Bram Stoker – The man behind ‘Dracula’

Bram-Stoker_main

Abraham Stoker or Bram Stoker as most ‘Dracula’ fans know him, was born the 8th of November 1847. He died in 1912 at the age of 64. He Is an Irish author best known for the novel ‘Dracula.’  He published ‘Dracula’ at the age of 50. Bram spent the early part of his childhood confined to his bed because of a mysterious illness. Looking back on this part of his life Bram mentions that “I was naturally thoughtful, and the leisure of long illness gave opportunity for many thoughts which were fruitful according to their kind in later years.” Bram married Florence Balcome and they had only one child together. This child they named Irving.

Here are some interesting facts about Bram Stoker:

Bram Stoker was the third child of seven.

Even though bed-ridden for most of his childhood he later on excelled in athletics being named University Athlete at Trinity College in Dublin.

Before Florence Balcome married Bram Stoker she actually had another suitor interested in her. His name was Oscar Wilde. Florence chose to be with Bram instead of Oscar. This left Oscar upset enough that he left the country.

Henry Irving and Bram Stoker became close friends. This happened when Bram wrote a review of Hamlet that impressed Henry. A few years later Bram ended up managing Henry Irving’s theatre and career.

‘Dracula’ was inspired by an essay written by Emily Gerard called ‘Transylvania Superstitions.’ Stoker himself had never visited Eastern Europe so he spent a lot of time on research, 7 years in fact.

‘Dracula’ was originally titled ‘The Un-dead’ and ‘Count Dracula’ was originally going to be called ‘Count Wampyr.’

‘Dracula’ wasn’t the first story ever written about vampires. The story ‘Camilla’ written by Sheridan Le Fanu was about a lesbian vampire who stalked young women in 1871. There also happened to be a horror series by James Malcolm Rymer called ‘Varney the Vampire,’ that also came before ‘Dracula.’

Walt Whitman was one of his favourite authors.

Bram’s death didn’t attract much attention in 1912 because it was around the same time as the Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was big news at the time.

There are many different opinions on what the final cause of Bram’s death was. Daniel Farson, Bram Stoker’s grandnephew says in his biography the cause of death was Locomotor Ataxy – know in those days as general paralysis of the insane.

Check out some of Bram Stokers other writing:

The Snakes Pass

Seven Golden Buttons

The Watter’s Mou

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lady of the Shroud

The Jewel of the Seven Stars

The Shoulder of Shasta

The Man (A.K.A The Gates of Life)

Lady Athlyne

The Mystery of the Sea

 

Short Stories:

Under the Sunset (Eight fairy tales for children)

Snowbound: The Record of a Theatrical Touring Party

Dracula’s Guests and Other Weird Stories

 

generatedtext

 

Fem Fatale Fantasy Fictionist: Robin Hobb

Image

Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden has taken on two successful pseudonyms during her writing career. The first being Megan Lindholm and the second being Robin Hobb. Margaret was born in California 1952, but spent majority of her life in Alaska before moving to Washington. At the young age of eighteen Margaret was married and from here on she started her writing career. She first wrote for children’s magazines and progressed into bigger works of fantasy fiction.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Margaret:

Although she has experienced a small taste of what adventures are in her books, she mostly writes from doing a lot of research. “I like primary documents when I can get them, diaries, journals and things of that sort. Then I like to find well researched and foot-noted books written on whatever topic I am covering.”

Margaret has four children, three of them are adults.

She has no television in her lounge room only a lot of tall bookcases.

Some of Margaret’s favourite authors: George R R Martin, Jane Johnson, Michael Marshall, Robert Parker and Janet Evanovich.

Good news for readers Margaret has been quoted saying in an interview: “…I’m writing another book. And after that, I think I’ll probably write another book. And then another. Until my hands and eyes give out (They’re in a race to see what fails first.) I think that’s all I can say with certainty. I’ll be writing more books.”

Australian fans will be glad to here that they have the chance to meet Margaret in 2014 at Supernova and she is also going to be a guest at Worldcon, Loncon, London.

If you are a fan of Fantasy, then this is certainly the author for you!

Some writing by Margaret that you should check out:

Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy

Assassins Apprentice                 Royal Assassin                 Assassins Quest

Liveship Traders Trilogy

Ship of Magic            The Mad Ship           Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man Trilogy

Fools Errand               The Golden Fool             Fool’s Fate

The Rain Wild’s Chronicles:

Dragon Keeper          Dragon Haven             City of Dragons         Blood of Dragons

The Fitz and Fool Trilogy:

The Fool’s Assassin      

Other Elderling  Stories

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

Soldier Son Trilogy:

Shaman’s Crossing             Forest Mage             Renegades Magic

Short Stories

The Inheritance              Homecoming           Words like Coins            Blue Boots

Cat’s Meat             The Triumph            Neighbours

Megan Lindholm

The Ki and Vandien Quartet

Harpy’s Flight        The Windsingers            The Limbreth Gate             Luck of the Wheels

Tillu and Kerlew

The Reindeer People                 Wolf’s Brother

Other Stories

Wizard of the Pigeons               Cloven Hooves             Alien Earth            The Gypsy

Image

Virginia Andrews: Gothic Fiction Writer

Image

Cleo Virginia Andrews was born in Portsmouth Virginia on June 6th, 1923 and died of breast cancer December 19th, 1986. She was 63 years old. Virginia’s area of writing was mainly in Gothic romance and family sagas. The novel that she is most known for is Flowers in the Attic. Virginia was the youngest child of her family with two older brothers. Her mother Lillian Andrews was a telephone operator and her father William Andrews was a tool and die maker.

As a teenager Virginia was in an accident at her high school. She fell down some stairs and sustained severe back injuries. For the rest of her life due to arthritis and a failed spinal surgical procedure Virginia had to rely on crutches and wheel chairs. After graduation Virginia completed a four year correspondence course art course while living at home. During this time she went through several more surgical attempts to fix the damage to her back and hips.

Later on after her father died, Virginia turned to writing feeling that art wasn’t giving her the creative satisfaction that she sought. The first manuscript that she wrote was too autobiographical; she ended up destroying it to protect her privacy.

In 1978 submitted her 98 page Flowers in the Attic manuscript to literary agent Anita Diamant. This novel reached the best-seller lists in two weeks. From this point forward Virginia had great success with her writing. By the time she died in 1986, Virginia had over 24 million books in print and a film version of her first novel Flowers in the Attic.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known:

The first novel that Virginia wrote was Gods of Green Mountain. It was never published during her lifetime, but was released as an e-book in 2004.

Virginia has also gone under the pen names of V.C. Andrews and Virginia C. Andrews.

Most of Virginia’s stories are based around a particular family.

There are many biographies and articles written claiming that Flowers in the Attic was originally a story called The Obsessed and that Virginia was told by publishers that it needed to be cut down and have a bit more excitement to it. This is untrue according to an interview with her Ann Patty. The Obsessed was a different novel altogether. “The two have nothing to do with one another.”

Supposedly she had written three Gothic romances under another pen name before she submitted Flowers in the Attic.

At one point Virginia had a disappointing interview with people magazine and was from then on reluctant to partake in interviews and other such publicity.

Virginia’s family decided to have a ghost writer take on her work after she died. The identity of the ghost writer was kept secret for many years until it was revealed that it was horror novelist Andrew Neiderman.

There have been many rumours about Flowers in the Attic being based on a true story.

Here are some of Virginia Andrew’s books that you should check out:

(Please note some are completely written, or in part written by ghost writer Andrew Neiderman.)

The Dollanganger series

Flowers in the Attic             Petals on the Wind             If There Be Thorns    

Seeds of Yesterday             Garden of Shadows

The Casteel Series

Heaven              Dark Angel             Fallen Hearts             Gates of Paradise

Web of Dreams

The Cutler Series

Dawn              Secrets of the Morning               Twilight’s Child              

  Midnight Whispers                   Darkest Hour

The Landry Series

Ruby                  Pearl in the Mist              All that Glitters          Hidden Jewel

Tarnished Gold

The Logan Series

Melody                   Heart Song                 Unfinished Symphony            

Music in the Night                 Olivia         

The Orphans Series

Butterfly               Crystal                Brooke              Raven             Runaways

The Wildflowers series

Misty                   Star                Jade                  Cat                 Into the Garden

The Hudson Series

Rain                           Lightening Strikes              Eye of the Storm

The End of the Rainbow                        Gathering Clouds

The Shooting Star Series

Cinnamon                 Ice                 Rose              Honey                   Falling Stars

The DeBeers Series

Willow               Wicked Forest               Twisted Roots          Into the Woods

Hidden Leaves                 Dark Seed

The Broken Wings Series

Broken Wings                 Midnight Flight

The Gemini Series

Celeste                         Black Cat                           Child of Darkness

The Shadow Series

April Shadows                        Girl in the Shadows

The Early Spring Series

Broken Flower                   Scattered Leaves

Secrets Series

Secrets in the Attic                      Secrets in the Shadows

The Delia Series

Delia’s Crossing                           Delia’s Heart                        Delia’s Gift

The Heavenstone Series

Heavenstone Secrets                                    Secret Whispers

The Kindred Series

Daughter of Darkness                        Daughter of Light

The March Family Series

Family Storms                              Cloudburst

The Forbidden Series

The Forbidden Sister                 The Forbidden Heart                    Roxy’s Story

Stand alone novels

Gods of Green Mountain             My Sweet Audrina                     Into the Darkness

Capturing Angels               The Unwelcomed Child

Image

Roald Dahl: The Orignal Charlie Bucket

Dahl

Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff, Wales on the 13th September 1916. He came from a strong Norwegian heritage with both his parents being Norwegian. When he was young both his sister and his father died only weeks apart. Roald Dahl’s mother could have taken him and his two other sisters back to Norway to live with relatives, but decided to keep them in Wales. This was because his father had the belief that British schools were the best in the world.

While attending school in derbyshire, there was a Cadbury chocolate factory not far away that used to provide sweets for the children to sample. There was also another company in the area that was in direct competition with Cadbury. It seems there was some corporate espionage going on. This later on gave Roald Dahl the idea for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl only began writing when he met author C.S. Forrester. His first short story was published in 1942. Roald Dahl thought his career as a writer came about as a ‘fluke.’ Something that a lot of people don’t know about Roald Dahl is that he wrote macabre adult stories before he started writing children’s stories. As Roald Dahl wrote more and more stories they started to become less realistic and more fantasy.

Roald Dahl died the 23rd of November 1990 from a blood disease. He was 74 years of age. It is said that he had a sort of ‘Viking’ funeral where he was buried with some items that he cherished in life. These items were pencils, chocolates and snooker cues.

Here are some interesting facts about Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl was named after a famous Norwegian explorer.

When Roald Dahl’s son Theo was four months old he was hit by a taxi and therefore afterwards suffered from hydrocephalus also known as ‘water on the brain.’

In 1962 his seven year old daughter Olivia died from measles. He later dedicated the ‘BFG’ to Olivia.

Roald Dahl married actor Patricia Neal in 1953. During birth of their fifth child, she suffered from cerebral aneurysms. Patricia had to re-learn how to walk and talk. Roald Dahl divorced Patricia Neal in 1983. He then became re-married to Felicity Crosland.

Roald Dahl could speak three different languages: Norwegian, English and Swahili.

Roald Dahl was an aircraftman in the Royal Air Force and was also a fighter pilot during World War II.

Roald Dahl didn’t really get into children’s books until he had his own children. In the 1960’s he got a traditional Gypsy wagon and turned it into a playhouse for his children.

He dedicated the book ‘Matilda’ to his grand-daughter Sophie Dahl.

Roald Dahl stated once that if he hadn’t become a writer he would have become a doctor.

In 1965 he was accused of plagiarism. He published a short story in Playboy called ‘The Visitor’ which was a lot like a story from writer Dod Osbourne called ‘Master of the Girl Pat.’

He loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream.

His favourite way of writing was with pencil on yellow paper.

He had two steel hips and six operations on his spine.

Some of his favourite authors were Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Frederick Marryat.

Some of Roald Dahl’s stories that you should consider reading are:

Children’s Fiction:

The Gremlins          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory                  Charlie and the Glass Elevator

The BFG                 The Witches             The Twits               Fantastic Mr Fox          Esio Trot

The Minpins            The Vicar of Nibbleswicke             Danny, the Champion of the World

The Magic Finger              The Enormous Crocodile                George’s Marvellous Medicine

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me           James and the Giant Peach        Matilda        

Adult Fiction:

Switch Bitch                   Kiss Kiss             Twenty-Nine Kisses from Roald Dahl           Two Fables

Sometime Never: A Fable for Superman             Someone Like You          Skin and Other Stories

My Uncle Oswald             Lamb to the Slaughter             The Best of Roald Dahl        

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories       Tales of the Unexpected     The Roald Dahl Treasury

More Tales of the Unexpected         Over To You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More            The Roald Dahl Omnibus

The Great Automatic Gramatizator                       Roald Dahl Collected Stories

Ah: Sweet Mystery of Life: The Country Stories of Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a great author with an even greater imagination. Hopefully he has inspired you to read and write more.

Bell Night