An interview with James Rollins

 Elise Cooper: For those who are not fond of vampire stories Innocent Blood appears to have the plot less about vampires and more about the real world?


James Rollins: There is a paranormal element to the plot. But we tried to ground it into the real world with guns, battles, history, and science. Hopefully the substantial reality offsets some of the paranormal elements. Even though this is a vampire trilogy we tried to mesh it with some of the historical elements of the Catholic Church like the hoods, silver crosses, and the drinking of the sacred wine. We tried to avoid using the “V” word and hope the readers find it plausible.


EC: Sometimes it is confusing as to the differences between the Strigoi, Sanguinists, and Belial. Can you explain?

JR: Sanguinists are Strigoi that made an oath to only drink blood from Christ. An offshoot of the Strigoi is the Belial, a militant wing and the leaders. Both these groups work together to attempt to bring down the Sanguinists.


EC: Can you talk a little about the characters?


JR: Basically the three pieces are: Jordan is the soldier, the muscle; Erin is the archeologist, the brains; and Rhun is the Sanguinist Priest, the heart. In the next book we break everyone’s banner and the reader sees how the characters must repair themselves. Elizabeth is The Blood Countess, a figure who does horrible things; yet, after losing her family now tries to reforge it with Tommy. The teenage boy, Tommy, turns into an Angel. He was written to be of the Jewish faith since these stories involve a lot of the Judeo-Christian history, and after all Christ was a Jew. There will be more of Tommy’s storyline in the third book.”


EC: A quote from the book recalls the story Sleeping Beauty when Elizabeth states, “But I have slept many of those centuries away. I do not understand this modern world as I should.” There is also another quote that seems to be based on the story of Peter Pan: “… a small black shadow rose from her body, barely visible in the candlelight. Long into the night, I watched the shadow flit throughout the box, seeking an escape.” Was that your intention?


JR: I cannot argue with that. Elizabeth was asleep and was awoken after centuries. There were the shadows in Peter Pan as well. I don’t think I actively and consciously did it but now that you mention it I can see the comparison. As we grow up maybe the stories, the fairy tales, told to us as children remain in our sub-conscious and creep into the writings.



EC: Why did you put this quote in the book, ““All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing?”


JR: That quote along with the WWII one, ‘First they came for my neighbors, and then they came for me,’ emphasize that being silent allows evil to exist. I was influenced by the sacrifice of our soldiers and their families. We need to continually not forget that they are our defenders who still put themselves at risk. Those fighting today volunteered because they did not want to remain on the sidelines. They are the ones who make sure evil does not triumph. Just as with the War on Terror I wanted to show in this book that we have the freedom to decide our own fate, but we must act on it.


EC: It appears there is a love triangle in the book between your main characters, Erin, Jordan, and Rhun?


JR: As a Priest and Sanguinist Rhun cannot act on his attraction to Erin. He has sworn off that forbidden love. On the other hand, there is her relationship with Jordan that is physical and approachable. In the next book these relationships will be shaken up.


EC: Did you enjoy working with your co-author Rebecca?


JR: It was a blast. We challenged each other. The phrase ‘two brains are better than one’ is so true in that we were able to workshop every puzzle. For example, I had a different ending to this book than she did. After talking to each other, describing the pros/cons of our choices we came up with a third scenario. This was actually better than each of our own so the collaboration created a better ending. We exchanged ideas by email and skpying back and forth and helping each other. My wheelhouse is the action and beast oriented scenes while hers is the flashbacks and historical parts.

EC: Can you give a heads up about your next books?

JR: I will be very busy. Coming out in May is The Kill Switch featuring the military dog Kane and his handler Tucker. It is about their mission of trying to smuggle a scientist out of Russia. In August the new Sigma Series book, The Sixth Extinction, will be released. It deals with something that goes awry with a synthetic biology experiment. Finally a year from now will be the last book in the Order of The Sanguines series. It picks up where Innocent Blood left off. As Lucifer is unleashed into this world a War of Angels begins. Collateral damage will be the citizens on earth. There will be a lot of destruction and chaos as the characters we discussed earlier try to prevent another Armageddon.