Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Pipped at the Post!

I have been through a vast range of emotions just lately...and still can't quite decide how I feel! Let me explain. One of my all time favourite books is Dracula by Bram Stoker, so you can imagine my delight when I discovered that a direct descendant of Stoker had written a sequel - Dracula: the Un-Dead. This sequel is based on notes that Bram himself had made. Unfortunately, the Irish writer died before he could pen this second book about the Prince of Darkness. Enter Dacre Stoker. He finished the job Bram had started, with a little help from historian Ian Holt.
Three days ago I bought the book.
I settled down in my comfy armchair, legs tucked up beneath me, to have a good read.
All was well for the first couple of chapters, but then who should enter the pages?
Who indeed!
Someone I knew very, very well.
Erzsebet Bathory, the Countess Nadasdy.
Now, for those of you who don't already know, this is the evil villainess that I have been writing about for the past eighteen months(if not more!). I have researched her, and researched her, until I know the Countess better than she knows herself. I am on the fourth - and hopefully final - draft of my book. I am hoping to send my MS off to publishers at the beginning of the new year.
She is MY baby! Mine!!
Now I've been pipped at the post.
Obviously my story and Dacre Stoker's story are very different from each other, but some of the facts are the same. Some of the methods Bathory uses in both stories are the same; based as they are on real happenings.
First I was angry, frustrated. I felt like all the time I'd spent writing my book was wasted. I could only speak in words of one syllable (most of these words began with f and ended in k!).
Anger turned to irritation. Dacre has twisted many of the true facts surrounding the Countess, whereas I have stayed true to the truth!
Irritation gradually, reluctantly, turned to admiration. Dracula: The Un-Dead is a good read.
But now I think I have reached a better place.
Now I am thinking that readers who enjoy this novel by Dacre Stoker may want to read more about Erzsebet Bathory...and I can provide them with this.
So perhaps it's not too bad after all.......


Alan W. Davidson said...

I think that your thoughts at the end of your post are very true. This may have brought the character to the public light, but your book will give them more. It can be marketed as such, I'm sure.
Erzsebet Bathory...the true story!

Nevine said...

I read a novel about Erzsebet Bathory a few years ago called "The Blood Countess" written by a man who claims to be a descendent, Andrei Codrescu. I enjoyed the novel but am unsure as to the historic accuracy of it. She's a fascinating character, and I would be delighted to read a more realistic and biographical work about her.

BTW, just bumped into your site, and will be returning. I, too, love all things dark.

Jarmara Falconer said...

The same thing happened to me with a book I was working on called 'Ravenscar'. Barbara Taylor-Bradford brought out her series called 'The Ravenscar Trilogy' even though I know that the publisher will change the name of my book, and her stories are completely different from mine, I lost interest in writing my book after reading the opening line of her book.
I should point out to you that Ravenscar is a house in Yorkshire and it stands on a cliff. My story is set around the house and so is her, but she has the upper hand as this is her 23 novel and mine was my second and uncompleted. If I was you I wouldn't worry too much as I'm sure you have something new to tell and through fresh eyes.

Good luck

Akasha Savage said...

Alan ~ I have brought the Countess into the 21st century...but my facts are true!

Nevine ~ Hi! Welcome to the Darkside. My book is not a biographical work about Bathory I'm afraid. It's a dark fantasy fiction novel set in the here and now. But I have kept as true to the real Countess as I can.

Jarmara ~ Wow, Ravenscar sounds like my kind of place. Can you not change the name and setting and carry on regardless? It sounds like it would make a good story.

John Pender said...

Some fan I am! I never knew there was a sequel. Thanks for the heads up.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I don't sweat that sort of stuff. I am wrapping up a zombie novel. Me and about a gazillion other horror writers. But no one can write like me. Not saying I'm good, just saying that I have my own voice. So do you. So write away and don't sweat it.

Vesper said...

Akasha, I'm sure that the Countess is the heroin of other books too. I was going to mention the book by Codrescu, which I read years ago. So, just don't think about it. Besides, she was a real person so the known facts of her life stay as they are. What you add to that in your book is what matters. And that is unique to you. Stewart gives you excellent advice - I should follow it myself...

Leigh Russell said...

Any success Dacre Stoker has can only help promote your book when it comes out. Erzsebet Bathory sounds like an amazing character. I'm sure there's room for more than one book about her.

Alis said...

Akasha - I can see how gutting this would be, but I think your final thoughts are right - it'll create a market for Bathory books. And you can get this guy to read your novel and give you a nice quote for the cover!
The word verification for this post is noless - it's sign, no less!

Valerie Geary said...

Just found your blog and decided to follow because: 1. Your novel sounds exciting! And 2. The Darkside is intriguing. : ) Can't wait to hear more.

Rabid Fox said...

Wow. At least you see the silver lining to it. I can't imagine the feeling of seeing a character I've spent breathing life into for one novel, also appear in another. I've had rough notions for stories that have turned up with the established characters, but wow.

Keep hammering at it. I think you may end up with a darling for those that liked Dacre's take on the character.

Rick said...

Consider his work "pre-publicity" for yours, Akasha!

Akasha Savage said...

A big THANK YOU for all your comments...and actually the more I read Dracula: the Un-Dead, the more eager I am to get my own story in print!