Monday, May 17, 2010

Books I've Read Before You Were Born - The Austra Vampire Series by Elaine Bergstrom

Welcome to my first Books I've Read Before You Were Born. So what's this? I've decided to discuss some of the wonderful books that I read years ago. Some of the books will be OOP; others still in publication.

I've decided to start with the Austra Vampire Series by Elaine Bergstrom. I love these books. They are among the first books I think of when someone asks me to recommend a series with vampires. The books are very well written and the characters are memorable. The Austras are unique.

We're delighted to have Elaine Bergstrom as our guest at The Qwillery.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Austra Vampire Series?

Elaine:  I had always wanted to be a writer and got my degree in Journalism. But I went into retail advertising which, as we writers at Gimbels used to say, trained monkeys could do. We also had a lot of downtime and a couple of file cabinets full of trashy romance novels. I was a third of a way through one when I realized I had read it before. I knew I could write something so much better. AND I had an office and a typewriter, so I started writing.

But you asked about the Austra family in particular. I can tell you that I had grown up watching horror films and reading sci fi. The Austras were the perfect amalgam of both interests. The early pages were very different from what eventually became Shattered Glass. I had the setting in Romania, all very traditional, but realized I knew nothing about that part of the world. I did know a lot about Cleveland – and the house I grew up in and the street I lived on, the Catholic church my family attended and the effects of polio. I wrote, in a large part, what I knew and, with the petty details out of the way, I could concentrate on the story. By the time I was halfway through the novel, I had the Austra family, their history, their friends and the plot of the second and third novels in the series (though I think reading them in date order, with Blood Alone first, is not a bad idea).

Also, at the time I began writing Glass, I had just experienced a major change for the better in my life. My then husband had gone through treatment and was sober and, for the first time I could recall, I felt calm, which is important for creative writing. I was also attending frequent Al-Anon meetings at the time. Being a storyteller, I tended to stay in first step meetings, mentally recording the stories, words and emotions of those recovering from the emotional trauma of living with an addict. This helped me understand Charles and Stephen and the love/hate relationship between them. Glass is, above all, a novel of addiction.

TQ:  Do you prefer to write in a particular genre or genres?

Elaine:  Not necessarily, but there is a bit of bloodthirstyness in me. I recall my editor suggesting I try my hand at romance and sent me some of the more popular ones. I found myself thinking that if I were the women in these stories, I would have killed the bastards making their lives miserable. Perhaps it is time for extreme romance, but I never tried that. I do have an appreciation for a good historical novel, one which gets its facts straight, so It is no surprise that I do have a historical trilogy plotted, set in the time of Czar Alexander. And yes, it is very bloody.

TQ:  In what genre(s) would you place the Austra Vampire Series.

Elaine:  Sci fi/romance/dark fantasy. One thing it is not is “paranormal.”

TQ:  Who is your favorite Austra?

Elaine:  Until Nocturne, I would have likely said Laurence. But I am very fond of Patrick. He has a wit about him that I love.

TQ:  Where does "Ebb Tide" fit in the Series' reading order?

Elaine:  It is part of Glass. It was broken into a couple of pieces. I can’t recall the exact order, but occurs after Judy writes her story and just before the brothers’ confrontation in the church.

TQ:  What is the timeline reading order of the Austra books?

ElaineShattered Glass or Blood Alone first or second, Blood Rites, Nocturne. Daughter of the Night, anytime. It stands alone.

TQ:  Is there anything more planned for the Austra Vampires?

Elaine:  Absolutely! I have a novel, Beyond Sundown, a continuation of Nocturne. I am self publishing Nocturne first, then Beyond Sundown immediately after. I think you need to read one before the other.

I have also pulled the copyrights on all my books but Mina and Blood to Blood and will be reissuing them after the final two. The issue for Glass and Blood Alone is that they were not composed on a computer, so they will need OCR scanning, which is a bit expensive.

I am also working on a short story with Patrick and Richard in high school. Think of it as Twilight for a more mature, and less sexually uptight, audience. I am hoping to release it via kindle or download by the end of the summer.

There is one final delicious idea – merging the Mina and Austra stories. I would love to see Van Helsing in the same room with Charles. Now that would be a great conversation!

TQ:  Thank you!

The Austra Vampire Series

Shattered Glass

Stephen Austra is a prominent artist, renowned for his wondrous restorations of stained glass in cathedrals and churches. He is also a vampire. But he respects ordinary human lives, and would never hurt a soul. Or so his lover, Helen Wells, desperately wants to believe...
From the back of the Ace edition, ISBN 0-441-00067-3, June 1994.

"Ebb Tide"

Originally published in The Vampire's Crypt, Volume 1 (Summer 1989), republished in Vampires: Dracula and the Undead Legions (November 4, 2009).

Blood Alone

Paul Stoddard came to Europe to learn the antique art of glassmaking. But there, in the shadow of rising Nazism, he fell in love with a beautiful, seductive woman. A woman of many secrets. Her family, the proud and noble Austras, are vampires. Her cousin has been sent to a concetration camp. And now Paul has decided to join the vampires' war...against the Reich.
From the back of the Ace edition, ISBN 0-441-00088-6, August 1994

Blood Rites

Like any great artist, Helen Wells craved immortality. Now, through the unholy kiss of Stephen Austra, her vampire lover, she can taste eternity. But her passion demands a cruel price -- her utter surrender to the darkest animal urges... the aching need to drink.... At frist, Helen resists the savage nature of this strange new life. Until a hired killer begins to stalk her family.

Some men deserve to die. And some hungers demand to be fed.
From the back of the Jove edition, ISBN 0-515-10728-X, December 1991


The ancient names of the Austra family--old ones, mountain lords, vampyr--are still whispered in the rural areas of Romania, though none of the Austras has lived in that rugged land for centuries.

Richard Austra, one of the first children to be born to the family in decades, neither knows nor wishes to know much about his unnatural ancestry. Although he is, in fact, vampyr, he wishes to live as normal a life as possible in the civilized human world. Irena Sava, born in Romania, was brought to America as the child of refugees. She is a gifted operatic soprano, and she intends to use her talent to rise beyond her poor beginnings. When she meets Richard, their love affair--fueled by music, blood, and passion--seems almost fated.

But then a darker fate intervenes, and the lovers find that they must face a deadly enemy, in a dangerous land that both thought they had left behind...

Daughter of the Night

As beautiful and cruel as a wild animal, Elizabeth Bathori cast a shadow of terror across Europe. Seducing. Killing. Bathing in the blood of the innocent. Thousands feared her savage quest for immortality--but few knew the source of her inspiration: Catherine Austra, who came to Elizabeth in the night. Catherine, who possessed the dark gift she craved. Catherine, whose full red lips held the secret of eternity...

The kiss of a vampire.
From the back of the Ace edition, ISBN 0-441-00110-6, September 1994.

Other novels by Elaine -

Elaine Bergstrom, as Marie Kiraly, is the author of The Dracula Story Continues series: Mina, and its sequel, Blood to Blood, as well as 2 other books.

And of course there are goodies: One commentor will win a copy of two anthologies: 1) Vampires: Dracula and the Undead Legions featuring stories by Elaine Bergstrom, L.A. Banks, and others:

and 2) Many Bloody Returns: Tales of Birthdays With Bite featuring stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, and many others:

Leave a comment telling us about a great book or series that you read a long time ago that still sticks with you.

We’ll put the names of all commenters in the Dubble Bubble® receptacle and pull out one winner. If you tweet the contest, we’ll put your name in for the tweet as well. You can tweet as much as you like, but it only counts once. If you also mention the contest on Facebook, we’ll add your name again. You can mention it on Facebook a zillion times, but you only get one extra entry. You can also mention the contest on your blog to get another entry. So you can get your name placed in the receptacle a maximum of 4 times (comment, tweet, FB mention, blog mention). Provide us a link in the comments so we know that you tweeted or Facebooked or blogged.

Because of the weight of the books this contest is only open to those of you with a US or Canadian mailing address. The contest ends at 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, May 24, 2010. So leave your comment by then or you won't be entered.


  1. First of all, I LOVED this series, so thank you for this interview. :)

    Secondly, it's not really a series since I haven't managed to read the rest of them yet, but one book that made a huge impact on me - and that I suggest to EVERYONE - is Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE MISTS OF AVALON. Such an amazing twist on the King Arthur theme and so empowering for women. :)

    LOL - and the word verification below says 'blect' - close enough to blech for me.

  2. @Crazy Lady It's an awesome series!!!

    I've read many many books dealing with the King Arthur theme. Loved The Mists of Avalon.

    LOL re blect :)

  3. I have been reading the Amelia Peabody series by ELizabeth Peters since I was in middle school... I feel like I've grown up with Ramses... everytime a new book comes out it feels like spending time with the good side of my family. The series that has probably had the most influence on my reading preserences is Christopher Pike's Last Vampire series... re-reading them now I think they're some of the worst YA books ever written, but I read them all with my friends in 3rd-4th grade and they were totally awesome to me back then and have had a love of the paranormal ever since.

  4. honestly only one good book sticks out from so long ago besides anything king

    Flowers in the attic
    It , Pet cemetary but the one taht holds a palce in my heart that ive read so many times ive had to bu 5 copies so far is after the night by linda howard

    im a huge horror nut but love paranormal romance lol

  5. alyssa day , warriors of the poisdeon series, gena showlater , lords series
    and the pirate and the pagan, is onei reread many times

  6. I read two series that were written by several contributing authors - the first was the 2176 series, which was futuristic and the books were set in different citys and countries with an common theme. The second was the Crimson City series, which were paranormal and all set in Los Angeles, or Crimson City as it was known. Both of these series introduced me to several great authors that I have followed ever since - Patti O'Shea, Susan Grant, Liz Maverick, Kathleen Nance, Caroline Jewel and
    Marjorie M. Lui.

  7. This is a SF that i read a long time ago from Ursula K. LeGuin (A Wizard of Earthsea.It's a set of three book by that author that i loved that is just the first one.about a young boy that will be a great wizard.these books touched my young beliefs in magic.


  8. The one series that REALLY stuck with me was V C Andrews' "Dollanganger" series. The first book "Flowers in the Attic" just totally blew me away and the rest of the series was just as fascinating.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  9. Hi Elaine & TQ, Thanks for thew great interview. I have to agree about Nocturne, I LOVE the character of Patrick.
    I like the idea of Mina and the Austra family meeting up, I could see the sparks flying already.

    (Mindy) :)

  10. Two series I always liked was The Adept (Knights Templar) by Katherine Kurtz & Deborah Turner Harris and Books of Blood by Clive Barker.

    Mina (Mindy) :)