Below is the transcript of an interview of James Baxter, Author of the Victor Nelson Adventures, by Paul Corvino
What can you reveal about the Great Undead?
I don’t like to give much away. Readers who are already familiar with Victor and his world will find this one just as – I hope – pulpy and thrilling as the previous adventures. This one’s a little different though, I’ve added some more horror to the mix, and we really see Mr Nelson pushed to his limits.
What else can I say? Well, a character from “World of Dark and Light” reappears and is the main antagonist. The supernatural threat this time is a group of mutated vampire bats, as well as the gorgeous Great Undead herself. You’ll have to read it to find out more!
What’s your inspiration behind this adventure? Or the series as a whole?
Hammer Horror was a big influence this time. As a matter of fact, fans of a certain well-loved horror movie actor may notice that Professor Rattwood shares some… er… similarities. Certainly, I had Peter Cushing in mind when I wrote for the character. That’s a real joy I take from writing, the ability to cast whomever I like in the lead roles!
Other things that have influenced me are war films – of which I’ve watched a lot recently. There’s also a line that some readers may recognise as being a homage (which I believe is the polite way of saying “ripped off”) from Zulu.
I was interested in exploring in this adventure how far Victor was prepared to go to satisfy his love of the supernatural, and his natural desire to get involved in the mysterious. I wanted to see how far I could push him.
More generally, the Victor Nelson Adventure series are, I hope, very old-fashioned pulpy adventures with a strong vein of horror running through them. I don’t pretend that I’m creating art; they’re intended to be entertaining, thrilling, and written mainly for people who don’t actually read-
That’s a bit of a bold statement!
Well, yes. No wonder my sales are so bad! No, what I mean is, these are straightforward stories, the literary equivalent of a late night movie. Or several movies, mashed together! They’re designed to pass a few hours in an interesting way, not present a great intellectual experience. Sorry about that!
The Great Undead features a bunch of Nazis among the lead characters. How did you approach writing for them, given that this is still a sensitive issue for some people?
Well, these are fictional Nazis. They’re Indiana Jones Nazis. I’m not commenting on real events, they’re just the baddies in the story. Even so, I thought it would be ridiculous to make them “all bad” – one character in particular turns out to be on the side of the angels. Also – I promise that everyone meets the end that they deserve by the story’s close... In real-life some terrible things happened during the Second World War, but a pulp adventure novel is not the place to examine those things. It’s the place to portray the Nazi’s as cannon (or Vampire) fodder!
The Great Undead is another in the Victor Nelson Adventure series. Do you plan to write more?
Well, who says that Victor’s still alive by the end? (Laughs) You know, I don’t think it’ll spoil anything to tell you that there will be another set of adventures, hopefully just before Christmas. These stories are set before the Great Undead however; they very much continue a thread I started in “Fear Grips the Soul” set in the 1930s.
And after that?
I’m not saying. Tough!
(thanks to Paul for conducting the interview)
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