YA (Young Adult) author Greg Wilkey will be featured as a guest of the UndeadCon horror, supernatural and paranormal writers conference in New Orleans. He will be featured during UndeadCon events, including the Gathering of the Ancients Ball, hosted by Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club (ARVLFC) this October. Growing up Dead is the first book of his popular Mortimer Drake vampire novels. Death Runs in the Family is book one in his newer Edgar Flax series of supernatural thrillers.
Wilkey has six books out as of September 2015. The Life and Undeath of Mortimer Drake series includes Growing up Dead, Out of the Underworld, Hope Against Hope, and Star Blood. Two books of his Neither Nor series are currently published: Death Runs in the Family and Crosswalker. His popular books have garnered the attention of one very special world-famous and beloved author.
“Greg Wilkey is a writer to watch. His suspenseful Mortimer Drake teen vampire novels delight male as well as female readers, and Greg’s imagination, and storytelling have enchanted fans, young and old. I applaud Greg’s immense talent and his willingness to go it alone as an indie published author. Obviously word of mouth is bringing the intrepid Mortimer Drake to new readers every day. Many a New York published writer would be grateful for Greg’s ever increasing sales.” — Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire
Rice’s quote is proudly displayed on Greg’s website. This YA author is making a name for himself, quite simply, because his writing speaks for itself. Growing up Dead is an elegant mix of comfort, suspense, and dread so confidently presented in a flowing narrative; it is easy to end up having read one-third of the book before realizing it. Mortimer, one of any number of possible teenagers next door, drinks his early-morning Sprite straight from the family’s refrigerated 2-liter, loves his mother, hates math, and dreams of exsanguinating joggers.
There is old world lore to discover in Wilkey’s Mortimer Drake universe that lends a clever twist to vampire legends presented in a quick-paced, fun adventure packed with detail and imagery. Well-written YA appeals to all ages, and Growing Up Dead is one well-written novel. Mortimer is tangible, flawed, awkward, loyal, and totally unaware of his true nature in that ‘Percy Jackson, this-is-your-superhuman-life!’ kind of naiveté that turns an ordinary 14-year-old character into a cult literary hero. The author was kind enough to answer a few questions for atombash.com readers.
atombash.com New Orleans Literature: Greg, thank you for indulging atombash.com New Orleans Literature readers in some details on your writing. What made you choose to write about vampires and the supernatural?
Greg Wilkey: “I have always loved the supernatural genre of fiction, especially vampires. As a reader, I tend to drift towards books that contain these elements. When I first began to create my Mortimer Drake series, I knew that I wanted to write about vampires. I knew that whatever world I invented would be filled with supernatural beings and story lines. I was a middle school teacher when Mortimer first came to me. My entire life at that time was all about young adults, so I just combined the two and my young undead hero was born.”
New Orleans Literature: During your UndeadCon panel, what Wilkey insider deets can fans look forward to?
Wilkey: “I will be sharing aspects of my writing process and hints about future novels in both my Mortimer Drake series and my Edgar Flax series. There’s even a possibility that my two protagonists may cross paths. You just never know!”
New Orleans Literature: Cool! How did you get involved in UndeadCon and the Gathering of the Ancients Ball?
Wilkey: “I wanted to attend the ARVLFC Ball for many years, but I never thought I’d be able to make it. After I began writing and publishing my novels, I attracted the attention of Anne Rice herself! I know, right? That was a huge moment for me. Over the years, she and I have become close friends. Three years ago, she invited my wife and I down to New Orleans as her guests for the Vampire Ball. I was then asked to sit on a panel of authors. This will be my third year participating in UndeadCon. It has become the highlight of my year.”
New Orleans Literature: That is amazing, Greg. How did you attract Anne’s attention? What kinds of things do you discuss?
Wilkey: “I had been a follower of Anne Rice’s Facebook fan page when I first published Growing Up Dead. One night, I posted a message on Anne’s page and asked if she would mind if I shared my book there. I never dreamed that she would answer. Much to my surprise, she responded and was very encouraging. I posted a link to my book and let it go at that. Over the next few weeks, she and I exchanged posts and comments on a variety of topics. One day, she posted a link to my book as an example of indie authors and our work. I was stunned. I was even more amazed when she emailed me and told me that she had purchased copies of my book to give as gifts to her family and friends. Anne shared with me the feedback and reviews after people she knew had read my book. Thankfully, they all had enjoyed Mortimer’s adventures—whew!! Fast forward a few years, and now we talk regularly about publishing, writing, television and movies, politics, religion, and a myriad of other topics. When my wife died suddenly on February 28, 2014, Anne offered support and encouragement as she had suffered the loss of her daughter and husband. We have had many conversations about the grieving process and living life in the absence of loved ones. I am so grateful that our paths crossed and I treasure her friendship highly.”
New Orleans Literature: So very, deeply sorry for both of your losses. What a beautiful bond you and Anne have. Thank you for sharing your very personal story.
ARVLFC fan club president Sue Quiroz is very fond of you as well as Anne. “I have read Death Runs in the Family, the first Edgar Flax book” said Sue. “I found it fast-paced and full of mystical happenings that kept me interested all the way through to the end…great job Greg! Can’t wait to read the next one.”
Wilkey: “Sue Quiroz was the lady responsible for all my panel interviews during UndeadCon…she has been a wonderful support for me as I continue to work as a writer. Her friendship means the world to me.”
Greg Wilkey’s motto is “Forget what you know about the supernatural!” He is currently involved in three writing projects. He is working with Todd Barselow of Auspicious Apparatus Press on the release of a special omnibus edition of the first four novels in his Mortimer Drake series. This is in preparation for the fifth book which he is writing now and hopes to publish next spring. He is also planning the third story for his Edgar Flax series. “I’m always writing or thinking about writing,” said Greg. “I live life with one foot in reality and the other in my imagination. There’s never a dull moment inside my head.”
Greg will discuss his work during his appearance on the UndeadCon “Ghost Panel” to be held on Friday, Oct. 30, from 2 – 3:30 pm, and moderated by Lynda Salazar. The panel will feature Wilkey alongside a powerhouse of authors, including Andrea Perron, Kalila Smith, Heather Graham and Viktor Salazar, as well as paranormal radio host George R. Lopez. A book signing with Wilkey and the other authors will take place immediately after the panel.
For more information on Greg and his books, click here. You can also find Greg on Facebook.