis: All right.